Brattleboro Retreat’s finances improve

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(Host) The Brattleboro Retreat says its financial picture has improved dramatically. The retreat provides out-patient and residential treatment for psychiatric and addiction problems.

Last year, the Brattleboro Retreat reported a two million dollar loss. Officials said if the losses continued they might not be able to remain open. However, for the first six months of this year, the Retreat is running a surplus of over two hundred thousand dollars. CEO Rick Palmisano says the key to the turnaround is an agreement by the state to increase the amount paid for treatment of Medicaid patients.

The Retreat used the higher state payments to convince private insurance companies to increase their reimbursements.

(Palmisano) “What we’ve said to commercial insurers is that the State of Vermont is certainly not going to pay higher rates than commercial insurers, so we will not accept rates lower than the rates that were being paid by the State of Vermont.”

(Host) Palmisano says the number of patients receiving treatment at the Brattleboro facility has increased. He says it’s difficult to tell if the Retreat will finish the year in the black.

(Palmisano) “I think the right phrase would be ‘cautiously optimistic’. The reality is that there is still tremendous pressure on health care providers financially and particularly psychiatric hospitals, because the amount of dollars that are being put into those types of services on a national basis are being severely limited. Much more so, in fact, than medical care.”

(Host) The Brattleboro Retreat employs more than four hundred people. The facility is second largest employer in Windham County.

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