Springfield Hospital’s budget proposal draws skepticism from Vermont board

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 8/31/2021 9:40:10 PM
Modified: 8/31/2021 9:40:16 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. — Green Mountain Care Board officials called Springfield Hospital’s proposed $55 million operating budget for the coming year “aspirational” in a hospital budget hearing last week and urged the hospital’s leaders to rethink their strategy for the future by cutting costs or attracting more patients.

“I’ve got to tell you I am extremely concerned about your ability to meet the forecast that you put together here,” said Maureen Usifer, a board member from Colchester, Vt.

Usifer and other board members told Springfield Hospital leaders at last Friday’s hearing that, based on the hospital’s recent past performance, it’s not clear how it will increase revenues to meet expenses in the coming fiscal year even if the Green Mountain board approves the hospital’s request for an increase in the rate it charges commercial insurers for services.

The hospital has continued to face financial difficulties following its exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy last December and reduced visits amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In June, Springfield Hospital’s low cash-on-hand situation was such that it received a $2 million boost from the state on top of additional support the state had already given the hospital to help it through bankruptcy.

Springfield Hospital officials told regulators they expected to finish the fiscal year on Sept. 30 with a negative operating margin of $3.35 million, more than 6% of its total budget of $52.6 million, in filings with the board.

For their part, Springfield Hospital’s leaders say they plan to see revenues increase as they return to more normal volumes this year in the hospital and its psychiatric facility in Bellows Falls, Vt. Hospital officials also are seeking to hire a second general surgeon and exploring the idea of starting a pain management service.

During the hearing, hospital officials agreed to provide more information to the board about how they developed their financial forecasts for the coming year and also plan to do a community needs assessment to help inform the hospital’s future planning.

Springfield Hospital CEO Bob Adcock said in a statement this week: “We are gathering the requested information and will continue to work collaboratively with the Green Mountain Care Board and the State of Vermont to ensure ongoing access to quality health services for residents of the greater Springfield region.”

Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at ndoyleburr@vnews.com or 603-727-3213.

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