Flashback: Our Top 10 Feel-Good Stories of 2021
Ashley Jowett
/ Categories: NEWS, 2021

Flashback: Our Top 10 Feel-Good Stories of 2021

What a year we have had. While it has been admittedly difficult at times, we have so much to celebrate. Here are our top 10 feel-good stories of the past year.

10. Asking for Patient Views
More than ever, we have been reaching out to patients for their feedback. We asked about what would make
colon cancer screening easier, what you would want to do with the Southern Vermont College property, and what health needs you see in the community. We also set up a new Patient and Family Advisory Council, which continues to seek members. 

9. Offering Health Learning Opportunities
We didn’t let the pandemic and precautions about meeting in person keep us from expanding educational opportunities for patients. We moved our new-parent classes online and
added a few. We also offered a cancer survivors’ cooking party, a women’s health series, a colon cancer awareness talk, and classes about joint replacements and hand pain. (I’d also add Community Health Needs Assessment sessions)

8. Widening Availability of Vaccines
All year we watched how vaccines became more and more available. While initially available only to healthcare workers and the oldest adults, vaccine availability soon widened to younger adults. The more people got vaccinated the clearer the safety and efficacy of the vaccines became. Now, everyone over the age of 5 can be protected, and that is a tremendous relief. 

7. Faster Test Results
We are so proud of the steps we took early in the pandemic to get advanced testing equipment on site in the SVMC lab. That makes turn-around times for our tests faster than those in many other parts of the state and the country. Our information systems team also developed
groundbreaking results-delivery applications, so patients could get their results quickly, easily, and securely.

6. Our Heroic Staff
Our staff is always inspiring. The way they have cared for COVID patients and others, with unwavering dedication and incredible skill, over this past year is truly incredible. This year, we are also celebrating the stories of two amazing staff members for the difference they were able to make while off duty.
Patricia Johnson helped more BIPOC Vermonters get vaccinated, while Patrick Deedy participated in a life-saving wilderness rescue.

5. Advances at SVMC Orthopedics
In the fall of 2020, SVMC Orthopedics launched
the region’s only same-day total joint replacement surgery program for hips and knees. In 2021, dozens of patients used the program to begin their recovery immediately and at home. And in 2021, the practice's hand specialist, David R. Veltre, MD, M.Eng., began offering some hand procedures quickly and conveniently at the SVMC Orthopedics practice in Bennington, rather than in the hospital's operating room. Advanced care is easier than ever. 

4. The Former Southern Vermont College Campus and The Grateful Bennington Fund
We were absolutely astounded with
the response we received when community members led an effort to offset the expenses of SVHC’s purchase of the former Southern Vermont College campus. The campus has gone on to be integral in the health system’s COVID-19 response.

3. Medical Matters Weekly
In February 2021, we launched an ambitious project to present a
weekly video podcast. Throughout the last year, we have met so many interesting professionals and uncovered important insights about physical health, mental health, social needs, and racial inequality in healthcare among others. We look forward to season two, which starts January 5.

2. National Recognitions
We are honored that two important national organizations reviewed our hard work over the past several years and honored us with prestigious designations. We were designated as a Magnet Center for Nursing Excellence
for the 5th time in a row. Only 28 organizations worldwide can make that claim. We also received the year’s only Rural Healthcare Leadership Award given by the American Hospital Association.

1. Emergency Department Expansion and Renovation
From the fun and festive Groundbreaking Celebrations to the solemn but exciting Lodge Demolition, we had a great time looking toward the future of providing
cutting-edge emergency care in a new space.

Stay tuned for more good news on these projects and others in 2022! Happy New Year!

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