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Dr. Daniel Mitchell

Q&A with Dr. Daniel Mitchell

by Sean Ruck , Contributing Editor
From the January/February issue of DOTmed HealthCare Business News magazine

Full disclosure: Recently, I had the opportunity to checkout this issue’s hospital spotlight firsthand. The experience was as good as one could hope for during an ER visit and I’m happy to say I’ve fully recovered. That said, I wasn’t waving around my press credentials and talking about the spotlight during my visit like a restaurant critic trying to get a free meal. I was just another patient and I was treated well. Still, it made me realize I had yet to cover the hospital in my own backyard. So that’s being rectified now with the interview that Dr. Daniel Mitchell, Medical Director of Diagnostic Imaging was so kind to grant just before the Christmas holidays.

HCB News: Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in healthcare?
Dr. Daniel Mitchell: I didn’t really have a dramatic moment where I said I wanted to be a doctor. I actually just kept following a path all through my education that I was the most interested in, and it kept leading me more into science and a little into math and engineering. It finally came to a point where I knew that it was just something I want to do. Before that, I was thinking maybe engineering or business management with an engineering/science background. But I realized that I wanted to go to medical school because it’s something that just fascinates me. But even at that moment, I didn’t know for sure if I wanted to be a traditional doctor or go into research or something. It was an ongoing process of making choices that aligned with skill sets and interests, and I ended up here. I wouldn’t have predicted it 35 years ago, but I’m very happy with where I am now.
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HCB News: How long have you been with Rutland Regional?
DM: It’s been 17 years – I came here from Billings, Montana. I love Vermont. I was looking for a place where I could enjoy the outdoor recreation right out my own back door. Montana is beautiful, but I had to drive an hour and a half to get to the mountains from where I lived and it wasn’t as accessible year round.

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HCB News: Does being a healthcare provider for a sparsely populated state present unique challenges?
DM: There are some unique challenges, but there are also some unique advantages. Certainly among the challenges would be the sparsity of the population. Not necessarily the resources available, but to some degree. The interesting twist is that although we’re a small hospital, we’re also in a state that’s very small and very rural. In any other state, a hospital our size would be really quite little and perhaps unimportant. But in Vermont, we’re the second largest hospital in the state and we are the largest community hospital. So this hospital has a lot of importance, a lot of clout and we get attention from the state regulators and legislators in terms of policy. They pay attention to us. It’s just a much more important link in the medical community than a similar sized hospital in a different state would be, and that’s an interesting position to be in.
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