- Associated Press - Friday, September 12, 2014

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - The budgets of Vermont’s 14 hospitals will increase by an average of 3.1 percent in the next fiscal year.

The 3.1 percent rise means total hospital budgets will go up by $67 million to a total of $2.2 billion.

The Green Mountain Care Board approved the rate changes for the state’s hospitals on Thursday.

Last year, the increase was 2.7 percent. In 2013, it was 7.1 percent.

Green Mountain Care Board chairman Al Gobeille said the growth in hospital budgets over the past two years is less than half of what it was between 2008 and 2012.

“As a statewide system, Vermont’s hospitals continue to do the hard work to meet our expectations for restrained budget growth,” he said.

The next big step for the board is to develop a payment reform system for hospitals that would replace the current fee-for-service model, Gobeille said.

Net budgets for 2015 at Vermont’s hospitals range from a low of just under $18 million at Grace Cottage Hospital in Townshend to just over $1 billion at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington.

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