June 1, 2021


NNESAM Virtual Conference This Saturday!

On Saturday, June 5th, the Northern New England Society of Addiction Medicine (ME/NH/VT) will be hosting a virtual Spring Scientific Session from 8:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. The deadline to register is June 3rd. Register here today! Please direct any questions you may have to NNESAMeventInfo@gmail.com.

Throughout the U.S. the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the challenges associated with the nation’s other pandemic: substance use. This virtual event aimsto re-shift our clinical focus back to the ongoing efforts of those providing treatment for substance use disorders using current best practices. This educational opportunity is open to all healthcare professionals interested in increasing or solidifying their understanding in how to best meet the needs of patients during what has been a challenging period for those in recovery in the Northeast region. 

Our engaging presenters will discuss…

  • How injectable buprenorphine is used in office-based treatment of opioid use disorder;
  • Current evidence-based use of medication in the treatment of alcohol use disorder; 
  • The future potential of addressing substance use disorders by limiting legal penalties for possession and use  

The American Society of Addiction Medicine has designated this live activity for a maximum of 4 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s).  Registration fees from $10-80.  View the Conference Brochure  and Spring Scientific Session: Info PageRegister here today!


    VMS Publishes Final 2021 Session Legislative Bulletin

    The VMS Policy team has prepared this Final 2021 VMS Legislative Bulletin to provide you with the status of 2021 State legislation covering topics relevant to healthcare including: the COVID-19 emergency, health reform, insurance regulation, public health, scope of practice, mental health, health equity and regulating the practice of medicine. This end of session bulletin provides a comprehensive status update on 2021 health care legislation that advanced during this session. Because this is the first year of the 2021/2022 legislative biennium, some VMS priority bills that did not receive action in 2021 were not included in this report, but could be taken up in the second year of the 2021/2022 legislative biennium. For information not covered in this report or for further clarification please reach out to Jill at jsudhoffguerin@vtmd.org

    Also, our next VMS Webinar on Thursday, June 17th, 2021 will provide you with what you need to know about the 2021 New Health Care Laws and will feature VMS’ Jessa Barnard and Jill Sudhoff-Guerin. Click here to register. This is the last webinar in our 2020/2021 series but for the recordings and presentations of all of our webinars go to: VMS Thursday Webinar series for 2020/2021 . The webinar content will take place from 12-12:30pm and then we will hear from Commissioner Mark Levine as a part of our regular Thursday calls with the Commissioner of Health from 12:30-1pm. 


    Feedback Needed by June 3: Pharmacist Prescribing of Tobacco Cessation Products in Vermont

    The Board of Pharmacy released a draft protocol (starting on page 3) and met last week to allow for comment on pharmacists prescribing tobacco cessation products. State law passed last year authorizes pharmacists in Vermont to prescribe tobacco cessation products in accordance with an adopted protocol. As stakeholders in this process, VMS, VTAFP & AAPVT provided comments outlining our support for pharmacists prescribing nicotine replacement products, but stating the organizations’ concern with prescribing of non-nicotine replacement therapy tobacco cessation medicines. The comments stated that the protocol should prohibit the prescribing of tobacco cessation medications Buproprion (Zyban) and Varenicline (Chantix) due to the risk of significant side effects, including complex psychiatric and other health complications, risk of complications with other medications even in the absence of a mental health diagnosis, and an increased rate of abuse of bupropion with horrific effects such as vascular necrosis in those who have injected it. In response, the Vermont Pharmacists Association stated that significant data collected in the last five years shows that that these concerns are not necessary and cited this 2016 study. Attached are their full comments.

    VMS is seeking further feedback to inform follow-up comments.  Please send your input by Thursday, June 3 and any supporting information to Stephanie Winters at swinters@vtmd.org.


    State Invests Federal Dollars in Summer School Expansion Across the State

    Last week, Vermont Afterschool, along with Governor Phil Scott and Senator Bernie Sanders awarded a total of $3.85 million to approximately 100 summer programs in the “Summer Matters for All Grant Program.” The grants will help expand access to summer enrichment opportunities for K-12 youth this summer and were provided to 13 Vermont counties for programs that include summer camps, libraries, municipalities, teen centers, non-profit social services organizations and more. The aim of this funding is to increase affordability and accessibility of summer programs for all Vermont youth to reconnect and recover from the isolation of the past year. These offerings will supplement school-based programs and will also lead to more partnership options for local school-based programs. In total, the federal funds will create 31,650 new summer program slots over the course of the summer, lead to a total of 238 new weeks of summer programming and decrease the average weekly cost to families by $162. Additionally, 55 of the grant recipients will offer transportation; 100 will offer low or no cost programming for eligible students, and 90 are ensuring access for all kids, including those with disabilities or unique needs. For more information on the Summer Matters campaign, visit: Summer Matters – Vermont Afterschool. A full list of grant recipients will be available here: Summer Grant Program – Vermont Afterschool.


    EEOC Clarifies Employers can Offer Vaccine Incentives:

    As reported in Politico, employers can offer incentives to their employees to get the coronavirus vaccine without running afoul of federal anti-discrimination law, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said last week.  In an update of its Covid-19 guidance, the agency said employers may offer incentives to employees who provide documentation of receiving the Covid-19 vaccine outside of work, because requesting proof of vaccination "is not a disability-related inquiry" or an "unlawful request" under federal anti-discrimination laws.


    AMA Launches New Initiative to Standardize Blood Pressure Measurement Training

    Last week, the American Medical Association (AMA) announced a new effort aimed at ensuring future physicians and health care professionals in the U.S. are uniformly trained on how to consistently take accurate blood pressure (BP) measurements. Experts point to accurate BP measurement as an important step to improve hypertension control for the more than 120 million U.S. adults with high BP. While measuring BP is a common procedure and BP guidelines recommend periodic re-training, research shows that student training in BP measurement is often brief, with varying training models among health care schools. Click to learn more about BP Measurement Essentials: Student Edition, SMBP Essentials: Student Edition, and BP Measurement Refresher: Student Edition.


    Recent COVID-19 Guidance and Resources:

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

    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


    NNE-CTR Research Support Survey

    The Northern New England Clinical & Translational Research (NNE-CTR) network is working to enhance the health of northern New Englanders by fostering clinical, translational, and educational research. NNE-CTR has created a survey to connect rural practices with research opportunities to benefit their patients and connect clinicians interested in research with resources. These research supports may include funds for clinical and translational research projects, study design and analysis expertise, mentorship and educational opportunities for career advancement, access to advanced instrumentation, and opportunities for research collaboration between academic centers and community practices. This 5-minute survey is voluntary, and no information will be asked that can identify you. Click here for the survey.


    Green Mountain Care Board Vacancy – Health Professionals Encouraged to Apply

    With a vacancy expected in September 2021 at the expiration of Board member Maureen Usifer’s term, VMS is strongly encouraging health care professionals to apply for an open seat on the Green Mountain Care Board. The opening has not yet been posted, however a job description for prior openings can be found here. The annual salary for a board member is currently $107,000 and Board members can be part-time and have outside work. Board members may practice medicine and be a non-management employee of a hospital or other health care facility, but would be required to recuse themselves from any Board matters which involve their employer. Candidates need not resign these positions prior to accepting a position. Candidates who apply will first be reviewed by a Nominating Committee; qualified candidates are then forwarded to the Governor, who makes Board appointments with the consent of the Senate. More information on the nomination process can be found here. If you have questions or want to suggest candidates, please contact Jill at jsudhoffguerin@vtmd.org. 


            VCP 2021 Webinar Series: June 25: How to Help Your Older Clients Improve their Sleep CSAC Medical Director Dr. Joe Lasek will provide information and strategies for assessing and promoting better sleep for your older clients, including pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions for insomnia in the elderly. Register here.

            More details on these webinars are available at the VCP Events and Trainings site.

            Child Psychiatry and Family Medicine Conferences 

            14th Annual Child Psychiatry in Primary Care Conference June 4 (virtual) 8:00-4:30pm Dr. David Rettew invites you to attend this year’s virtual conference on: Post-COVID Mental Health for children, School Violence Threat assessments, Integrated Care, The Science of Praising (and Overpraising) and more. Register here.

            Family Medicine Review Course – June 8-11 (virtual) 

            Dr. Anya Koutras invites you to attend this year’s virtual conference. Sessions cover a wide-range of topics including, among many others: anxiety disorders, liver disease, cardiac testing, neuropathy, opiates, hospice care, racism and health inequities, adolescents on the gender spectrum, Type 2 diabetes, and musculoskeletal telemedicine. See the entire program at the event webpage.

            VPQHC Expands Health Equity Training Offerings Due to High Demand!

            The Vermont Program for Quality Health Care (VPQHC) has expanded the free health equity training offerings that qualify health care professionals 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 is currently waitlisted through May. Register here.

            Special Enrollment Period Now Until August 15th, 2021

            Due to the COVID-19 emergency, Vermont Health Connect has opened a Special Enrollment Period through August 15, 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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