VAHHS Annual Meeting
VAHHS Annual Meeting: September 29 to 30, 2022
In the News
St. Jay hospital breaks ground on new expansion

Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital in St. Johnsbury is breaking ground on a project that will expand its mental health offerings.

Hospital leaders say the emergency department is getting upgraded and expanded to help care for people in crisis. They say the pandemic and economic recession negatively affected people and families and increased the prevalence of people experiencing mental health issues and that short staffing created long wait times for patients.

The changes will include a new mental health support area in the emergency department.

FEMA grants $1.7M to UVM Medical Center for COVID costs

FEMA is reimbursing the UVM Medical Center nearly $1.7 million.

It’s to compensate the hospital for the additional costs of operating during the pandemic, including additional labor expenses.

So far, FEMA has provided almost $394 million in pandemic reimbursement grants to Vermont.

“The cost of additional operation, PPE, screeners, cost to keep facility safe can be significant. So, our program comes in and it provides that kind of financial support within the parameters of our program for these hospitals in this case to stay online and focus their attention on what’s important,” said Celis Brisbin of FEMA.

FEMA employees also say the money is a critical element in helping the country continue to recover from the virus.
Statewide Covid levels 'low' as PCR testing continues to decline

Covid-19 community levels remain “low” in Vermont this week, the state Department of Health reported in its latest surveillance update on Wednesday.

The department reported slightly elevated cases, hospitalizations and hospital admissions, but all were under the threshold for “low” levels.

The latest numbers also demonstrate the need to interpret case data with caution: The department is reporting the lowest levels of PCR testing since the earliest days of the pandemic in spring 2020.

About 750 PCR tests have been conducted per day in the past week, compared to more than 17,000 at the peak of infections in January 2022. The testing rate dropped even compared to July of this year, when the department reported about 1,400 tests per day despite low levels of Covid.
Levine: No winter COVID surprises expected in Vermont
My Champlain Valley

Vermont’s top health officials says he doesn’t expect to see a big change in COVID-19 levels this winter.

Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said infection rates in the state have held steady, and no new variant of the coronavirus has appeared on the horizon yet.

“The numbers that we’ve been getting from across the state, and including UVM, to us don’t indicate any alarming change,” said Dr. Levine.

Levine said the health department monitors COVID hospitalizations several times a week, but stressed that that not all patients who test positive are in the hospital for COVID because of the virus.
Hospitals in the News
From Our Hospitals 
John Brumsted: Protecting patient rights and public health

As a health care safety net provider for more than 1 million people in two states, the UVM Health Network exists to serve the needs of our patients. So when the essential right of patients to make decisions about their health care is jeopardized, we have an obligation to speak up.

This is one of those times.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — and the subsequent move by politicians in many states to curb or eliminate access to safe abortion services — undermines health care access for millions of people. This impact falls disproportionately on those who already faced long-standing health care inequities and systemic or socioeconomic barriers to health and wellness. Access to reproductive health care — previously a constitutional right — is now in large part determined by geography, politics and privilege.
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