March 23, 2021


Governor Scott Releases COVID-19 Vaccination Plan for Remaining Age Bands

On Friday, March 19, 2021 the Scott Administration rolled out the State’s projected timeline for all remaining age bands of Vermonters to be eligible to register for the COVID-19 vaccine. Starting Thursday, March 25 registration for vaccination for Vermonters 60 years old and older begins. With promises of increased distribution of vaccine by the end of March, the State is now moving to full decade age bands with the next age-group eligibility moving to those 50 yrs and older on March 29th, 40 years and older April 5th, 30 yrs and older April 12th and those 16 yrs and older April 19th. The state aims to have all Vermonters who want to be fully immunized by early July.

The State of Vermont has also made a change beginning Friday, March 26th to allow 1A eligible individuals – including health care personnel  - to call the Vermont Department of Health Call Center at (802) 863-7240 get screened for eligibility for a vaccination appointment at any of the sites available on the State’s scheduling system (rather than needing a code from their local hospital). No passcode is needed at Kinney DrugsCVS or Walgreens.


Bill to Extend COVID-19 Regulatory Flexibilities Passes Legislature Requiring Coverage for Audio-Only Telehealth – New Consent Requirements

S.117, the bill that extends a number of health care regulatory flexibility during and after the COVID-19 pandemic and makes permanent requirements for coverage of health care services delivered by audio-only telephone has passed both the House and Senate and advances to the Governor’s desk. Consent will be required for audio-only telehealth services as soon as the bill goes into effect (before 3/31/21), so practices should begin to adopt an updated consent form and process immediately. VMS has a sample available here.  The bill requires health insurance plans, and Medicaid to the extent permitted federally, to cover all medically necessary, clinically appropriate health care services delivered by audio-only telephone to the same extent they would cover the services if provided in person.  Cost sharing is allowed.  Clinicians will continue to be paid at parity with in-person services for the remainder of 2021; for insurance plan years 2022, 2023, and 2024 the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, in consultation with stakeholders, will determine amounts for health insurance plans to reimburse.  

A comprehensive summary of the bill is available here; and the bill as passed the Senate is available here (Note: the final version of the bill is not available as of publication – it is identical to the version as passed the Senate except Section 11 has been removed). 

This bill also extended a number of regulatory flexibilities that the legislature had previously granted in response to COVID, for the full write-up, along with our mid-session 2021 VMS Legislative Bulletin for a comprehensive snapshot of the status of VMS’ policy priorities.


A Year of COVID: VMS Members Moved Mountains 

The latest webinar in our Third Thursday Series, "Practicing in a Pandemic" was not one to be missed, which is why we’ve included the link to the recording below. Speakers Trey Dobson, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of the Southwestern Medical Center, Matthew Prohaska, M.D., Orthopedic Surgeon at Northeast Vermont Regional Hospital, Wendy Davis, M.D., Associate Director of the Vermont Child Health Improvement Program (VCHIP) and Katie Marvin, M.D., Family Physician at the Stowe Family Practice, each expressed their unique perspective as health care providers in Vermont going through the COVID-19 pandemic. With charm and openness, the speakers shared their insight and on-the-ground experience regarding leadership and communication, the necessary adaptation of orthopedic care, effects of the pandemic on pediatrics and professional collaboration, and where primary care has been and where it’s hopefully headed as a result of lessons learned. Once you’ve watched the webinar, we’re sure you’ll agree that these four speakers are exemplary examples of the dedicated medical professionals that exist in Vermont. Watch the webinar HERETo see the entire VMS Thursday Webinar series for 2020/2021 click here. 


Recent COVID-19 Guidance and Resources:

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


Obtaining Authorization for Pediatric Therapy Services: Educational Training for PCPs

The Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA) has created a PowerPoint presentation titled “Medicaid Authorization for Pediatric Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Language Pathology Therapy Services.” This presentation is available on the Vermont Health Learn Platform at: https://onecarevt. The presentation includes two modules. The first module is specifically for primary care providers. The second module is specifically for pediatric re/habilitation therapists. Both focus on why Vermont Medicaid requires authorization for pediatric therapy services, the types of service that are most effective, and how to obtain authorization for services. This presentation is the second of many that DVHA will be posting. Providers who have ideas for helpful presentations are invited to contact

VMS President, Simha Ravven, M.D., Receives AMWA 2021 Exceptional Mentor Award

Join us in congratulating Simi in selected to receive the 2021 American Medical Women’s Association Exceptional Mentor Award! Click here to read the press release.

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:

Meeting ID: 867 2625 3105 / Password: 540684

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


VDH Proposes Changes to MAT Rule: Hearing on April 2nd

The Vermont Department of Health proposed Rule 21P004 on March 3, 2021, which would amend the Medication-Assisted-Treatment (MAT) Rule to:

  1. Remove all patient load limits that are determined at the federal level and change periodically;
  2. Require providers with 100 clients to submit to the Department for review a continuity of care checklist to ensure they have an adequate plan for the continued care of their patients should there be an issue with a practitioner's ability to provide services; and
  3. Update terms, references, and formatting. 

For the proposed rule amendments click here. There will be a virtual hearing at 10:00 am on Friday, April 2nd. Please send any questions or suggestions on this rule change to Jill at


DVHA Proposes Changes to Rules Regarding Non-Physicians Ordering Home Health, Etc.

The Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA) has proposed changes to update Medicaid coverage requirements for home health services, durable medical equipment and medical supplies. These rules are being amended to allow non-physician providers working within their scope of practice to order and conduct the face-to-face visit as required by Medicare. There will be a virtual hearing on the rules listed below on April 7th at 12:00 pm. Please send any questions or suggestions on this rule change to Jill at


VPQHC Launches Health Equity Training Starting in March

The Vermont Program for Quality Health Care (VPQHC) is offering free health equity training for health care clinicians that will qualify for 3 CME credits, entitled, "Structural Competence and Cultural Humility to Address Disparities and Inequities." This training is being provided by Dr. Maria Mercedes Avila, PhD, MSW, MED and will focus on increased awareness of biases, increased knowledge of cultural and linguistic competencies and increased knowledge of the link between racial inequities and health outcomes. This training is being offered on three different dates throughout Spring 2021. Click here to learn more. 


Applications Open for Medical Justice in Advocacy Fellowship

The AMA and the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine announced the inaugural Medical Justice in Advocacy fellowship aiming to advance equity and remove barriers to optimal health for marginalized people and communities. This collaborative educational initiative is open to eligible physicians and residents with a demonstrated interest in health equity and advocacy. Selected participants will receive a stipend of $15,000 and will be eligible for up to 28 CME credit hours. The deadline to submit applications is March 31, 2021. Learn more.


New Information Blocking Rules Take Effect April 5 – Resources Available

New federal “information blocking” rules go into effect on April 5. To help organizations prepare, eight prominent industry groups have pooled their efforts to launch the Information Blocking Resource Center, a free online resource packed with helpful guidelines and documents.  Physician practices might want to start by reviewing American Medical Association resources such as What Is Information Blocking? and How Do I Comply with Info Blocking and Where do I Start? Physicians can experience info blocking when trying to access patient records from other providers, connecting their electronic health record (EHR) systems to local health information exchanges (HIEs), migrating from one EHR to another, and linking their EHRs with a clinical data registry. Patients can also experience info blocking when trying to access their medical records or when sending their records to another provider. Under the new rule, for nearly all electronic health information requests, physicians must respond and release patients’ medical records unless an appropriate exception can be identified and used. Vermont Information Technology Leaders (VITL) staff are available to talk with providers and health care organizations about both the ONC and CMS rule requirements that take effect this spring. Reach out to Maurine Gilbert at


        VMS April 2021 Webinar: Vermont Health Care Reform with OneCare VT

        Please join us on Thursday, April 15, 2021 from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm for our VMS April webinar on "Vermont Health Care Reform." Join webinar hosts Vicki Loner, CEO, OneCare Vermont and Dr. Norman Ward, CMO, OneCare Vermont. During the public health emergency, the predominant payment system of Fee For Service in our country caused disruption and challenges to all aspects of the health care community. OneCare Vermont will review some of the lessons learned, describe the actions its providers implemented, and discuss how we can use our current federal demonstration to advance the current payment and delivery system efforts. 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.

        Bi-State Offers Virtual Diabetes Care Trainings on Thursdays from 2-3pm. Please contact Kaylana Blindow

        March 25, 2021

        "How to Maximize Diet Interventions for your Patients with Diabetes and Hypertension," Kate Bean, RD, CHWC, CDCES and Morgan Gosselin, MS dietetic intern

        April 8, 2021

        "Making Sense out of Sensors: A Review of Considerations for Use of Continuous Glucose Sensors," Donna Hunt, RRMC Diabetes Program

        "Perspectives on Connection, Compassion and Belonging"

        Howard Center 4th Annual Conference

        March 30, 2021


        Howard Center’s annual conference is designed for a broad audience, including mental health and healthcare providers, educators, clients and families, representatives of state and local government, law enforcement, the judiciary, and the general public. Click here for more information and to register. 

        Maladies & Medicines: Opioids in the Queen City

        April 7, 2021, 7:00-8:30 p.m.

        Champlain College (virtual)

        What lessons can we learn about the opioid epidemic by looking at it through a historical lens? Champlain College's eighth annual Local History Event will feature two historians' research on opium, morphine, and opioid addiction in nineteenth-century Burlington. I Visit for more information and to register for this free community event. 

        Reducing Implicit Bias in Health Care: Moving Toward Equal Treatment

        April 8th, 1:00 - 3:00 PM

        Join Northern Vermont AHEC for the third session of a 5-part virtual series, Quality Care is Equitable Care: The Case for Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Health Caretargeting Vermont health care practitioners and partners. To register for Session 3 and/or learn more about each monthly activity click here. 

        Special Enrollment Period from Feb. 16-May 14th, 2021

        Due to the COVID-19 emergency, Vermont Health Connect has opened a Special Enrollment Period from February 16 through May 14 2021. During this time, any uninsured Vermonter can sign up for a qualified health plan through Vermont Health Connect. Qualified families can also get financial help paying for coverage. Please call us 1-855-899-9600 to learn more.


        Vermont Medical Society

        134 Main Street

        Montpelier, VT 05602

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