Fletcher Allen Health Care, Burlington, Vt., can afford its controversial $356 million expansion project and maintain its financial health, despite a troubled past nine months, according to consulting firm Kaufman Hall & Associates, Northfield, Ill. Given its market power, Fletcher Allen "is well-positioned for long-term success," the firm said. However, 2003 will be a crucial year. Amid a scandal over failure to comply with state certificate-of-need requirements, the 510-bed hospital's CEO, COO, senior vice president of business development and one-half of its board have resigned. Among other troubles, the cost of the hospital's expansion project exceeded state approvals by $146 million and executives were accused of withholding information from regulators. More recently, Fletcher Allen lowered its projected fiscal-year operating margin to $4 million from $27.4 million, after a weak first six months. The consultants' report was required by the state Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration as part of Fletcher Allen's revised CON application for the expansion project. -- by Tony Fong
Vt. system can survive, despite CON fiasco: report
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