State regulators: Vermont hospital needs to dial back revenues, surgeries

The Green Mountain Care Board, which is in charge of controlling the rate of growth in healthcare costs in Vermont, says Morrisville, Vt.-based Copley Hospital is making too much money and performing too many surgeries, according to the Burlington Free Press.

Since 2011, the Green Mountain Care Board has regulated hospital budgets and the prices payers charge their members. Copley Hospital could be sanctioned by the board for exceeding its expected revenue.

On Nov. 2, Judy Henkin, the board's general counsel, sent a letter to the Copley Hospital's lawyer concerning the limit on net patient revenue the board imposes. In the letter, Ms. Henkin refers to testimony given by Copley Hospital President and CEO Art Mathisen to support her argument that the hospital is bringing in too much revenue and performing too many surgeries, according to the report.

"At hearing, Copley's CEO informed the board that the overage was attributable to utilization beyond that projected in the [Certificate of Need] application, and to the success of Copley's orthopedic program," Ms. Henkin wrote. "CEO Mathisen personally took blame 'in a good way' for the increased utilization, explaining that the hospital had become more efficient under his watch, could perform more orthopedic surgeries and procedures in the newly constructed surgical suite, and that this in turn increased patient access to care."

Ms. Henkin said the board will not pursue enforcement action that could lead to sanctions if the hospital brings its net patient revenue growth down to the cap set by the board and achieves compliance with the board's budget orders, according to the report.

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