We are writing to clarify a few misconceptions about SVMC’s Deerfield Valley Campus, also called the Deerfield Valley Health Center. Recently, our center’s answering service made a mistake. That error led a community member to travel outside our area for treatment. We apologize for this mistake and want the community to know we corrected it as soon as we found out.
We do not turn people away if we can care for them safely- regardless of the day or time or whether a person is our patient or not. That’s our policy. Sometimes we cannot safely provide care at our center. Then, we ask patients to visit the nearest emergency room.
Access to rapid medical care is a challenge in any rural area. The Deerfield Valley itself is too sparsely populated to support round-the-clock urgent care. Since its beginning, the center has always been a rural medical practice. It has never been an emergency room or urgent care center. Our doctors understand that rural medicine means going the extra mile. They are willing to do just that- to be on call for anyone day or night. This commitment goes beyond our doctors. It is why we also offer digital X-ray. Most primary care practices don’t have X-ray at all.
Our health system is committed to the people in the valley. After Tropical Storm Irene devastated the area, our center opened extra hours and on weekends to provide medical care. Trucks from SVMC brought in supplies and water to assist during those terrible days. Doctors from our system volunteered for extra shifts at the center. Our staff volunteered at the town shelter. Afterward, our health system donated $10,000 to help valley businesses rebuild.
Our commitment to the valley is real and deeply felt. We are sorry when we make mistakes, and we want the community to know it can depend on us to strive to provide the best in rural primary care.
Donald F. Albano, Trustee of Southwestern Vermont Health Care
Thomas A. Dee, FACHE, President and CEO of Southwestern Vermont Health Care