Fletcher Allen, a Vermont university hospital and medical center, serves all of
Vermont and the northern New York region. Located in Burlington, Fletcher Allen is a regional, academic healthcare center and teaching hospital in alliance with the University of Vermont.
Fletcher Allen to Sell Outpatient Dialysis Units
November 22, 2010
Marketing and Communications
BURLINGTON VT - Fletcher Allen announced today it has signed a non-binding letter of intent to sell its outpatient renal dialysis centers to Fresenius Medical Care North America, a national provider of dialysis services with a clinical site in St. Johnsbury, VT. The outpatient centers are located in South Burlington, St. Albans, Berlin, Rutland and Newport and serve approximately 290 patients. The sale is subject to the State of Vermont's Certificate of Need (CON) review process. The price will be finalized when a binding purchase and sale agreement is complete, and it will be made public in the CON application.
Key details of the Letter of Intent include:
- Patients will continue to receive dialysis services at the same locations.
- Fresenius will adhere to the same clinical practice guidelines and national standards that Fletcher Allen does, just as they do at their other outpatient renal dialysis centers, including those with an academic affiliation.
- Our physicians will continue to provide medical directorship for all of the outpatient renal dialysis locations. They will also continue to care for patients at every site.
- Our direct patient care staff will be hired by Fresenius provided they meet its standard hiring criteria. Current staffing levels will be maintained.
Under the agreement, the services and locations mentioned above will be maintained for at least 10 years.
This intended sale does not affect Fletcher Allen's patient renal dialysis unit on the Medical Center Campus in Burlington; Fletcher Allen will continue to own and operate it. In addition, the services that are currently available to pediatric patients, and patients with special needs, will be available between the inpatient renal dialysis unit and the outpatient units. Fletcher Allen physicians will continue to determine the most appropriate location for care based on the treatment plan they develop.
"We've always been diligent about reviewing services across the organization in order to be more efficient, but the forces at work in today's health care environment require us to look at changes we've not considered before," said Sandra Dalton, senior vice president, Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer. "This is an opportunity that will ensure patients continue to receive high-quality renal dialysis services throughout Vermont."
Fletcher Allen conducted a detailed analysis of Fresenius' quality data - the data they are required to give to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) -- for outpatient dialysis care they provide at other academic medical centers. The organization also checked references at other academic medical centers that work with Fresenius.
"Based on this information, we have confidence in the quality of care that Fresenius will provide to Vermonters," said Dalton.
Fresenius Medical Care's New England Regional Vice President Kathy Dickey said, "Our company's roots are here in New England, and so we are especially gratified by the opportunity to provide more Vermonters with excellent kidney dialysis care."
Fletcher Allen, like other hospitals and health care systems across the country, has been under increasing pressure to control costs as a result of health care reform at the same time that funding received from government payers is declining. The outpatient units have been losing money for a number of years. Last year, Fletcher Allen posted a $2 million loss associated with their operation.
Fletcher Allen's decision to sell was made after the organization determined it was not possible to develop a break-even plan for outpatient renal dialysis operations.
As part of the review process, Fletcher Allen also learned that the organization is currently one of the only academic medical centers in the country to continue running its own renal dialysis program. There are national companies, such as Fresenius, that provide renal dialysis services more efficiently due to their economies of scale.