The former head of Vermont's largest hospital was sentenced Monday two years in federal prison for his role in a scheme to hide the true costs of Fletcher Allen Health Care's multimillion-dollar expansion project. William Boettcher was ordered to report June 7 to a federal prison work camp at Nellis, Nev. ''What you did to public trust ... is permanent and cannot be erased,'' U.S. District Court Judge William Sessions III said at the sentencing. ''The court needs to make a clear statement ... that everyone be honest, forthcoming and truthful.'' Boettcher has pleaded guilty to charges that he lied to regulators about what the Renaissance Project would cost. He has agreed to repay Fletcher Allen the $733,000 severance package he was granted when he resigned two years ago as the scandal about the project's growing cost emerged.
The state and new hospital executives say the expansion project now nearing completion will cost about $380 million. It includes a new emergency room, laboratories, a birthing center, an outpatient hospital, an education center and parking. State and federal officials charge that hospital administrators maintained two sets of books for the project, one that was presented for the required state approvals and another that reflected how much actually would be spent. Boettcher is one of four former hospital executives who have been charged in connection with the scandal. Three have agreed to plead guilty and one is fighting the charges. All have portrayed Boettcher as the leader of the effort to build the Renaissance Project regardless of the cost.-Associated Press