YCQM - Dr. John Brumsted - Feb. 19, 2012 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

YCQM - Dr. John Brumsted - Feb. 19, 2012

Posted: Updated:
BURLINGTON, Vt. -

February 19, 2012 -- Dr. John Brumsted, the new CEO of Fletcher Allen Health Care, joins Kristin Carlson and Darren Perron to discuss the future of FAHC.

Transcript:

>> FROM VERMONT'S MOST TRUSTED NEWS SOURCE, WCAX BRINGS YOU YOUR NEWSMAKERS, YOUR NEIGHBORS. THIS IS "YOU CAN QUOTE ME."

>> GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE. I'M DARREN PERRON.

>> AND I'M KRISTIN CARLSON. OUR NEWSMAKER THIS MORNING IS THE NEW C.E.O. AT THE STATE'S LARGEST HOSPITAL, FLETCHER ALLEN HEALTH CARE.

>> DR. JOHN BRUMSTED, THANKS FOR JOINING US THIS MORNING.

>> WELL, THANK YOU, KRISTIN, DARREN. I'M HAPPY TO BE HERE.

>> THANK YOU. LET'S START. WHAT ARE THE PRIORITIES AS THE NEW AND OFFICIAL C.E.O. AT FLETCHER ALLEN?

>> WELL, THERE ARE SEVERAL BUT I'LL MENTION THREE. FIRST IS TO DO WHAT WE DO BEST, TO CONTINUE TO DO WHAT WE DO BEST, WHICH IS TO DELIVER HIGH-QUALITY HEALTH CARE TO VERMONTERS AND FOLKS OF THIS REGION. WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO FOCUS ON EVERYTHING WE DO, PUTTING OUR PATIENTS FIRST. AND EVERY DAY COME TO WORK WITH THE ATTITUDE THAT WE WANT TO IMPROVE WHAT WE'RE DOING, DO BETTER TODAY THAN YESTERDAY. SO FIRST IS TO FOCUS ON DELIVERING HIGH-QUALITY HEALTH CARE. THE SECOND IS TO FIND COLLABORATIVE RELATIONSHIPS, DEVELOP BETTER COLLABORATIVE RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER HOSPITALS AND THEIR AFFILIATED PHYSICIANS THROUGHOUT THE REGION. AND DEVELOP WHAT WE CALL AN INTEGRATED DELIVERY SYSTEM. AND WE'VE TAKEN THE FIRST STEPS IN THAT IN FORMING OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH CENTRAL VERMONT MEDICAL CENTER, FORMING FLETCHER ALLEN PARTNERS, SO THAT WE CAN COLLABORATE AS DELIVERERS OF HEALTH CARE SERVICES AROUND THE NEEDS OF OUR PATIENTS, SO THAT THEY CAN FLOW MORE SEAMLESSLY THROUGH THE SYSTEM. EVERYBODY CAN HAVE THE SAME INFORMATION ABOUT THEM. AND IN GENERAL MAKE THE CARE FOR THOSE FOLKS HIGHER QUALITY. AND IF WE DO THAT CORRECTLY, WE ALSO WILL GAIN EFFICIENCIES. WE WILL MAKE THE CARE LESS EXPENSIVE TO DELIVER. SO THAT'S THE SECOND THING. FIND THOSE COLLABORATIVE RELATIONSHIPS. WE HAVE MANY. BUT TO PERHAPS FORMALIZE SOME OF THOSE RELATIONSHIPS AND WORK ON THAT ASPECT. THE THIRD IS TO IMPROVE ON THE FINANCIAL STRENGTH OF OUR DELIVERY SYSTEM. AT THIS MOMENT IN TIME, WE HAVE HAD GOOD FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE, BUT IT'S IMPORTANT FOR ALL OF US FOR FLETCHER ALLEN HEALTH CARE AND FLETCHER ALLEN PARTNERS TO BE STRONG FINANCIALLY. HEALTH CARE IS AN INDUSTRY WHERE WE NEED TO CONTINUALLY BE REINVESTING IN FACILITIES AND IN EQUIPMENT AND IN PROGRAMS TO AGAIN SERVE THE NEEDS OF OUR PATIENTS. AND AT FLETCHER ALLEN WE PROVIDE SOME OF THE SAFETY NET SERVICES THAT ONLY FLETCHER ALLEN CAN PROVIDE. WE HAVE THE ONLY NEONATAL INTENSIVE CARE UNIT, SERVICING OUR REGION. WE HAVE THE ONLY LEVEL ONE TRAUMA CENTER. SO TO HAVE THOSE TYPES OF PROGRAMS THAT VERMONTERS DEPEND UPON US FOR, WE NEED TO BE STRONG FINANCIALLY. AND SO THAT COMES WITH BOTH BEING VERY EFFICIENT IN WHAT WE DO, BUT IT ALSO COMES FROM HAVING APPROPRIATE REIMBURSEMENTS COMING INTO THE HEALTH CARE DELIVERY SYSTEM TO SUPPORT OUR PROGRAMS. SO THOSE THREE.

>> YOU TALK ABOUT REIMBURSEMENTS. YOU TALK ABOUT COSTS. ONE OF THE BIG CHANGES THAT COULD BE COMING UNDER YOUR TENURE, DEPENDING ON HOW MANY YEARS YOU STICK AROUND IS PERHAPS A SINGLE-PAYER SYSTEM, UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE COVERAGE. HAS A LOT OF DIFFERENT TERMS. IT'S A PRIORITY OF GOVERNOR SHUMLIN. HOW WOULD THAT IMPACT THE HOSPITAL AND DO YOU SUPPORT THAT MOVE?

>> WELL, THAT'S A COMPLEX QUESTION, KRISTIN. AND WHAT WE DO SUPPORT IS ANY EFFORT TO REDUCE THE ADMINISTRATIVE BURDEN ON THOSE PROVIDING HEALTH CARE TO VERMONTERS. SO WE WOULD VIEW -- DO VIEW VERY FAVORABLY ANY EFFORTS TO DO THAT. AND THAT IS A CORNERSTONE OF WHAT GOVERNOR SHUMLIN IS PROPOSING. WE ALSO APPLAUD EFFORTS FOR UNIVERSAL COVERAGE. I BELIEVE -- WE BELIEVE THAT ALL VERMONTERS SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO APPROPRIATE HEALTH CARE SERVICES. AND THAT COMES WITH THE TYPE OF COVERAGE. SO WE ALSO THINK THAT THAT'S VERY IMPORTANT. SINGLE PAYER IS A DIFFICULT CONCEPT, PARTICULARLY FOR THE ACADEMIC MEDICAL CENTER FLETCHER ALLEN. BECAUSE A FAIR AMOUNT OF OUR PATIENTS COME FROM OUTSIDE OF VERMONT, FROM NORTHERN NEW YORK, SOME FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE, AND SO WE WOULD BE HAVING TO DEAL WITH PAYERS THAT ARE OUTSIDE OF VERMONT AND, OF COURSE, WE HAVE CARE, WHICH COMING FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, AT LEAST AT THIS POINT WOULD NOT BE PART OF A SINGLE PAYER. SO COMPLEX QUESTION.

>> SOME DOCTORS HAVE COME OUT AGAINST THE PROPOSAL. AND WE'RE CURIOUS IF FLETCHER ALLEN IS CONCERNED ABOUT RETAINING OR ATTRACTING SPECIALISTS WHEN THIS GOES THROUGH?

>> WE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THAT. BUT TO DATE WE HAVE NOT HAD DIFFICULTY RECRUITING OR RETAINING PHYSICIANS. THERE ARE SOME SPECIALTIES THAT ACROSS THE COUNTRY ARE DIFFICULT TO RECRUIT INTO BECAUSE VERY FEW ARE GRADUATED EVERY YEAR. AND SO WE HAVE THOSE CHALLENGES. BUT AS FAR AS BEING ABLE TO PROVIDE THE DEPTH AND BREADTH OF SERVICES WE PROVIDE, WE ACTUALLY DO QUITE WELL IN RECRUITING AND RETAINING PHYSICIANS SPECIALISTS AND PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIANS.

>> WHAT IS THE FINANCIAL HEALTH OF THE HOSPITAL AT THIS POINT, AS EVERYONE KNOWS THERE WAS SOME TUMULTUOUS YEARS A WHILE BACK. WHAT'S THE FINANCIAL HEALTH OF THE HOSPITAL?

>> WELL, THERE'S A COUPLE OF ANSWERS. FROM AN OPERATING PERSPECTIVE >> WE'VE HAD SEVERAL YEARS OF POSITIVE OPERATING MARGINS. WE ARE A NOT-FOR-PROFIT. SO WE DON'T CALL IT A PROFIT AT THE BOTTOM LINE, WE CALL IT A MARGIN. IT'S THE EXCESS OF REVENUE OVER EXPENSES. AND WE HAVE HAD A POSITIVE MARGIN YEAR OVER YEAR FOR THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS. FROM AN OPERATING PERSPECTIVE, WE'RE OKAY IN THAT REALM. THE REAL ISSUE IS THAT WE'RE A TRIPLE B PLUS RATED ORGANIZATION. AND TO HAVE THE ACCESS TO CAPITAL THAT WE WOULD LIKE TO HAVE, WE REALLY SHOULD BE AN A-RATED ORGANIZATION. AND TO DO THAT THERE ARE SEVERAL FACTORS THAT WALL STREET LOOKS AT TO UPGRADE US. ONE WOULD BE DO WE HAVE THE SIZE AND SCOPE OF SERVICES AND IMPORTANCE TO THE REGION THAT WOULD MAKE US A STRONG BET FROM THE WALL STREET PERSPECTIVE. AND WE DO HAVE THAT OBVIOUSLY. THE OTHER THING THAT WALL STREET REALLY LOOKS AT IS THE OPERATING MARGIN. AND THEY WOULD LIKE TO SEE FROM AN ACADEMIC MEDICAL CENTER LIKE OURS YEAR OVER YEAR RAILROAD, ABOUT A 4% MARGIN. AND WE'VE BEEN IN THE 1.5% TO 3% MARGIN. AND SO BY REGAINING FINANCIAL STRENGTH, I'M SAYING SPECIFICALLY IS THAT WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE MARGINS AT THE END OF THE DAY, YEAR OVER YEAR THAT ARE ABOUT IN THE 4% RANGE. BECAUSE THAT WILL ALLOW US ACCESS TO CAPITAL, AS WELL AS HAVE THE DOLLARS TO REINVEST IN OUR PROGRAMS AND FACILITIES HERE AT HOME. EVERYTHING THAT'S ON THAT BOTTOM LINE GETS PUT BACK INTO THE DELIVERY SYSTEM FOR VERMONTERS.

>> SWITCHING OVER TO MELINDA, WHO HAD TO STEER THE HOSPITAL THROUGH THAT TURBULENT TIME. THAT'S BILL GOING TO JAIL, MONEY MISMANAGEMENT. WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU LEARNED FROM HER TENURE AND FROM BILL'S TENURE? AND ALSO YOU STEPPED IN AND WERE AN INTERIM THEN. WHY DIDN'T YOU WANT THE FULL-TIME JOB THEN AS WELL?

>> I LEARNED A GREAT DEAL FROM THE TENURE ABOUT THE NECESSITY OF HAVING FOLKS THAT WORK IN AN ORGANIZATION, HAVE PRIDE IN THE ORGANIZATION. DURING THOSE TUMULTUOUS TIMES IMMEDIATELY AFTER DR. BENEFITER WAS C.E.O., WE ALL WERE DEEPLY AFFECTED BY THE ISSUES THAT AROSE BECAUSE OF THOSE BEHAVIORS. AND WE'VE WORKED VERY, VERY HARD OVER THE INTERVENING YEARS TO RESTORE CREDIBILITY IN THE COMMUNITY AND WITH THAT CREDIBILITY HAS COME A GREAT SENSE OF PRIDE WITHIN THE ORGANIZATION. THAT'S SOMETHING THAT DR. ESTES HAS HELPED INSTILL IN FOLKS THAT WORK AT FLETCHER ALLEN. AND THAT'S A DEEP PRIDE IN THE ORGANIZATION.

>> AGAIN YOU SERVED IN INTERIM.

>> I WAS INTERIM C.E.O. BEFORE BILL BETCHER CAME. AND AT THAT TIME I WAS PRETTY WET BEHIND THE ORS. I WAS AN ACADEMIC PHYSICIAN AND I WAS BROUGHT IN AT A TIME OF PRETTY TUMULTUOUS TIME THEN AS WELL. I REALLY DIDN'T HAVE THE SKILLS QUITE HONESTLY AT THAT POINT TO DO THE JOB FULL TIME. AND I ACTUALLY DECLARED MYSELF NOT A CANDIDATE FOR THE FULL-TIME ROLE AT THAT POINT. AND THAT OBVIOUSLY WAS DIFFERENT THIS TIME AROUND. THAT WAS 1997 OR 1998 WHEN I WAS INTERIM BEFORE. A WHILE AGO.

>> AFTER BILL BENEFIT'S TIME THERE, YOU KNOW, OBVIOUSLY HE WENT TO FEDERAL PRISON FOR LYING ABOUT THE TRUE COST OF THE EXPANSION, THE HUGE EXPANSION AT FLETCHER ALLEN, DID YOU CONSIDER TAKING OR APPLYING FOR THE C.E.O. AGAIN BUT SERVED AS YOU INTERIM BEFORE, DID YOU CONSIDER THAT OR DID THE HOSPITAL LOOK AT IT LIKE WE NEED TO GO OUTSIDE THE HOSPITAL AT THIS POINT, SO IT DOESN'T APPEAR -- BECAUSE PUBLIC PERCEPTION WAS A HUGE PART OF TRYING TO GET FLETCHER ALLEN BACK ON TRACK. DID THE HOSPITAL HAVE TO GO OUTSIDE TO HIRE, TO REALLY CHANGE PUBLIC PERCEPTION?

>> FROM MY PERSPECTIVE AT THE TIME, AGAIN WITH THE ISSUES THAT AFFECTED ALL OF US, I WAS VERY FOCUSED AS THE CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER ON MAKING SURE THAT WE WERE DELIVERING HIGH-QUALITY, SAFE CARE. AND THAT WAS A VERY FULL-TIME JOB. AND ONE THAT I LOVED AND THAT I HELD RIGHT UP UNTIL THIS LAST SUMMER. AND VERY PASSIONATE ABOUT THAT. SO I SAW THAT AS MY ROLE AT THAT TIME. THERE WAS, YOU KNOW, A LOT OF POLITICAL WORK TO BE DONE. AND AT THAT POINT, THAT REALLY WASN'T MY FORTE. I SAW MY ROLE AS WITH OTHER CLINICIANS AND PHYSICIAN LEADERS TO REALLY MAKE SURE THAT THE CARE PROCESSES WERE APPROPRIATE AND WORKING WELL AND THAT WE WERE DELIVERING HIGH-QUALITY CARE. IT OBVIOUSLY WAS A VERY WISE MOVE IN MY VIEW FOR THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES AT THE TIME TO GO OUTSIDE THE ORGANIZATION AND BRING SOMEBODY IN THAT REALLY COULD HELP NAVIGATE THOSE ROUGH POLITICAL WATERS.

>> SOMETHING YOU'LL HAVE TO DEAL WITH, IS THAT THE STATE HOSPITAL IS CLOSED BECAUSE OF TROPICAL STORM IRENE. YOU'RE DEALING WITH A FEW OF THE PATIENTS FROM THE STATE HOSPITAL, WE'RE HEARING, OF COURSE, FROM THE NURSES WHO ARE CONCERNED ABOUT SAFETY, INCREASES IN VIOLENCE FROM THE PATIENTS AGAINST THEM. IS THAT A PROBLEM? AND IF SO, WHAT ARE YOU WORKING TO DO TO ADDRESS THAT?

>> WELL, THE WHOLE ISSUE OF THE STATE HOSPITAL TRAGICALLY BEING WASHED AWAY DURING HURRICANE IRENE IS A VERY SIGNIFICANT ISSUE FOR ALL OF US. BEFORE THAT HAPPENED VERMONT WAS AMONG THE -- ON A PER CAPITA BASIS, HAD AMONG THE FEWEST MENTAL HEALTH HOSPITAL BEDS OF ANY STATE IN THE COUNTRY. SO AFTER IRENE WITH 54 BEDS GOING AWAY, THAT OBVIOUSLY PUT US IN A CRISIS SITUATION. SO WE'VE BEEN WORKING DILIGENTLY WITH MANY AROUND THE STATE THE OTHER DESIGNATED HOSPITALS AND GOVERNOR SHUMLIN'S ADMINISTRATION TO CRAFT APPROPRIATE SOLUTIONS TO CARE FOR THE IMMEDIATE AND THE LONG-TERM NEED OF THIS PATIENT POPULATION. WE'RE VERY MUCH IN FAVOR OF THE GOVERNOR'S PROPOSED SOLUTION THAT HAS INCREASE IN COMMUNITY-BASED SERVICES, HAS SOME BEDS COMING ONLINE IN THE BATTLEBORO RETREAT AND IN RUTLAND. AND A FACILITY IN PROBABLY THE CENTER OF VERMONT AREA, A HOSPITAL BEING BUILT THERE TO REPLACE THOSE BEDS. SO WE'RE IN FAVOR OF ALL OF THAT. THERE HAS BEEN SOME DESIRE TO MODIFY THE GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL SLIGHTLY AROUND THE NUMBER OF BEDS THAT WOULD BE IN THE HOSPITAL SERVING CENTRAL AND NORTHERN VERMONT. THEY PROPOSED 16 BEDS. OUR CLINICIANS FEEL THAT IT SHOULD BE A LITTLE BIT LARGER THAN THAT. THAT'S BEING WORKED OUT IN THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE RIGHT NOW. BUT BY AND LARGE WE'RE SUPPORTIVE OF THE GOVERNOR'S PLAN, EXCEPT FOR THAT ONE ISSUE ON THE SIZE THAT WE'D LIKE TO SEE MODIFIED. AS TO THE PATIENTS THAT WE'RE CARING FOR, BECAUSE OF THE IMMEDIATE NEEDS, WE HAVE TWO UNITS AT FLETCHER ALLEN, TWO SEPARATE UNITS THAT HAVE PSYCHIATRIC PATIENTS. ONE OF THOSE IS ESSENTIALLY NOW BEING USED FOR PATIENTS THAT OTHERWISE WOULD BE AT THE VERMONT STATE HOSPITAL. AND IT IS -- THEY'RE PATIENTS WITH ACUTE ILLNESS AND NEED SIGNIFICANT SUPPORT. AND IT IS A DIFFERENT TYPE OF CARE TO DELIVER CARE SAFELY TO THOSE PATIENTS. AND WE'VE BEEN VERY SUPPORTIVE OF OUR STAFF, MAKING SURE THAT WE HAVE THE RIGHT STAFFING RATIOS AND MIX BASED ON THE NUMBER OF PATIENTS WE HAVE IN THE ACUTIE. IT IS A DANGEROUS SITUATION, HOWEVER, FOR THE STAFF AND FOR THE PATIENTS BECAUSE WE HAVE THIS ACUTE NEED FOR THOSE IN-PATIENT BEDS. WE'RE DOING EVERYTHING WE CAN TO MAKE SURE THE STAFF ARE SAFE AND THAT THE PATIENTS ARE RECEIVING THE CARE THAT THEY NEED.

>> WELL, DR. BRUMSTED, WE'LL TO LEAVE IT. THE NEW HEAD OF FLETCHER ALLEN. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR TIME.

>> THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

>> THANK YOU, DOCTOR.

>> STOP SIGN. BECAUSE NEIGHBORS IN THE NEWS IS NEXT. Y , WE HAVE A SPECIAL REPOR Vermont families are ss

>>> MORE THAN 600 VERMONT FAMILIES ARE HOMELESS AND THEY'RE NOT THE FOLKS YOU MIGHT EXPECT. MOST DO NOT HAVE SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROBLEMS OR MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES.

>> THEY'RE FAMILIES FIGHTING TO GET BACK ON THEIR FEET AFTER A PARENT LOST A JOB OR BECAUSE OF OTHER FINANCIAL CHALLENGES. CHANNEL 3 NEWS TOOK AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT THE PRESIDENT OBAMA IN OUR SERIES "STARTING OVER." HERE'S KEITH'S SPECIAL REPORT.

>> ONE NIGHT IN THEIR CAR LAST SUMMER WAS ONE NIGHT TOO MANY FOR HOMELESS MOM MADELINE.

>> REALLY DON'T WANT TO SAY WHERE I WAS BEFORE. AND I STAY IN THE CAR. COME OVER HERE.

>> Reporter: THEY'RE ONE OF MORE THAN 600 HOMELESS FAMILIES IN VERMONT. THEY ENDED UP HOMELESS AFTER A TRIP CROSS COUNTRY TO VERMONT WITH PLANS TO LIVE WITH FAMILY DIDN'T WORK OUT. FOR 10-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER OHANNA MOVING FROM PLACE TO PLACE WAS TAKING ITS TOLL.

>> OH, I'M STAYING AT MY BEST FRIEND'S HOUSE AND STUFF LIKE THAT.

>> Reporter: BUT FINDING OTHER OPTIONS WASN'T EASY. IT TOOK WEEKS ON A WAITING LIST, ROUGHLY 20 FAMILIES DEEP BEFORE THE CHAMPLAIN FAMILY SHELTER WAS FINALLY ABLE TO OPEN ITS DOORS.

>> WHEN I FIRST GOT, THERE I DIDN'T HAVE ANYTHING. I JUST TOOK LIKE ONE SUITCASE.

>> Reporter: YOU GOT TO THE SHELTER YOUR FIRST DAY. WHAT GOES THROUGH YOUR MIND?

>> NO, I CAN'T STAY HERE. I DON'T WANT TO. I DON'T WANT TO STAY HERE.

>> Reporter: LESLIE WORKS AT THE SHELTER, WHERE ALL OF THE ROOMS HAVE BEEN FULL FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS.

>> EACH FAMILY HAS ONE ROOM. SO SHE HAD ONE ROOM AND IN HER ROOM THERE HAD A BUNK BED AND THEN A DOUBLE BED. SO ONE OF THE KIDS SLEPT ON THE TOP BUNK, TWO KIDS ON THE BOTTOM.

>> WE DO CALL IT HOME, A HOUSE.

>> Reporter: THIS IS PLACE IS WARM AND WELCOMING. BUT IT'S NOT FANCY.

>> NO. WE WANT OUR GUESTS TO, YOU KNOW, BE COMFORTABLE HERE, BUT WE DON'T WANT THEM SO COMFORTABLE THEY WANT TO STAY FOREVER.

>> Reporter: MADELINE'S FAMILY STRUGGLED WITH THE TRANSITION.

>> WHEN THEY COME INTO SHELTER, THEY'RE SUDDENLY THROWN INTO A MESH OF TEN FAMILIES OF DIFFERENT PERSONALITIES AND HAVING TO LEARN TO LIVE WITH THOSE.

>> Reporter: FOR THIS WORKING MOM, SHARING KITCHEN, BATHROOM AND COMMON SPACE WITH STRANGERS WAS HER BIGGEST HURDLE.

>> FOR ME I TRIED WHEN I THREW MY PRIDE AWAY. I TRIED TO UNDERSTAND THAT I WAS GOING TO -- I WAS SHARING THIS PLACE WITH TEN FAMILIES.

>> Reporter: ADJUSTING TO THE OPEN CEILINGS AND CRAMPED QUARTERS TOOK OHANNA TIME.

>> I WAS TRYING TO CHEER UP THEIR KIDS OR SOMETHING. TRYING TO KEEP THEM QUIET.

>> Reporter: LIFE OUTSIDE THE SHELTER ALSO PRESENTED CHALLENGES FOR THE 4th GRADER, WHO IS ONE OF 182 HOMELESS KIDS IN THE COUNTY. CLASSMATES AT SCHOOL WANTED TO KNOW WHY SHE DIDN'T HAVE A HOUSE. WHAT DID YOU TELL THEM?

>> I'D TELL THEM LIKE I HAVE -- I HAVE A PLACE. I SLEEP THERE. I HAVE PEOPLE WHO CHEER ME UP WHEN I'M UPSET.

>> Reporter: AND SHELTER RULES MEANT HER CLOSE FRIENDS COULDN'T VISIT.

>> WHEN I WAS ABOUT TO START SCHOOL, I GOT SCARED A FEW SECONDS. I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT THEY WERE GOING TO SAY THAT I LIVED IN A SHELTER. BUT THEN I MADE FRIENDS QUICKLY AND THEY DIDN'T -- THEY DIDN'T LIKE BE MEAN TO ME OR ANYTHING. THEY ACTUALLY HELPED ME THROUGH.

>> Reporter: WHILE VISITORS WEREN'T PART OF THE ROUTINE AT THE SHELTER, CHORES WERE.

>> THIS IS OUR DAILY BOARD. OVER HERE EACH FAMILY HAS TO DO A CHORE ON A NIGHTLY BASIS.

>> Reporter: MADELINE WAS PUTTING IN HER SHIFT AT McDONALD'S BY DAY AND WOULD HAVE TO WAIT FOR HER KIDS TO GO DOWN, BEFORE SHE GOT TO CLEANING THE SHELTER.

>> THEY WANT TO BE ON ALL THE TIME. IF I TOOK THEM WITH ME TO DO THE CHORE, YOU KNOW, THEY COULDN'T. BECAUSE THEY COULDN'T BE OUT OF THE ROOM. WHEN YOUR OWN APARTMENT, YOU DON'T NECESSARILY HAVE TO DO YOUR DISHES RIGHT AWAY. HERE YOU DO, BECAUSE YOU'RE SHARING THE KITCHEN WITH NINE OTHER FAMILIES.

>> Reporter: SIX MONTHS IN THE SHELTER ALSO MEANT SIX MONTHS OF WEEKLY MEETINGS FOR MADELINE AND HER CASEWORKERS.

>> SHE WAS VERY MUCH A GO GETTER.

>> Reporter: TOGETHER THEY CRAFTED A PLAN TO GET HER OUT ON HER OWN, KEEP HER WORKING AND MAKE HER SAFE.

>> IF THEY'RE RECEIVING STATE ASSISTANCE, THEY HAVE TO SAVE THAT, 40% OF THAT. IF THEY'RE EMPLOYED, THEY HAVE TO SAVE 40% OF THAT. IF THEY'RE WORKING UNDER THE TABLE, THEY HAVE TO SAVE 40% OF THAT. AND THEY HAVE TO BE WORKING TOWARDS GOALS THAT WILL HELP THEM GET OUT OF THE SITUATION THAT THEY'RE IN.

>> Reporter: A SITUATION THAT A SECTION 8LE HOUSING VOUCHER THAT COVERS HER RENT, NEARLY $1,000 IN SAVINGS AND A PLAN TO KEEP HERSELF ON TRACK GOT THE FAMILY INTO AN APARTMENT OF THEIR OWN JUST A FEW WEEKS AGO.

>> I REALLY WANT TO TELL EVERYBODY UNTIL YOU SIGN A LEASE OR I SIGNED SOME PAPER, THEN I DID AND I TOLD ALL THE STAFF. I TOLD EVERYBODY. YOU KNOW, THEY WERE EXCITED. THEY WERE EXCITED FOR ME. AND YOU GOT A HOUSE, LIKE, YES, I DID. OH, MY GOD. WE WERE SO EXCITED.

>> Reporter: BUT IT WILL TAKE MORE THAN EXCITEMENT TO MAKE SURE THIS FAMILY DOESN'T END UP WHERE SO MANY OTHERS DO, BACK WITHOUT A PLACE TO CALL THEIR OWN. THE SOUND OF 10-YEAR-OLD OHANNAES SHINY VIOLIN FILLS THE AIR IN THE ONE BEDROOM COLCHESTER APARTMENT SHE SHARES WITH HER MOM MADELINE AND HER BABY BROTHER AND SISTER.

>> I HAVE A PLACE TO STAY. I CAN TELL MY FRIENDS THAT LIKE I HAVE A HOUSE. I CAN STAY HOME.

>> Reporter: BUT GETTING A PERMANENT PLACE TO STAY HASN'T BEEN EASY FOR THE ONCE HOMELESS FAMILY. THE FAMILY WAS JUST ONE OF 83 HOMELESS FAMILIES IN CHITTEN DEN COUNTY, A NUMBER THAT'S DOUBLED SINCE 2008 AND HAS REMAINED FLAT FOR THE LAST TWO YEARS. THEY SPENT THE LAST SIX MONTHS IN THE CHAMPLAIN FAMILY CENTER, BEFORE LANDING THEIR OWN PLACE JUST A FEW WEEKS AGO.

>> I REALLY WANT TO TELL EVERYBODY UNTIL YOU SIGN THE LEASE OR I SIGNED SOME PAPER, BUT THEN I DID AND I TOLD ALL THE STAFF.

>> Reporter: MADELINE WAS ABLE TO MAKE THE MOVE WITH HER FRIENDS, THANKS TO A SECTION 8 HOUSING VOUCHER AND FINANCIAL PLANNING WITH SHELTER STAFF.

>> OH, I CAN USE THE WHOLE AREA. I CAN USE THE WHOLE AREA FOR ME AND MY KIDS' STUFF AND THEY CAN OPEN IT.

>> Reporter: THE WALLS IN THEIR APARTMENT ARE STILL MOSTLY BARE. AND THE KITCHEN TABLE IS NOT QUITE IN THE BUDGET JUST YET.

>> I REALLY APPRECIATE HAVING A CEILING OVER MY HEAD. I CAN YELL OR CALL THESE GUYS AND IT WON'T BOTHER ANYONE.

>> SHE'S AN EXCEPTIONAL PERSON AND I'M REALLY PROUD OF THE PROGRESS SHE'S MADE.

>> Reporter: THE TEAM ON TEMPORARY SHELTER HAS BEEN WORKING WITH THE YOUNG MOM TO GET AND KEEP HOUSING. SINCE SHE WAS JUMPING BETWEEN HER CHURCH AND LOVED ONE'S COUCHES LAST SUMMER. SARAH IS HER CASE MANAGER. WHAT ARE HER BIGGEST CHALLENGES?

>> I THINK RIGHT NOW HER CHALLENGE IS GOING TO BE BUDGETING, JUST TO MAKE SURE THAT SHE CAN MAINTAIN HER MONTHLY PAYMENT. HER RENT AND HER UTILITIES. SO THAT'S WHERE I COME IN, JUST CHECK IN WITH HER MONTHLY TO MAKE SURE THAT HER EXPENSES AREN'T OUT OF CONTROL, SHE'S KEEPING HER INCOME UP TO A RELATIVELY GOOD LEVEL.

>> Reporter: WEEKLY MEETINGS BETWEEN THE TWO WOMEN HELPED MADELINE FIND AN APARTMENT AND SAVE MONEY. TWO OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FOR MANY OF VERMONT'S MORE THAN 2400 HOMELESS. 45% OF FOLKS WHO TURN TO COTS FOR HELP ARE DOING SO, BECAUSE THEY'VE LOST THEIR JOBS OR HAVE SEEN CUTS IN THEIR HOURS.

>> SHE THINKS SHE DID -- LIKE SHE WASN'T HELPFUL. OH, YOU IS IT IT ALL YOURSELF. I KNOW I DID IT. I DID IT BECAUSE I KNOW THAT THAT RESOURCE IS RIGHT THERE.

>> Reporter: BUT NOW THOSE MEETINGS AREN'T QUITE AS FREQUENT.

>> I DON'T NEED HER IN MY OFFICE EVERY WEEK. SHE'S SUFFICIENT. SHE'S REALLY STABLE.

>> JUST STANDING UP.

>> Reporter: FOR MADELINE KEEPING THINGS STABLE MEANS STICKING TO THEIR PLAN.

>> I WAKE UP AT 6:00 AND, YOU KNOW, WAKE HER UP AND GET THESE GUYS READY. GET THE LUNCH READY.

>> Reporter: THEN IT'S OFF TO A FULL DAY'S WORK AT McDONALD'S WHEN HER KIDS ARE AT SCHOOL.

>> WHEN I GET OFF WORK, I WILL PICK THEM UP AND THEN COME HERE, COOK AND GET THEM READY FOR BED AND DO IT AGAIN.

>> Reporter: WITH THE FAMILIES THAT YOU'RE SEEING, WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST FACTORS THAT ARE DRIVING THEM BACK INTO A SHELTER SITUATION?

>> A LOT OF TIMES, YOU KNOW, YOU HEAR KIND OF THE STEREOTYPE THAT YOU'RE ONE PAYCHECK AWAY FROM HOMELESSNESS. A LOT OF FAMILIES ARE.

>> Reporter: DO YOU EVER FEELING ABOUT BACK IN THAT KIND OF ENVIRONMENT?

>> I DO. AND I DON'T WANT TO GO BACK.

>> Reporter: WELL COTS COULDN'T SHARE STATS ON THE NUMBER OF FAMILIES WHO RETURN TO BEING HOMELESS, CHESSBORO STRESSES THE BETTER THE PLAN, THE BETTER THE CHANCE A FAMILY WILL MAKE IT. IS THERE A POINT IN THE WORK THAT YOU DO, WHERE YOU CAN SAY THIS HAS BEEN A SUCCESS? CAN WE SAY WE'RE A SUCCESS TWO WEEKS OUT OR TWO MONTHS OUT?

>> THAT'S A REALLY GOOD QUESTION. I THINK WE NEED SOME TIME. I MEAN, I'M CONFIDENT THAT MADELINE WILL BE SUCCESSFUL, JUST BECAUSE OF HER PERSONALITY AND HER SKILL SET. BUT I THINK, YOU KNOW, FOR US A YEAR OF BEING HOUSED, WE CAN TENTATIVELY SAY THAT'S A SUCCESS.

>> Reporter: THE FAMILY STILL HAS 11 MONTHS TO GO BEFORE THEY REACH THAT MILESTONE.

>> BEING AT THE SHELTER WAS ROUGH, BUT I DEALT WITH IT AND I KNOW WE HAD TO DO IT. AND THEY GAVE ME GOALS. I IT -- DID THEM. AND I'M HAPPY TO HAVE MY OWN PLACE.

>> Reporter: AS IS HER DAUGHTER, WHO NO LONGER HAS TO KEEP THE MUSIC DOWN AFTER DIPPER AND IS EAGER TO HAVE HER FRIENDS SLEEP OVER.

>> AT THE SHELTER, NO ONE COULD COME IN. SO I LIKE -- I'M HAPPY THAT I CAN HAVE MY FRIENDS IN HERE AND I CAN LET PEOPLE IN THAT I COULDN'T LET IN BEFORE THAT WHEN I WAS IN THE SHELTER.

>> Reporter: SOME OF MOM'S BIGGEST BACKERS ARE HOPING SHE'LL HAVE A LITTLE FUN, TOO.

>> I WANT HER TO JUST RELAX AND ENJOY, YOU KNOW. SITTING IN HER CHAIR, MAKING HER OWN DINNERS. ALL THE THINGS THAT, YOU KNOW, WE THAT ARE HOUSED RIGHT TAKE FOR GRANTED.

>> Reporter: AS FOR TAKING THINGS FOR GRANTED, MADELINE SAYS HER HOME WON'T BE ONE OF THEM. SHE HAS TOO MUCH RIDING ON HER NEWFOUND SUCCESS.

>> I TRIED TO MAKE IT COMFORTABLE FOR THEM, YOU KNOW, EVERYDAY LIFE. BEAUTIFUL KIDS.

>> Reporter: KID CANS WITH A PLACE THEY CAN NOW CALL THEIR OWN.

>> JUST AN AMAZING FAMILY. WELL, FOR MORE INFORMATION, YOU CAN VISIT OUR WEB SITE, WCAX.COM.

>> AND THAT'S IT FOR US, EVERYONE. HAVE A GREAT SUNDAY. TAKE CARE.

>> SEE YOU SOON. CAPTIONING PROVIDED BY CAPTION ASSOCIATES, LLC WWW.CAPTIONASSOCIATES.COM

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Police investigate Hinesburg woman shot by male relative

    Police investigate Hinesburg woman shot by male relative

    Thursday, April 24 2014 10:08 PM EDT2014-04-25 02:08:02 GMT
    Vermont State Police and Hinesburg police were on the scene at a shooting in Hinesburg at 8:45 p.m. Thursday night.Officials say a 71-year-old man shot a female relative. She was shot in the hand and chest and taken to Fletcher Allen Health Care where she is currently in stable condition.The man is in custody and police say there is currently no motive for the shooting and that there were no prior issues with the relatives.Police are currently still investigating the shooting.More >>
    Vermont State Police and Hinesburg police were on the scene at a shooting in Hinesburg at 8:45 p.m. Thursday night.Officials say a 71-year-old man shot a female relative. She was shot in the hand and chest and taken to Fletcher Allen Health Care where she is currently in stable condition.The man is in custody and police say there is currently no motive for the shooting and that there were no prior issues with the relatives.Police are currently still investigating the shooting.More >>
  • Robber hits the same bank twice?

    Robber hits the same bank twice?

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:01 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:01:18 GMT
    A security guard and bank manager at the People's United in St. Albans held a would-be robber until police arrived. And investigators think he is the same man who robbed the bank Monday.More >>
    A security guard and bank manager at the People's United in St. Albans held a would-be robber until police arrived. And investigators think he is the same man who robbed the bank Monday.More >>
  • Man shot by Vt. cop faces charges

    Man shot by Vt. cop faces charges

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:31 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:31:24 GMT
    A man shot by an officer inside the Bennington police station faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.More >>
    A man shot by an officer inside the Bennington police station faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.More >>
  • Man charged in Vt. teacher killing wants confession tossed

    Man charged in Vt. teacher killing wants confession tossed

    Thursday, April 24 2014 2:29 PM EDT2014-04-24 18:29:39 GMT
    A Vermont man charged with killing a popular St. Johnsbury teacher is asking a judge to exclude from his upcoming trial a detailed confession he gave to police investigators.More >>
    A Vermont man charged with killing a popular St. Johnsbury teacher is asking a judge to exclude from his upcoming trial a detailed confession he gave to police investigators.More >>
  • 2 Vermont men charged in guns and drug case

    2 Vermont men charged in guns and drug case

    Thursday, April 24 2014 2:13 PM EDT2014-04-24 18:13:57 GMT
    Two Vermont men are facing federal charges stemming from the left of firearms from a Hardwick gun store and the trading of some of those guns for drugs.More >>
    Two Vermont men are facing federal charges stemming from the left of firearms from a Hardwick gun store and the trading of some of those guns for drugs.More >>
  • Drug bust in Burlington's Old North End

    Drug bust in Burlington's Old North End

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:18 PM EDT2014-04-24 22:18:27 GMT
    Police made a drug bust Wednesday night in Burlington's Old North End.More >>
    Police made a drug bust Wednesday night in Burlington's Old North End.More >>
  • Maine wire fraud trial of Vt. man set to conclude Friday

    Maine wire fraud trial of Vt. man set to conclude Friday

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:49 PM EDT2014-04-24 21:49:11 GMT
    The wire fraud trial of a Vermont man convicted for the 2010 explosion that killed two workers at a New Hampshire gunpowder plant is nearing conclusion.More >>
    The wire fraud trial of a Vermont man convicted for the 2010 explosion that killed two workers at a New Hampshire gunpowder plant is nearing conclusion.More >>
  • 150 doctors targeted by tax fraud in NH, Vt.

    150 doctors targeted by tax fraud in NH, Vt.

    Thursday, April 24 2014 4:45 PM EDT2014-04-24 20:45:08 GMT
    New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has asked the Secret Service and Internal Revenue Service to investigate reports of tax fraud affecting more than 150 doctors and health care providers in the state and in Vermont.More >>
    New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has asked the Secret Service and Internal Revenue Service to investigate reports of tax fraud affecting more than 150 doctors and health care providers in the state and in Vermont.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.