SVMC Earns Top Marks in Special Infection-Prevention Survey
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SVMC Earns Top Marks in Special Infection-Prevention Survey

BENNINGTON, VT—May 18, 2020—After having announced the resumption of elective services last week, Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), has earned deficiency-free status, the highest given, on a survey meant to determine ability to prevent transmission of COVID-19 and other infections to those visiting its hospital and clinics.

“SVMC is always focused on safety and infection prevention,” said Trey Dobson, MD, SVMC’s chief medical officer. “That has given us a good head start in making our facilities safe for patients returning to seek care.”

On March 20, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), healthcare’s largest payer and most rigorous regulating body, declared that they would postpone normal survey activities in order to complete targeted infection control surveys. According to the announcement, the purpose of the new surveys was to ensure “providers are implementing actions to protect the health and safety of individuals to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“We have a strong track record of maintaining the highest safety standards and immediately adopted the additional recommendations from the CDC early on in the pandemic,” said Thomas A. Dee, FACHE, SVHC’s chief executive officer. “This review from CMS is a testament to our ongoing work to ensure safety for our patients.”

SVHC has provided safe, high-quality care throughout the pandemic. The health system’s emergency department, ExpressCare, emergency surgical services, and most of its specialty practices remained open during the pandemic. Many primary and specialty care practices continued to see patients through telemedicine appointments. The hospital’s Women’s and Children’s Department welcomed 40 babies during the month of April, a 5 percent increase in births over 2019. 

Governor Phil Scott suspended non-urgent appointments and procedures at Vermont hospitals in early March and announced that they could resume last week. SVMC’s outpatient surgeries and diagnostic services, like those for imaging and laboratory work, resumed with enhanced safety protocols last week. 

One important protocol implemented is that all patients should arrive to the hospital or clinic with their own cloth face covering. Face coverings must be worn for the entire duration of patients’ visits.

“I would like to thank our staff for their hard work, each and every day, in taking exceptional care of our patients, families, and communities,” said Paula Johnson, the director of Quality, Safety, and Value. “Our reliability and readiness shined through, even during this incredibly challenging time.” 

For questions about how to resume or initiate elective care, call your primary care provider or the specialist directly. For a list of providers, visit svhealthcare.org/physician-directory. If you would like to reschedule a procedure that was canceled, call (802) 447-5541.

Patients with cough or shortness of breath or any two of the following—fever, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell—should contact their primary care provider or the COVID-19 Informational Hotline at 802-440-8844 before arriving to either their provider’s office or the hospital. For a detailed list of safety protocols, frequently asked questions, visitor guidelines, and COVID-19 information, visit svhealthcare.org.

About SVHC:
Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) is a comprehensive, preeminent, health care system providing exceptional, convenient, and affordable care to the communities of Bennington and Windham Counties of Vermont, eastern Rensselaer and Washington Counties of New York, and northern Berkshire County in Massachusetts. SVHC includes Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center, the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation, and the SVHC Foundation. SVMC includes 25 primary and specialty care practices.

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center provides exceptional care without discriminating on the basis of an individual’s age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. Language assistance services, free of charge, are available at 1-800-367-9559.

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