Partnership to lower costs of care provided to homeless wins national praise

-A A +A

Partnership to lower costs of care provided to homeless wins national praise

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:31am -- Denise Sortor

Vermont Business Magazine The University of Vermont Medical Center has received the Future of Population Health Award from the Public Health Foundation (PHF) for its support of an innovative community partnership that lowered the cost of care and improved services for the homeless and housing-insecure population in Burlington, Vermont.  

The PHF cited the establishment of Harbor Place, a motel where recently discharged patients are provided with safe, temporary emergency housing and connected with “wrap-around” social and other services necessary for them to achieve stability. Harbor Place, owned and managed by the Champlain Housing Trust, relies on a partnership of several community organizations, including the Community Health Centers of Burlington, United Way of Northwest Vermont, Howard Center, and Vermont Department for Children and Families.

Over a two-year period spanning 2015 and 2016, Harbor Place saved the UVM Medical Center more than $1 million through less frequent utilization of the hospital’s emergency department, fewer inpatient admissions, and less costly inpatient stays. The successful partnership has since expanded to other locations, providing long-term and permanent housing to this high-risk patient group.

“This is a great example of a hospital-community partnership that delivers a smart and measurable return on investment,” said PHF President Ron Bialek. “By involving the right community partners and targeting the root causes of hospital readmissions, Harbor Place both improved the health of the community and enabled the UVM Medical Center to be more effective with its resources.”

“Hospitals serve so many roles in our communities,” said Eileen Whalen, MHA, RN, president and chief operating officer at the University of Vermont Medical Center. “It’s vital that we build connections and identify opportunities to partner with others to improve the overall health of our population.”

“If a patient is discharged from the hospital without a safe and reliable place to store medication or simply to sleep, it can be difficult to avoid a trip back to the emergency room,” she continued. “By recognizing that housing is an integral piece of the healthcare puzzle, and helping patients to find housing, we are helping patients recover and begin to build a foundation for living healthier lives.”

“The Root Cause Coalition is delighted to help recognize the work of the University of Vermont Medical Center and support the commitment and efforts of the Public Health Foundation as, collaboratively, we seek to ensure every individual has the opportunity to reach their full potential,” said Barbara Petee, Executive Director of The Root Cause Coalition. “I can’t think of a better event than the Coalition’s National Summit at which hundreds of colleagues from across the country were gathered to help acknowledge their achievements.”

The Future of Population Health Award, established by PHF in 2016, recognizes exemplary practice by hospitals and health systems that collaborate with government agencies and community partner to address the causes of health challenges outside the hospital’s walls. Penrose Jackson, Community Health Improvement Director at the UVM Medical Center, accepted the honor at the Root Cause Coalition’s second annual National Summit on the Social Determinants of Health.  PHF will also host a webinar to highlight the Harbor Place program on October 23, 2017, from 1:30-2:30pm EDT.  Learn more about this virtual event and register today to attend and participate at


The Public Health Foundation, a private, non-profit, 501(c)3 organization based in Washington, DC, improves the public’s health by strengthening the quality and performance of public health practice. Since 1970, PHF has developed effective resources, tools, information, and training for hospitals, health agencies, organizations, and individuals to help improve performance and community health outcomes. For more information, visit


The University of Vermont Medical Center is a 447-bed tertiary care regional referral center, including the UVM Children’s Hospital, providing advanced care to approximately 1 million residents in Vermont and northern New York.  Together with our partners at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, we are Vermont’s academic medical center. The University of Vermont Medical Center also serves as a community hospital for approximately 150,000 residents in Chittenden and Grand Isle counties. 

The University of Vermont Medical Center is a member of The University of Vermont Health Network, a five-hospital system established to deliver high quality academic medicine to every community we serve. Our partners are:

For more information visit or visit our Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blog sites at

Remove From Front: