VMS January 2021 Webinar: Emerging Information on COVID-19
Please join us on Thursday, January 21, 2020 from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm for our VMS January webinar, "Emerging Information on COVID-19." Patsy Tassler Kelso, PhD, the State Epidemiologist for Infectious Disease at the Vermont Department of Health (VDH), will discuss how COVID-19 has developed, spread, and led to necessary public health changes in Vermont. The discussion will be drawing on Vermont's public health expertise and cover emerging issues related to COVID-19 epidemiology and vaccine distribution. Objectives of the webinar include:
- Understanding the epidemiology of COVID-19 in Vermont.
- Identifying ways in which Vermont’s response is data-driven.
- Describing Vermont’s progress with COVID-19 vaccines administered to date.
- Understanding next steps for vaccine distribution.
To register click here. To see the entire VMS Thursday Webinar series for 2020/2021 click here. This webinar will take place at the same time VMS is hosting our scheduled Commissioner Call. We will provide both events as opportunities for VMS members to obtain up-to-date information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vermont COVID-19 Vaccine Update
Vermont continues to make progress in providing the COVID-19 vaccine to State health care personnel and the residents/staff at our long-term care facilities. January 11th, the deadline for hospitals to contact health care workers in their hospital service area to schedule vaccine administration has passed. If you are a Vermont health care worker providing direct care to patients and you have not been contacted in order to be registered for your COVID-19 vaccine please reach out to Elizabeth Alessi at firstname.lastname@example.org, who can provide you a point of contact at your local hospital. Although vaccine dose supply remains low, Vermont currently ranks first in the Northeast at 4.13 doses administered per 100 residents. Vermont’s Vaccine Implementation Advisory Committee continues to define the next phase of COVID-19 vaccination prioritization and plans to use age groupings, starting with Vermonters 75+, then 70+, and 65+ as their criterium. Vermonters with specific high-risk conditions will also be prioritized in the next phase. Secretary Mike Smith announced the State will release a full plan that includes the specific high-risk conditions eligible for the vaccine on Friday, January 15th. For the latest presentation from the VT Vaccine Advisory Group click here. Last Friday, the State of Vermont released a request for proposal (RFP) asking both private and public parties to submit either an all-encompassing, state wide vaccination operational plan or a regional plan to better facilitate mass COVID-19 vaccination services across the State. Chris Finley, Immunization Program Director at Vermont Department of Health, clarified that individual practices that want to set-up their own COVID-19 vaccine clinic still need to enroll and complete the required CDC forms through Vermont’s Immunization Program. Click to read VMS detailed notes from the Jan. 12, 2021 Governor's press conference.
Recent COVID-19 Guidance and Resources:
VMS Weekly Zoom with Commissioner of Health, Thursdays at 12:30 pm
Gov. Scott Highlights Health Care Affordability as Key Priority in 2021
week marked the beginning of the 2021 legislative session, which due to
COVID-19, is expected to be held mostly remotely. Governor Scott took advantage
of the digital platform to deliver his 2021 inaugural address last Thursday evening to a broader
television audience and pointed out that despite the hardship brought on by the
virus, there are also key opportunities for our State. Stabilizing our health
care system is an overarching goal of the Administration, with health care
affordability named as a critical facet. Vermonters spent far less on health
care services last year and therefore the Governor has asked the Department of
Financial Regulation (DFR) to review health insurance premiums and rates for
2020 and determine where rebates are appropriate. He suggested capping annual
insurance increases and continuing the move away from paying
fee-for-service (quantity) to more value-based care (quality), while
prioritizing the prevention aspirations that are part of Vermont's All Payer
Model. He will be seeking mental health improvements as well and a renewed
focus on drug prevention and treatment programs. His first priority remains combatting the COVID-19 virus and rolling out an effective vaccination program,
while seeking economic recovery. Next week, lofty goals will be replaced by
more concrete proposals, as the Governor will deliver his FY22 Governor's
Recommended Budget and the debate will begin between the legislature and the
Governor on what Vermont should invest in now.
HHS Extends Public Health Emergency to April 21, 2021
the AMA, HHS Secretary Azar has extended the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
(PHE) declaration effective Jan. 21, 2021 for an additional 90 days. This means
that the telehealth and other waivers and flexibilities implemented during the
PHE will remain in effect until at least April 21, 2021. In addition, as
reported on in last week’s Rounds, Congress’ Consolidated Appropriations Act,
signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020, included provisions that offset most of the
10.2% downward budget neutrality adjustment scheduled to take effect in the
Medicare Physician Fee Schedule as of Jan. 1, 2021. CMS’s revised payment rates
are available in the Downloads section of the CY
2021 Physician Fee Schedule final rule (CMS-1734-F) webpage.