The Green Mountain Care Board ruled Tuesday that a New Hampshire urgent care company does not need further review of its plans to operate centers in Vermont.

The New London, N.H., company ClearChoiceMD had requested that the board make a determination whether its plan to open five centers in Vermont would trigger the certificate of need process.

ClearChoice has already leased properties in Rutland, Burlington, Brattleboro, St. Albans and Barre. The company intends to open the Barre and St. Albans locations in June.

Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin will open its own urgent care center in May. The hospital was not required to obtain a certificate of need either, because the standalone facility does not meet cost thresholds to trigger the oversight process.

The two urgent care centers in Barre would be just a short distance from one another on the Barre-Montpelier Road. Northwestern Medical Center has plans to open an urgent care center in St. Albans as well, meaning the city will also have two centers. Fletcher Allen Health Care also operates a urgent care center in Burlington.

Hospital executives say they want the process to be regulated to ensure there will not be a duplication of services that will drive up health care spending because of fixed system costs.

ClearChoice executives say that without competition, hospital-owned urgent care centers have no motivation to lower prices.



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