Construction began last summer; facility provides access for patients to get routine care and with expanded Telehealth options
Vermont Business Magazine The University of Vermont Medical Center has opened a new adult primary care facility in Essex that provides access to more services at one location, allows for expanded use of telehealth, improves patient privacy and comfort, and facilitates coordination of care within the UVM Health Network.
Construction began last summer on the facility, located on the corner of Route 15 and Essex Way. It replaces a facility in Essex that was undersized and outdated. The new space is designed to support a team-based approach to care in which physicians work together with advanced practice providers, social workers, dieticians, mental health counselors, wellness coaches and others to address all of the factors in a patient’s life that have an impact on maintaining or improving their health.
“As all of us in the region begin to adjust to a new normal, it’s going to be more important than ever to safely get routine care and stay as healthy as possible,” said Stephen Leffler, MD, president and chief operating officer at the UVM Medical Center.
As with all other UVM Health Network locations, the central focus is on patient and staff safety. Patients can expect similar safety measures as they may have seen at other practices – including social distancing, screening for symptoms and possible exposure to COVID-19, and being asked to wear a mask.
“One shining light in the chaos of the last several months is the opening of our adult primary care site in Essex,” said Jennifer Gilwee, MD, division chief for General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at UVM Medical Center. “The spacious building is designed in a way that allows us to move patients through safely while adhering to social distancing guidelines. We are seeing about 40 percent of our visits as in-person visits and 60 percent of visits are being done via telehealth.”
Adult Primary Care-Essex was an early leader in developing telehealth options for patients, and piloted “e-visits” that allow patients to receive recommendations for managing medical concerns without having to make an appointment or travel to the practice in person. Use of telehealth, or video visits, has skyrocketed in recent weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Last summer when we began construction on this facility, I said it was the future of primary care,” Leffler said. “No one could have predicted that the use of telehealth would advance quite as quickly as it has since that day, as a result of the pandemic. But because this practice was designed to enable more use of telemedicine and video visits, it could not be opening at a better time for our patients and providers.”
The new facility was designed with extensive patient input. It 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.
The $8.6 million project included purchasing land and constructing the 12,500 square foot building. It was designed with the option to add up to eight exam rooms in the future. Additionally, it meets or exceeds Energy Star and Vermont Commercial Building energy standards and qualifies for LEED certification. The project was approved by the Green Mountain Care Board last year and has been paid for out of capital funds.
“The new facility positions our care team to better serve as a ‘medical home’ to patients in our surrounding communities. We anticipate improved patient access to health care services as we bring on new providers and are able to better leverage our resources through additional room and telemedicine options embedded within the practice,” said James Williamson, the practice supervisor. “We are also proud that the facility reflects the values and spirit of Vermont—from our LEED certification that better stewards our natural resources to the many Vermont artists who are featured on our walls.”
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.
Source: BURLINGTON, VT – The University of Vermont Medical Center 6.5.2020