Letter: Evolving Community Hospitals
To the Editor:
Not a day goes by without a report in the Valley News or another media outlet in the region about the relative “health” of our local community hospitals. Your recent Sunday editorial “Community Hospitals; Challenges and Change Ahead” perfectly sums up the issues we at Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center in Windsor address each and every day.
Starting with a new strategic plan created in early 2011, we have been redefining our mission, our services and our programs with an eye toward partnership rather than competition. This means working with others such as nearby community hospitals, Dartmouth-Hitchcock and the state of Vermont.
At our most recent budget-approval hearing with the Green Mountain Care Board, Chairman Al Gobeille and his colleagues applauded us for doing the right thing as opposed to just doing the paying thing. This focus, however, means change, adaptability and challenge to the status quo. Some of our actions over the past few years, such as the recent closing of our nursing home, have not been easy. Other actions, such as our new major investment in the physical plant at the Ottauquechee Health Center (a Mt. Ascutney Hospital site and major health care provider in that region), have been made with an eye toward the future and have been received positively in the community.
As your editorial aptly points out, hospitals and their communities need to rethink their traditional roles, actions and responsibilities, and this means making the easy and not-so-easy decisions. At Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center, we see our role as meeting the health care needs of our community well into the future. Those needs have changed over the years and will continue to evolve. Through evolution of our roles and partnerships, we fully expect to meet our mission, change with our community and continue to do what we have done for over 80 years — improve the lives of those we serve.
Kevin W. Donovan
Chief Executive Officer
Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center