August 24, 2021


Back to School: Districts Look to Pediatricians for Guidance

The American Academy of Pediatrics Vermont Chapter (AAPVT) has been working with the Agency of Education, School Nurses, Superintendents (VSA), School Boards (VSBA), and Principals (VPA) on recommendations for back to school (attached guidance). Schools were sent the following information from VSBA, VSA, VPA on Return to School COVID-19 Prevention Measures, which included the guidance from AAPVT.

The chapter is now working to connect pediatric practitioners to schools to spread the message about keeping students safe and IN school!  If you are interested in talking to your school board email Stephanie at

The key points in the AAPVT guidance are:

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics Vermont Chapter fully supports the administration’s emphasis on getting students in-person full-time this school year and with the recommendation that schools require universal masking of all students and staff regardless of vaccination status to begin the school year
  • Vermont pediatricians continue to support universal masking regardless of vaccination status as an important mitigation strategy to prevent spread of COVID-19 in the school setting.  We feel strongly that universal masking should continue for students and staff in each school building until those under 12 years of age have had the opportunity to be vaccinated and when epidemiologic data tells us it is safe to remove them.
  • AAPVT support schools not implementing distancing measures, but strongly recommend that schools pay special attention to distancing at times when students are eating in groups unmasked. 
  • The stay home when sick guidance is imperative as outlined in the Agency of Education/Department of Health memo. Students and staff who are sick should stay home.


Blueprint Executive Committee Discusses Future of Blueprint Payments

The Blueprint Executive Committee held a regularly scheduled meeting last Wednesday and one agenda item was current and future plans to link Blueprint practice payments to ACO participation. The 2020 Implementation Improvement Plan for the All Payer ACO Model Agreement stated as a recommendation that “Through a phased approach, over a multi-year period, the Agency of Human Services (AHS) will condition provider participation in the Blueprint for Health’s Patient Centered Medical Home payments on participation in a value-based payment arrangement with an ACO.” At the meeting Wednesday, Vermont Director of Health Care Reform Ena Backus stated that no changes were being proposed for Blueprint payments in the 2022 performance year. She added that the AHS is starting the process of evaluating making changes for the 2023 performance year, such as streamlining payments and/or linking payments to participation in OneCare. The Blueprint Executive Committee and other stakeholders would be consulted in the process of determining whether changes should be made.  Executive Committee members commented that AHS should hear from smaller practices not yet participating in OneCare and consider what requirements OneCare is asking of primary care practices, such as risk sharing, before deciding if the payments should be linked.   


Full FDA Approval for Pfizer Vaccine and Local Control at Schools

At Tuesday’s Administration press conference, the Governor, the Deputy Secretary of Education Heather Bouchey and Department of Health Commissioner Mark Levine emphasized their recommendation that all staff and students wear masks for the return to in-person instruction for at least the first 10 days of the new school year. Bouchey explained that the Administration is recommending that districts require universal facial coverings, but that the state is allowing each district to determine their own policies to provide the optimum protection and safety from COVID-19 for their schools and communities. The Governor reiterated that after 80% of the eligible population in each school is fully vaccinated schools could decide to not require masks for that eligible population and that staff and students will not be required to wear masks outdoors at school regardless of vaccination status. The Governor does not think that Vermont needs a mask mandate, as this would require him to declare Vermont to be in a State of Emergency and he does not want to overuse this power. Bouchey acknowledged a few “contentious exchanges” between parents and school boards regarding district mask policies and urged Vermonters to be civil and respectful and clarified that each district has the authority to set their own COVID-19 mitigation policies. Commissioner Levine was optimistic that the FDA’s full approval of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine will reassure the approximate 70,000 unvaccinated Vermonters to begin their vaccination schedule and also put out the reminder that the full approval allows employers to require vaccination as a condition of employment. For the full press conference notes click here.


    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. 


    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.

      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 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. 

      The North Carolina Statewide Telepsychiatry Program (NC-STeP): A Presentation & Discussion with Sy Saeed, MD, MS, FACPsych

      August 31st, 2021

      3:00-4:30 pm

      Dr. Saeed will talk about the NC-STeP program, which is alleviating stress in hospital emergency departments across North Carolina. Register here.

      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.

      NEW Webinar: What Health Care Providers Need to Know About Information Sharing and The Info-blocking Regulations

      The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is hosting a series of webinars to discuss the information blocking requirements of the 21st Century Cures Act. This initial webinar is a physician-focused presentation covering key aspects of their regulations focused on information blocking and provides an opportunity to ask questions and get answers from ONC’s experts. This webinar will be held on September 14, 2021 from 1-2pm EST

      Webinar: Technology Creates Calming Environment for Pediatric Mental Health Emergencies

      Thursday, September 23rd, 2021, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST 

      Pediatric emergency department visits for mental health conditions increased significantly during the pandemic — further exacerbating the urgent need for creative solutions for struggling youth. Join Children’s Health in Dallas and Philips and Recornect to learn how environment changes can help de-escalate stressful medical emergencies and how to co-create an innovative solution with technology companies. Register here.

      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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