MONTPELIER -- The Green Mountain Care Board today praised Vermont's hospitals for preliminary budget submissions that achieve another historically low growth rate for the second consecutive year. These proposals reflect the commitment of Vermont's hospitals to lead with effective reforms that slow health care spending and improve quality for patients.

Vermont's 14 non-profit hospitals submitted budgets to the board last week. Submission of these budgets is the first step in a regulatory review process that includes a thorough consideration of the budgets by regulators, public hearings and decisions by the board in September. The fiscal year for Vermont's hospitals begins October 1.

"Preliminary data submitted by Vermont's 14 hospitals indicate that the average requested total increase in net patient revenue for FY 15 is 2.6 percent. Net patient revenue includes payments hospitals receive from patients, government, and insurers to pay for patient care-but not revenues from other activities such as cafeterias, parking, and philanthropy," the board said in its announcement.

Last year, the board approved growth of 2.7 percent, noting this was "the lowest increase for hospitals in at least 15 years."

Bea Grause, president of the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems said the budget submissions are part of the hospitals work to make healthcare affordable and accessible for every Vermonter and strengthen the economy.

"As a matter of principle, the doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals who make up Vermont's hospitals are committed to reforms that lower costs and guarantee access to care for our patients and responsible budgeting is an important part of this effort," Grause said. "In addition to holding down costs for patients, we're working with policymakers to ensure healthcare reforms cover everyone and protect the right every patient has to choose the doctors and hospitals of their choice."

All of Vermont's hospitals are non-profit organizations and they employ, directly and indirectly, about 27,000 Vermonters, Grause added. "As some of the state's largest employers, our hospitals want to make certain health care reforms protect both patients and the economy -- so every family and business is healthy and can prosper."