U of Vermont Medical Center leaders: Affiliations haven't raised prices

Recent studies have found consolidation among healthcare providers is linked to higher prices nationally. But that's not the case in Vermont, Stephen Leffler, MD, the interim president of the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, wrote in a Vermont Business Magazine op-ed.

The Dec. 9 op-ed, co-written with Allie Stickney, chair of UVM Medical Center's board of trustees, answered questions about whether the hospital's affiliations through the UVM Health Network have led to higher prices. "The answer," the authors wrote, "is a resounding no [emphasis in original]."

Dr. Leffler and Ms. Stickney gave two reasons why national trends linking consolidation to higher prices don't reflect what's happening in Vermont. First, Vermont has highly regulated hospital budgets through its Green Mountain Care Board, they said. Second, the UVM Health Network is focused on preserving rural healthcare services and not increasing prices. They pointed to studies focused on the Network's ability to keep costs lower than others in the state.

"Provider consolidation may well be driving costs around the country in many circumstances. While we have much work to do in Vermont to make healthcare more affordable, this is one trend that does not apply here," Dr. Leffler and Ms. Stickney wrote. "The Network is helping us preserve access in our rural communities, not raise prices."

Read the full op-ed here.

More articles on healthcare finance:
Mayo Clinic Health System to close hospital in 2020
UPMC to close hospital in 2020
Rural hospital closures hit record high in 2019 — here's why

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