Air quality issues affect 600+ surgeries at UVM outpatient campus

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University of Vermont Medical Center's Fanny Allen campus in Colchester, Vt., is closed through at least January as the hospital investigates two air quality incidents, leaving hundreds of patients in the lurch, VTDigger reports.

UVM Medical Center is working to resolve the issue, which sent 24 workers to an on-site clinic for carbon monoxide testing. The temporary closure has affected about 650 surgeries at the Fanny Allen campus, which provides outpatient services including eye, orthopedic and gynecological procedures.

In December, most surgeries scheduled at Fanny Allen were moved to UVM Medical Center's main campus in Burlington, Vt. Others were sent to Porter Medical Center in Middlebury, Vt., or Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin.

Surgeries were also pushed to 2020 on a case-by-case basis. UVM prioritized patients whose surgeries couldn't be delayed for medical reasons, as well as those who wanted to meet their end-of-year deductibles. About 35 patients couldn't be accomodated.

So far, UVM Medical Center hasn't made plans to tap Green Mountain Surgery Center for help with the surgical backlog. Located 3.6 miles from the Fanny Allen campus in Colchester, Green Mountain offered up operating room space but has only been asked to take on nonsurgical gynecological procedures.

Five physicians interviewed by VTDigger expressed concerns that UVM is focused on keeping surgeries in-network rather than providing short-term patient access. The surgeons haven't made a formal request to use the nearby surgery center, a hospital spokesperson said.


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