Health Commissioner Establishes Rate Increases for FY 2009 Vermont Hospital BudgetsMontpelier, VT — Paulette J. Thabault, Commissioner of Banking, Insurance, Securities, andHealth Care Administration (BISHCA), announced that she has established the 2009 budgets forVermont hospitals. The hospitals testified about their budgets at public hearings held over athree-day period before Commissioner Thabault and the Public Oversight Commission (POC).The Vermont hospital fiscal year for 2009 runs from October 1, 2008 through September 30,2009.The State of Vermont strives to ensure that all residents have access to affordable high qualityhealth care. As part of this effort, Vermont’s hospitals must operate within the budgetsestablished by the Commissioner. As mandated by the Vermont Legislature, hospital budgetsmust: (1) be consistent with the Health Resource Allocation Plan adopted by the Governor onAugust 2, 2005; (2) compare to appropriate national, in-state, regional and peer group norms; (3)evidence efficient and economic operation of the hospital; and (4) reflect budget performance inprior years.This year, hospitals requested an average 9.8% rate increase, although individual hospital raterequests ranged from 3.8% to 11.8%. These rates reflected much lower hospital reimbursementestimates than have been seen in recent years. At this time, the Commissioner’s decisions resultin a decrease from the requested 9.8% system average rate increase to 9.5%. The Commissionerestablished the following rates for the FY 2009 hospital budgets, subject to further adjustmentsas Medicaid revenue data becomes available:Hospital Requested Rate Increase Revised Rate IncreaseBrattleboro Memorial Hospital 7.9% 7.5%Central Vermont Medical Center 10.0% 9.6%Copley Hospital 6.0% 6.0%Fletcher Allen Health Care 10.0% 10.0%Gifford Medical Center 8.6% 7.9%Carlos Otis Health Center 5.0% 5.0%Mount Ascutney Hospital 10.9% 10.5%North Country Hospital 7.0% 7.0%Northeastern VT Regional Hospital 10.0% 9.2%Northwestern Medical Center 11.4% 10.7%Porter Medical Center 11.2% 11.0%Rutland Regional Medical Center 10.9% 9.6%Southwestern Vermont Medical Center 11.8% 10.7%Springfield Hospital 3.8% 3.8%The Commissioner balanced numerous factors in reviewing the proposed budgets: departmenttargets for inflation and utilization increases, numerous changes occurring in reimbursement,pressures in the overall economy including fuel oil increases, new program expense increases,hospital physician acquisitions, the challenges associated with recruiting medical professionals toVermont, operating surplus and margins, prior period budget performance, price, quality andpatient satisfaction information, and the unique circumstances of each hospital.