June 9, 2020


House Health Care Committee Finalizing Health Care Provider Stabilization Recommendations

Today, the House Health Care Committee discussed their proposed Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) recommendations, which include directing a significant portion of Coronavirus Relief Funds to the Agency of Human Services (AHS) to establish a Health Care Provider Stabilization Grant Program. They must finalize and submit their recommendations to the House Appropriations Committee by noon tomorrow. The Committee is still discussing what dollar amount will be directed to the Grant Program.  While the Scott Administration proposed providing $375 million to health care providers, the House Speaker has allocated the Health Care Committee $150 million for health care related needs and expenses. Earlier in the week, VMS and a broader Health Care Coalition provided the Committee with a joint letter urging them to approve a single process for all health care practitioners, much like the retainer process AHS stood up earlier in the crisis. VMS will continue to weigh in as this proposal progresses through the legislative process.


Vermont Physician License Renewal to Open in August; CME Requirement Reduced

The license renewal process for physicians for the next biennium (Dec. 1, 2018 to Nov. 30, 2020) will begin August, 2020 and will close at the end of November, 2020. As an acknowledgement of the cancellation of many CME programs and conferences and the many hours of professional development performed by licensees to learn about COVID-19, the Board of Medical Practice has reduced the CME requirement from 30 hours to 15 hours of AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™, including 1 hour addressing palliative care, hospice care, OR pain management, and 2 hours addressing prescribing-controlled substances for physicians with DEA registrations. These three subject-specific activities count towards the 15-hour requirement (and cannot be waived by the Board as they are required by Vermont State statute).  Licensees who have not completed the 15-hour CME requirement may file ‘make-up plans’ along with their license renewal application. For online, free or low cost CME options, click here. For more information about license renewal, see the Board of Medical Practice webpage.


Pharmacy Prescribing Proposal Advances Through Legislature

VMS has been weighing in on the annual Office of Professional Regulation bill S.220 as it moves through the legislature.  The Senate Health and Welfare Committee considered the bill last week and focused on the section that would allow pharmacists to prescribe certain medications and devises.  VMS has supported a consensus approach to this topic that will allow prescribing of a set list of medications including tobacco cessation products, self-administered hormonal contraceptives, influenza vaccine and dietary fluoride.  At the request of the Department of Health, a new provision was added by the Committee to allow pharmacists to prescribe a COVID 19 vaccine when one becomes available - or another vaccine in response to a significant public health after finding that existing channels for vaccine administration are insufficient to meet the public health need.  VMS was open to pharmacy administration of COVID 19 vaccines but expressed concern with opening up the administration of all vaccines to pharmacists for reasons including ensuring proper documentation, follow-up and continuity of care. 


Board of Medical Practice Employer Disciplinary Reporting Bill Passes 

The Senate passed H.438, a bill making updates to the procedures of the Board of Medical Practice and the licensure of physicians and podiatrists. The bill includes changes to the requirements for reporting disciplinary actions taken by employers against physicians. Final changes to the bill are being reviewed by the House and it will then go to the governor’s desk.


Federal Provider Relief Fund Update – Additional Funds Available for Physicians  

The AMA has continued to press HHS to swiftly distribute funds to assist those physicians who have not previously received any money from the federal Provider Relief Fund. The Department announced it is moving forward to provide some relief. HHS expects to distribute approximately $15 billion to eligible physicians and organizations that participate in state Medicaid and CHIP programs and have not received a payment from the Provider Relief Fund General Allocation. Starting June 10, HHS plans to launch a portal that will allow eligible physicians and organizations to report their annual patient revenue data and other necessary information to receive a payment equal to at least 2 percent of reported gross revenues from patient care.

To be eligible for this funding, health care providers must not have received payments from the $50 billion Provider Relief Fund General Distribution and either have directly billed their state Medicaid/CHIP programs or Medicaid managed care plans for healthcare-related services between January 1, 2018, to May 31, 2020. Close to one million health care providers may be eligible for this funding. More information about eligibility and the application process is available here.


Recently Updated COVID-19 Helpful Links:


    Questions for VDH? VMS Hosts Weekly COVID-19 CALLS With VDH

    Tuesdays 12:15-12:45 pm

    Please join VMS, for a Weekly COVID-19 update from 12:15-12:45 pm hosted by Vermont Department of Health (VDH) Commissioner Mark Levine to update Vermont's clinicians on the latest state information and protocols.

    Join Skype Meeting

    Join by phone: Dial-in number: +1 (802) 552-8456

    Conference ID: 993815551


    Medicaid Proposed Rule Would Expand Store and Forward Reimbursement for Interprofessional Consultations

    The Agency of Human Services has released proposed rule GCR 20-075: Provider to Provider Store and Forward Coverage Expansion: Interprofessional Consultations, whichwould continue to provide reimbursement for remote evaluation of stored images and video (HCPCS G2010) and starting July 1, 2020 would expand coverage and reimbursement for interprofessional consultations (CPT codes 99451 & 99452). Please send comments or concerns to Jill Sudhoff Guerin at jsudhoffguerin@vtmd.org by June 26, 2021 to inform VMS comments on this proposal.


    Vermont Medical Society Seeks 2020 Resolutions and Award Nominations

    The VMS Executive Committee has decided to transform the 2020 VMS Annual Meeting to a virtual-only format, which will be held on Saturday, November 7th. VMS is currently soliciting 2020 VMS Policy Resolutions for consideration until June 23, whicwill be reviewed at the June 25th VMS Council meeting. Click HERE to submit a resolution ideaVMS is also seeking Award Nominations, as this year more than ever, is the time to recognize those heroes who are making a difference in the lives of Vermont patients and for the health of our State.  Please consider nominating individuals for:

    • Distinguished Service Award
    • Physician of the Year Award
    • Physician Award for Community Service
    • Citizen of the Year Award
    • Founders’ Award

    The VMS Committee on Awards will be accepting nominations for these awards until June 23rd. Click HERE to complete an awards nomination. Please let Stephanie Winters know if you have any questions or suggestions by emailing swinters@vtmd.org. Click here to learn more about the 207th Annual Meeting.


    American Public Health Assoc. Webinar:“The Road to Immunity During COVID-19: Developing & Distributing a Vaccine" Wednesday, June 10, 2020 

    5pm EST

    Click here to register.

    Webinar: COVID-19 Medicare Part B Advanced Payment, Repayment and Recoupment Process

    Thursday, June 11, 2020 

    10:30-11:30 AM

    For clinicians who requested and received accelerated or advanced payments from Medicare due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, this webinar will review the repayment and recoupment process. Click here to register.

    OneCare Vermont: Words MATTER: Using Person Centered Language

    June 24 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

    Join Robyn Skiff, MSA, Care Coordinator Implementation Specialist to better understand and person-centered language in care coordination. Register by emailing Honey Resto at honey.resto@onecarevt.org

    Click here for all upcoming events

    VPQHC Upcoming Telehealth Events Click here for all upcoming events

    Telehealth Virtual Office Hours on Wednesdays from 12 pm - 1 pm and Thursdays from 8-9 am. The Wednesday office hour session will be supported by Dr. Mark McGee, current President of Alpine Telehealth. Contact telehealth@vpqhc.org  


    Vermont Medical Society

    134 Main Street

    PO Box 1457

    Montpelier, VT 05601

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