MIDDLEBURY–The Porter Medical Center Board of Directors and the University of Vermont Health Network Board of Trustees voted unanimously on October 5th to sign a non-binding “Letter of Intent” to formally negotiate terms under which Porter Medical Center would join the University of Vermont Health Network.
Although not a binding contract, the Letter of Intent clearly sets in motion a more formal process of negotiations that is expected to last approximately six months, during which time Porter and the UVM Health Network will endeavor to agree upon the specific terms that would lead to Porter becoming an affiliate of the UVM Health Network as early as the spring of 2017. During the negotiation process, Porter will retain the option of choosing independence.
“The Porter board has been engaged in a very diligent, comprehensive and forward-looking strategic planning process for more than a year, and has evaluated both continued independence and potential affiliation with a number of other healthcare organizations in order to ensure that PMC continues to fulfill its mission to meet the healthcare needs of our local community. Based on this comprehensive analysis and feedback from more than a dozen forums with our community, employees, and providers, the board has now formally voted to move forward the next step in exploring a potential affiliation” said PMC Board Chair Maureen McLaughlin.
“I look forward to the discussions that can bring Porter Medical Center into the UVM Health Network,” said John Brumsted, MD, president and chief executive officer, UVM Health Network, and chief executive officer, UVM Medical Center. “The UVM Health Network and Porter share similar missions, visions and values. Porter has strong community ties and we are both focused on keeping care as close to home for patients and their families as possible. Being part of the network creates opportunities in this challenging era of health care reform for collaboration and finding ways to become more efficient and effective in delivering high-quality care.”
“As we have maintained throughout, the focus of this strategic planning process has always been, and remains, what is in the best interest of our community and of our entire organization for the future. Ensuring continued local access to high-quality healthcare services for our local community is paramount, but additional considerations include clinical and financial strengths and access to capital for essential projects to ensure that Porter remains a strong and integral part of this community for the next 91 years” McLaughlin added.
“Maintaining the current array of clinical services, bringing more specialized medical care to the community, and working collaboratively to pursue closer integration with our academic medical center have been our priorities all along, and we feel that this potential affiliation with the UVM Health Network is our best path forward to accomplish all of these goals,” said PMC Interim President Dr. Fred Kniffin. Kniffin points to the possibility of bringing a common EMR system, enhanced access to clinical, quality and financial expertise and a new medical office building to Porter as specific elements of this partnership.
“As this process unfolds and these negotiations continue, we will communicate with our internal and external constituencies and continue to share updates with our patients, staff, community, and providers” he said.