Vermont hospitals ordered to lower future price growth

Members of Vermont's Green Mountain Care Board unanimously voted to have hospitals use 50 percent of any fiscal year 2016 excess revenue to offset growth in the prices they charge payers in FY 2018, according to VTDigger

Under Vermont law, the Green Mountain Care Board is in charge of controlling the rate of growth in healthcare costs. Since 2011, the board has regulated hospital budgets and the rates payers charge.

Eight of Vermont's largest 14 hospitals went $60.3 million over the budget set by the Green Mountain Care Board in FY 2016. Six of the hospitals faced enforcement action due to the high amount of excess revenue they took in.

Burlington-based University of Vermont Medical Center and Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin, both part of University of Vermont Health Network, recorded the highest revenue surpluses in FY 2016. The board limited their price increase to 0.72 percent for FY 2018, a decrease from the 2.45 percent price increase the hospitals implemented in FY 2017.

The board limited Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital in St. Johnsbury to a 3.2 percent price increase and Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington to a 2.85 percent increase, while Northwestern Medical Center in St. Albans must reduce its prices by 1.1 percent in FY 2018. Leaders of Rutland (Vt.) Regional Medical Center said they wanted to reduce prices starting May 1, and the board accepted that proposal, according to the report.

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