The Valley, Sugarbush and Mad River Glen will have a new medical facility operational at Lincoln Peak by the end of the year, serving the ski areas and the wider community during weekends and holiday periods.
The primary focus of the facility will be to assess and treat injuries on the slopes as well as basic walk-in primary care (sore throat, fever, cough). Patients with traumatic injuries that meet the trauma center’s transfer criteria will be transported. Physicians on site can assist in caring for these patients prior to the arrival of prehospital providers and will transfer care to EMS personnel per Sugarbush Ski Patrol protocol.
Three Peaks Medical Clinic is the brainchild of a group of local residents who, with the support of Sugarbush Resort, decided to create a small non-profit medical facility with a limited scope of practice, staffed by orthopedic surgeons and volunteer emergency physicians. Initial hours of operation will be weekends and holidays, but could potentially expand depending on funding and volunteer interest, explained Win Smith, Warren, one of the board members of administration of the new non-profit organization and former owner/president of Sugarbush Resort.
Sugarbush had hosted a medical clinic at Lincoln Peak for many years in conjunction with the University of Vermont Medical Center. In 2019, the orthopedic clinic that was located at Lincoln Peak closed after 25 years of serving the Mad River Valley outdoor community. The old clinic treated over 400 patients a year and was used to ease the burden on local hospital emergency rooms as well as provide immediate mountain care to community members and guests of the Mad River Valley. Meanwhile, members of the local community, members of Green Mountain Valley School and guests of Mad River Glen Ski Resort relied on this facility to receive timely medical care during hours when most local facilities were not working.
With the new clinic open on weekends and holidays, organizers expect that during around 60 days of operation, the clinic will also see around 400 patients a year, of whom around 200 are likely to have knee injuries, explained a board member and director of the Sugarbush Ski Patrol. Chad Borofsky.
He said the medical clinic will also serve as a site to facilitate studies related to wild, emergency and sports medicine. In the 25 years that UVMC has run the clinic, data on skiing and other orthopedic injuries have provided in-depth research material for clinicians.
“The volunteer doctors are passionate about Sugarbush, the Mad River Valley, being outdoors and actively contributing to the advancement of medical education through nature and sports related medical research,” added Smith.
Barb Masser, MD, joins Borofsky and Smith as founding directors of the association. The trio believe that a more altruistic business model for Three Peaks Medical Clinic aligns with the culture of the resort and the local community.
“We believe that a local clinic, run by people who care about and love the Mad River Valley, funded by donations from local community members and resort guests, will be able to consistently serve the resort as well as the local community over the long term. “Smith said.
The fee structure involves donations covering medical evaluation and fees charged for technical services such as X-rays, sutures, ultrasounds, etc. Charges for Paid Services will be a paper billing system via credit card. Insurance will not be charged, but patients will walk away with documents with the appropriate codes to file insurance claims.
The organizers plan to open on December 15, 2022, and are well advanced in terms of organization. The clinic is a registered Vermont business with an EIN and a 501(c)3 application has been submitted.
In addition, the clinic needs financial donors to help start the medical facility, medical supplies, an x-ray machine, an ultrasound machine, a heart monitor, annual supplies and labor costs, legal fees and several other expenses.