Hospital budget instructions from the Green Mountain Care Board released this month allow Vermont's 14 hospitals to increase spending by 3 percent. The increase represents roughly $66 million.

The instructions allow for an additional 0.8 percent increase for "health care reform investment" -- or projects -- that dovetail with Vermont's health care reform agenda. The costs for those projects are not included in the $66 million.

The overall increase would mean roughly $2.7 billion in total spending for the hospital system. The Green Mountain Care Board's goal has been to keep hospital budget growth at 3 percent annually.

Nationally, hospital spending grew 4.9 percent in 2012 and 3.5 in 2011, according to figures from the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services.

Hospitals will submit their budgets for this year (FY 15) to the board by July 1. The board will spend the summer reviewing them, and representatives from the hospitals will testify on their budget requests in August.

The budgets must be approved by Sept. 15 in order to be in place for the start of the next fiscal year Oct. 1.