By Evergreen Family Health Group
Statement from Evergreen Family Health Group:
Evergreen Family Health Partners, LLP has announced that it will be suspending its efforts to build a new Charlotte Family Health Center in the West Village of Charlotte to replace the previous office at 527 Ferry Road. That office had to relocate a year ago to temporary space at Shelburne Green Business Park due to unsafe and deteriorated conditions. The process to purchase land and develop the new Ferry Road site began in the fall of 2019 and has faced numerous engineering and regulatory hurdles in that time.
“The town of Charlotte selectboard members and town officials have been strongly supportive of the efforts to locate the Health Center in the town’s commercial district where it would complement the senior center, children’s center town hall and fire and rescue,” reported Dr. Paul Reiss, senior partner at Evergreen Family Health Partners, LLP. “We were committed to making this work for our large number of dedicated patients and families in the area.” The Planning Commission approved the Health Center application in September, but a group of residents subsequently filed a formal appeal of the Town’s approval. Most Charlotte citizens have voiced strong support for the health center and its practitioners who include Andrea Regan, MD from Hinesburg, and P. Alex Graham, MD who grew up in Charlotte.
This decision is difficult given the resources and time expended by Evergreen physicians in the preparation, engineering, permitting, and planning of this effort over the past two years. The principle reasons for this decision include the delays created by the uncertainties in additional permitting and the inflated costs of construction, balanced with the longstanding funding problems in a health care system that restricts adequate payment for the comprehensive primary care services provided by an independent physician-owned health center. The appeals of the site plan approval and apparent opposition by some residents of Charlotte also contributed to but are not in and of themselves the reason for this decision. In order to protect our investment in the project, we intend to defend that approval in Environmental Court.
- The effort to build Charlotte Family Health Center on Ferry Road has been suspended.
- Charlotte Family Health Center will remain in Shelburne for the foreseeable future and provide residents of the area with personalized and convenient health care in a private and professional setting.
- This is a difficult time to build given the high prices of materials and shortage of labor and the permitting process is long and resource intensive
- Health reform has failed to adequately value primary care especially for physician-owned practices, favoring larger, more costly institutions, making funding tenuous for this new small health center project.
- The project will be reevaluated as circumstances change with the hope that an independent health center can be located in Charlotte eventually.