Vermont hospital considering partnerships, bankruptcy as financial struggles drag on: 8 things to know

Although Springfield (Vt.) Hospital has made various cost-cutting moves in recent months, the hospital continues to see operating losses and is considering several options to shore up finances, according to VTDigger.

Eight things to know:

1. Over the course of two fiscal years, the hospital lost about $14 million.

2. As the losses mounted, the facility obtained an $800,000 loan from Vermont to prevent closure. In addition, Springfield Hospital announced in February a restructuring of operations, which included layoffs and wage cuts. Additionally, the hospital plans to shutter its childbirth center June 1 due to financial issues.

3. Leadership changes also occurred at the organization due to the financial struggles. Last December, Springfield's CEO Tim Ford resigned after reports surfaced that revealed the severity of the hospital's financial issues, including that bills were going unpaid. This came about one week after Springfield Hospital's CFO Scott Whittemore departed.

4. After two of the top executives resigned amid the hospital's financial troubles, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott appointed Tom Huebner, former CEO of Rutland (Vt.) Regional Medical Center, to evaluate and monitor the hospital and advise its leaders. Currently, Mike Halstead is serving as interim CEO, and Wayne Scholz is serving as interim CFO. Both are employees of Quorum Health Resources, a Brentwood, Tenn.-based company hired by the Springfield Hospital to help get through the financial challenges.

5. Despite the cost-cutting efforts and leadership changes, Springfield Hospital still expects operating losses of $5.5 million to $6 million this fiscal year, according to VTDigger.

6. Mr. Halstead called the hospital's future "tenuous." He reportedly told the Green Mountain Care Board, the board that oversees hospitals in the state, "We know what we're trying to do, but it's tenuous as to whether we can pull it off."

7. The hospital is considering multiple next steps. Hospital administrators told the care board these include a possible partnership with Lebanon, N.H.-based Dartmouth-Hitchcock or another health system, or maybe filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy..

8. The care board, after receiving an update from administrators, agreed to give the hospital a budget adjustment that may result in nearly $500,000 in additional revenue this year for the hospital, according to VTDigger. Meanwhile, Mr. Halstead said Springfield Hospital is looking to replace lost clinical employees and is "doing everything we possibly can to try to maintain the staff that we have."

Read the full VTDigger report here.


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