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A virtual system created by the hospital allows patients to call 802-447-5000 when they arrive in the parking lot and receive a text message when their provider is ready to see them.

SVMC Creates Virtual Waiting Room to Encourage Distancing

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BENNINGTON, Vt. — Beginning June 1, many people who need in-person appointments at Southwestern Vermont Health Care's hospital and clinics will no longer need to use traditional waiting rooms. A virtual system created by the hospital allows patients to call 802-447-5000 when they arrive in the parking lot and receive a text message when their provider is ready to see them.

SVMC's outpatient and inpatient surgeries and diagnostic services, like those for imaging and laboratory work, have resumed with enhanced safety protocols per the directive of Gov. Phil Scott. The health system's emergency department, ExpressCare, emergency surgical services, and most of its primary and specialty practices remained open during the pandemic.

"SVHC has provided safe, high-quality care throughout the pandemic," said Dr. Thomas A. Dee, SVHC's president and CEO. "Innovation has been an important part of providing care during these extraordinary times and this new program decreases the number of people in our waiting rooms and allows them to stay the recommended 6 feet apart or more."

In order to use the virtual waiting room, patients must be able to wait in their vehicle and have a charged cell phone with them. They will receive the virtual waiting room telephone number during their appointment-reminder telephone call. Signs outside the building and at the respiratory check-in stations inside the main hospital and medical office building entrances will also include the number to call.

Patients simply call the number when they arrive in the parking lot and wait in their cars. When the provider is ready to see them, they will receive a text message alert to indicate that they should come in.

"We love that we can use the same technology that most people carry with them to help people stay socially distanced," said registered nurse Gail Balch, who directs information technology at SVMC. "It's through innovations like this one that we are able to resume services safely and ensure patients receive the care they need."

Hospital and clinic staff anticipate that the new program will allow greater distance between people who must use traditional waiting rooms, including those who walked or took public transportation to their appointment and those who do not have a cell phone.

Additional safety protocols indicate that all patients should arrive to the hospital or clinic with their own cloth face covering. Face coverings must be worn over the mouth and nose for the entire duration of patients’ visits. Patients should also come alone, unless they absolutely need assistance from a loved one.

For questions about how to resume or initiate elective care, call your primary care provider or the specialist directly. For a list of providers, visit the website.


Tags: COVID-19,   SVMC,   


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SVHC Podiatry Residency Program Graduates Two


Cody Anderson and Kurt Malkames are shown with their certificates of completion.

BENNINGTON, Vt. — Southwestern Vermont Health Care has graduated two residents in the Podiatry Residency Program. 

At a small masked-and-distanced gathering of health system leadership, Cody Anderson and Kurt Malkames were awarded certificates of completion.

“It's tough to leave. The mountains are beautiful, and we made a lot of friends here," Anderson said. "I have enjoyed all of the people I have met and the tight-knit community."

"I had excellent training here, and I enjoyed it. I am appreciative of the staff for dedicating their time to my training," Malkames said.

Dr. Anderson will originate a hospital practice in a rural community in South Carolina, and Dr. Malkames will join a private practice in Silver Springs, Md.

"I am very proud of them. They did extremely well and are prepared to face all of the aspects of podiatric medicine and podiatric surgery," said William Sarchino, the program's director. "I wish them luck and encourage them to keep in touch as they progress in their careers. They are a part of the SVHC family."

Six residents are currently in the program. They are third-year residents Shazad Buksh and Breton Fox, second-year residents Kyle Lewis and Nathalie Santos, and first-year residents Daniel Hennessey and Daryl Silva.

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