Fletcher Allen Health Care, a University of Vermont-affiliated hospital and medical center, has received a gift of property valued at $13 million from commercial real estate developer Bob Miller and his wife, Holly, the Burlington Free Press reports.
The largest gift ever to Fletcher Allen includes a fifteen-acre commercial property in Williston, where the hospital already houses much of its logistical operation and medical records in a 164,000-square-foot facility, paying Miller about $750,000 a year in rent. The hospital had been in discussions with Miller, who owns R.E.M Development Company, LLC and the Miller Realty Group, since last December about the possibility of buying the property.
The property includes a 24,500-square-foot building with three tenants who will remain in place with multiyear leases, paying rent to Fletcher Allen. "One of the ways this gift will keep on giving is those lease payments can now be put into supporting clinical programs," said Fletcher Allen president and CEO John Brumsted.
The Millers have been supporters of the hospital since the early 1980s, Brumsted said, providing gifts to help establish the Holly and Robert Miller "Caring for Nurses Initiative" at the University of Vermont College of Nursing and Health Sciences, creating Fletcher Allen's Rural Palliative Care Network, and instituting a new fellowship in hospice and palliative care for advance practice nurses at the Vermont Palliative Care Collaborative.
"We didn't have health insurance, and at least every week or couple of weeks someone from the business department at Mary Fletcher would come to the door," said Holly Miller at a press conference to announce the gift. "My mother might have two dollars or five dollars to give them. With five children we were in and out of the hospital constantly. I doubt they ever were paid in full for all the care they gave us....I'm very grateful for that and feeling very humble today."