Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Fletcher Allen Health Care to work with Vermont Department of Health to Improve Patient Care at Vermont State Hospital

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: September 15, 2004

CONTACT: Vermont Department of Health
Communication Office
863-7281

WATERBURY—Agency of Human Services Secretary Charlie Smith announced today that the State of Vermont will work with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and Fletcher Allen Health Care to find solutions to continuing problems with patient care at the Vermont State Hospital.

“This brings the expertise of both academic medical centers to the table,” said Smith. “This is one unexpected but very welcome result of a search process we’ve been engaged in for the past several months. We hope and expect our work with both Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Fletcher Allen will lead to state-of-the-art, 21st century medical care and systems for the Vermont State Hospital.”

The Vermont Department of Health, which took charge of the hospital on July 1, is conducting an extensive bid process to hire a contractor to provide psychiatric clinical services there. Both Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Fletcher Allen Health Care have submitted proposals. A limited contract for clinical services of psychiatrists is currently held by Fletcher Allen Health Care. That contract expires December 31, 2004.

“This is a turning point for the hospital—we will not be satisfied with a quick fix” said Health Commissioner Paul Jarris, MD. “Dartmouth-Hitchcock is a nationally recognized leader in state-run mental hospitals and Fletcher Allen has practical experience at this hospital. After looking at both proposals, we decided to take another look at how we provide patient care, before entering into a new contract. Fortunately, both Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Fletcher Allen have indicated a willingness to step up to the challenge of redefining the standard of care. Consumers and other stakeholders will also be invited into the process to make sure we provide the highest quality care, in a manner that is sensitive to the desires and needs of those who are served by the hospital.”