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The home for VPR's coverage of health and health industry issues affecting the state of Vermont.

Green Mountain Care Board Pushes Sustainability As Rural Hospitals Struggle

The exterior of Springfield Hospital, with a person walking toward the entrance carrying bags
Howard Weiss-Tisman
The Green Mountain Care Board, which oversees hospital budgets in Vermont, is examining sustainability as rural hospitals lose money.

Vermont is the only state in the country that regulates hospital budgets. And as rural hospitals struggle,  the panel that oversees them is requesting more paperwork.

The Green Mountain Care Board wants some hospitals to draw up sustainability plans and to check in every few months to ensure they don't follow the path of Springfield Hospital, which declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June.

Springfield, which has 25 beds, is trying to restructure its debt and remain open. It's not the only hospital losing money, however. Six of Vermont’s 14 hospitals had a negative margin this year.

Susan Barrett, Green Mountain Care Board's executive director, frames the problem this way: "The broader question is, ‘How do rural hospitals throughout the state survive?'"

VPR's Howard Weiss-Tisman has been covering this issue and joins Vermont Edition to talk about rural hospitals and the plans they're making to be sustainable.

Broadcast live on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

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