Mr. President, Madam Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, members of the General Assembly, honored guests and fellow Vermonters:
Today, I welcome the opening of the legislative session with the same optimism I had as a freshman senator from Washington County nearly two decades ago.
I come before you to report on the state of the state, to reflect on the work we’ve done and to share a vision and priorities for our future.
The Windham County Delegation has been aware of ongoing financial challenges being experienced by the Brattleboro Retreat related to multi-year, inadequate medicaid reimbursements, unexpected census declines, and the increasing cost of contract RNs and MDs due to national and state-wide workforce shortages.
The Brattleboro Retreat is a 150 year old private mental healthcare institution providing quality, compassionate healthcare to the most vulnerable Vermonters.
As we see play out every day across the country and our state, adequate funding for public healthcare remains an unsolved challenge.
The Retreat Meadows outdoor ice skating across from Grafton Cheese factory outlet store on Rt 30 in Brattleboro: THIN ICE. 3 people fell through today. I saw 2 of them. I organized a rescue for one of them, but then he managed to get out before we had to actually do it, thankfully. 3 people fell through yesterday.
The West River is completely open water with no ice, all the way up to Townshend. This means the water is being warmed by the sun, the whole time it’s coming down the river. 20+ miles. The water is warmer than freezing temperature by the time it gets to Brattleboro, and melts the ice from underneath. This isn’t apparent by looking at the surface of the ice.
Why Are We Picketing?
We are staff at the Brattleboro Retreat and we are here to let the community know what is happening. In a time of crisis the administration has consistently chosen to make life for the direct patient care staff more difficult. According to the administration there is a staffing crisis at the Retreat which has led to a financial crisis. Staff have been leaving, and hiring has been challenging. There is a shortage of nurses, mental health workers, social workers and doctors.
Anyone know why the Brattleboro Retreat employees were out protesting today?
The Brattleboro Selectboard held an extensive discussion of diversity, both in Town hiring practices and the community at large. It was a start and step toward something probably positive, though the goals and steps to get there remain to be more fully developed.
Emergency repairs at the pool and the Harris parking lot were the other big items on the agenda, but the long diversity discussion made for quick summaries of these and other smaller matters due to a late hour.