Rutland Regional Hospital Cuts Acute Care Program
05/30/12 5:50PM By Nina Keck  Download MP3
Facing a $7 million budget shortfall, the Rutland Regional Medical Center board of directors narrowly voted on Wednesday to close the hospital's inpatient rehabilitation unit.
Hospital President Tom Huebner said the 8-to-7 vote shows how difficult the decision was. The board had to choose between closing the hospital's highly regarded acute care rehab program or find another way to cut $3.5 million out of next year's budget.
He said the situation is exacerbated by declining Medicare reimbursements and a smaller, state-imposed revenue cap on hospitals. "I really think this is a reflection of the fact that we as a society cannot afford everything in health care," Huebner said. "That these are not policy decisions we are making in Rutland, Vermont. But we need to find ways to deal with the consequences," he said.
The rehab unit will gradually stop taking new patients this summer and shut down completely by October 1. Huebner said the 40 full- and part-time employees who staff it will be given first choice of any hospital openings they're qualified for.
He said local nursing homes that already provide inpatient rehab services will likely be able to care for most patients in the community.