The Valley, Sugarbush and Mad River Glen will have a new medical facility operating at Lincoln Peak by the end of the year, serving the ski areas and the broader community during weekends and holiday periods.
The primary goal of the facility will be to evaluate and treat on-hill injuries as well as basic walk-in primary care (sore throats, fever, cough). Patients with traumatic injuries meeting Trauma Center transfer criteria will be transported. Physicians on site may assist in care of these patients prior to arrival of pre-hospital providers and will transfer care to EMS personnel per Sugarbush Ski Patrol protocol
The Three Peaks Medical Clinic is the brainchild of a group of local residents who, with the support of Sugarbush Resort, decided to form a small nonprofit medical facility with a limited scope of practice, staffed by volunteer orthopedic and emergency room physicians. Initial operating hours 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 the new nonprofit, and former owner/president of Sugarbush Resort.
Sugarbush had hosted a medical clinic at Lincoln Peak for many years in collaboration with University of Vermont Medical Center. In 2019 the orthopedic clinic that had been located at Lincoln Peak closed after 25 years of serving the outdoor community in the Mad River Valley. The former clinic treated over 400 patients a year and served as means to ease the burden on local hospital emergency rooms as well as to provide immediate on-mountain care to community members and guests of the Mad River Valley. During that time local community members, members of the Green Mountain Valley School and guests from Mad River Glen ski area relied on this facility to receive timely, medical care during hours when most local facilities were not operating.
With the new clinic open on weekends and holidays, organizers expect that during approximately 60 days of operation the clinic will also see some 400 patients a year, approximately 200 of whom will likely have knee-related injuries, explained board member and Sugarbush ski patrol director Chad Borofsky.
He said that the medical clinic will also serve as a site to facilitate wilderness, emergency and sports medicine-related studies. During the 25 years when UVMC ran the clinic, data from skiing and other orthopedic injuries provided extensive research material for clinicians.
“The volunteering physicians are passionate about Sugarbush, the Mad River Valley, being outdoors and actively contributing to furthering medical education through wilderness and sports related medical research,” Smith added.
Joining Borofsky and Smith as founding directors of the nonprofit is Barb Masser, M.D. The trio feel that a more altruistic business model for Three Peaks Medical Clinic aligns with the culture of the resort and the local community.
“We feel that a local clinic, led by people who are invested in 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 for the long term,” Smith said.
The fee structure involves donations covering medical evaluation and assessment with fees charged for technical services such as x-rays, sutures, ultrasound, etc. Fees for paid services will be a paper billing system via credit card. Insurance will not be billed, but patients will leave with documentation with appropriate codes to file insurance claims.
The organizers plan to open December 15, 2022, and are well underway in terms of organization. The clinic is a registered Vermont business with an EIN and an application for 501(c)3 has been submitted.
Additionally the clinic needs financial donors to help get the medical facility off the ground, medical supplies, an x-ray machine, an ultrasound machine, a cardiac monitor, annual supplies and labor costs, legal fees and several other expenses.