Patient and Visitor FAQs

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital Emergency Department Frequently Asked Questions.

Where is the Emergency Department?
The Emergency Department is located at 17 Belmont Avenue (Brattleboro, VT 05301). The waiting area is accessible through an outside entrance as well as through the main lobby entrance. If entering through the lobby, take an immediate right at the information desk and go through the tan door, you will be brought into the waiting area of the ED.

When should I go to the emergency department?
If you are in an emergency situation, time is of the essence, and you need to know when to seek critical care. An emergency is a serious medical condition or symptom caused by injury or illness, or mental illness, which arises suddenly and requires immediate care to avoid death or disability.

Emergency situations may include:

  • Suspected stroke
  • Suspected heart attack
  • Complicated fractures
  • Poisoning
  • Deep wounds
  • Vomiting or coughing up blood
  • Major head injury
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Extreme difficulty breathing
  • Severe burns

It is important to always be prepared for an emergency. To better facilitate treatment, we advise our community to keep an information card on them at all times. This card should include the name and telephone number of the individual’s primary care physician, a list of all medication and drug allergies, and advanced directives, such as living wills, do-not-resuscitate orders and power of attorney information. In addition, it is also helpful to for incoming emergency patients to have copies of their insurance cards and photo identification.

For less serious illnesses, you should call your primary care physician, who may advise you to go to the emergency department or come for an office visit. Many patients come to the emergency department asking for routine care or treatment for minor ailments that could be treated by a family physician. Find a primary care physician.

When can my family visit?
Brattleboro Memorial Hospital encourages family-centered care. Adult patients have the right to refuse visitors from being in the emergency room. In the best interest of all the patients, we ask that:

  • Families follow instructions given by the nurse with regards to limiting the number of visitors and noise level;
  • Visitors respect the privacy of other patents and not wander freely through the department; and
  • Families have one person to act as their spokesperson to decrease confusion and make communications between staff and family easier;

Is cell phone use allowed in the Emergency Department?
Cell phone use is allowed in certain areas of the Emergency Department. We ask, however, that cell phone users be sensitive to the needs of patients and staff.

How do I contact the emergency department?
If you need to contact the emergency department for any reason, you can call 802-257-8222. If you call to inquire about the medical condition of a patient who is in the emergency department, you need to know that, by regulation, we cannot provide you with personal health information on any patient without his/her written consent, even if you are a spouse, close relative, or friend.

Who pays for an emergency department visit?
Most insurance companies cover the cost of an emergency department visit, although you may be responsible for a co-payment. Every health insurance plan is different, so you should check your health insurance benefits packet to learn how much you will have to pay and what approval/ or referrals from your primary care doctor may be required prior to you coming to the emergency department. You are not required to pay for your emergency room visit on the day you arrive or upon leaving the hospital. Your health insurance company or you (if you are a self-payer), will receive a bill from the hospital for all charges incurred during your visit to the emergency room. You can contact the hospital billing department if you should have any questions regarding charges or payment.

How do I let someone know I received quality care?
Your feedback is welcomed and appreciated. You will receive a patient satisfaction survey in the mail shortly after your emergency department visit. We encourage you to complete the survey to let us know about your experience with the emergency department staff and the treatment you received. We use this information to continuously improve the quality of our services and to better meet the needs of our patients. Of course, notes and letters with compliments can also be sent to the Emergency Department Manager at the hospital.

Will I be treated differently if I am unable to pay?
Everyone who arrives at the emergency department for care is entitled to medical treatment – no one can be turned away because of their inability to pay. You will receive the necessary testing, medication, and treatment for your specific medical condition, without consideration of the type of health insurance you may have or your ability to pay. If you have a financial hardship, you may be eligible to apply for government programs that help defray the cost of your visit. You can inquire about these programs by calling the BMH Financial Counseling at 802-257-8240.

What if I need an interpreter?
If you do not speak English and you do not have another adult you feel is appropriate to interpret for you, an interpreter service can be made available to you. This service is free and is an important tool for ensuring accurate, private, and confidential communication between the medical staff and our non-English speaking patients.

How do I make a complaint?
Our goal is to provide the best care possible and ensure that every patient is satisfied before they leave the hospital, so we want to know when we failed to meet your needs and expectations. Your suggestions and comments will help us improve and change what we do for future patients. If you would like to tell someone how we can improve, you can send your comments to the Emergency Department Manager.

How do I find more information about my medical condition?
Your primary care physician is the best source of information about your medical condition. He/she may also have written information about your specific medical condition, which can be given or sent to you.

How long will I wait before being treated?
We recently developed and implemented a new “right patient for the right room” emergency medicine model that is designed to get patients into an ED bed more quickly and provide other advantages to the traditional emergency care model.