UVM Medical Center Submits Conceptual Certificate of Need to Develop Outpatient Surgery Center
Facility will replace Fanny Allen operating room capacity, meet changing demographic needs of region, and move more procedures to lower-cost outpatient setting
BURLINGTON, Vt. – Advancing a long-term plan to address the evolving health care needs of patients in our region, the UVM Medical Center has requested permission from the Green Mountain Care Board to begin planning a modern outpatient surgery center that would further its commitment to provide high quality care at the lowest cost, in a health care setting most appropriate for each patient. Through the filing of a Conceptual Certificate of Need (CON), the hospital seeks an expedited review following the reduction of available operating rooms resulting from the closure of the Fanny Allen outpatient location due to air quality issues.
Similar to the experience of health care providers across the country, UVM Health Network affiliates paused capital projects during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to invest in the immediate needs of patients and communities. These investments included updating patient rooms to safely care for COVID-19 patients, purchasing PPE to protect staff and patients, building and preparing surge locations and participating in unprecedented mass vaccination efforts. While all of these efforts responded to the pressing needs of the community, the projects put on hold were those that remain critical to the sustainable provision of high-quality care.
The Conceptual CON application, filed on July 16, seeks permission from the board to begin planning a modern surgery center, configured and sized to provide care for the growing population and evolving demographics of the region. It would also accommodate the rapid nationwide shift of more complex inpatient surgeries to lower-cost outpatient settings.
“Investing in our facilities is critical for providing the care our patients need and deserve,” said John M. Brumsted, MD, president and CEO of the UVM Health Network. “There is a clear need for this state-of-the-art outpatient surgery center in our region, and we look forward to working with the Green Mountain Care Board on its completion.”
The new outpatient facility would enable the UVM Medical Center to continue its work to deliver the right care in the right setting. More surgical patients could be treated with the addition of a modern outpatient facility that costs less than care provided in a hospital setting and is designed with patients and providers in mind.
“Our teams have been working really hard to care for our patients at our main campus, performing surgeries on nights and weekends, and I am so proud of them,” said Steve Leffler, MD, president and COO of the UVM Medical Center. “But it’s clear that to meet the needs of our patients and our staff, we need to be moving on a long-term solution for outpatient surgery.”
Under Vermont law, organizations proposing the planning of a project with an estimated total cost of $30 million or more must seek a Conceptual CON. An estimated cost of the new outpatient surgery center would be determined during the planning process. The Conceptual CON filed Friday requested authorization for development planning activities and associated expenditures of up to $5 million. Once planning is complete, the UVM Medical Center will submit a full CON to seek approval for construction of the facility.
The filing is part of a multi-year plan by the UVM Health Network to make needed updates to key facilities. Over the next several years, the Network expects to submit plans for additional projects that respond to the critical health care needs in the region, including:
- An inpatient psychiatric facility at Central Vermont Medical Center.
- Expansion of the Emergency Department at UVM Medical Center. The ED is frequently full, crowded for patients and staff and has not been expanded to meet capacity needs since it was built in 2004.
- Updating and expanding the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at UVM Medical Center. This project will consolidate two portions of UVM Medical Center’s NICU, and modestly increase the size of the unit. The current facility has been in need of expansion and updates for many years to support lifesaving care for infants.
- Relocating Ophthalmology and Dermatology clinics from the UVM Medical Center main campus to Tilley Drive in South Burlington to better serve patients and continue to provide accessible services on the hospital’s outpatient campus.
The UVM Medical Center continues to evaluate the potential for safely addressing air quality issues in the Fanny Allen operating rooms, which could potentially allow some surgeries to return to the space for a period of time. However, the outdated facility cannot support the provision of the most up-to-date surgical care in a lower cost setting. Planning for a modern facility provides a sustainable long-term solution.
“These projects seek to make the best use of limited health care dollars to ensure we’re here in the long term for the communities who depend on us for care,” Dr. Brumsted said.
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.