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CEO Message to the Community – January 2023

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A New Year, A New Beginning

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me as if the year 2000 (and all that hoopla over Y2K!) was just a few years ago – and, yet, here we are, already in 2023, less than two years away from finishing the first quarter of the 21st Century!

With a new year comes a new start and, here at Grace Cottage, we are very excited about the upcoming year. We have an intense focus on our mission to keep our patients as healthy as possible and, with the worst of the pandemic behind us, we’re looking forward to continuing to move Grace Cottage into the future. We made significant capital improvements during the pandemic, including the addition of TeleEmergency and TeleNeurology services; a portable ultrasound and high-flow nasal cannula for the ED; the installation of new generators; improvements to various buildings on campus, including new heat pump systems, new boilers, and new windows; and many other smaller but significant projects.

Meanwhile, we continue to work towards the realization of the dream of a new Grace Cottage Family Health Clinic building. A Certificate of Need application will be submitted to the Green Mountain Care Board in March, and we will await their decision.

As we continue to look ahead, we’re very excited about the long-wished-for and much-anticipated Emergency Department expansion project. Patient privacy, comfort, and security will all be improved with this addition which will (we hope) be completed by May.

And, last but far from least, we begin 2023 with a full complement of medical providers in our ED, hospital, and clinic. We are accepting new patients in the clinic and, with the closing of two nearby independent pharmacies (Brattleboro Pharmacy and Hotel Pharmacy), our Messenger Valley Pharmacy is busier than ever. Our fabulous Rehab Department, with 17 therapists, is consistently providing excellent physical and occupational therapy to those who need these services. And our Emergency Department volume is up 54% over our budget projections this calendar year.

We are thankful, here at Grace Cottage, to have come out of the pandemic stronger than ever, looking towards a bright future for our patients, our employees, and the rural community that we serve.

Emergency Department Expansion

Emergency Construction

Construction on the Emergency Department expansion began during the first week of January and we’ve been amazed by the progress that’s been made by contractor Brunelle & Son in just 10 days! Fortunately (and surprisingly), once the 17’ x 42’ area of asphalt in the parking lot was lifted out and excavators dug 5’ down for the footings and frost wall, no ledge blocked the digging. Thus, jackhammers weren’t needed, although we did “harvest” a tremendous crop of big, brown boulders (sometimes referred to as “Vermont potatoes!”).

Evans Construction installed forms and poured concrete last week and, very soon, walls will be built, trusses will be installed, and the roof will be raised! The weather has been in our favor although, since our local economy depends so heavily on snow, it wouldn’t be in anyone’s best interest to hope that this trend continues.

Meanwhile, the Emergency Department remains fully open, with a temporary entrance though the glassed-in Nessel Pavilion. Newly-installed signage indicates parking and access for patients coming into the Emergency Department. Thank you for being patient with us as we grow our way to a bigger and better ED!

Welcome Back

Dr. Moss LinderI am very pleased to announce that Dr. Moss Linder will be returning to Grace Cottage Family Health and accepting patients beginning in March.

Dr. Moss and Dr. Elizabeth Linder worked at Grace Cottage for 23 years before the couple embarked on a 3-month cross-country bicycle trip in July 2021, after which they worked in Hawaii. Ultimately deciding that “there’s no place like Grace Cottage,” Dr. Elizabeth Linder returned to Grace Cottage Family Health in 2022 (however, she is not accepting pediatric or other patients, but seeing patients with same-day appointments only). After working elsewhere in VT for a time, Dr. Moss Linder decided to return as well, and we couldn’t be more delighted to have them back “home” where they belong!

Grace Cottage’s “Cabin Fever” Online Auction

February 14-27

Grace Cottage’s annual Cabin Fever Auction offers well over 100 items donated by generous businesses and individuals, with all proceeds benefitting Grace Cottage’s Patient Care Fund.

From 8:00 a.m. on February 14, until 8:00 p.m. on February 27, you can browse and bid on items for every taste and budget, including treasures you can’t buy anywhere else. Auction items range in value from $20 to Priceless, from the practical to the sublime.

Bid to win a stay in a luxurious Caribbean resort or a South African safari adventure, or gift certificates to favorite local restaurants, practical items like an oil change for your car, overnight stays in area inns, jams and syrup, and lots more! Bid low and get notified when someone outbids you, or “Buy Now” and make it yours right away! Either way, you’ll feel good supporting this annual fundraiser, knowing that it’s going to help Grace Cottage care for our patients.

Items are being added through February 14th and beyond. Check out the growing selection at www.32auctions.com/CabinFeverAuction2023 and register to bid so that you start bidding on Valentine’s Day!

 

I hope that the year 2023 brings all good things to you and your loved ones.

Doug DiVello, President & CEO
Grace Cottage Family Health & Hospital