Join VMS This Week! for the 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. They will discuss how the public health emergency has further exposed the shortcomings of the current fee-for-service payment structures and explore the opportunities to expand value-based-payments in Vermont's health care systems. 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.
Mark Levine: “'Pause' on Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Administration in Vermont Reasonable"
Vermont has paused administration of Johnson & Johnson COVID 19 vaccine through Friday, impacting 4,000 Vermonters who were scheduled for vaccination. At the Scott Administration’s press conference on Tuesday, Secretary of the Agency of Human Services Mike Smith explained that those individuals will be contacted by the State and will be offered to reschedule with a different vaccine – or rescheduled for Johnson & Johnson once administration resumes. Commissioner of Health Mark Levine, MD, stated that the pause is reasonable to give time for the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to review the six reports of blood clots in women age 16-48. Dr. Levine emphasized that these clots are extremely rare, occurred between days 6-13 post-vaccination and were found in the brain (leading to severe headache) and abdomen. Symptoms are less likely to match more common blood clots found in the legs or lungs. In addition, they are not treated with heparin, like more common blood clots. He explained that one of the main reasons for the pause is to give time for more information on signs, symptoms and treatment to be shared with medical professionals. The Department of Health is planning to release a Health Alert with more details by the end of the day today. Governor Scott stated they only expect the pause to last days, not weeks, and Vermont has not discarded any of the existing J&J doses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a Health Alert Network update addressing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this afternoon.
Action Alert: Please Urge the Senate Health and Welfare Committee to Fund the Future of Primary Care
This week, the Senate Health and Welfare Committee is preparing their FY22 Budget Memo making specific health care focused budget recommendations for the Senate Appropriations Committee. With flush coffers from federal American Rescue Plan stimulus funds, the Committees are considering how to best invest additional dollars into Vermont's future. Please urge the Senate Health and Welfare Committee to prioritize a portion of the State's one-time, federal funds for primary care:
- Payments: Increase the Medicaid RBRVS Fee Schedule to bring primary care codes to 105% of Medicare;
- Sustainability: Dedicate ARPA funds for primary care Innovation grants that can be used to fund practice transformation to alleviate administrative burden, add mental health services and move towards value-based care;
- Workforce: Support on-going additional investment into the new primary care scholarship program in H.439.
Please contact the Committee members TODAY: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; JTerenzini@leg.state.vt.us; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
As part of this effort the VMS is launching the "Let's Make Primary Care a Vermont Priority" campaign. Will you share your story of why NOW is a critical time for Vermont to invest in the sustainability of primary care? Please contact Jill at email@example.com for more information.
Recent COVID-19 Guidance and Resources:
VMS Weekly Zoom with Commissioner of Health, Thursdays at 12:30 pm
Future Planning for COVID-19 Vaccine at Vermont Primary Care
Vermont Department of Health anticipates that Primary Care Offices can expect
to see the option to carry COVID-19 vaccine for use in their patient population
by the end of Summer, 2021. By this time, there will be less focus on mass
vaccination events, centralized registration, and the goal of using every dose
every week. We anticipate that Pfizer shipment sizes will be reduced, and
updated manufacture data or new vaccine presentations may increase the vaccine
shelf life and make management less challenging. The Immunization Program
will work with Primary Care Offices through this process and support you in
managing this new vaccine. In the coming weeks, the Immunization Program will
schedule an "All Provider Call." to be held by the end of May. During
this session the program will present information on providing COVID-19 vaccine
to all enrolled PCP offices who want it and be available to answer
AMA Survey Shows COVID-19 Did Not Reduce Prior Authorizations
cases soared across the nation in late 2020, new
survey results issued last week by the American Medical Association (AMA)
show that health plans continued to impose prior authorization policies on
physicians that delayed access to necessary care and sometimes resulted in
serious harm to patients. According to the AMA survey, almost 70% of 1,000
practicing physicians surveyed in Dec. 2020 reported that health insurers had
either reverted to past prior authorization policies or never relaxed these
policies in the first place. More than nine in 10 physicians (94%) reported
care delays while waiting for health insurers to authorize necessary care, and
nearly four in five physicians (79%) said patients abandoned treatment due to
authorization struggles with health insurers.