Hospitals seek commercial rates to invest in staff, protect vital services and stabilize critical infrastructure to deliver high-quality, cost-effective care to patients
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (VAHHS) today announced that its non-profit hospitals submitted what they are calling “stabilization budgets” to the Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB). Hospitals continue to experience high patient volumes with many at or exceeding their capacity to deliver care. Additionally, the entire health care system is stressed, so patients are presenting sicker or in need of more services due to delayed care or must remain hospitalized because there are no care options in long term care facilities or the community.
VAHHS said hospital budgets are unique to the organizations creating them and reflect their values and commitments and the realities they face. Since the pandemic, hospitals have experienced significant and increased financial strain exacerbated by the recent economic decline and a growing workforce shortage.
In this current fiscal year, nearly all hospitals are experiencing a negative operating margin, meaning they are losing money. In response, hospitals are engaged in strategic plans to cut costs and reduce spending where possible to protect vital services.
The hospitals are seeking commercial rate increases, regulated by the GMCB, to provide the resources necessary to achieve quality care, invest in aging equipment and buildings and provide competitive wages for their hard-working staff and providers.
“These budgets reflect significant efforts to reduce costs, cut expenses and find efficiencies and savings where possible and, more important than that, they are compassionate and community-minded,” said Mike Del Trecco, Interim President and CEO of VAHHS. “To achieve stabilization in our health care system will require the GMCB to support commercial rate increases that reflect the significant and growing pressures our hospitals face. Only then will we be able to see our way to begin recovering. These budgets are the critical next step in the process.”
Hospitals are required to submit their annual budgets to the GMCB on July 1 for review and approval. The GMCB will do an initial public review of hospital budgets on July 27 before beginning individual hospital reviews starting on August 15. Deliberations and final budget orders typically take place in September.
“VAHHS will be monitoring the process carefully, as we always do, to advocate for the resources our hospitals require,” added Del Trecco. “We are also working closely with the Agency of Human Services on policies to enhance support through state and federal avenues.”
Details for each hospital will be public in the coming weeks. To follow the process, visit the Green Mountain Care Board Hospital Budget Review Page.
7.1.2022. Montpelier, VT – Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems VAHHS.org