UVM Health Network Updates
Get the latest information on COVID-19 in our region and how the UVM Health Network is caring for our patients while protecting the health of our staff and community members.
University of Vermont Health Network Begins Rescheduling Non-Urgent and Elective Outpatient Procedures and Appointments
UPDATED May 20, 2020
The University of Vermont Health Network has begun scheduling non-urgent and elective outpatient procedures and appointments that do not require a hospital stay, beginning with those that were postponed due to COVID-19. The health and wellbeing of patients and staff is our priority, with extra safety precautions and updated guidelines in place at all Network locations. Some things you may notice are screening for everyone who enter our facilities, required face masks, new check-in procedures, distancing reminders and increased frequency of cleaning and sanitizing in common areas.
UVM Health Network providers will aim to operate at about 60 percent of normal capacity for several weeks to enable social distancing and help conserve personal protective equipment (PPE). Network providers will reach out directly to patients whose procedures or appointments were postponed, but patients should call their provider with current health questions or concerns, including those regarding routine care. Read the full press release here.
Care from the Comfort of Home: Video Visits Available from UVM Health Network Hospitals
UPDATED May 13, 2020
Whether you have an illness, injury or need routine care, video visits offer the care you need, safely, securely and from the comfort of your home. The UVM Health Network has used video visits to provide a convenient, safe and secure care option to our patients. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have expanded this offering across our primary and specialty care practices to meet your care needs. To determine if a video visit is right for you, or if an in-person visit is necessary, please contact your provider’s office.
Learn about how video visits work at your local UVM Health Network hospital:
University of Vermont Health Network Takes Difficult Steps in Response to Financial Impact of COVID-19
UPDATED May 1, 2020
The University of Vermont Health Network has announced sweeping measures to address steep revenue losses directly related to our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The UVM Health Network is taking quick action to preserve access to care for the region. Projected network losses for the fiscal year are estimated to be $152 million. Several measures are being put in place, including reducing the base salary of leaders, halting employer retirement benefit contributions to leaders, and a hiring freeze will be in place at all Network affiliates. These steps are intended to further support expense-saving measures announced in March that eliminated performance based compensation for leaders and physicians during the current fiscal year.
“COVID-19 forced us to completely change how we deliver care in a matter of days. I am immensely proud of our people and their response to this pandemic to provide the best care for our patients,” said John Brumsted, MD, President and CEO of the UVM Health Network. “Now we must confront the harsh financial realities that this situation has had on our organization, which means terribly difficult decisions that have a direct impact on our co-workers and their families. The UVM Health Network is prepared to do whatever it takes to preserve access to the care our communities need and depend on. We will get through this by taking action now to mitigate the long-term impacts of our financial challenges.” Read the full press release here.
Elizabethtown Community Hospital to Reopen Health Centers in Crown Point and Wilmington
UPDATED April 29, 2020
Beginning Monday, May 4, the Crown Point Health Center and the High Peaks Health Center in Wilmington will reopen to offer patients in-person care two days per week, Mondays and Thursdays, 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Precautions will be taken to ensure the safety of patients and staff, including the screening of patients for COVID-19 symptoms. Masks will be provided at the door and must be worn by both patients and staff. Additionally, patients may choose to check in by phone, if preferred, and wait in their vehicles until they are ready to be seen.
“We take every precaution to keep our patients and staff safe, and urge people not to delay necessary care,” said the UVM Health Network - Elizabethtown Community Hospital Medical Director for Primary Care Dr. Rob Demuro. “A small health issue can become a serious one if left untreated.” Read the press release.
UVM Medical Center Thanks Community Partners for Housing Front Line Staff
UPDATED April 23, 2020
The University of Vermont Medical Center today expressed gratitude for community partners who have offered support to healthy employees seeking alternate housing arrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic. Saint Michael’s College, Ronald McDonald House, Hope Lodge and the Larkin Group, which operates the Comfort Inn, have all offered rooms at no cost to health care workers on the front lines who wish to stay somewhere other than their homes to avoid unknowingly bringing the virus home to their families. Read the press release.
Medical Students Seek PPE to Help Keep Providers and Patients Safe
UPDATED April 21, 2020
A group of University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine students are organizing a PPE donation drive for the college and for providers at the University of Vermont Medical Center. Unused PPE from dentists, nonmedical labs, secondary schools, meat-packing plants, medical spas, nail salons, and other businesses and locations around Vermont are welcome to help prevent a shortage of protective gear for health care providers.
The students are accepting N95 masks, cloth face masks, CAPRs and other respirators, gloves, face shields, safety goggles, gowns and coveralls/bunny suits. Donations of bleach, peroxide, hand sanitizer, and cleaning wipes are also encouraged. Visit vtcovid.com/donate for details on how to donate or volunteer. Learn more.
TOGETHER, WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS
UPDATED April 15, 2020
Physical distancing has not been easy. But it’s important to remind ourselves every day that our efforts and sacrifices are making a difference in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Need some encouragement? Read this heartfelt message from John R. Brumsted, MD, President and CEO of The University of Vermont Health Network. Read message.
ELECTIVE SURGERIES AND PROCEDURES ARE POSTPONED A WHILE LONGER
UPDATED April 14, 2020
We are extending the suspension of non-urgent elective medical encounters across the UVM Health Network through at least May 15 as part of our ongoing efforts to protect patients and staff from the risk of COVID-19 infection.
Any surgery, procedure, diagnostic test or clinic visit that can be safely delayed or deferred will be postponed at all Vermont and Northern New York affiliates. If you are impacted by this decision, you will be contacted. If you do not hear from a provider, you should prepare to attend appointments as scheduled. Please don’t call clinical practices and hospitals to check on the status of appointments so that we can prioritize the significant number of incoming calls about COVID-19. Learn more.
GOT SECURITY CONCERNS ABOUT CONNECTING WITH YOUR DOCTOR VIA VIDEO? WE HAVE ANSWERS.
UPDATED April 9, 2020, 4:00 P.M.
During this time of social distancing, we are relying on new ways to connect and communicate, especially using video chat. Recently, you may have heard reports of security and privacy issues with Zoom and we want to reassure you that the Zoom program that UVM Health Network has implemented across our practices is secure and private. Learn more.
WE’VE MOVED TO UNIVERSAL MASKING TO PROTECT OUR STAFF AND PATIENTS
UPDATED April 9, 2020
With the increase of COVID-19 infections in our community, we are taking an extra step in our efforts to protect the safety of our patients and staff. Starting today, everyone in our Vermont and Northern New York facilities is wearing a mask.
This means that all staff in patient-facing areas are wearing a medical mask – the specific type is determined by their role and risk of COVID-19 exposure. And staff in non-patient-facing areas are now wearing a cloth mask while at work. The direction to wear cloth masks comes from new data about how COVID-19 can spread before a person has any symptoms – a cloth mask may help protect others from people who are infected and don’t know it. Read the full press release.
Your Health Care Needs Did Not End When COVID-19 Began. We’re Here for You.
UPDATED April 4, 2020, 4:00 P.M.
As we fight the COVID-19 pandemic on the front lines, we know that you may have other important medical needs.
Don’t deprioritize your health. Whether it be an illness, injury, or ongoing medical condition that needs attention, please know that our emergency departments and urgent, specialty and primary care clinics across the UVM Health Network are ready to provide care. Our providers are also available through video visits, telephone visits and in-person visits in some cases. Please contact us so that we can together determine the best way to address your needs.
If you are healthy, it’s important to prioritize your wellbeing, especially during stressful times. We also continue to conduct regular wellness visits with the help of technology, so please call your provider to see if a video appointment is right for you.
If you need to be seen in person, we are taking precautions to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure to our patients and staff. We are conducting health screenings at the entrances to our facilities so that anyone with respiratory complaints can be routed safely to care. Other precautions include making sure that patients waiting for treatment are able to socially distance from others and appropriate use of personal protective equipment, such as masks, when needed.
We’re here for you. Don’t hesitate to call your provider if you have a medical concern. As always, if you have a life-threatening situation, call 9-1-1.
UVM HEALTH NETWORK INCREASES AVAILABILITY OF eHEALTH
UPDATED MARCH 25, 2020, 12:00 P.M.
University of Vermont Health Network officials have mobilized a task force to increase the availability of eHealth appointments across the Network to ensure access to medical services during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ensuring access to medical care for our patients is a top priority for the University of Vermont Health Network. We are expanding telemedicine capabilities to meet our patients’ needs while ensuring their safety as well as the safety of our clinicians and staff,” said UVM Health Network Senior Vice President and Chief Population Health and Quality Officer Howard Schapiro, MD.
As of March 23, primary care visits are available through online video conferencing at the University of Vermont Medical Center, Porter Medical Center, and Central Vermont Medical Center in Vermont, and Elizabethtown Community Hospital in New York. Similar access will be in place this week at Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital and Alice Hyde Medical Center in New York.
Efforts are also being made across the network to offer psychiatry and psychology services as well as gastrointestinal medicine and cardiology.
The preferred method for eHealth appointments is Zoom – an online remote conferencing service. The Network is working quickly to ensure that all clinical practices are equipped to use Zoom and provide video visits with patients. Patients who make Zoom appointments with their physician will be contacted by the Network to prepare them for the visit and offer technical assistance. Technical assistance for other video conferencing services is not currently available. If you have questions about an upcoming appointment, or would like to schedule one, please be in touch with your provider. Read the full press release.
VERMONT NATIONAL GUARD SETS UP TRIAGE FACILITY
UPDATED MARCH 24, 2020, 2:00 P.M.
The Vermont National Guard has set up a triage facility adjacent to the University of Vermont Medical Center’s Emergency Department. The facility is part of the state of Vermont’s emergency response to COVID-19.
Company C Medical 186 Brigade Support Battalion
UVM HEALTH NETWORK SUSPENDS COLLECTIONS ACTIVITIES
UPDATED MARCH 23, 2020, 2:00 P.M.
The University of Vermont Health Network is taking steps to protect our patients and staff as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including changing our visitor policy to discourage all visitors with few exceptions, and suspending all non-urgent procedures and encounters to conserve needed resources.
Recognizing that many of our patients, staff, and members of the wider community will face financial challenges in addition to health challenges during this time, the UVM Health Network is suspending collections-related activities effective immediately. Regular billing will continue, including bills in the mail and monthly statements, but unpaid bills will not prompt phone calls from network affiliates, and patients will not receive calls, letters, or penalties from collections agencies.
“This pandemic is causing a great deal of anxiety and financial uncertainty for many people in our community,” said John R. Brumsted, MD, CEO of the UVM Health Network. “We are working hard to care for our patients and support our staff, and we believe that suspending these activities is appropriate at this time.” Read the full press release.
UVM HEALTH NETWORK – ELIZABETHTOWN COMMUNITY ESSEX COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT IDENTIFIES TWO POSITIVE COVID-19 CASES
UPDATED MARCH 21, 2020, 2:00 P.M.
The Essex County Health Department has identified two new positive cases of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, in Essex County. The patients were tested at the University of Vermont Health Network - Elizabethtown Community Hospital’s new drive-through testing site, and are being monitored at home by the Essex County Health Department (ECHD).
“The greatest advantage of drive-through testing is safety,” said the UVM Health Network - Elizabethtown Community Hospital Medical Director of Emergency Medicine and Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Clauss. “I want to be clear that drive-through testing at Elizabethtown Community Hospital is by appointment only and requires a provider’s order. Due to limitations on testing supplies and capacity, we must continue to adhere to strict guidelines regarding who gets tested. Responsible use of our resources is essential.”
According to Essex County Health Department Director Linda Beers, if a patient tests positive, they are immediately placed under a mandatory isolation order at home.
“This is all done in very close coordination with the patients, their providers, and the test site. The health department-hospital partnership is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19,” said Ms. Beers. Read the full press release.
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UVM HEALTH NETWORK – ELIZABETHTOWN COMMUNITY HOSPITAL UPDATE HEALTH CENTER HOURS
UPDATED MARCH 20, 2020, 6:00 P.M.
ELIZABETHTOWN, NY – The University of Vermont Health Network - Elizabethtown Community Hospital will limit operating hours at three of its six community-based health centers in an effort to redirect care teams to its COVID-19 response. Regular business hours at the Crown Point and High Peaks Health Centers, and Saturday hours at the Elizabethtown Community Health Center, will be suspended.
“In an effort to reinforce social distancing and limit the spread of COVID-19,” said the UVM Health Network - Elizabethtown Community Hospital Medical Director for Primary Care Dr. Rob Demuro, “we have postponed health center appointments that can be safely delayed, like routine check-ups. This helps protect our patients and allows our providers to focus on our COVID-19 response.”
Until regular operating hours resume, Crown Point and High Peaks Health Center patients can continue to receive care at the Au Sable Forks Health Center, Elizabethtown Community Health Center, Smith House Health Center in Willsboro, or Westport Health Center. Read the full press release.
UVM HEALTH NETWORK – CENTRAL VERMONT MEDICAL CENTER EMPLOYEE TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19
UPDATED MARCH 20, 2020, 2:00 P.M.
BERLIN, VT – University of Vermont Health Network -- A Central Vermont Medical Center (CVMC) provider has been confirmed as
COVID-19 positive. The employee interacted with a small group of patients and staff while asymptomatic, and has been in self-isolation
since becoming symptomatic.
After receiving the positive notification from Vermont Department of Health, hospital clinical and human resources teams immediately traced
and notified contacts of their possible exposure. Self-quarantine and monitoring for symptoms have been recommended to those potentially affected.
CVMC is not able to share more details due to HIPPA restrictions.
“This news hits very close to home for our team here and we are hopeful this individual will make a full and complete recovery,” said Anna Tempesta Noonan,
Central Vermont Medical Center President and COO. “We are working around the clock to protect our employees, patients and Woodridge residents in this most
unprecedented time. This situation highlights the unusual challenge of this virus. People can be asymptomatic, meaning they feel well and are not presenting
with symptoms of COVID-19, while they may have contracted the virus. Like all health care providers, we are working with the health department and other stakeholders
to limit further exposure for our team and our community.”
As of Wednesday, CVMC cancelled all non-essential surgeries and procedures to reduce staff and patient exposure and to prepare for surge capacity need.
The hospital is still providing essential services, and the public should continue to come to the hospital for care as needed.
Read the full press release.
UVM HEALTH NETWORK - HOME HEALTH & HOSPICE CONTINUES SERVING PATIENTS
UPDATED MARCH 20, 2020, 1:00 P.M.
COLCHESTER, VT – University of Vermont Health Network -- Home Health & Hospice, along with other medically necessary services provided by UVM Health Network –
Home Health & Hospice are continuing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Only two agency programs are closed — adult day care sites in Colchester, Essex and South Burlington, and community and private foot clinics.
The decision to close these programs was driven by leadership’s commitment to reducing the spread of the virus. It is critically important for patients
and providers alike to know that all other services continue to be provided to patients at home, in assisted living and senior living facilities, and at the
McClure Miller Respite House.
“We understand the crucial role our services play for Vermonters who are healing and at the end of life,” said Judy Peterson, Home Health & Hospice president
and chief operating officer. “We will continue coordinating closely with our partners across The UVM Health Network to provide the essential care our community has
relied upon for more than 100 years.” Read the full press realease.
VISITOR RESTRICTIONS IN PLACE AT ALL FACILITIES
UPDATED MARCH 19, 2020 – Every UVM Health Network affiliate is temporarily restricting visitors to protect our patients and workforce,
until further notice. The following individuals are restricted from entering our facilities at this time:
- Those with any flu-like symptoms, including runny nose, fever, cough and respiratory congestion.
- Those who have traveled to high-risk regions in the past 14 days.
- Anyone who has had close contact with an individual who is being ruled out or was diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Children under the age of 16.
- Individual hospitals may also have additional restrictions and exceptions. Please check your local hospital’s website to review current policies before visiting.
ADDISON COUNTY PATIENT TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19
UPDATED MARCH 18, 2020, 8:00 am – The Vermont Department of Health confirmed that an individual in Addison County has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
The patient was screened via telemedicine, tested via our new “PMC Drive Through Testing” service and sent home to self-isolate per CDC guidelines. Upon receiving the positive test result, the patient’s provider notified the individual. The patient has agreed to remain at home per clinical guidelines. The Vermont Department of Health will follow their protocol and continue monitoring.
THE NETWORK HAS SUSPENDED ALL NON-URGENT ELECTIVE CARE
UPDATED MARCH 17, 2020 – Effective immediately, UVM Health Network is suspending all non-urgent elective surgery, procedures and diagnostic tests in order to safeguard our patients and staff and to support our community’s efforts to limit exposure to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Non-urgent elective encounters are defined as any surgery, procedure, diagnostic test or clinic visit that can be safely delayed or deferred, without threat to the immediate health and safety of the patient.
If you are impacted by this decision, we will contact you. If you do not hear from us, please prepare to attend your appointment as scheduled.
In limited instances and if appropriate, some non-urgent visits may be moved to telehealth or video visits. You will be advised by your provider if this option is available to you.
We understand you may have questions and want to receive word as soon as possible, but we ask you to refrain from calling our practices and hospitals to check on the status of your appointment so that we can prioritize the significant number of calls we are receiving about COVID-19. Read press release.
NEW POSITIVE COVID-19 CASE AT UVM MEDICAL CENTER
UPDATED MARCH 17, 2020, 7 pm – Today, the Vermont Department of Health (VDH) announced a new positive COVID-19 case at UVM Medical Center, bringing our total inpatient cases to two.
NEW POSITIVE COVID-19 CASE IN CLINTON COUNTY, NY
UPDATED MARCH 16, 2020, 7:00 pm – Today, Clinton County Health Department announced the first positive inpatient COVID-19 case at Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital.
PATIENT WITH CORONAVIRUS SELF-QUARANTINING AT HOME
UPDATED MARCH 15, 2020, 6:00 P.M. -- One of the new positive cases of COVID-19 announced today by the Vermont Department of Health is a patient who was referred for testing to the University of Vermont Medical Center. The patient is at self-quarantining at home. Read press release.
CVMC identifies Presumptive positive covid-19 patient
UPDATED MARCH 14, 2020, 1:15 PM – Today, in coordination with the Vermont Department of Health, Central Vermont Medical Center has identified a presumptive positive COVID-19 patient. Read the press release.
OUR STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF sTATE OF VERMONT EMERGENCY DECLARATION
UPDATED MARCH 13, 2020, 8:00 PM – Governor Scott’s emergency declaration is a significant action that will allow the State of Vermont and health care providers to act quickly and decisively to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Vermont hospitals are well-trained and well-prepared and we have an incredibly dedicated and capable workforce to meet this challenge. It is critically important that we take measures to protect health care workers so they can be there for their patients. All of us have a role to play in limiting potential exposure by avoiding large gatherings, working from home where possible and restricting visits to patients in hospitals and long-term care facilities.
We thank Governor Scott and his administration for the ongoing partnership as we manage through this pandemic.
PRESS CONFERENCE TO DISCUSS COVID-19
UPDATED MARCH 12, 2020, 1:00 P.M. – Today, officials from the UVM Health Network and the UVM Medical Center held a press conference to discuss Vermont's second presumed positive COVID-19 case. See the Video.
VOLUNTEER PROGRAM SUSPENDED
UPDATED MARCH 12, 2020, 1:00 P.M. – In order to protect our patients, employees and volunteers, we are suspending the volunteer program at the University of Vermont Medical Center.
This includes those who work volunteer shifts across our locations as well as those who attend meetings as Patient and Family Advisors. Please note that this also means that there will not be any deliveries of gifts or flowers to patient rooms.