Vermont hospitals budget requests at ‘historic low’

Vermont's 14 hospitals have focused on increasing the efficiency of care.

The Green Mountain Care Board, the agency in charge of setting the budget cap for Vermont's 14 hospitals, released a preliminary analysis that shows budget requests well below the cap set earlier this year. 

The 14 facilities are seeking a 2.6 percent average increase in net-patient revenue for the coming hospital fiscal year, according to Vermont Public Radio's report. Spending for the 2015 fiscal year totaled $2.229 billion, compared to the $2.172 billion approved by the Green Mountain Care Board.

For context, in 2000, the Vermont hospital's budget increased more than 10 percent. Just last year, budgets saw a 7.2 percent increase, making the 2.6 percent projected increase for 2015 all the more impressive. 

"There's a broad understanding, particularly among the doctors and hospitals in the state, that the growth in health care costs are unsustainable. And we've worked really hard across the system — to be really, really scrupulous about expense control," Dr. John Brumsted, CEO at Fletcher Allen, the state's largest hospital, told local NBC affiliate WPTZ.com.

Dr. Brumsted explained that part of the reasoning for the decline in the budget is area hospitals focus on improving health care efficiency, which leads to reduced costs, as well as carefully selecting new staff. 

The 2015 budget proposal is the smallest increase in 40 years, officials from the Green Mountain Care Board told the source. 

If your facility is looking to increase its financial efficiency, there are a number of potential strategies that can help. Perhaps the most direct and effective means is to outsource receivables management. This strategy is especially effective if your hospital is experiencing issues with health insurance claims follow-up, or has only a limited number of employees in its accounts receivable department.