Vermont just can’t afford to keep 14 hospitals open, a leading Vermont policy wonk says. And maybe it just doesn’t need them as much as it used to, either.
"We now have land and air ambulances with significant on-board medical capability en route to the emergency room or trauma center. We have an interstate highway system. Of necessity, we’ve learned that telemedicine works in many emergent cases and is more cost-effective for both patients and providers. Body imaging done locally is transmitted to India by satellite, read, interpreted, and returned to hospitalists within a day. We’re accruing and sharing knowledge and data in real time about disease, trauma protocols, lifestyle illnesses, genetics and immunology. Our network of hospitals was built in a different time to meet different community needs. When I was young and watched the new hospital being built next door, the trip to Burlington was two hours. It seemed like a foreign city, and we only went twice a year. And when my mother lay dying in her bed next to my panicked father 200 yards from the emergency room and there was no local ambulance service, my father convinced his good friend to transport his dying wife next door in his hearse, which was against the law.."
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