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The Bennington medical center is planning to nearly double the size of its emergency department to accommodate a rise in patients and behavioral needs.

SVMC Received $2M Gift Toward Emergency Department Expansion

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The red area is the existing Emergency Department; the blue is the 6,700-square-foot addition. 
BENNINGTON, Vt. — The Southwestern Vermont Health Care Foundation has received a $2 million gift from friends of the hospital for the expansion and renovation of the emergency department and front entrance of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center.  
The $2 million gift is one of the largest donations in the hospital's history. The Donald Kendall family, owners of Mack Molding, pledged $5 million toward Vision 2020 projects in 2018. SVHC has also received three other $1 million gifts for the project.
"We are deeply humbled by this remarkable show of support for our health system," said Thomas A. Dee, SVHC's president and CEO. "The impact that these funds will make, as we pursue our goal to transform the health system, is difficult to overstate."
The gift is dedicated to support Vision 2020, the health system's strategic direction. The initiative outlines transformational projects for SVMC's main entrance, Emergency Department, and Cancer Center over the next few years.
The hospital is embarking on a major expansion of the emergency department, the first in more than 20 years. The emergency center renovation is estimated at $25,801,975, according to documents filed with the Green Mountain Care Board, of which $19 million is construction. 
Plans are to nearly double the existing ED footprint with new exam rooms and behavioral health area, triage and ambulance bays. The design by Lavallee Brensinger Architects also will include a new lobby and registration area and reconfigured cafe. The driveway to the new entrance will be on the west side of the Toolan Building with new parking and landscaping. 
According to the application for a certificate of need, the hospital is looking to modernize its emergency center to accommodate a rise in patients — from about 15,000 a year to an average of 23,700 in the past three years — that has meant "frequent use of hallway beds." The application also states that the treatment rooms are small and don't meet contemporary building codes, privacy needs or the use of new technology. The current center also is inefficient in terms of coordinated treatment and operations and is not conducive to treating patients suffering from mental health and substance abuse disorders. 
In March, the hospital system said it had $6.9 million in funds earmarked for the project from a canceled construction project in the late 2000s. Vision 2020 fundraising was expected to raise some $14.5 million, of which nearly $3 million had been raised as of last year. The project is being reviewed by the Green Mountain Care Board for approval and has an anticipated timeline of beginning construction in the second quarter of 2021 and completion in late 2023.
"Our doctors and nurses, our patients, and our community are all unbelievably fortunate to have this level of support for health care," said Dr. Adam Cohen, medical director and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at SVMC. "This gift and those from other generous donors will transform SVMC's Emergency Department and create a space equal to the care our extraordinary teams provide." 

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Medical Matters Weekly Welcomes Alya Reeve

BENNINGTON, Vt. — Southwestern Vermont Health Care’s (SVHC) Medical Matters Weekly with Dr. Trey Dobson—a weekly interactive, multiplatform medical-themed talk show—will feature Alya Reeve, MD, MPH, the medical director of Untied Counseling Service in Bennington, on its August 4 program.

The show is produced with cooperation from Catamount Access Television (CAT-TV). Viewers can see Medical Matters Weekly on Facebook at and The show is also available to view or download a podcast on

Dr. Reeve is responsible for overseeing clinical psychiatric services and providing guidance to clinical staff. She assures that agency patients receive appropriate evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, medical screening, and medical or psychiatric evaluation. In addition, she serves as the liaison for UCS with community physicians, hospital staff, and other professionals and agencies associated with psychiatric services.

Dr. Reeve has served in multiple professional and academic roles at the University of New Mexico (UNM) Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Pediatrics. Dr. Reeve earned her medical degree from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, with residencies in psychiatry at the Dartmouth School of Medicine and the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. She also spent time as the registrar in the Epilepsy Unit at the Institute of Psychiatry and Maudsley Hospital in London, UK. Dr. Reeve was a fellow in the clinical brain disorders branch at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in Washington, D.C. She earned her master’s in public health at the University of New Mexico and a bachelor’s degree in French and Zoology from Connecticut College.

After the program, the video will be available on area public access television stations. On CAT-TV, viewers will find the show on channel 1075 at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, 1:30 p.m. Monday, 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 a.m. Friday, and 7 p.m. Saturday. GNAT-TV's Comcast channel 1074 airs the program at 8 a.m. Monday, 9 p.m. Wednesday, and 1 p.m. Saturday.

Upcoming guests include:

  • 12 p.m. Wednesday, August 11: Art Groux, executive director of the Bennington Rescue Squad, will discuss the Rescue Squad and its work in our community.
  • 12 p.m. Wednesday, August 18: Patricia Johnson, RN, and Caitlin Tilley, RN, of SVMC, will discuss their efforts to make vaccines available to the BIPOC community in Bennington and the surrounding area.
  • 12 p.m. Wednesday, August 25: Tim VanOrden, athlete and coach, will share his ideas for increasing activity and health in your life.
  • 12 p.m. Wednesday, September 1: Cath Burns of Vermont Care Partners, will discuss COVID Support Programs.

To contribute questions in advance of each week’s show, please e-mail or post to Facebook with #SVHCMedicalMattersWeekly.

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