8 Vermont hospitals exceed revenue caps by a combined $60.3M

Eight of the 14 largest hospitals in Vermont saw their fiscal year 2016 revenues surpass state regulators' allotted amount by a collective $60.3 million, according to a VTDigger report.  

Under Vermont law, the state agency Green Mountain Care Board controls the rate of growth in healthcare costs by limiting the amount of money hospitals can receive from patient services. The board requires hospitals exceeding their target revenues by more than 0.5 percent to provide an explanation for the surplus.

The six hospitals in Vermont's $2.3 billion hospital system that reported the highest revenue excesses could be required to take enforcement action, such as giving extra revenue to community programs and commercial insurance ratepayers, according to the report. The six hospitals presented explanations to Green Mountain Care officials about what hiked their revenues, which included increases in market share, patient prescription drug payments and patients seeking treatment from certain orthopedic surgeons.

The number of hospitals exceeding the revenue limit in FY 2016 is down slightly from FY 2015, but the amount by which they crossed the cap was higher in 2016. Nine hospitals reported a combined $49.2 million in over-budget revenue in FY 2015, VTDigger states.

Burlington-based University of Vermont Medical Center and Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin, both part of Burlington-based University of Vermont Health Network, recorded the highest revenue surpluses. UVM Medical Center's 2016 revenue ran $24.5 million more than the hospital budgeted, while Central Vermont Medical Center saw $16.1 million in revenue excess. When combined, the two hospitals' revenue excess represents nearly 69 percent of the total surplus.

The majority of the state's smallest hospitals reported less revenue than expected in 2016, according to the report.  

Under the board's enforcement requirements, actions the state body can take this year to address the surpluses include lowering hospital prices and expenses. The board can also amend hospitals' budget in the next budget cycle. 

Green Mountain Care officials will decide enforcement actions for the hospitals by April 13, according to the report. 

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