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State gives OK to replace Vermont State Hospital

MONTPELIER — State regulators Tuesday gave the green light for the Department of Health to begin finding ways to replace services at the Vermont State Hospital.

However, the department must conduct further analyses to ensure that the plan they want — a new unit at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington — is the most cost-effective and patient-centered approach.

The conceptual certificate of need (CON) was issued by the Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities, and Health Care Administration (BISHCA).

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 conceptual CON also 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.

Michael Hartman, the deputy commission for mental health, said the ruling now gives the state the green light to tap planning money so it can conduct the appropriate financial analyses.

“They did say that we should consider alternatives and show that what the cost of different plans would be and testify why we choose the one we do,” said Michael Hartmann, deputy commissioner for mental health. “ We have to make sure we do due diligence and look at other options.”

One such option is having a series of smaller, 16-bed facilities around the state.

“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, 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.”

Guide ranks UVM College of Medicine near tops for primary care

BURLINGTON — The University of Vermont College of Medicine ranked seventh for primary care among the nation’s 125 medical schools according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2008 America’s Best Graduate Schools.

The issue hit newsstands April 2. The University of Vermont moved up from fourteenth last year, and has consistently ranked in the top 15 percent of all medical schools in primary care.

“We’re proud to be recognized as providing top-quality medical education and training for primary care physicians,” said UVM College of Medicine Interim Dean John P. Fogarty, M.D. “Primary care is an integral part of the health care system in our state and across the nation, and our curriculum provides wonderful opportunities for medical students to understand the critical role of the primary care physician as well as gain experience in a range of clinical settings.”

Each year, U.S. News ranks professional-school programs in business, education, engineering, law, and medicine. These rankings are based on two types of data: peer ranking data from medical and osteopathic school leadership and residency program directors about program quality; and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school's faculty, students and research activity.

The University of Vermont College of Medicine received nearly 5,500 applications for the 107 students in the Class of 2010 that entered in fall 2006, and has 425 total medical students across the four years.

For more, visit: www.med.uvm.edu/admissions or go the report online at www.usnews.com.

Posted April 4, 2007

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