Dr. Melissa Volansky, a doctor at Stowe Family Practice since 1999, is the new executive medical director for Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley. She will continue to see her panel of patients at SFP, in addition to overseeing CHSLV’s medical practices. Volansky replaces Dr. David Coddaire, who has stepped down as executive medical director, but will continue to practice medicine at Morrisville Family Health Care.
Dr. Volansky has a special interest in adverse childhood experiences and how they relate to chronic diseases. “The more adverse conditions children endure, the more likely they are to have diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, depression, and addiction,” she explains. “We want to develop an approach to these patients that increases their resilience and lowers their health risks. This is an exciting area of medicine that is being researched worldwide.”
She would also like to see improvements in the way electronic medical records are incorporated into the medical field, so that they don’t take away from practitioners’ time and enjoyment of work. “Electronic medical records have been a challenging adjustment for the entire field of medicine. I am committed to improving our use of the EMR for both the patient and practitioners’ experience.”
Another concern is opioid addiction. “Our opioid addicted population is a crisis. We need to keep a strong support staff, including Behavioral Health and Wellness Center, the MAT (Medication Assisted Therapy) team, and the Community Health Team, in addition
to our physicians who are committed to treating this problem.”
Poverty and access to medical help are also serious problems. “We’re facing significant cuts in Medicaid. Already we have many patients for whom insurance is not affordable. People are feeling anxious and not seeking care. They are afraid to come see us for regular check-ups or fill their prescriptions because they can’t afford to. Nobody wants to practice medicine under those conditions. It will be a real disaster if further cuts happen.”
Dr. Volansky points out that CHSLV is very fortunate to have financial assistance from the federal government as a Federally Qualified Health Center, as well as from Vermont’s Blueprint for Health. “Patients are not always aware of how much they benefit from these resources. Still, we face limits in how much financial assistance we can provide.”
Dr. Volansky is a graduate of Stowe High School, University of Vermont, and the UVM Medical School. She lives in Morrisville with her husband, Shap Smith, and their two children.