The Securities and Exchange Commission is conducting an informal investigation of Fletcher Allen Health Care, Burlington, Vt., where state and federal officials are already examining a 2-year-old hospital expansion project. In a letter to Fletcher Allen COO Thad Krupka dated Aug. 23, the SEC requested that the one-hospital system voluntarily provide all correspondence concerning the $150 million in bonds Fletcher Allen secured for its "Renaissance Project," a capital expansion to replace outdated facilities.
In September, Fletcher Allen provided the SEC with the same documents it had given federal and state investigators, said Spencer Knapp, Fletcher Allen's acting general counsel. The health system has not yet received a response from the SEC, which also requested detailed documentation related to the suspension of former Fletcher Allen Chief Executive William Boettcher. He was placed on administrative leave on July 23 and later resigned, after allegations that he deliberately withheld information about a $55 million parking garage included in the expansion, according to Knapp.
"We have made clear to (state investigators) that whatever judgments they might make about our past, this is a project that's terribly important to our community, and most of the cost has been spent already or is fully committed," Knapp told the Daily Dose.
The certificate of need issued for the Renaissance Project allowed for $173 million in expenses, Knapp said. Fletcher Allen is in the process of amending that CON to allow an additional $98 million in spending, some of which "should have been included in the first CON" and some of which represents "typical expense overruns," Knapp said. The Renaissance Project, he said, is 40% complete. -- by Jeff Tieman