UVM Health Network delays psychiatric unit project, cites $30M shortfall

The University of Vermont Health System told regulators that it won't be able to move forward with a plan to add beds to an inpatient psychiatric unit unless its financial situation improves, VTDigger reported April 27. 

UVM Health Network president and CEO John Brumsted placed blame at the feet of the independent governor-appointed regulators, who denied a large midyear price increase, according to the report. The health system wanted to raise charges to cover a $44 million deficit, but the Green Mountain Care Board regulators only allowed a $14 million increase. 

The psychiatric unit upgrade, adding 25 adult beds to 15 existing ones, is to be built at Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin for $158 million, according to the report. The project has been on the drawing board since 2018.

Health system officials estimate that the psychiatric unit would increase its operating deficits by $25 million per year, according to VTDigger

The regulators said they'd like to see the project move forward in some form and asked Mr. Brumsted to consider asking the state for help or collaborating with other healthcare facilities, according to the report. 

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