By Steven R. Gordon, President and CEO
Within a few weeks of my first day as BMH President in 2011, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin visited the hospital to meet with BMH leadership and medical staff. He opened the meeting with the statement, “If you don’t change, you will have to close your doors . . .” and then he looked at me and said, “Isn’t that right, Steve?”
The Governor was referring to the rapidly changing healthcare environment and the imminent need for BMH to remain viable. As I glanced around the room, I saw the looks of surprise and angst on people’s faces in reaction to the Governor’s comment. But the Governor was correct, in more ways than one. Today, I am proud to say that, yes, we closed our “old” doors, we changed, and on August 6, 2013, we re-opened our “new” doors.
The Main Entrance of Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and the new ambulatory entrance for the Emergency Department are now open, marking the completion of Phase One of the hospital’s expansion and renovation plans for the new Emergency Department.
Governor Shumlin (who was born at BMH) and Vermont’s U.S. Congressional Representative Peter Welch were at the hospital on August 6 to help cut the ribbon on the new entrances. Both of them praised BMH for its leadership and efforts to advance access to high-quality, affordable healthcare in the community.
At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Governor Shumlin said, “This celebration is really all about the emergency room, the entrance, the new look, the new access. This is a huge development and really important to the future and strength of the hospital.”
With the completion of the front entrance and the addition of 2,500 square feet of new space, the Emergency Department project moves on to the next phase of construction. The second portion of the project will focus on the renovation of 8,500 square feet of existing Emergency Department space. The completion date for the entire project is spring of 2014.
In addition to the Emergency Department project, BMH has made several other significant changes over the past two years, including:
- A closer affiliation with Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.
- Collaboration with Cheshire Medical Center on several significant clinical services, such as Emergency Medicine.
- The initiation of affiliation discussions with Grace Cottage Hospital.
- The opening of Vermont’s only Center for Wound Healing, equipped with two Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) chambers.
- An upgrade for our MRI and CT capabilities.
- The opening of our Cardiovascular Center.
- Enhanced ability to recruit and retain the best and brightest physicians and staff.
- The opening of our new Primary Care Offices in both Brattleboro and Putney.
It has been quite a busy two-and-a-half years since the Governor last visited, and I think everyone will agree that we are a stronger, more vibrant hospital, focused on the expanding healthcare needs of our communities. I thank the Governor for challenging us to change, and for saying what needed to be said, despite how uncomfortable it may make others feel. Most importantly, I want to thank everyone in the community for your support of BMH.
More information about the BMH Emergency Department renovation and expansion project, including a blog with regular progress reports, can be found at www.bmhed.org.
Steven R. Gordon is President and CEO of Brattleboro Memorial Hospital. He can be reached by calling 802-257-8245