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2010 Strategic Initiatives and Process for Public Participation

Strategic Planning
Grace Cottage Hospital has an annually updated five (5) year strategic plan that is developed with input from four (4) constituencies:

  1. Randomly-selected patients at Grace Cottage Hospital are surveyed throughout the year by Press Ganey. Grace Cottage Hospital contracts with this independent surveying company to send patients of Grace Cottage Hospital a confidential survey of their experience at the hospital after they have been discharged. Hospital patients have the opportunity to rate their satisfaction from 100 (excellent) to 0 (very poor). Press Ganey collates the responses and sends the results to Grace Cottage. The same company surveys patients of all Vermont’s hospitals. A synopsis of these 2009 Press Ganey patient surveys is available on the BISHCA website.
  2. Every three (3) years, Grace Cottage conducts a survey of the general public. The latest survey was conducted in the late fall of 2010 (during Fiscal Year 2011).
  3. The staff at Grace Cottage is surveyed through an annual employee survey and Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Teams are formed to address the key issues identified.
  4. The Board, Medical Staff and Management Team annually spend a full day at a Strategic Planning Retreat in which all the people attending give input into a 5-year strategic plan with measurable goals.

Activities Open to Public Participation & Contact Information
Grace Cottage Hospital opened its doors in 1949 through the dedicated support of the surrounding community. Vermont’s smallest hospital, with 19 beds, Grace Cottage is literally a community hospital – volunteers provide a myriad of essential services, from grounds keeping to pastoral care, strategic planning to fundraising, plus many other activities.
The point person for volunteers at Grace Cottage is a Human Resources Department employee who can be reached at 365-3738 or

The following is a sampling of volunteer opportunities available at Grace Cottage Hospital:

  • Clerical Support
  • Courier Service
  • Ethics Committee
  • Flea Market Parking Donation Collection
  • Gardens & Grounds
  • Grace Cottage Hospital Auxiliary & Fair Day
  • Grace Cottage Foundation Board of Directors
  • Grace Cottage Hospital Board of Trustees
  • Grace Greeters
  • Pastoral Care
  • Special Events

Public Meeting Schedule:
Grace Cottage Hospital’s volunteer Board of Trustees meets once every two (2) months at the hospital; various committees of the Board also meet regularly; the Trustees also hold an all-day retreat for the purposes of education and planning. Members of the public are encouraged to personally contact a Trustee with any questions, comments or concerns they may have.
The Trustees view themselves as community representatives responsible for the effective management of Grace Cottage Hospital, working to meet the healthcare needs of the people living in, working in and visiting the towns of southeastern Vermont.

The hospital’s strategic planning is the responsibility of the Board of Trustees. Trustees seek the input of others in the community as they come into daily contact with people within the hospital’s geographic service area, as well as through the more formal means mentioned above. Various public meetings are held annually in a further effort to solicit public input into the hospital’s strategic planning process. Announcements for these meetings are published in the local press, via flyers posted in prominent locations, and on this website.

Contact Information:

The Board of Trustees selects and appoints an Administrator/Chief Executive Officer, who can be reached at (802) 365-7357 or or PO Box 216, Townshend VT 05353.

2010 Health Care Initiatives Developed from Grace Cottage Hospital’s 5-year Strategic Plan.

1) Strategic Plan’s Goal
: Improve health care services available to patients in Grace Cottage Hospital’s digital Imaging Department twenty-four (24) hours a day seven (7) days a week as requested in the 2007 Community Healthcare Needs Survey.

Qualitative indicators: Grace Cottage Hospital’s digital imaging department provides patients who come to Grace Cottage for X-rays, bone density testing, CT scans or ultrasound with fast, accurate results that can be shared electronically with specialists or other medical professionals. A part-time ultrasound technician position was added to the imaging department in June 2010. Usage of the services has been growing to the point that the space no longer meets the needs of the patients or staff. The bone density machine and ultrasound share one room, which negatively affects scheduling and availability for both modalities. The Board of Trustees voted in April 2010 to expand and reconfigure the Imaging Department to meet the growing needs.

Quantitative indicators:
The number of Imaging Tests performed at Grace Cottage for the tracking periods of 2008, 2009, 2010:

  2008 2009 2010
X-ray 3,016 3,615 3,738
Bone density 177 294 199
CT  743 932 921
Ultrasound 0 0 219

2) Strategic Plan’s Goal: Meet the needs of the local population for health education classes and wellness activities as requested in the 2007 Community Healthcare Needs Survey.

Qualitative indicators: Requests for more local health education classes without long waiting lists were received from the public. Grace Cottage Hospital opened the Community Wellness Center in the Heins Building, adjacent to the Wolff Outpatient Building on December 17, 2009.

Quantitative indicators:
In 2010, Grace Cottage Hospital doubled the types of wellness programs it was able to provide before the Wellness Center was opened.

  2009 2010
Types of wellness programs 10 21
Number of wellness classes 52 72
Number of wellness center encounters 0 6,024

3) Strategic Plan’s Goal: Increase the number and type of volunteer activities, and hire or recruit a part-time Volunteer Coordinator.

Qualitative Indicators: Volunteers are a crucial bridge to the community. With a large number of professional business people retiring to this area and looking for ways to remain involved and occupied, their time and talent are a big help to Grace Cottage Hospital. The need for one particular new volunteer activity that became obvious during the past year is for greeters and transporters in and between the physicians’ Rural Health Clinic and Grace Cottage Hospital. The recruitment, training and scheduling aspects of such an ambitious volunteer program required the recruitment of a part-time Volunteer Coordinator.

Quantitative Indicators: This initiative began in June 2010.

  • A part-time Volunteer Coordinator was hired and started work in July 2010.
  • The new volunteer program of greeters/transporters, called Grace Greeters, started with training of volunteers in June 2010. Thirty-five (35) Grace Greeters began three-hour shifts of 9:00am – noon and 1:00pm – 4:00pm Monday through Friday.
  • Since the implementation of the Grace Greeters program, no sick and elderly patients in the physicians’ rural health clinic, who are sent to Grace Cottage Hospital’s Lab or Radiology Departments, have become disoriented along the route while a Grace Greeter was on duty.
  • Grace Cottage staff no longer needs to leave a work station to accompany disoriented patients, and in addition, they can hand inter-departmental mail to Grace Greeters for delivery.
  • Grace Greeters have reported anecdotal accounts of rising patient satisfaction levels during their hospital encounters. For example when patients who hadn’t followed the patient registration process were found waiting at the lab, they were accompanied by the Grace Greeter through the process from registration to blood draw and then given Service Recovery Free Lunch coupons for their inconvenience. The Registration signage was then increased to help alleviate the problem.

2010 Public Meeting
The 2010 public meeting to solicit feedback on the Hospital Report Card was held in the Community Dining Room at Grace Cottage Hospital on September 1, 2010. The meeting was announced in the Brattleboro Reformer, the Deerfield Valley News, The Commons and on the hospital’s website. Two members of the public attended the meeting.

Members of the public can obtain copies of the following information by contacting
Grace Cottage Foundation,
PO Box 1, Townshend VT 05353

1. Strategic Plan
2. One (1) & four (4) Year Capital Expenditure Plan
3. Depreciation Schedule
4. Annual Report