August 17, 2021


Boosters Approved for Immunocompromised and Considered for General Population

On Friday, the FDA authorized and the CDC recommended that certain immunocompromised Americans should receive a third dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after a second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The recommendation directs patients to first consult with their health care clinician regarding whether they are considered moderately to severely immunocompromised and lists these medical conditions as those that would make a patient eligible for a third dose:

  • Receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

The FDA authorization and CDC recommendation only applies to those who have received the mRNA vaccines, as there is not enough evidence to determine whether an additional dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine would provide similar protection for immunocompromised people at this time. Vermont Department of Health Commissioner Mark Levine sent a letter to Vermont clinicians on Saturday urging them to do their best to meet the additional vaccine demand from their immunocompromised patients, citing their increased vulnerability to more severe outcomes from the virus and the increased the risk of transmissibility of the delta variant for vaccinated individuals. The letter also said that those who are immunocompromised are the only patients authorized for a third dose at this time. As early as Sunday, it was reported that the Biden Administration has decided that all eligible Americans should receive a booster eight months after they received their second shot, and depending on FDA authorization, they could begin offering the third doses of Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines by mid-September.  Authorization of a second dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is dependent on the results of their current two-dose clinical trial. Distribution will likely start with nursing home residents, health care workers and emergency workers. At Tuesday’s Scott Administration press conference, there were no major changes announced in Vermont policy and officials emphasized that current mitigations measures are sufficient given Vermont’s high vaccination rate and low hospitalization rates. See notes from the press conference here.

On Monday, August 23, 2021 from 12:00 – 1:00 pm the White House COVID-19 Response Team is inviting all health care providers to join a White House Virtual Conversation on "Health Systems, Providers, and the COVID-19 Vaccinations Effort." Click here for more information.

Please click the following link during the event to attend:

Medicare Codes: Effective August 12, 2021, CMS will pay to administer additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines consistent with the FDA EUAs, using CPT codes: 0003A for the Pfizer vaccine and CPT code 0013A for the Moderna vaccine. The pay for an additional dose will be the same as the other doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.


VDH Adopts Changes to the MAT Rule that Track with VMS/VAFP Advocacy 

The Vermont Department of Health (VDH) has adopted final amendments to the Medication-Assisted-Treatment (MAT) for Opioid Use Disorder Rule, which modify the original MAT rule adopted in 2017 and will become effective on October 1, 2021. This past April, the Vermont Medical Society and the Vermont Academy of Family Physicians provided suggestions on both the proposed changes and the existing rule. Thanks to Katie Marvin, M.D., for her successful advocacy to expand the definition of eligible clinicians who can perform a psychosocial assessment required in existing rule under Section, to include: primary care doctors (including family physicians, internal medicine physicians, pediatricians, OBGYNs) and primary care advance practice providers (APRN or PAs). 

The rule previously excluded primary care clinicians and required that a psychosocial assessment only be completed by a clinician in one of the following disciplines: psychiatrist, physician certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine, psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, psychiatric Physician Assistant, licensed social worker, psychologist, licensed mental health counselor, licensed marriage therapist, licensed alcohol and drug counselor. For the full VMS/VAFP comments click here. 


CMS Recalculating MIPS Scores for 2020

According to the AMA, the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) will be updating the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) performance feedback and final scores for performance year 2020 and the associated MIPS payment adjustment information for payment year 2022. CMS made the AMA aware that certain MIPS participant scores for 2020 were inadvertently miscalculated and they plan on recalculating all scores to ensure their accuracy. Please look for updated 2020 scores and related 2022 payment adjustment information from the CMS in the next few weeks. CMS reportedly will also extend the deadline to submit an appeal or targeted review request. Please click here for more information. 


Mildred Reardon Medical Student Scholarship Application Deadline Extended to August 30th!

Do you dream of becoming a Vermont doctor? Apply for a $10,000 scholarship for a rising 3rd year student committed to practicing medicine in Vermont. The Vermont Medical Society’s Education and Research Foundation (VMSERF) is accepting applications for the Mildred Reardon scholarship until August 30th, 2021 from medical students interested in any specialty, with a preference for specialties in high need in Vermont. The scholarship is tuition-linked and paid directly to the College of Medicine towards tuition. The scholarship award is given as part of the VMS Annual Meeting Awards Banquet, which will be held at Topnotch in Stowe on November 5th, 2021. Click here for more information and details on applying for the scholarship.


VDH - HAN - August 9, 2021 - SARS-CoV-2 Monoclonal Antibodies for Post-Exposure Prophylaxis


    Dense Breast and Supplemental Screening CME Course Available at No Cost

    Free online, educational course on dense breast and supplemental screening recommended for primary care physicians, internists, gynecologists, surgeons and radiologists who may have many patients questioning whether or not they may benefit from supplemental screening and what type of supplement may be best for them. This course is available at will from this link. The course qualifies for 1.5 hours of AMA CME credit and is administered by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. 


    Bi-State Primary Care Food Insecurity Survey

    Bi-State Primary Care Association is seeking to better understand the landscape of food insecurity screening in Vermont as a foundation for future projects to integrate food access as part of health care. Click here for a brief survey on food insecurity screening. If there is more than one screening policy at your organization, please feel free to forward this survey to others and/or complete it for multiple departments. If you have any questions, please contact Helen Labun at Bi-State Primary Care Association ( 

      New Summer Schedule! Commissioner Call Update | VMS calls with Vermont Department of Health Commissioner, Mark Levine, M.D. will be held on specific Thursdays from 12:30-1:00 p.m. throughout the summer. These calls are on ZOOM - click below for the virtual meeting address that will remain constant each week.

      This Week! The next summer dates are: August 19th; September 2 & 16th.  
      Click here for an online schedule.

      Join Zoom Meeting:

      Meeting ID: 867 2625 3105 / Password: 540684

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

      VMS Seeks Your Feedback on 2021 Policy Resolutions

      The VMS wants your feedback on four proposed 2021 Policy Resolutions that will be voted on at the 208th Annual and Collaborative Meeting, on November 6th, 2021. Each VMS member was sent a survey last week with a unique link to submit your feedback and non-binding comments on the resolutions between August 10th and September 7th, 2021. If you did not receive a link, comments can also be emailed to Please note: the comments DO NOT REPRESENT A VOTE on the resolutions and feedback is in comment format only. Members will be required to share their name on comments. Voting on the policy resolutions will take place during the live, in-person and virtual VMS Member Business Meeting, Saturday, November 6th from 9am – 12pm. Only those registered and attending the 2021 VMS Annual Meeting will be able to vote on the resolutions. Comments submitted via the online system will be shared with the VMS Council at the Council Meeting on September 15th, 2021 and may inform amendments or the discussion on the resolutions. Comments will also be available (with names and email removed) to the membership. Click for more information and to register for the virtual 2021 VMS Annual Meeting. 

      University of Vermont Project ECHO Enhanced Diagnosis and Management of Dementia by the Primary Care Team This program will discuss evidence-based care, diagnosis, and management of individuals with dementia. The primary target audiences are teams of primary care providers, nurses, and social workers/case managers who work in primary care practices throughout Vermont. The program is inclusive of caregiver roles and aims for person and family-centered dementia care. Participants can receive 1.5 Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits for each learning session attended, up to 13.5 CMEs for the series. This educational series runs from September 16th to May 19th.  This program is free to participants and has limited enrollment. Register here by September 2nd, 2021.

      24th Women’s Health and Cancer Conference: Friday, October 1, 2021 – Save the date: the UVM Cancer Center will once again bring together health care professionals, patients, survivors, caregivers and the general public for this event which is aimed at empowering and supporting individuals and communities with knowledge about cancer prevention, detection, treatment and survivorship. Registration will be available in June. For more information click here. 

      Sponsored jointly bythe Mayo Clinic,
      Stanford University and the American Medical Association

      American Conference
      on Physician Health
      October 7- 9, 2021

      Achieving the quadruple aim: Resilient systems in times of crisis.” Joint scientific conference that promotes scientific research and discourse on health system infrastructure, and the actionable steps organizations like yours can take to improve physician well-being.

      • Registration rates: Available through Thursday, Sept. 23.
      • To register for conference and view agenda, visit the ACPH 2021 homepage.


      Vermont Medical Society

      134 Main Street

      Montpelier, VT 05602

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