October 13, 2020


VMS' October Webinar: "What We Learned From the Birchwood COVID-19 Outbreak."

Please join the Vermont Medical Society this Thursday, October 15th at 12 p.m. with palliative care specialists: Bob Gramling MD, D.Sc., Michael Lamantia MD, MPH and Tim Lahey MD, MMSc., for their webinar on "What We Learned From the Birchwood COVID-19 Outbreak." This presentation will explore the anatomy of a COVID-19 outbreak at the Vermont nursing home and reflect on lessons learned from the heroic multi-disciplinary community response. Register Here!  The internet live activity qualifies for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit. Click to see all of the webinars in the new VMS 2020-2021 Third Thursday Webinar Series.


GMCB Receives 2019 ACO Payer Quality Results

At its meeting last Wednesday, the Green Mountain Care Board was briefed on the ACO network’s quality performance for 2019. The data was provided by each payer, broken down by Medicare, Medicaid and BlueCross BlueShield. Overall, OneCare’s network achieved a 91.8% quality score for Medicare patients in 2019 and 95% for Medicaid patients. In discussion, the payers highlighted alcohol and drug abuse treatment initiation and engagement as an area that needs attention, noting that it takes a systems approach to improve rates of patients accepting treatment for substance use disorders. BlueCross BlueShield also noted that many of the quality measures currently being used are outcome measures and they are in conversation with OneCare about shifting to more process measures that can reflect more of the work clinicians are doing on the ground with patients.


    Need CME Credits for Relicensure?

    Vermont-licensed physicians must renew their licenses and attest to completing 15 hours of CME credit by November 30, 2020, including one hour on hospice/palliative care/pain management and two hours on prescribing controlled substances. Need some ideas for how to meet these requirements? The Vermont Academic Detailing program is a university-based prescriber education and support program.  All sessions are free and are currently being offered over Zoom. A new topic is now available on Managing "Headline Stress" In The Setting of COVID-19. Other topics on Fibromyalgia, Management of Opioids and Advanced Management of Opioids meet an hour of the Vermont prescribing controlled substances requirement. VMS also has a list of other sources of free and low cost CME and don’t forget the VMS annual meeting educational sessions coming up November 7th!


    NETRC Publishes Telehealth Key Readiness Resource

    The Northeast Telehealth Resource Center (NETRC) is circulating a document that provides a brief overview of key considerations for organizations to ensure they are well prepared for success with their telehealth efforts. Whether you're just getting started, or dove into telehealth head first to quickly respond to COVID-19, taking time to plan your long-term approach is an important step. This resource can help you assess your organization's readiness from multiple perspectives, including administrative, clinical and technological. Have questions? Reach out to the Northeast Telehealth Resource Center (NETRC) for free technical assistance and resources.


    HHS Announces $20 Billion in New Phase 3 Provider Relief Funding

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released an additional $20 billion in Phase 3 General Distribution funding. Providers that have already received Provider Relief Fund payments are invited to apply for this additional funding that considers financial losses and changes in operating expenses caused by the coronavirus. Previously ineligible providers, such as those who began practicing in 2020, are also eligible. Applications for this round of funding are open from October 5 to November 6, 2020. All provider submissions will be reviewed to confirm they have received a Provider Relief Fund payment equal to approximately 2 percent of patient care revenue from prior general distributions. Applicants that have not yet received Relief Fund payments of 2 percent of patient revenue will receive a payment that, when combined with prior payments (if any), equals 2 percent of patient care revenue. With the remaining balance of the $20 billion budget, HRSA will then calculate an equitable add-on payment. To learn more about the Provider Relief Program, visit: hhs.gov/providerrelief.

    NEW! 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. 

    NEW! Once a month, VMS has a guest speaker during this call time, as the Commissioner has a conflict. Join VMS at 12:30 on Thursday, October 22nd using the Zoom link below for a 2020 Legislative Update with Jessa, Steph and Jill

    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


    Jessica Holmes Reappointed to Serve on the GMCB

    On September 30th, Governor Phil Scott reappointed Jessica Holmes, Ph.D., to the Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB), Vermont's health care regulatory board. Jessica Holmes is a professor of economics at Middlebury College and has served on the Board since 2014. “I am honored to be reappointed by Governor Scott and to continue serving Vermonters in this capacity,” said Holmes. “As one of the healthiest states in the country, we have much to be thankful for, but there is more work to be done to ensure that high quality, affordable health care is accessible to all Vermonters. I look forward to continuing that work as a member of the Green Mountain Care Board.” Click here to read the Governor's press release. 


    VMS Publishes Final 2020 Legislative Bulletin

    The Vermont legislature adjourned on September 25th, which is a historically late adjournment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For VMS, 2020 was like no other legislative session, in terms of the need to quickly put in place health care policies to address the pandemic’s impact on Vermont's entire health care system. These demands have required VMS to advocate more than ever in coordination with broad group of health care stakeholders and to work collaboratively with lawmakers, State Agencies, Departments and the Governor's Office. We have prepared our final VMS 2020 Legislative Bulletin to provide a comprehensive update on all 2020 health care legislation.


    Medicare E/M Office Visit Changes Effective Jan 2021

    Medicare’s major modifications to coding, documentation, and payment of evaluation and management (E/M) services for office visits will move forward as planned on January 1, 2021.The American Medical Association (AMA) has developed an extensive online library of resources to assist with the transition, which includes the following titles:

        NEWS SCAN

        Health Affairs: A Statewide Approach To Improving Child Health And Health Care. A dynamic network aims to help Vermont’s pediatric practices navigate an evolving quality improvement landscape. Click to read more.


        Howard Center Recognizes World Mental Health Day (WHMD): through connecting to the global world mental health movement and hosting community-wide recognition and celebration of WMHD throughout the month of October 2020.

        • October 13, 6:00-7:15 p.m.: "I’m Telling the Truth, but I’m Lying," w/Speaker, Bassey Ikpi. Register

        • October 20, 12:00-1:00 p.m.: Parenting and Education During COVID-19: Building Family Resilience During Times of Toxic Stress. Register

        • October 26, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.: Exercise and Other 'Leisure Activities' and Mental Health, w/Speaker John Koutras, M.D. Register

        Click here for more information and registration.

        Seeking Palliative Care CME credits for relicensure? VEN's Fall Palliative Care VIRTUAL Conference, "Informed Consent: More Than A Piece of Paper"

        Monday, Nov. 9, 2020

        8:15 a.m. - 4:15pm EST

        Unpacking the ethical, legal and practical considerations of obtaining informed consent in complex clinical situations and at end-of-life with plenary talks by Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD and Guy Matal, MD. Click to register here

        RME Collaborative’s 2020 Rural Health Clinical Congress

        Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020

        9 a.m. EST

        An interactive, multi-topic, complimentary CME/CE conference held in conjunction with National Rural Health Day, designed for primary care providers who care for patients in rural and underserved areas. Click here to learn more and register 


        Vermont Medical Society

        134 Main Street

        PO Box 1457

        Montpelier, VT 05601

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