Please Join us for the VMS May 2021 Webinar: What You Have Missed in Compliance!
Next Thursday, May 20, 2021 from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm VMS will host our May webinar "What You Have Missed in Compliance!" with presenters Anne Cramer and Shireen Hart. After a year of enormous disruption and change, this program will educate you on areas of critical federal and state regulatory changes for physician practices in 2021, including:
- New informed consent requirements for audio-only telehealth
- New information blocking rules
- Vaccine mandates
- Employment law changes
Bring your questions for top health care law experts! Click here to register. 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 Member Survey: Tell Us How We Can Support You Best!
We need to hear from you! What policy issues are most impacting you and your patients right now? Surviving COVID downturns in patient volume? Patient mental health needs? After taking last year off due to the pandemic, VMS is back with our annual member survey. Our advocacy is only as strong as the information our members provide us! Please take 5 minutes to fill out a new streamlined survey that will help shape VMS 2021-2022 priorities. Last week, every VMS member was emailed a unique survey link from SurveyMonkey. You will have until May 27th to complete the anonymous survey and will receive two reminders. If you have not received a link to the survey please email Elizabeth Alessi at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance. Thank you for helping VMS serve you!
ARPA Federal Guidance Throws FY22 Budget Into Flux
as the Vermont Legislature’s Budget Conference Committee began their work to
finalize differences between the House and Senate versions of the FY22 Budget,
they learned that the U.S. Treasury had released
guidance on how States can use funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. The
legislature has already proposed allocating
a large portion of Vermont’s ARPA funds within
the budget, including in a number of places to replace general fund state dollars. It will take
some time to analyze this new Treasury
guidance and assess if
adjustments to the FY22 Budget are necessary. There is some chance
this could delay the legislature’s May 22nd
projected adjournment date. Governor Phil Scott has also indicated he is considering vetoing the FY22 Budget if the legislature chooses
not to work cooperatively with the Administration on this “once in a lifetime
opportunity” to make long-term improvements to the
State’s infrastructure and other
priorities Scott has for Vermont, rather than spending on ongoing
programmatic needs. While waiting for budget analyses,
policy committees continue to work to bring
2021 legislation to a close. The VMS is
following a number of legislative proposals this week, including:
- S.3, the forensic mental health system
bill, had a hearing in the House
Appropriations Committee, but the funding for this bill was inadvertently
left out of the Senate version of the budget. The Committee is expected to
vote on whether to include
funding in the final budget compromise
- S.22, a
bill aimed at ensuring patients have accurate information regarding risks
and FDA-approval status of stem cells administered outside of clinical
trials, is expected to be voted out of the House
Health Care Committee
before adjournment and advance to the House Floor.
- S.25, a
bill making modifications to Vermont’s tax and regulate commercial sales
of recreational marijuana, is expected to be voted on the House floor and
return to the Senate this week.
mental health – the House Health Care is
working on a letter to be sent to the Agency of Human Services with
immediate, short-term and long-term expectations regarding children in
need of mental health care not being subjected to long emergency department wait times.
Vaccine Administration Opening to Primary Care Practices; More Adolescents
The Vermont Department of Health has announced a pilot to begin COVID-19 vaccination at primary care sites beyond the currently enrolled Federally Qualified Health Centers, beginning mid-May, approximately May 19th. Initially this will be a pilot with a few independent primary care practices that have been selected by VDH, but VDH expects to partner with an increasing number of primary care sites as vaccine supply increases and sign ups at mass vaccination sites slow. Initially primary care practices will receive Moderna and VDH will work with practices on issues of storage and delivery. Each site/practice that is interested in administering COVID-19 vaccines will need to be enrolled in the COVID 19 vaccine program. For more information on enrolling, administration and storage requirements, go to: https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19/health-care-professionals/vaccine-information-health-care-professionals. VMS will keep practices informed as availability increases.
The State and pediatricians are also gearing up for more adolescent vaccination with an expected announcement this week that children ages 12 to 15 are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. The FDA announced the shot’s authorization for younger teens late Monday, and the CDC plans to convene the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP) on Wednesday to discuss recommendations for its use. The State is ready to open enrollment to this age group on Thursday, assuming a positive recommendation from ACIP. 12-15 year old children will register using the same state and pharmacy registration systems as adults and are able to receive vaccines from existing public and pharmacy vaccination sites that administer Pfizer, as well as school-based clinics being planned in over 40 schools. The American Academy of Pediatrics-Vermont Chapter is planning community education events in many areas of the state to educate parents about the vaccine. More information on these events will be released soon.
Recent COVID-19 Guidance and Resources:
VMS Weekly Zoom with Commissioner of Health, Thursdays at 12:30 pm
CMS to Require Vaccination Education, Offering, and Reporting by Long Term Care Facilities
As part of the ongoing response to address the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services has issued a rule that will require long-term care facilities, and residential facilities serving clients with intellectual disabilities, to educate and offer the COVID-19 vaccine to residents, clients, and staff. The rule also requires LTC facilities to report weekly COVID-19 vaccination status data for both residents and staff to the CDC National Healthcare Safety Network. As data becomes available, CMS will post facility-specific vaccination status information reported to the NHSN for viewing by facilities, stakeholders, and the public on CMS’ COVID-19 Nursing Home Data website.
More Information: Interim final rule; COVID-19 Vaccine Immunization Requirements for Residents and Staff.
AMA Telehealth Immersion Program – No Cost Trainings Available
The Telehealth Immersion Program, part of the STEPS Forward Innovation Academy, is the American Medical Association (AMA)’s newest offering to guide physicians, practices, and health systems in optimizing and sustaining telehealth at their organizations. Using the Telehealth Initiative as a framework, the Telehealth Immersion Program will provide foundational information surrounding the telehealth landscape and offer deep dives into aspects of telehealth including, but not limited to, clinical use cases, integration with other healthcare technologies, the impact of telehealth related to elements of the quadruple aim, how to successfully scale and sustain telehealth in practice, and virtual care expansion opportunities. Through a series of curated webinars, interactive peer-to-peer learning sessions, virtual discussions, boot-camps, and on-demand resources, the Telehealth Immersion Program offers a comprehensive curriculum and enhanced experience navigating the world of telehealth alongside peers nationwide. This program is mission driven and available to physicians, practices, and health systems at no-cost. Visit the Telehealth Immersion Program website for more information and to sign up for available sessions. Registration is now open for the following topics: measuring the value of virtual care, clinical case study: telehealth for mental and behavioral health, healthcare technology & the human connection, and implementing innovative solutions with an equity lens. Additional sessions will continually be added. Please visit our website regularly for updates.