Ask Jill
10.29.2019

Can NMC Afford to Modernize Its Emergency Department?

Yes, NMC has an appropriate plan for how to afford the proposed modernization of the NMC Emergency Department (ED). This question came to us through an online discussion regarding a recent St. Albans Messenger story on the renovations. While we answered the question online, there may be others who are interested, so I wanted to answer it here as well.

The gentleman who posed the question asked it in light of what he heard regarding NMC’s recent financial challenges. I want to assure you this has been a real point of emphasis for NMC’s Board, Leadership, and Medical leaders as we developed the plans for the modernization of the ED.

At one point, a number of years back, we even explored building an entirely new and much larger ED at the front of the hospital. However, through strategic planning, we identified that NMC’s emphasis should be on increasing access to Primary Care and Urgent Care (now at the front of our campus). This has helped reduce the number of avoidable non-emergent visits to the ED – saving patients money and reducing costs to the system by ensuring the right care is being provided in the right location.

Still, the facts remain that the NMC ED is now approximately 30 years old and has an outdated design which raises real safety, privacy, and efficiency concerns. Even with the decrease in non-emergent visits, modernization is truly needed. Our multi-disciplinary team has carefully considered what is needed and we have scaled the scope of our renovation plan to meet those needs.

From the start of our considerations, NMC has understood that we would need to invest in modernizing the ED and so we have been saving for this project. This has provided NMC with the appropriate resources when combined with philanthropic support to allow NMC to afford this important investment in the safety and appropriateness of our healing environment. We have had to carefully consider our path forward with various strategic projects given our recent financial challenges. We have adjusted the timing of projects to better match NMC’s available resources. With the direct impact on safety, privacy, and efficiency within the ED modernization, we have prioritized moving forward with these improvements.

We are currently working our way through the Certificate of Need Process with the Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB) for the ED modernization. A sub-group of the GMCB toured the ED this month as part of their look at NMC’s efforts responding to the treatment and prevention of addiction, suicide, and severe mental health concerns. The ED – and our modernization of it – directly relate to this pressing priority, so I am pleased they were able to see it first-hand. We hope to begin construction on the project in the Spring.

NMC is truly a community hospital and that shows in these discussions. I appreciate that people care about our organization, our financial health, and our ability to meet community need. We all deeply appreciate our community entrusting your care to us. We feel a true responsibility for delivering on that trust and ensuring the health of the hospital so it can continue to serve you for years and years to come. That’s part of our commitment to you and a healthier future.

— Jill Berry Bowen, RN, NMC’s Chief Executive Officer