Dr. Peter Baute endowment established

Per residents’ generous request
Fri, 08/31/2018 - 9:15am

A Block Island doctor is being honored for his legacy with an endowment created in his name.

The Professional Advisory Committee, a sub-committee of the Block Island Health Services Board, announced at Monday’s board meeting that it has established the Peter Baute Endowment’s Award. The endowment, named in honor of Dr. Peter Baute, who served as Block Island’s resident doctor for five-and-a-half years, will be bestowed each year at the board’s annual meeting to a student, intern, or resident who has practiced at the Medical Center.

In a memo submitted to the board, the committee noted that: “Recipients of the award will have demonstrated traits that are Peter’s legacy: exceptional interpersonal skills and compassion coupled with a high level of acumen in delivering healthcare on Block Island. Educational funds will also be available from the endowment to support health education and research that advance knowledge and awareness of wellness on Block Island.”

The memo noted that the goal is to collect $25,000 by the end of 2018 to fund the endowment, approximately five percent of which will be made available for the award and other educational endeavors.

According to the memo, “The fund will be administered by BIHS, tax-exempt under the 501(c)3 status of BIHS. Decision and selection of the award recipient and educational goals will be made by the Board of Directors, in consultation with the Medical Director.”

Pam Hinthorn, who sits on the Professional Advisory Committee, told the board her committee received a phone call from resident Sophie Murphy, who wanted to create the endowment. Sophie, who along with her husband, Tom, are neighbors of the Bautes, said they “felt quite blessed to have Peter Baute in their lives.”

“He has provided them with compassion, wisdom, and services; medical and veterinarian, that they’re grateful for,” said Hinthorn. “And, as you know, Dr. Baute is quite ill. So the Murphy family would like to set up an endowment in honor of Dr. Baute.”

Fellow committee member Sue Hagedorn said, “Members of the community want to honor Peter for his legacy of care, coordination, and what he’s done as Medical Director, and just an altogether great human being. So we want to establish an endowed fund.” Hagedorn said the committee has met with Dr. Mark Clark, and his input has been integrated into the endowment fund’s plan.

Hinthorn said the names of the award recipients could be displayed on a plaque in the Medical Center’s waiting room. “It would be like the Bayberry Award for the Medical Center.”

BIHS President Cindy Baute said her husband “was deeply touched,” when she told him about the award. “I don’t know if he would ever accept the comparison to John McCain, but he did serve as a physician in Vietnam. On behalf of Peter, and myself, thank you.”

Medical Director’s report

In Dr. Clark’s absence, his assistant Kyra Ernst presented the Medical Director’s report to the board. Ernst noted that the Medical Center was addressing its security system to increase security measures, which includes suggestions from the Emergency Management Director, code locks and installation of a camera system.

As for patient visits, Ernst said that clinical care visits for the year-to-date through July was 3,229 versus 2,675 in 2017. She said there have been 694 physical therapy patient visits through July.

Ernst said the Medical Center is in the process of signing an agreement with its newly-hired clinical psychologist, Dr. Peter Oppenheimer. The goal is for Dr. Oppenheimer to start seeing patients at the facility and at the school by September.

Outgoing and incoming 

The other news out of the meeting is the upcoming departure of one board member, and the return of another. Resident Millie McGinnes will be joining the board to serve out the unexpired term of Sue Hagedorn, while Jim Fiorato will be ending his tenure as the town-appointed board member at year’s end. 

McGinnes was unanimously (9-0) voted onto the board ten minutes into the meeting. Baute made a motion to nominate McGinnes that was seconded by BIHS Treasurer Pete Tweedy.

“I am excited, as many are, with the focus, inspiration and compassion at the core of the center,” said McGinnes, who served as board President from 2005 to 2010. “I have remained passionate toward the goals and mission of the Medical Center since I retired from the board in 2012. I have watched their progress over the years and feel honored to be invited back and to join the team, if only on a temporary basis; filling an unexpired term.”

Fiorato submitted a request not to renew his Town Council-appointed term, a seat that is up for renewal for 2019. Fiorato told The Times that he notified First Warden Ken Lacoste in writing that he is willing to serve ‘through December,” or “step down” if a replacement is found sooner.

The next BIHS meeting is scheduled for Sept. 24 at 4 p.m.