January 26, 2021


COVID-19 Vaccination Registration Opened Monday for Vermonters 75+

Beginning Monday, January 25th, 21,000 Vermonters registered to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 2 of Vermont's vaccination rollout. Phase 2 includes Vermonters who are 75 years and older who live, work, or access primary care in Vermont. Individuals can use this link to register for an appointment: https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19/vaccine/getting-covid-19-vaccine. If someone is unable to register online they can call 855-722-7878. The State has created 54 vaccination sites in 39 towns across the State and people should select the vaccination site closest to their home, as the allocation at each site tracks with the 75 and older population of each region. Only Vermonters that are in the 75 and older age band are able to register at this time and it will take approximately 5 weeks to vaccinate this age band. Kinney Drugs, the regional pharmacy chain, is also scheduling vaccine appointments at 20 of its 21 Vermont locations through a separate registration system, coordinated with the state. About a quarter of the seniors who have registered so far have selected to go through Kinney.

What will individuals be asked when they make an appointment? Those registering will be asked to give:

  • name
  • date of birth
  • address
  • email address, if you have one
  • phone number
  • primary insurance information.  Insurance information is not required, and there is no cost for getting the vaccine.

Individuals won't be able to make an appointment for their second dose until they get their first dose. Before someone leaves the first dose appointment, clinic staff will help make an appointment to get the second dose. Patients should go to this website to register.


COVID 19 Vaccine Registration: When Primary Care Physicians May Be Contacted 

VMS has been advised that any patient registering for a COVID-19 vaccine who indicates that he/she has a history of allergic reactions to vaccines or injectable therapies will not be registered at that time and will instead be directed to contact his/her primary care clinician. The Department of Health has informed VMS that such patients should wait until after a conversation with their PCP to register for their vaccine. Currently, anyone indicating that they are taking blood thinners is also prevented from registering and is being advised to reach out to their PCP.  VMS has contacted VDH to raise this issue as there are currently no contraindications for blood thinners and vaccines. Finally, VMS received information that higher rates of axillary adenopathy have been reported with the administration of both the Moderna and Pfizer/Bio-NTech COVID-19 vaccines. Women who have received a COVID-19 vaccine within 4-6 weeks of their routine screening mammography or ultrasound could present for diagnostic workup for newly palpable axillary adenopathy or have new axillary adenopathy identified. Please read the Society for Breast Imaging Recommendations. 

The VMS is currently working to schedule a webinar with Vermont allergy specialists and radiologists in order to provide more information on these issues in vaccination


    Health Care Workers – Schedule your Vaccine this Month!

    Vermont’s hospitals are working hard to meet their obligation to vaccinate tier 1A health care workers, in collaboration with the State of Vermont. The goal is to complete this work by the end of January, as the State transitions to general public populations and hospitals will receive very little vaccine for the 1A population. If you are a 1A-qualified individual please contact your hospital to schedule your vaccine now.

    Other hospitals – contact Elizabeth Alessi at the Vermont Medical Society for contact information: ealessi@vtmd.org.


    Recent COVID-19 Guidance and Resources:

    VMS Weekly Zoom with Commissioner of Health, Thursdays at 12:30 pm


    AMA Invitation to Fireside Chat with Dr. Fauci - February 9th

    On February 9 from 12:00 - 1:00 pm EST, the American Medical Association and COVID Collaborative is hosting a Fireside Chat with Dr. Anthony Fauci entitled "COVID-19 Action in the Biden Era." Dr. Fauci will answer questions about how the new administration is approaching the crisis and there will be a moderated Q&A during which time you can ask Dr. Fauci questions through the chat function. To RSVP, please visit this link


    Governor Scott Outlines FY22 Budget Priorities

    Today, Tuesday, January 26th, Governor Phil Scott delivered his FY22 Governor's Recommended Budget address virtually to the General Assembly and the broader public. Although he announced approximately $210 million in investments to bolster Vermont's recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, little detail was included regarding direct investments in Vermont's health care system. The VMS Policy staff will dig deeper to better understand the Governor's priorities over the coming weeks but can report he highlighted spending dedicated to growing Vermont’sworkforce, including a nurse retention initiative, broadband expansion and expanding the Office of Racial Equity. Click here for the FY22 Budget Summary. 

    Commissioner Call Update VMS weekly calls with Vermont Department of Health Commissioner, Mark Levine, M.D. are held each Thursday from 12:30-1:00 p.m. on ZOOM - click below for the virtual meeting address that will remain constant each week. 

    Once a month, VMS will feature a guest speaker during this call time, as the Commissioner has a conflict. The speaker will discuss clinical protocols and best practices during the State of Emergency.

    Join Zoom Meeting -https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86726253105?pwd=VkVuNTJ1ZFQ2R3diSVdqdlJ2ZG4yQT09

    Meeting ID: 867 2625 3105 / Password: 540684

    Dial In: 1 646 876 9923 / Meeting ID: 867 2625 3105 / Password: 540684


    Policy for Practices to Obtain COVID-19 Test Results

    VDH has created a policy for clinicians to obtain COVID-19 test results on a patient tested through the on-demand (CIC) or pop up (VDH) testing sites. Providers should first check VITL for any testing completed through Dr. Levine’s orders – this will be the most expedient and immediate way to access results. If they do not have access to VITL, and cannot gain access to VITL, then the provider may contact: ahs.vdhhoccovidresultsletters@vermont.gov and provide the name and date of birth of their patient and the request for their results in order to help treat that patient.” This was brought to the attention of VMS Friday and we will work with VDH to understand this process more.  We realize that this will present more administrative burden to practices, but currently there is no mechanism for alerting a primary care provider when a test has occurred except for patient self-attesting.


    DVHA Seeks Comments on Proposed Medicaid Next Generation ACO Program Rule

    The Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA) recently released a call for comments on proposed Vermont Medicaid Next Generation (VMNG) ACO updates, including the PMPM rates for CY 2021. DVHA is entering the fifth year of the Next Generation ACO and the proposed rule includes these updates: 

    1. The value-based component of the program will be modified to include both a Value-Based Incentive Fund (as in previous years) and an additional Year-End Quality Adjustment to link ACO quality performance to financial accountability.
    2. The risk corridors will decrease for both the Traditional Attribution Cohort (from+4% to+2%) and the Expanded Attribution Cohort (from an asymmetrical risk corridor with 2% upside and 1% downside risk to a symmetrical risk corridor of+1%).
    3. Additional COVID-19 provisions will be made to the payment provisions of the contract to align with Medicare’s approaches for their 2021 ACO programs.

    These rates and changes are effective January 1, 2021, but the comment period is open until February 1, 2021. Please send your comments to Jill Sudhoff-Guerin at jsudhoffguerin@vtmd.org by January 28, 2021.


    New Paycheck Protection Program Resources 

    The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) reopened for new and existing borrowers the week of January 11th, 2021 and will accept applications through March 31, 2021. This application period of the PPP is first come, first serve and will accept First Draw PPP loan applications from small businesses with 500 or fewer employees and Second Draw PPP loan applications from small businesses with no more than 300 employees who have already received a first draw loan. For the latest information, please go to the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development. 

          Spotlight on VMS Member Benefits:  VMS Adds Home Depot Retailer to our PPE Purchasing Options

          As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we know reliable sourcing of PPE is a critical tool in continuing to maintain a safe treatment environment for your patients and a safe working environment for your staff. VMS is pleased to announce we have added the Home Depot as a partner who is offering discount group purchasing options for our members and no minimum orders. Please click here for our VMS PPE Purchasing Options


          VMS February 2021 Webinar: Race and Health Equity

          Please join us on Thursday, February 18, 2020 from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm for our VMS February webinar on "Race and Health Equity." Please join Dr. Becca Bell, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics Vermont Chapter, for a discussion on the task force created by the AAP Vermont Chapter on race and health equity. The task force has focused on developing guidance and resources for practices working towards creating a culturally safe medical home for families experiencing racism. The task force has also created screening tools for clinicians to identify bias and to promote anti-racism practices. 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. 


          VMS Advocacy Month: General Assembly to Honor You!

          This February, VMS will host four weeks of virtual advocacy actions on each Thursday of the month as part of VMS Advocacy Month. The first action will take place on Thursday, February 4th at 1:15 pm when the Vermont House and Senate will recognize the dedication of Vermont’s health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic by adopting a resolution in a virtual ceremony on the House floor. Please click here to watch the Vermont Legislature honor you for your unwavering commitment to the health of Vermonters during this global pandemic. Other advocacy actions include:

          • Feb.11th- Participate in an Advocacy training with legislative leaders and physician advocacy experts. Register here
          • Feb. 18th- Register for our Race and Health Equity webinar for screening tools that promote anti-racism.
          • Feb. 25th-  Engage in our Town Hall discussion with our Congressman Peter Welch and Senator Patrick Leahy. 

          Join us, as your voice is critical to improving care for Vermonters, Vermont’s health care system and the practice environment. For more information and resources for VMS Advocacy Month click here.

          Making the Case for Health Equity in VT: From Evidence to Action

          January 28th, 1:00 - 3:00 PM

          Join Northern Vermont AHEC for the second session of a 5-part virtual series, Quality Care is Equitable Care: The Case for Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Health Care, targeting Vermont health care practitioners and partners. To register for Session 2 and/or learn more about each monthly activity click here. 

          VPQHC Telehealth Office Hours

          Wed., February 3rd, 12:00 - 1:00 PM

          Lisa Bard Levine from the MAVEN Project 

          VPQHC will host a special guest for the February Monthly Telehealth Office Hours. The MAVEN Project combines clinical consultations between primary care providers and specialists, mentoring / coaching for individual providers, and educational sessions designed for practices' needs. The calendar invitation is available from Mary McQuiggan at VPQHC marym@vpqhc.org. Here is the Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/206326018



          Vermont Medical Society

          134 Main Street

          Montpelier, VT 05602

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