Editor’s Note: The following is excerpted from remarks given by Dr. Brumsted at the UVM Medical Center’s Annual Community Stakeholder Meeting on Thursday, February 21, 2013.

Lately, I find myself reflecting on the word, and the concept, of community.  It occurs to me that the commitment to community that exists here at the UVM Medical Center, with our partners at the University of Vermont and all across our region, is one of the principal reasons I am here, and not working at some other health care organization in some distant place.  Being part of a community serving the community is an important personal value for me, and here in Vermont and in northern New York, the concept and the reality of community are simply part of our roots, our heritage, or – to use a medical term – it’s part of our organization’s DNA.

This sense of service to the community that we value is not just resident at the UVM Medical Center.  As I’ve traveled throughout the region in the last year, I’ve met many, many health care and medical leaders who share similar values and commitment, who are on the same journey to provide the finest health care that can be created, in a way that makes it accessible and more affordable to the people of this region.

We announced a little more than a year ago that we were creating an integrated health system, the UVM Medical Center Partners, bringing together the UVM Medical Center and Central Vermont Medical Center.  Now, our system is growing again, with the addition of Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh and Elizabethtown Community Hospital in northern New York.

Our two new partners – CVPH and Elizabethtown – are unique in their own right, and while we are located on opposite sides of our famed lake, we have found that we have an amazing compatibility in vision and values.  The leadership of all of our partner organizations has a deep-seated commitment to two ultimate goals: to meet the needs of patients and to genuinely serve our communities.

It’s exciting to think about the growth of the UVM Medical Center Partners, from a newly formed system with two hospital partners only 17 months ago, to doubling the size of our network.  To me, this represents a vote of confidence in our core philosophy and core strategies of collaboration and integration.

I take great pride in the fact that these two principles are helping us innovate, create, and already achieve great successes, at a time when the national headlines keep proclaiming a dark and dismal future for the health care system in the United States.  We so often read about what’s not working and the insurmountable challenges – and yet here, with the UVM Medical Center Partners, we are making things work right, and we are mastering the challenges.  We have a great sense of pride from within our four collaborating organizations, and we hope that you – our community – share that pride with us.

And that brings me back to where I started, thinking about community, much more than just a word to the people of the UVM Medical Center and our partners.  I can tell you that while singling out community as a core value seems almost routine to us, this is not the norm when it comes to academic medical centers.  We are, in fact, different and, I believe, special in our collective dedication to the communities we serve.

I can assure you that with the network we are building, the great hospitals that are partnering, and the committed team of caring people who work here, we will never fail to deliver on that commitment.  We will always be here for our community.

John Brumsted, MD, CEO, The University of Vermont Medical Center and The University of Vermont Health Network.

John R. Brumsted, MD is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the University of Vermont Medical Center and the UVM Medical Center Partners.

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