Making a Healthy Run for Governor

More than 30 years ago Dr. Donald Berwick began seeing patients in the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital emergency room. At the time, the ER was staffed by visiting physicians on weekends, so he helped set up the schedule and find the doctors a place to stay for the night. Since then, he has stopped seeing patients, was temporarily appointed by President Obama as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Washington, D.C., and in June, declared his campaign for governor of Massachusetts.

New VA Health Care Contract, Veterans Agent Draw Praise

For a year and a half, meetings about Island veterans health care drew crowds expressing their outrage at the long wait for on-Island health care. But on Wednesday, about seven months after a contract was finally in place, the tone was quite different: instead of concerns, there was mostly silence, and instead of outrage there was appreciation.

Proposed Bill Could Slash Town Retirement Benefits

A bill that would drastically change post-retirement health insurance benefits for municipal employees is making its way through the state house and has caused a small stir among Island town employees.

Island Veterans Discuss Their New Health Care Contract

With a long wait for on-Island health care in the past — though some frustration lingers — Island veterans and Providence VA Medical Center representatives met Wednesday night to discuss the sometimes complicated details of the new contract between the Providence VA and the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

Choices In the Health Care Spectrum

I spent the first 12 years of my medical career taking care of poor people in a teaching hospital in Providence, R.I. In the early 1990s health care was rather different than it is now. If a person had private insurance, they generally had ready access to both primary care doctors and specialists. For my clinic patients, it was another matter. Many had no insurance or Medicaid, were disabled, homeless, poorly educated or didn’t speak English. Working there required tremendous patience and a level of dogged determination that I did not realize I possessed.

Resolution May Be Near for Long-Awaited Veterans Contract

After years without a contract for on-Island medical care for veterans, officials are reporting that “considerable progress” has been made, news that was met with skepticism by the Island veterans agent.

The original contract between the Providence VA Medical Center and the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital lapsed several years ago, and in the meantime, Island veterans have had to go off-Island for most medical care.

Health Care Hot Topic at Screening

We ordinarily associate fire with devastation, a barely controllable force that overtakes everything in its path. The metaphor is used throughout Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke’s Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare, which screened before a sold-out crowd of over 300 people Wednesday night at the Chilmark Community Center. The showing was followed by two lengthy discussion sessions nearly the duration of the film itself (the documentary is 95 minutes long).

Island Health Care Issue is Two-Tiered

Just like the rest of America, health care on Martha’s Vineyard is in trouble — too often fragmented, unsafe, variable, hard to access and far too costly. Poor system designs are the cause, designs sustained by a fee-for-service payment system that pays for volume (how much you do), not value (how well the patient does). Doctors, nurses, other clinicians, staff, and managers do their very best to help, but they are often fighting upstream against systems that make their work harder.

Island Doctor Shortage Prompts Renewed Efforts to Ease Problem

Becoming a patient in a primary care physician's practice is now almost impossible for Islanders and visitors, but medical personnel are making an effort to alleviate the situation.

Primary physician practices, in the strictest sense, are closed to new patients, leaving those in search of a doctor in limbo.

Tim Walsh, who became the Martha's Vineyard Hospital's chief executive officer in August, said the lack of primary care physicians is a problem.

Citizen Health Care Role Called Critical

Citizen Health Care Role Called Critical


If the Island wants better health care, its citizens must demand it.

This simple but straightforward directive was one of the chief messages of the second annual public symposium, Changing Our Health Care: Options for the Vineyard, held Sunday night at the Performing Arts Center.