UVM Medical Center expansion expected to reduce wait times

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) UVM Medical Center officials say their new building will reduce the chronic shortage of beds and long wait times for patients, including those seeking mental health care.

Many of the private rooms in the new Miller Building at the UVM Medical Center come with only one bed. That's important for a few reasons says the hospital's Dawn LeBaron. It allows them to be able to better utilize the space they need.

Right now, dozens of beds in the current building are "blocked" because it isn't safe to put another patient in the room. With all the single rooms that will change. "Those 40 beds that we can't use on any given day are going to be opened up immediately. And you know in a traffic jam, all it takes is one car to move. So when it comes to patients, it's a similar comparison," LeBaron said.

While the hospital is quick to point out it won't fix the issue of wait times entirely, it will help open up spaces for people like mental health patients, who often cannot have another patient in the room with them. And when patients do end up there, doctors won't have to dodge obstacles in the room to provide care.

"It enables people to provide efficient care, better care than they could in a double patient room," said Dr. Frank Ittleman, a UVMMC cardiothoracic surgeon.

About 120 patients will be moving into these rooms on June 1.