My name is Sandy Rousse, and I am the President and CEO of Central Vermont Home Health & Hospice (CVHHH) in Berlin. If you know me, and many of your readers may, you have probably heard me say how much I love my job. This is because CVHHH provides critical medical and supportive care to people in a place we know they want to be—at home. You see, like most people, I believe that my home is my sanctuary. It’s where I feel safe and comfortable, and it’s where want to retreat at the end of the day. In addition, the care we provide helps people maintain their independence and keeps them connected to their family, friends, and community.
Every year, CVHHH cares for about 2,800 central Vermonters living in 23 towns in Washington and Orange Counties. This adds up to about 60,000 visits for individuals receiving services from our home health and hospice teams and another 25,000 for those receiving support from our long-term care personal care attendants and case managers. In addition, we often serve as a hub for people when they think they may need help but don’t know where to start. If we can’t help, we will provide direction to one of our community partners.
What’s special about what we do is that we serve every person who needs our care—from mothers and babies, to healthy active adults, and people nearing the end of life—regardless of their ability to pay. In 2018, the value of the care we provided to central Vermonters who could not pay for their care was over $700,000. We rely on fundraising, grants, and the generous support of our constituents through town funding to help us meet the needs of all central Vermonters.
The impact of our work is significant. I know this from first-hand experience. I received care from our Maternal-Child Health Team before and after the birth of my daughter, and my husband received Physical Therapy support after his knee and hip replacements. Caring for people in their homes is more cost effective—a fraction of an inpatient hospital stay and about half the cost to care for someone in a nursing home. More important, by providing one-on-one support, education, and high-quality care at home, we give central Vermonters the tools to manage their conditions and maintain their independence. This benefits us all by keeping our communities intact.
I have lived in Barre City for 20 years, and I know that when someone needs help, we help. We bring our neighbor’s food to stock their freezers. We help them shovel their driveways, and we stop in, say hello, and bring in the mail. The care that CVHHH’s clinicians provide every day is an extension of this generosity. It’s part of what makes our community so special.
Tuesday, March 5 is Town Meeting Day. We have made formal requests for support from each of the towns we serve. A vote in support of our town funding request is a vote for the health and strength of your community. It’s a vote for your family, friends, and neighbors.
In Vermont, where 23 people turn 65 every day, it is so important that CVHHH is available to meet the evolving needs of the residents of central Vermont. Town funds are more important than ever to ensure that central Vermonters who are uninsured, underinsured, or otherwise unable to pay, receive the care that they need and can stay out of the hospital or facility and in their own home.
Sandy Rousse, 223-1878