UVM Medical Center

UVM Medical Center Marks Progress Toward Improving Access to Acute Inpatient and Outpatient Care

Partnership with UVM opens up to 8 extended recovery outpatient beds, 12 more inpatient beds in existing space also opening

UVM Medical Center Exterior Night

BURLINGTON – As part of continuing work to meet unprecedented need and improve the community’s access to acute and emergency care, the University of Vermont Medical Center this week opened a space that will allow up to 8 extended recovery outpatient beds for patients recovering from surgery, and an additional 12 inpatient beds in existing space.

This work is one component of the UVM Health Network’s Access Action Plan, which addresses three goals: reducing wait times for specialty care, hiring successfully amid national staffing shortages, and improving hospital inpatient and emergency capacity. 

A collaboration with the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine has enabled the opening of up to 8 extended recovery outpatient beds in a space typically used for clinical research. This will be a temporary space for patients recovering from surgery who are not anticipated to need more than 24 hours of observation and care after their outpatient procedure. For example, a patient may have an orthopedic or spine procedure in the afternoon, spend the night receiving care in one of these beds, and be discharged in the morning.

The Clinical Research Center, which supports a wide variety of research activities – including bionutrition research, investigational treatments and interventions – will continue research on campus and in the short term, in service of both organizations’ academic missions.

The innovative arrangement will allow UVM Medical Center teams to continue working through the backlog of orthopedic and other procedures that patients need.

The 12 inpatient beds are part of a 15-bed group approved by the Green Mountain Care Board in late July to make room for the ongoing acute need for inpatient care. The first 3 beds opened in August, and equipment had needed to arrive to open the additional 12.

“Supporting our community and helping ensure the best care for our patients are part of our mission and the reason why we make conducting cutting-edge clinical research a priority at the Larner College of Medicine,” said Kimberly Luebbers, assistant dean for clinical research and director of the Clinical Research Center. “We were happy to collaborate with our partners at the UVM Medical Center and are grateful for our researchers’ flexibility, allowing us to share some of our clinical research space to assist during this challenging time.”

“We recognize people in our community are experiencing long waits to get joint replacements,” said Susan Tschorn, MSN, RN, who will oversee the extended stay recovery space in addition to her role as Nurse Manager on the 6th Floor of the Miller Inpatient Building. “This team has been working hard to find a way to maintain access, and prevent wait times from increasing, even with the challenges our state and region continue to face in delivering health care. We have started doing elective joint replacements as an outpatient procedure for our patients who meet the criteria, and are committed to helping the patients in our community get back to the quality of life they deserve.”

UVM Medical Center President and Chief Operating Officer Stephen Leffler, MD, commended the partnership and creative effort of the teams involved, as well as the entire workforce continuing to provide care to high volumes of patients.

“We are working incredibly hard to implement our Access Action Plan with solutions that are both short- and long-term so that we can meet the immediate and urgent needs of our patients now, and reduce long waits for services like specialty care as we look to the future,” he said. “Our people are our greatest asset, they are critical to the success of this work, and I’m so grateful for their resilience and creativity.”

UVM Medical Center teams have been hard at work ensuring access for the patients who need the acute level of inpatient care provided at the region’s Level 1 Trauma Center and tertiary care center. The recently announced partnerships to help local long-term care and skilled nursing facilities engage travelers to provide care for patients continue to show success. More than 90 patients have transferred to Birchwood Terrace Rehab & Healthcare, and more than 20 have transferred to Burlington Health and Rehab, with more moving weekly. As of Thursday morning, 34 patients remained at the UVM Medical Center who could be appropriately cared for elsewhere, down from a recent average of 45 to 50. This strategy, aimed at opening up inpatient beds by transferring patients out to the appropriate level of care, is being pursued in tandem with adding more inpatient and outpatient beds in existing space in the hospital itself.

Any patient who is having trouble accessing care in a timely manner should first call their doctor’s office. If additional help is needed, our Patient and Family Advocates are ready to assist at (802) 847-3500.


About the University of Vermont Medical Center
The University of Vermont Medical Center is a 499-bed tertiary care regional referral center providing advanced care to approximately 1 million residents in Vermont and northern New York. Together with our partners at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, we are Vermont’s academic medical center. The University of Vermont Medical Center also serves as a community hospital for approximately 150,000 residents in Chittenden and Grand Isle counties. 

The University of Vermont Medical Center is a member of The University of Vermont Health Network, an integrated system established to deliver high quality academic medicine to every community we serve.

For more information visit www.UVMHealth.org/MedCenter or visit our Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blog sites at www.UVMHealth.org/MedCenterSocialMedia.