UVM, Alice Hyde vow to improve patient access

Alice Hyde Medical Center, 133 Park St. in Malone, will receive improvements under University of Vermont Health Network plans. Blaine LaVoie/Malone Telegram.

MALONE — A plan to reduce patient access delays in both inpatient and outpatient care was announced Tuesday by The University of Vermont Health Network. Since it is within the UVM network, Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone is expected to receive the improvements.

According to a UVM press release, the plan focuses on three specific goals: hire successfully amid national staffing shortages, reduce wait times for specialty care and improve hospital inpatient and emergency capacity. The plan will be enacted with investments toward staffing, infrastructure, technology, and improved partnerships with government bodies — both local and state level — along with institutions of health care out of UVM’s network.

The measures are designed to help ensure access to emergency care in the face of record patient volumes and other challenges.

“Here and nationally, these challenges have created significant barriers to access, and that is why our team has developed a comprehensive plan to better serve our patients,” said John R. Brumsted, president and chief executive officer of the UVM Health Network. “We care deeply about our patients and community and have put together a robust plan, partnering with the states of Vermont and New York, and others to shore up the system in the near-term and address structural challenges that have plagued hospitals for years. I am confident that if we keep at this and work together, we will make significant progress.”

The network aims to fully install its $150 million electronic health records system in all Northern New York facilities by April. The multi-million dollar and multi-year process began in 2019 when UVM acquired the technology from Epic. The records system will be utilized to connect patients with more than 1,000 physicians staffed under UVM in both Vermont and New York, according to the press release.

Self-scheduling for patients through MyChart will also be launching in fiscal year 2022, with further expansions targeted for 2023.

Along with the plans to reduce wait time, UVM will be employing 12 additional human resources recruiters to increase rates of hiring. To determine talent for more difficult roles, experts in physician and nurse recruitment will also be hired.

In anticipation of increasing hire rates, UVM will also be engaging with local developers to determine more affordable housing for employees; increasing stipend and sign-on bonuses; increasing shift bonuses for targeted positions; and analyzing the market to ensure competitive compensation rates.

“There is no question that attracting skilled and caring staff and providers is an immense challenge given the national shortage and the competition we face,” said Jerald Novak, UVM Health Network chief people officer. “The UVM Health Network is a great place to work and our region is an awesome place to live, and by further intensifying our efforts we can hire and keep the talented teams our communities rely on.”

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