Regulators deny UVM Medical Center mid-year rate hike

Instead, the Green Mountain Care Board approved just a fraction of what the UVM Medical Center and Central Vermont Medical Center asked for.
Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 3:27 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont’s largest health network says regulators have jeopardized patients’ access to quality care. That’s because regulators rejected a 10% mid-year rate hike at both the UVM Medical Center and Central Vermont Medical Center.

Instead, in a 3-2 vote, the Green Mountain Care Board approved just a fraction of what the hospitals asked for-- a 2.7% increase at Central Vermont and 2.5% at the UVM Medical Center.

Green Mountain Care Board Chair Kevin Mullin said it’s rare to greenlight any mid-year adjustment, but board members recognized UVM’s recent move to increase nurse wages warranted some extra support. He says the lower rate of increase is a compromise.

“If they keep raising their rates at an unsustainable rate that Vermont can afford, there’s going to be less and less people insured in Vermont and a lot more underinsured who will skip the necessary preventive care-- annual checkups and things like that-- if they have to pay out of pocket,” Mullin said.

Mullin says some are upset the board granted a rate hike at all, especially after regulators recently denied a similar request from the Rutland Regional Medical Center.

Mullin trusts the UVM Health Network will come up with a contingency plan that will keep the hospitals running smoothly.

The board will revisit budget adjustments this September.

In a statement, UVM Health Network writes:

“The Green Mountain Care Board’s decisions on mid-year budget adjustment requests from the University of Vermont Medical Center and Central Vermont Medical Center, after multiple years of denying hospitals the budget increases necessary to ensure access to services and invest in facilities, have put at risk major portions of Vermont’s not-for-profit, community-based health care safety net. UVM Medical Center and CVMC took the extraordinary step to ask the Board for a mid-year budget adjustment, and did not do so lightly. Health care providers have the responsibility for caring for all Vermonters, and are not immune to the inflationary pressures that we know are also impacting businesses and families. These pressures have prompted cost saving efforts at UVMMC and CVMC, but cost savings alone will not bridge the gap. More revenue is needed to cover the increased cost to both hospitals for providing the care that Vermonters count on. We are one of only two states in the nation where such a revenue increase requires state approval.

We will review the impact of today’s decision and determine where we can further reduce costs or programs to live within the Board’s imposed limits.

After proudly playing a vital role in the state’s COVID-19 response, we have set out to maintain and improve access to care for our growing and aging population; support the most vulnerable patients in our region, especially those in need of critical mental health care; and continue striving to be an innovative academic health system with high quality care and modern facilities. If we cannot cover the expenses of running UVMMC and CVMC, those efforts are all at risk.”

Related Stories:

UVM Health Network requests 10% midyear rate hike

Regulators deny Rutland hospital’s midyear rate hike request

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