CEO Message to the Community – February 2024

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Best Places To Work In Vermont

Best Places to Work in Vermont 2024I am very pleased to announce that Grace Cottage Family Health & Hospital has been named by Vermont Biz as one of the Best Places to Work in Vermont in 2024! This is the second year in a row that we have received this prestigious award. The statewide survey and awards program was designed to identify, recognize, and honor the best places of employment in Vermont. This award recognizes our facility’s policies and practices, with a primary focus on employee satisfaction. Grace Cottage Family Health & Hospital would not be eligible for this award without our incredible group of loyal, dedicated, compassionate, and hard-working employees. I am proud and fortunate to work with all of our employees, and so appreciate everything they provide to our patients and our community.

The first part of the award qualification process consisted of evaluating each nominated company’s workplace policies, practices, and demographics. This part of the process was worth approximately 20% of the total evaluation. The second part consisted of an employee survey to measure the employee experience, approximately 80% of the total evaluation. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking. The awards ceremony will be held on March 26. Like last year, we are the only hospital in the state of Vermont to achieve this award again this year.

Grace Cottage CEO

As I announced in the January issue of this Message to the Community, I will be retiring at the end of September. The Grace Cottage Family Health & Hospital Board of Trustees has assembled a CEO Search Committee (employees Stephen Brown, Dr. Wyll Everett, Catherine Nemchek, and Jen Newman; GCFH&H Board President Martha Dale; Board members Al Claussen and Ed Druke; and Grace Cottage Foundation Board member Olivia Pennock). The Committee has hired an Executive Search Firm, WittKieffer, to help find and recommend for hire Grace Cottage’s next CEO. The firm is expected to present a preliminary slate of candidates in April. Candidates will be vetted by the Board’s Search Committee and finalists will be invited to visit Grace Cottage for meetings with key constituents and stakeholders.


Primary Care Clinic Update

Grace Cottage Family Health ClinicWe continue to work on the steps necessary to construct a new primary care clinic on our campus, to be located immediately to the north of our current primary care clinic. Our healthcare architects (LaVallee Brensinger) and engineers (Southern Vermont Engineering) are completing the extensive work required to attain the permits needed prior to submission of an Act 250 application to the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.

Congratulations, Dietary Department!

We celebrated our superb Grace Cottage Dietary Department during National Pride in Foodservice Week (February 5-9) and are so proud that, during a surprise inspection of our kitchen and cafeteria conducted by the Vermont Department of Health on the day after Christmas, our score was 100! We want to offer our heartfelt congratulations to everyone in our Dietary Department who do such an excellent job, day after day, to keep patients and employees well fed, while maintaining a spotless kitchen.

2024 Grace Cottage Events

Cabin Fever Online Auction, February 14-28: 
2024 Cabin Fever Online AuctionGrace Cottage’s annual Cabin Fever Auction offers over 150 items donated by generous businesses and individuals, with all proceeds benefiting the new primary care clinic construction. Gift certificates to local restaurants, stores, and services, overnight stays at area inns, artwork donated by employees and others; the list goes on and on. Check it out at and feel free to share this link with anyone and everyone! You can sign up now, so that you’re ready to bid from 8 a.m. on Valentine’s Day through 8 p.m. on February 28. Bid low and get notified when someone outbids you, or “Buy Now” to make it yours right away!

Make Tracks for Health, Saturday, March 2, 1-3 p.m. Stratton Nordic Center:
We hope you’ll join us, either as a volunteer or a participant at this first-time event! Snowshoe or x-c ski on the Nordic Center’s beautiful trails and follow it up with hot chocolate by the bonfire, all while supporting Grace Cottage. You can sign up here to participate.  Rental equipment is available by advance registration.

Spring into Health 5K, Saturday, May 11:
Spring is just around the corner, so mark your calendar now for our 15th Annual Spring into Health 5K on Saturday, May 11th on the Townshend Common. We’re happy to welcome Dr. Moss Linder back to the megaphone, along with event co-organizers Phil Schafer, Stephen Kapral, and Ben Wright. Registration is $20 per participant (children under the age of 18 are free with signed parent/guardian permission) and registration is open now, click here.

Tee It Up for Health, Saturday, June 8:
Our 15th annual golf tournament, Tee It Up for Health, will take place at Haystack Golf Club in Wilmington, with a noon shotgun start. If you’re a golfer, please join us and, if you’re not, please consider volunteering for this fun event to raise funds for the primary care clinic. To register an individual, a twosome, or a team, click here.

Hospital Fair Day, Saturday, August 3:
This is my favorite event of the year. It constantly amazes me how many of the members of our community step up to help to make Hospital Fair Day the success that it is every year. Volunteers are always needed and appreciated; e-mail to donate your time (and/or items to sell, whether art, jewelry, furniture, collectibles, baked goods, etc.). I will be in the Food booth, frying potatoes and onion rings – feel free to join me! If you prefer not to volunteer, plan to bring your family, friends, neighbors for this great event.

I hope that you’re having a happy and healthy-as-possible winter. It’s going fast, and the days are getting longer, which is always a good thing!

Doug DiVello, President & CEO