Plan to Replace VT State Hospital Approved

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 3, 2007

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BURLINGTON – A plan to replace services provided by Vermont State Hospital with new inpatient programs designed to enhance psychiatric inpatient care, was proposed for conditional approval on Monday by the Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration (BISHCA).

The Vermont Department of Health submitted a conceptual Certificate of Need (CON) to BISHCA on Aug. 17, 2006. BISHCA concluded that there is a need for the project, it will improve the quality of health care, and will better serve Vermonters.

“BISHCA recognized that there is a need to replace Vermont State Hospital with a more balanced approach to inpatient care and community-based care, and we are pleased with the opportunity to move forward with our planning process,” said Sharon Moffatt, RN, MSN, acting commissioner of health. “The project will improve medical services for acutely ill patients and will move Vermont closer to the ideal setting for mental health services.”

The conditions placed on the CON include a two-year timeframe for the submission of a CON application, a requirement to file progress reports every six months, an analysis of funding needs and sources of adequate funding, and the establishment of a planning schedule.

The purpose of the CON process is to provide the opportunity for BISHCA to review detailed planning and cost estimates of any hospital project in excess of $3 million, and to invite public discussion of large-scale projects before extensive planning occurs.

A conceptual CON has to be secured before any expenditure is made for planning, architectural or engineering services.

The conceptual CON requires that the State of Vermont explore and consider alternative solutions for an inpatient psychiatric facility constructed at the least possible capital and operating expense. This includes consideration of a replacement facility that is already owned or operated by the State of Vermont.

“We are still in the conceptual phase of the project and we look forward to fully engaging the public throughout the planning process,” said Michael Hartman, deputy commissioner of mental health.

BISHCA approval is “proposed” rather than finalized because the decision may be contrary to recommendations made by the Public Oversight Commission that reviewed the plan. On April 9, BISHCA will hold a hearing to provide an opportunity to hear additional evidence before the conceptual plan can be approved.

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