UVM Health Network Extremely Disappointed, Concerned By Green Mountain Care Board’s Deep, Arbitrary Cuts Impacting Patient Care in FY2023 Budget
Statement from John R. Brumsted, MD, President and CEO of the UVM Health Network.
“We are extremely disappointed and concerned that the Green Mountain Care Board has dismissed the severity of the financial situation facing Vermont’s hospitals – and with it, our patients’ ability to access the care they deserve – with today’s decision to make deep, arbitrary cuts in the UVM Health Network’s carefully constructed FY2023 budgets for the UVM Medical Center and Central Vermont Medical Center.
These budgets included what was needed to protect critical services while continuing vital work to improve access. After finding reductions, tightening our belts, and significantly dipping into our reserves, these were the most responsible budgets possible given ongoing steep inflation in the cost of providing patient care.
Since 2017, the Board has refused to approve budgets that keep pace with inflation, resulting in the UVM Health Network’s operating margin shrinking from 3.26% in FY2017 to a projected negative margin of -3.39% at the end of this fiscal year. As a nonprofit organization, the operating margin is how we invest in our people, equipment and facilities. The Board’s decisions nearly wiped out our entire requested margins for FY2023. The decisions were based on an inconsistent and illogical process, not grounded in reasonable measures of hospital financial health, and not anchored in the actual cost of providing care.
Our patients, families, and incredibly hard-working teams need a regulator that puts patient care at the center of its decision-making. Today’s decisions are a severe blow to our ability to serve our patients, improve access, and increase health equity. It leaves our hospitals weaker in the face of challenges being experienced nationwide.
We will review all of our options in light of the decisions the board made today, including potential appeal, changes to services we provide, and further expense reductions. Further expense reductions, such as not hiring additional staff to meet increasing patient need, will have a negative effect on access to care.”