September 22, 2020


Please Join Us in Honoring the 2020 VMS Leadership Award Recipients
very year, VMS asks our members to nominate Vermont leaders who have provided outstanding contributions to the medical profession, to health organizations and to the welfare of the public. This year, during these unprecedented times, every single one of our members deserve an award for your steadfast commitment to the health of your patients. We are proud to announce this year's 2020 VMS Leadership Award Recipients are:

  • Distinguished Service Award goes to Mark Levine, M.D. 
  • Physician of the Year Award goes to Jessie Leyse, M.D.
  • Physician Award for Community Service goes to Jean Andersson-Swayze, M.D.
  • Citizen of the Year Award goes to Senator Virginia “Ginny” Lyons
  • Founders' Award goes to Anthony Fauci, M.D.

These awards will be presented at the 207th Annual Collaborative meeting of the Vermont Medical Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics Vermont Chapter, the Vermont Academy of Family Physicians and the Vermont Psychiatric Association on November 7th, 2020. To Register, click here. 


Policy Update: Legislature in the Final Stretch of the 2020 Legislative Session

With adjournment scheduled for this Friday, the legislature is working diligently to wrap up 2020 legislation so they can begin campaigning in earnest. Here are some of the bills they took action on this week:

  • S.54, the marijuana commercialization bill, passed both chambers and heads to the Governor's desk. Please tell Governor Scott to VETO S.54 because it does not: Retain the full ban on advertising and Invest $6 million in comprehensive, statewide youth prevention strategies.
  • H.663, passed both chambers and directs each school district to make condoms available to all students in its secondary schools free of charge; a requirement to provide feminine hygiene products in schools was not ultimately included in the bill. 
  • H.607, the bill to create scholarship programs for primary care physicians and nurses, was amended and passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee today. The Committee suggested amendments to remove the requirement that students fulfill their services in a rural part of the state and would sunset the program in July of 2022 unless a sustainable funding source for the program is identified. The amended version now goes back to the Senate Health and Welfare Committee for consideration.
  • H.688, the climate change bill aimed at reducing greenhouse emissions, will become law after both the House and the Senate overrode the Governor's veto. 

Equipment Available to Patients Needing Telehealth Connections – Apply by October 5, 2020

The Vermont Program for Quality Health Care (VPQHC) launched their  Connectivity Care Package Pilot Program  (CCP) this week. The program uses Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) to provide health care practices and facilities with digital equipment and training to help connect their patients to telehealth services. Eligible practices will receive free Apple ipads to distribute to their patients who need them for telehealth purposes, along with digital literacy resources and wifi boosters if necessary. The deadline to apply for the program is Monday, October 5th, 2020. For the application please email


ABMS Announces Progressive Leave Policy for Residents, Fellows

The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) recently announced the adoption of a progressive leave policy that will offer residents and fellows more flexibility, reduce stress, and increase autonomy in making life decisions, especially with regard to family and parental leave.  Starting in July 2021, all ABMS Member Boards with training programs of two or more years duration will allow for a minimum of six weeks away once during training for purposes of parental, caregiver, and medical leave, without exhausting time allowed for vacation or sick leave and without requiring an extension in training. Member Boards must communicate when a leave of absence will require an official extension to help mitigate the negative impact on a physician’s career trajectory that a training extension may have, such as delaying a fellowship or moving into a full, salaried position.


DVHA Adds Services to the Waived Prior Authorization List

On September 21, 2020 the Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA) updated their “Waived Prior Authorization Codes” list to include the following waived services:

  • Imaging Services and Durable Medical Equipment (DME) and Supplies — including continuous glucose monitors obtained from a pharmacy
  • Dental Services including orthodontia

There are exceptions to the prior authorization waiver for some DME items with the potential to cause imminent harm. Click here for the new lists.

NEW! 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. 

NEW! Once a month, VMS has a guest speaker during this call time, as the Commissioner has a conflict. On September 17th, please join with the regular call login information at 12:00 p.m. for the VMS Thursday webinar, MOUD Modifications in a COVID-19 World.

Join Zoom Meeting -

Meeting ID: 867 2625 3105 / Password: 540684

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


AAP VT and VDH Offer Grants for Flu Vaccination Expansion

The American Academy of Pediatrics Vermont Chapter, in collaboration with the Department of Health’s Immunization Program, is providing funding to support expanded influenza vaccination by healthcare practitioners or organizations. Health care practices and facilities may retrospectively receive $1000 per clinic held (up to $5000 total). Applications will be reviewed on receipt and funds will be distributed upon project completion and receipt of final project report. Applications must be received by October 23rd, 2020.  Flu Clinics must be completed by March 31, 2021. If would like to apply for the grant, please complete this application and email back to Stephanie Winters at


Medicare E/M Office Visit Changes Effective Jan 2021

Medicare’s major modifications to coding, documentation, and payment of evaluation and management (E/M) services for office visits will move forward as planned on January 1, 2021.The American Medical Association (AMA) has developed an extensive online library of resources to assist with the transition, which includes the following titles:


Submit Your Health Policy Questions to VT Digger Candidate Forums 

VT Digger is holding two candidate debates for the lieutenant governor’s and governor’s races. The events will be broadcast live, in person and adhering to social distancing measures, and the public is invited to view the events via VTDigger’s livestream. Please consider submitting your health care policy questions below!

  • The lieutenant governor forum, featuring Republican candidate Scott Milne and Democratic candidate Molly Gray, will be held 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24. Submit your questions here for the lieutenant governor candidates.
  • The gubernatorial forum with incumbent Republican Phil Scott and his Democratic/Progressive challenger David Zuckerman, will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29. Submit your questions here for the gubernatorial candidates.


    VMS October Webinar: "What We Learned From the Birchwood COVID-19 Outbreak."

    Please join us Thursday, October 15th at 12 p.m. with speakers: Bob Gramling MD, D.Sc, Michael Lamantia MD, MPH,Tim Lahey MD, MMSc for their webinar on "What We Learned From the Birchwood COVID-19 Outbreak." This presentation will explore the anatomy of a COVID-19 outbreak at a Vermont nursing home and reflect on lessons learned from the heroic multi-disciplinary community response. Register Here! 

    *Unfortunately, this presentation does not satisfy the CME palliative care licensing requirements. 

    Click to see all of the webinars in the new VMS 2020-2021 Third Thursday Webinar Series

    SCOPE of Pain CME

    Wednesday, September 23, 2020

    6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. EST

    Register here

    The Vermont Board of Medical Practice is partnering with the Boston University School of Medicine to present an online version of the award-winning SCOPE of Pain CME course. “SCOPE” stands for Safer/Competent Opioid Prescribing Education and satisfies Vermont's requirement for all healthcare professionals who register with the DEA to prescribe controlled substances to earn at least two hours of CME on opioid prescribing. Register here

    Cyber Security Training for Healthcare Providers

    Wednesday, September 30, 2020

    9:30 a.m. - 12:30 pm EST

    Linn Freedman, Esq. of Robinson + Cole, and Huw O.L. Read from Norwich University, will offer key insights into health data cybersecurity and practical tips to make your data more secure. This training will also include IT experts from New Hampshire and Vermont. Register here

    Save the Date: VEN's Fall Palliative Care VIRTUAL Conference, "Informed Consent: More Than A Piece of Paper"

    Saturday, Nov. 9, 2020

    8:15 a.m. - 4:15pm EST

    Unpacking the ethical, legal and practical considerations of obtaining informed consent in complex clinical situations and at end-of-life with plenary talks by Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD and Guy Matal, MD. Click here to learn more and registration coming soon 

    RME Collaborative’s 2020 Rural Health Clinical Congress

    Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020

    9 a.m. EST

    An interactive, multi-topic, complimentary CME/CE conference held in conjunction with National Rural Health Day, designed for primary care providers who care for patients in rural and underserved areas. Click here to learn more and register 


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    PO Box 1457

    Montpelier, VT 05601

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