Letter: We lament certain changes in healthcare, too

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Editor of the Reformer,

The Brattleboro Reformer recently published an opinion piece ("Michelle Neville: Retreat would cause great pain to Anna Marsh today," Sept. 5) by a former patient expressing concerns about changes at the Brattleboro Retreat. The article captured several sentiments that we absolutely share. We appreciate this individual's valuable feedback as well as the courage required to make such personal experiences public.

The truth is that psychiatric hospitals across the country have had to change their practices due to increased regulatory requirements and the reimbursement models under which we operate. We too lament the loss of activities that just 10 years ago were considered safe and appropriate.

While I agree that the Retreat has had to make some changes that many of us perceive as losses, the quality of care being provided has not diminished. Indeed, we believe that the recent addition of new evidence-based treatment models at the Retreat are leading to improved patient outcomes.

Many of our patients also report positive experiences of their care at the Retreat. I credit our staff for the fact that 87 percent of patients surveyed over the last 90 days indicated that they would recommend the Retreat to a family member or friend.

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This is not to say that there isn't always room for improvement. We welcome hearing from our patients and that's why feedback is one of the cornerstones of our hospital's program of quality improvement. So, I can assure you that we are listening to the comments expressed in the Reformer article.

The Retreat has been in continuous operation for nearly two centuries, and Moral Treatment remains part of our hospital DNA. When we say we consider our patients to be at the center of the care team (which we do) it's a way of using modern terminology to describe and carry forth the healing legacy Anna Marsh left to us.

Louis Josephson, PhD

President and CEO, Brattleboro Retreat

Brattleboro, Sept. 6


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