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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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SVMC To Hold Online COVID-19 Information Session

BENNINGTON, Vt. — Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), and Bennington's office of the Vermont Department of Health will appear in a digital information session regarding the COVID-19 vaccine distribution at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 19.
 
The event is made possible with cooperation from CAT-TV and the Southwestern Vermont Chamber of Commerce. Members of the public are invited to view and ask questions during the live broadcast at www.facebook.com/CATTVbennington/. The program will also air on CAT-TV's public channel 1075.
 
The session will feature SVMC's Chief Medical Officer Trey Dobson and Bennington's Public Health Services District Director for the Vermont Department of Health Megan Herrington. They will discuss the status of a community vaccine clinic and answer questions. The Chamber's Executive Director Matthew Harrington will moderate.
 
Dr. Dobson is an emergency medicine physician with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health, an instructor of Emergency Medicine at Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine, and the chief medical officer for Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington. He serves on the Medical Executive Committee of Dartmouth-Hitchock and will join the Board of Trustees in January 2021. He is the past president of the Vermont Medical Society and currently sits on the Governance Council. He performs medical practice peer review for the Vermont Program for Quality in Health Care, a nonprofit organization designated by the Vermont Legislature. Prior to entering a career in medicine, Trey obtained a master's in Geology. He earned his medical degree at The University of Tennessee and completed residency in Emergency Medicine at the University of Virginia. 
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