Porter’s Budget Aims to Improve Patient Access, Expand Workforce
This week Porter Medical Center, along with our two Vermont partner hospitals in the University of Vermont Health Network, presents our fiscal year 2024 budget to Vermont’s health care regulator, the Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB), for approval. Additional details of the proposal can be found in John Flowers’ August 3 story in this newspaper [Addison County Independent]. I’m writing today to share with our community some of the planning behind our Porter’s request for an increase in budget this coming year.
Porter is committed to meeting the growing demand for health care in our region. We have seen an increase in patient demand since the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with rapid inflation. Our physician-led care teams need to expand so they can better serve our growing and aging region, but workforce shortages exist across our organization, including doctors. This impacts our budget because in order to continue to serve those in our community needing care, we have to hire traveling staff, who cost significantly more per hour to employ.
The requested budget for next year will help us recruit, hire and retain key providers, nurses, technologists and support staff. With rising inflation, salaries and housing costs, our budget must align with the health care needs of our community.
One such FY24 investment includes rethinking safety features and security measures in our Emergency Department to ensure our staff are safe. We will also continue to expand training and career development pathways for staff, and invest in updated equipment and technology.
We’ll also be reworking how we use our surgical spaces, allowing surgeons from our UVM Health Network partners, including UVM Medical Center, to book time in our Operating Rooms. This will allow us to see more patients and ensure our facilities are maximizing efficiency by bringing in more providers and teams, which is a win for patient access and is directly tied to recruiting and retaining staff. For more on how we are partnering to address our challenges, visit uvmhealthimpact.org.
It is a fiscal reality that Porter, like almost every hospital in Vermont, needs to increase our budget beyond the growth guidance set by the GMCB before the pandemic and recent inflation. We view this budget request as an important investment in Porter’s ability to provide exceptional health care to our community. I encourage you to reach out to me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scott Comeau, VP and Chief Financial Officer at Porter Medical Center