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Panel: Vt. hospital budgets not on 'sustainable path' - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Panel: Vt. hospital budgets not on 'sustainable path'

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -

The state board overseeing hospital spending says next year's budgets are not sustainable.

The Green Mountain Care Board set a goal for fiscal year 2013 for the state's 14 hospitals to have a net increase in patient revenues of 3.75 percent. But the budgets approved by the board actually will drive up costs by 5.1 percent.

"This year was a year we allowed for certain investments in health care reform where we expect there will be a return on investment in a short period of time, so we allowed hospitals and hospital systems to spend extra money where they made a case that over a short period of time that will reap more savings you would otherwise get in the system and we will monitor the system to the extent in which those investments pay off," said Anya Rader Wallack of the Green Mountain Care Board.

Wallack says there's also work to be done in reducing the so-called cost shift. That's when Medicare and Medicaid do not cover the full costs of care, and the burden is shifted to commercial insurance ratepayers.

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