Metro

Hospital in Vt. wants single-bed rooms

BURLINGTON, Vt. — Fletcher Allen Health Care is beginning a process that could end up doing away with most shared patient rooms.

The planning director at the hospital, Vermont’s largest, said Monday that officials are planning to ask state health care regulators for permission to begin a process that could ­result in construction of 48 ­patient rooms in a new two-
story building. Preliminary estimates put the project cost at about $85 million.

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The industry standard now is to move away from the long-accepted practice at many hospitals of having patients share rooms, and the expansion being discussed would be a first step in what could be a long process.

‘‘We have a goal if we can to move toward about a 90 percent single-bed occupancy, if possible,’’ said Dave Keelty, Fletcher Allen planning director. ‘‘This project may bring us to that goal, but we’re not sure of that. That’s part of the work that we need to do.’’

There are many reasons for the move to single rooms, includ­ing privacy concerns, infec­tion control, visitors, and the equipment used now in many hospital rooms, Keelty said

The hospital is planning to submit its application for a ­Certificate of Need for the planning phase of the project within the next few weeks.

‘‘We probably wouldn’t start the actual planning until late summer at the earliest, most likely in the fall,’’ Keelty said. “We anticipate it may take ­upward of six months, eight months, potentially to a year to basically go through these ­options and begin the process of filing a [Certificate of Need] for a real project.”

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