Vermont Business Magazine In a statement issued Tuesday afternoon and entitled "Clarification re: CVMC," Green Mountain Care Board member Cornelius Hogan said "he got ahead of himself" in remarks he made during a board meeting last week to Central Vermont Medical Center officials regarding possible sanctions by the board regarding the Berlin hospital's spending. A VTDigger story Monday covering the meeting then generated a response from GMCB's own general counsel that contradicted Hogan's statement, which then was followed by Hogan's own retraction Tuesday.
The GMCB has been reviewing hospital budgets, which it must approve each year. In the last fiscal year, several hospitals had revenues that exceeded budgeted amounts. The issue with CVMC, which is part of The UVM Health Network (includes the UVM Medical Center and Porter Hospital) was directed toward whether CVMC required a certificate of need for a particular project. Hogan initially took the public view that CVMC should have gotten a CON and in not doing so could be sanctioned by the GMCB. Counsel and now Hogan acknowledges that is not the case.
VTDigger quoted Hogan as admonishing CVMC for exceeding its budget and expanding its urgent care program and could face upwards of a $100,000 fine. He also chastised its parent organization. VTDigger quoted him as saying, "And I’ve got to tell you, I’ve lost my trust in Central Vermont (Medical Center).”
However, an ensuing comment to the story from GMCB General Counsel Judith Henkin said: "As General Counsel for the Green Mountain Care Board, I want to correct the impression that the Board plans to conduct an investigation of CVMC based on the use of its satellite location for offices and urgent care. Despite member Hogan's statement during discussion of CVMC's 2016 hospital budget performance ("We are going to take that [CVMC expansion] up under a special CON [certificate of need] review"), the Board has not agreed to, and does not have a factual basis for, such an investigation."
The GMCB is in a further state of uncertainty as an apparent paperwork error, reported in Seven Days, might mean that board member Robin Lunge is not officially on the board, thus leaving the GMCB without a quorum, as its five-member board is now down to only three members. Without at least three voting members it would not be able to issue rulings. She was appointed by Governor Shumlin last fall.
Governor Scott said at a press conference Tuesday that the paperwork regarding that appointment has not been found. He then said that if the Senate confirms her, as it apparently intends, that would suffice. Along with Lunge and Hogan, the only other current board member is Jessica Holmes.
GMCB Member Cornelius Hogan Statement April 18, 2017
I got ahead of myself when I stated at the April 13, 2017 meeting that the Board is investigating or considering imposing a sanction against the Central Vermont Medical Center for developing a new health care project without a certificate of need (CON). At this point, the Board does not have a factual basis to take these actions.
Reviewing the CON laws and rules, it appears they allow for incremental hospital growth over a number of years without approval of the Board. The Board has already begun looking at possible revisions to the CON process. Board staff will be working with stakeholders over the summer to provide the Legislature with potential changes in 2018. This may be an issue that can be addressed through this process.
I want to reiterate that my statements at the April 13 meeting represented my own thoughts and not those of the Board.