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UVM Health Network Takes Steps to Become More Integrated Health System

Affiliate and network boards vote to amend governance structure as network matures.

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Burlington, Vt. – The affiliate organizations that make up The University of Vermont Health Network have made changes to their board governance structure to enable deeper integration of the health system, support the Network’s ability to become more nimble and strengthen alignment with its population health centered mission.

Following votes in favor of the changes by the boards of each of the Network’s six hospitals and home health agency, the UVM Health Network Board voted to adopt changes that more strongly align local affiliate board oversight on community-focused areas including local population health initiatives, health care quality, diversity equity and inclusion, and philanthropy. To support this effort, key governance oversight functions – such as finance, budgeting and strategic planning – have shifted to the Network board.

“The UVM Health Network exists to preserve access to high quality care in the communities we are privileged to serve. These changes will help our organizations across Vermont and northern New York work together more effectively as we make key decisions and guide initiatives that improve quality of care and the overall experience of patients,” said Allie Stickney, Chair of the UVM Health Network Board.

As health care organizations continue to face well-documented financial challenges, it is more important than ever that the Network be nimble in its work to address those challenges and chart a sustainable course for the future. Affiliate boards will continue to maintain their current size, and members of affiliate boards will be a part of significant operational decisions with representation on essential Network board committees that carry out this work.

Background

The UVM Health Network is comprised of an anchor academic medical center, five community hospitals, a children’s hospital, a multispecialty physicians group and a home health agency, all governed by separate boards that ultimately report to the Network board. By comparison to many systems across the United States that are comprised of dozens or even hundreds of hospitals, the not-for-profit UVM Health Network is relatively small and seeking to make the most of what it means to be an integrated rural health system.

Input from all affiliate boards, and a review of approaches at more mature health systems across the Northeast, led to a decision to simplify and redesign the Network’s governance structure to more fully integrate decision making and operations. With approval from all of the affiliate boards, that restructuring will now proceed.

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