BURLINGTON, VT. >> State regulators have voted to allow two hospitals within the University of Vermont Heath Network to use excess revenue to support community programs.

The Green Mountain Care Board voted to approve a request made by UVM Medical Center and Central Vermont Medical Center to put $12 million toward supporting programs related to affordable housing, mental health care and substance abuse.

Board Chairman Al Gobeille tells The Burlington Free Press that Thursday's 3-2 vote also allows the hospitals to use $17 million to bring down commercial health insurance rates.

Gobeille says he appreciates the hospital group's dedication to support "upstream" population health efforts.

Board members plan to draft a policy for guiding hospitals in using excess revenue in the future.

Information from: The Burlington Free Press, http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com