Green Mountain Care Board Chair Kevin Mullin to Retire This Summer | Health Care | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Green Mountain Care Board Chair Kevin Mullin to Retire This Summer


Published April 6, 2022 at 5:10 p.m.

Kevin Mullin, chair of the Green Mountain Care Board - FILE: JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • File: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Kevin Mullin, chair of the Green Mountain Care Board
The chair of the powerful regulatory body that oversees Vermont's health care system plans to retire this summer ahead of what's expected to be a highly contentious — and expensive — hospital budget process.

Kevin Mullin, a former small-business owner and longtime Republican state lawmaker, has spent the last five years leading the Green Mountain Care Board. The five-member body is tasked with setting health insurance rates and approving hospitals budgets, among other responsibilities.

Mullin, 63, announced his decision to retire at a meeting Wednesday, saying it came after "months and months of soul searching."

Mullin spent nearly two decades in the Vermont legislature, including 15 years as a state senator. The board that he chairs remains one of the most powerful state health care regulators in the country, overseeing an industry that accounts for nearly 20 percent of the state's economy.

Mullin was appointed to the board in 2017 to fill a vacant seat. Gov. Phil Scott reappointed him a year later for a term set to end in 2024. A nominating committee will now offer Scott a list of potential successors. 

Major decisions loom for the board in the coming year. Vermont hospitals are expected to seek substantial rate increases during this summer's budget cycle as they respond to inflation and rising labor costs. Discussions are also under way for how Vermont can continue moving away from the fee-for-service based system that's largely blamed for the never-ending rise in health care costs.
Citing this "critical juncture," Mullin said in a phone interview that he would love to stick around long enough to shape the future of Vermont's health care reform. "But I think that would be completely selfish, because then I burden the next person with stepping into something that they didn't have a hand in," he said.

"I just think that this is the right time," he added, "because it allows someone to come in and be involved with the next model from the very beginning and get to see it through."

As for what's next for him personally, Mullin mused about traveling and said he hopes to spend more time with family.

He also plans to end one of the board's most dubious traditions: former chairs going on to work for the entities they once regulated. Mullin's two predecessors — Anya Rader Wallack and Al Gobeille — both went on to work for the University of Vermont Health Network. Gobeille, in fact, was on hand at Wednesday's meeting to advocate for a pending mid-year budget adjustment request from two of the health network's hospitals.

As Seven Days began to ask Mullin whether he, too, might walk through this revolving door, he interrupted: "Let me state emphatically that I am not going to ever work for any of the entities that I was a regulator for. Period. End of discussion."

An entity has already reached out to him, he added — one he wouldn't identify, beyond saying it was not a UVM hospital. His response? "I said, 'I'm not that foolish.'"