Green Mountain Care Board decisions on hospital budgets draw rebuke from UVM Health Network

The Green Mountain Care Board cut commercial insurance rate increases at two hospitals in the University of Vermont Health Network on Monday, prompting a strong backlash from the state’s largest hospital operator.

Earlier this summer, the University of Vermont Health Network requested a list of commercial insurance rate increases — in effect, seeking to charge private insurance companies more for services provided at its hospitals around the world. Vermont.

But on Monday, expressing concern about the affordability of medical care for Vermont residents, the Green Mountain Care Board approved smaller increases for those hospitals.

“Each year, we work hard to balance cost containment with the need to ensure Vermont hospitals have the resources they need to provide high-quality care in their communities,” said Jessica Holmes, acting president of Green Mountain. Care Board, in a statement. Monday press release. “This year, we paid particular attention to restoring the financial stability of the hospital system and preserving access to care.

In July, the University of Vermont Health Network provided increases in requested commercial insurance rates of 19.9% ​​for University of Vermont Medical Center and 14.52% for Central Medical Center Vermont from Berlin.

But on Monday, the board voted to approve increases of 14.77% for the University of Vermont Medical Center and 12.5% ​​for Central Vermont Medical Center.

Earlier this month, the board voted to approve Middlebury’s Porter Medical Center’s request to raise rates by 11.5%. All three hospitals are part of the UVM health network.

Other Vermont hospitals have had their proposed rates approved as requested or reduced by only fractions of a percentage point.

The board’s decisions drew a swift rebuke from the University of Vermont Health Network. In a statement, John Brumsted, the network’s outgoing president and CEO, called the decisions “a major blow to our ability to serve our patients, improve access and increase health equity.”

Council decisions, Brumsted warned, could “have a negative effect on access to care”.

The Green Mountain Care Board has been weighing proposed budgets for Vermont’s 14 nonprofit hospitals for weeks.

Hospital administrators submit their projected changes in patient income and changes in commercial insurance costs to the board.

For commercial medical insurance – as opposed to Medicare or Medicaid – rate increases can be passed on to consumers through increases in insurance premiums.

Board members expect increases in Medicare reimbursement and increased funding from the Vermont Department of Health Access to offset some of the reductions in rate increases.

The body has also become increasingly concerned about “the impact of health care costs on Vermont business taxpayers and patient access to care,” according to Monday’s press release.

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