The Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB) met with the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday to present their budget for 2024. The new Chairman, Owen Foster, introduced the current Board, which includes Jessica Holmes, Robin Lunge, David Murman, Thom Walsh, and Susan Barrett.
He continued on to discuss the history of the Board that was established in 2011, and that the members are appointed by the Governor. There are experts from various fields, but their primary vision is a sustainable and equitable health care system that promotes better health outcomes for Vermonters. They directly regulate health insurer rate review Certificate of Need (CON) applications from hospitals. He stated that “they all need each other to function”, which includes hospitals.
The GMCB is guided by Act 167 of 2022, which includes provisions on hospital sustainability, the regulatory process, All-Payer Model and mental health. One of the members of the Committee asked what the role of the state is with hospital sustainability. Foster explained that the GMCB holds no role as to whether a hospital remains open or is closed. Committee members were also concerned about whether the State has any financial responsibility in supporting hospitals. He explained that the GMCB does NOT influence the hospital budgets, but it does approve them.
There was further discussion with the Committee about the All-Payer Model and health care reform in general. Of particular interest as quality of care, health care access and affordability, including the (potential) impact of the Legislature on health care. The GMCB then presented their Governor-recommended budget for FY2024, which had a total price tag of $8.5M which includes an increase of $328K over the FY2023 budget. Representative Harrison asked if it would be possible to reduce the size of the board from five to three. A good open-ended discussion among the Committee followed with no conclusion, but they are open for further discussion.