We thought you would be interested in this column that ran recently in the Caledonian Record.
By Claudio Fort, CEO, North Country Hospital
"Vermont's hospitals have been working in good faith with state regulators for years
to hold our budgets down to historic lows and change the way we deliver care.
However, despite the efforts of Vermont's hospitals, health care costs continue to
rise, and force business leaders and families to make difficult choices.
For Vermont's hospitals, particularly North Country, the discussion is not about how
to "increase profits," as some have suggested - it's about making sure we are able
to keep our doors open. This year, our hospital has requested modest rate increases
that we predict will allow us a net operating profit margin for 2017 of just 1.33% to
reinvest in patient care.
It's vital to consider budget numbers - especially increases over time in net patient
revenues and operating surpluses - in the context of our margin, which reflects both
our revenues and our expenses. It's gotten much more expensive to provide care
and we are an aging state. We must not perpetuate a misguided narrative that it's
somehow bad for hospitals to be on sound financial footing, able to invest in the
latest technology and facilities. I can tell you firsthand the difficult choices involved in
keeping a community hospital open, regardless of its size. Every decision must be
made based on whether it helps us provide the best care possible for everyone in
our community, regardless of their ability to pay."