Message from Our Board Chair

When I became chair of the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (VAHHS) Board of Trustees, I never imagined our health care system navigating a global pandemic. Across the country, people are suffering from COVID-19—both the illness itself and the economic and social consequences.

In Vermont, we face the same set of struggles and are doing our best together to manage them. What makes us fortunate here is that we can work together in a way larger states cannot. We can gather all the hospitals around a single—and now “virtual”—table. 

Every week are bringing together hospital CEOs, Chief Medical and Nursing Officers, and other leaders to identify and solve problems, prepare for possible surges and fortify our system to be sure it can work both during and after the pandemic.

Working closely together also entails on-the-ground coordination with other providers in the community to meet the needs of people where they are. This includes telemedicine and telehealth, which hospitals, doctors and other providers are increasingly employing to continue delivering care in a safe and effective way.

Working together means learning from one another – whether exchanging information in online forums or hearing from our counterparts in other states. We will only get through this if we stay together, collaborate on resources and planning and leverage our collective strengths. 

Working together also means hearing from and informing our government partners – both at the state and federal levels. We need their support and assistance now more than ever as they also look to us to lead the pandemic fight and provide care to Vermonters during such a difficult time.

Finally, working together also means effective communication—informing the public as we have through our websites, social media and public service announcements about important safety issues. By engaging our partners in the media, we have shared messages about receiving appropriate care and also supporting health care workers and other essential personnel.

In Vermont, we have built strong networks and trusted forums. I personally know every hospital CEO in Vermont. These deep connections to others with so much knowledge and experience have helped us all wade through the unforeseen, level the COVID-19 curve and work to keep our patients and communities healthy.

Thanks to Vermonters, to our health care workforce – and to all our partners working to ensure Vermont emerges from this crisis strong and together.