Fanny Allen Reopens Operating Rooms
The UVM Medical Center was finally able to safely and confidently reopen two operating rooms at the Fanny Allen campus in February 2022, increasing the number of surgical procedures the hospital is able to provide patients on a daily basis. A total of five ORs had been closed since late 2020 after staff members reported experiencing symptoms such as dizziness and nausea, and a thorough investigation with outside experts resulted in a complete replacement of the facility’s air handling system, among other renovations.
“This signals a major step towards increasing access, and we intend to open the rest of the operating rooms as we recruit staff to safely do so,” said Stephen Leffler, MD, President and Chief Operating Officer of The UVM Medical Center. The move follows the reopening of the campus’s inpatient rehabilitation unit in January, another important step in the UVM Health Network’s Access Action plan, which aims to reduce delays in patient access to outpatient, inpatient and specialty care.
The movement of typically less intensive outpatient surgeries to Fanny Allen, combined with a stand down of five COVID-19 related emergency ICU beds that were occupying OR space, also allowed UVMMC’s perioperative team to reopen a main campus OR to perform more acute inpatient surgeries.
The reopened perioperative space at Fanny Allen will initially focus on small general surgery, ophthalmology, hand and foot orthopedics and varicose veins. The reopened main campus OR will allow for additional access to cardiothoracic, dental, gynecology, surgical oncology, orthopedics, plastics and urology surgical services.
“We continue to see a very high number of patients and staffing shortages connected to the pandemic,” said Dr. Leffler. “We know that we must address those challenges as we work to increase our surgical capacity.”
- May 2020: Patients and staff moved to main campus after staff reported symptoms.
- Summer and early fall 2020: Investigation conducted, improvements made to space.
- Early October 2020: Inpatient rehab and periop space re-opened.
- October 31, 2020: Inpatient rehab and periop space closed again after staff reported symptoms, patients and staff transferred to main campus.
- November 2020 to present: Additional investigation conducted; system renovated, air handler replaced; outside experts reviewed and tested new equipment, airflow, air quality.
- January 12, 2022: Patients and staff return to inpatient rehab space.
- February 14, 2022: Two Fanny Allen OR spaces reopen.