UVM Medical builds primary care facility in Essex

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UVM Medical builds primary care facility in Essex

Sun, 08/25/2019 - 11:10am -- tim

UVM Health Network President and CEO John Brumsted, MD discusses the new Essex primary care facility as Interim President Stephen Leffler, MD listens. UVMMC photos.

Brandon Arcari, Vermont Business Magazine The University of Vermont Medical Center broke ground on a new primary care facility in Essex Thursday, Aug. 22, a new building nearly double the size of the current leased space.

The new facility, which will fully replace the aging leased building currently in use, will offer 12,500 square feet of space to allow for more spacious exam rooms, as well as more of them. The facility was designed to be LEED certified, and will offer telemedicine services for patients to talk to their healthcare providers from home.

 “Access to primary care needs to be in the community,” said Dr. John Brumsted the President and CEO of the UVM Health Network. “It becomes part of the fabric of that community.”

Brumsted drew on his personal history as a resident at Hartford Hospital in his remarks, citing the importance of a team-based approach to healthcare.

“If I couldn’t do it, a phone call or a shout across the hallway would bring to bear the resources to take absolute care of that person,” he said. “[In my experience] with a lack of a true system of care, how incredibly lonely it is to be a provider there, and even more importantly how difficult it is to provide all of the care that an individual, a family, or a community needs if you’re out there on an island of primary care.”

Dr. Stephen Leffler, the interim president of the UVMMC, also drew on his history.

“When someone comes in to see their provider, they are surrounded with a team of people to help care for them,” he said. “All kinds of things happen in those offices now.”

The building will be located on the corner of Route 15 and Essex Way, and will have a bus stop outside to help improve access for patients who cannot drive to the facility.

“This is the latest in a series of recent investments in primary care throughout the Network because we know it is the foundation of our efforts to create a health care system focused on wellness and prevention,” Brumsted said in a press release. “I look forward to seeing the improvements in care that our dedicated and talented staff will bring about here, and sharing what is learned throughout our primary care system.”

The new practice, designed with patient input, will include 14 exam rooms, space for patient consultations and education, and multi-purpose spaces to support team-based approaches to health and wellness. Other features include:

  • A room dedicated to telemedicine services.
  • Space designed to meet the needs of bariatric patients.
  • Care delivery space is separated from public and administrative support areas to maximize patient privacy and patient flow.

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“What we’re creating here represents the future of primary care within the UVM Medical Center,” Leffler said in a press release. “We are committed to having spaces that facilitate a comfortable, convenient patient experience and support our providers in delivering innovative, patient-centered care.”

Adult Primary Care-Essex has been a leader in developing telehealth options for patients including piloting “e visits” which allow patients to receive recommendations for managing medical concerns without having to make an appointment or travel to the practice. Use of telehealth technology will be expanded in the new practice.  

 “This facility will bolster the kind of teamwork and innovation that’s needed to improve the health of this community,” said Jennifer Gilwee, MD, division chief for General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at UVM Medical Center. “In this new space, we will be able to advance the work we’re doing in chronic disease management and addressing the social determinants of health.”

The $8.6 million project includes purchasing land and constructing a 12,500 square foot building which is designed so that up to eight exam rooms can be added if needed. It is designed to meet or exceed Energy Star and Vermont Commercial Building energy standards, and to qualify for LEED certification. The project was approved by the Green Mountain Care Board earlier this year and is being paid for out of capital funds. It is expected that the practice will be open for patient care in the Spring of 2020.

“It will be green, in the Vermont way,” Leffler said.  “I want to thank and congratulate our facilities planning team, patient advisors, Department of Medicine leadership and all the others who played a role in making this important project a reality.”

The construction work near the UVM Medical Center facilities on Tilley Drive in South Burlington are not part of the medical center, but are being contructed by an outside firm. The Medical Center has not yet decided if they will lease space there, but would be consider locating dermatology and ophthalmology providers in the space, according to Dave Keelty, the director of facilities planning and development for the UVMMC.

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Architect rendering of new UVMMC primary care building in Essex.

About the University of Vermont Medical Center
The University of Vermont Medical Center  is a 447-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.

Source: BURLINGTON, VT – UVMMC. 8.22.2019. www.UVMHealth.org/MedCenter