Contact Your Vermont Representatives and House Speaker Today: $375 Million in Funding Needed to Stabilize Vermont’s Healthcare System
In the next few days, the Vermont House will be making decisions regarding how to use millions of dollars of funding that Vermont has received from the federal CARES Act. Currently, $250 million is under consideration for health care provider needs. COVID 19 has had devastating financial impacts on Vermont’s health care and long-term care systems and a coalition of health care providers, including the Vermont Medical Society has identified well over $375 million in lost revenue and COVID-19 related expenses from health care facilities ranging from hospitals to independent practices to Federally Qualified Health Centers. Please contact House Speaker Johnson and your House members today to urge them that $375 million of federal relief dollars is necessary to ensure the future of Vermont’s health care providers. If federal money is held back now, it may be too late to ensure the future of the organizations and people responsible for protecting the health and safety of Vermonters throughout the pandemic.
Contact: House Speaker Mitzi Johnson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Find your Representatives here: https://legislature.vermont.gov/people/search/2020
VMS Announces Group Purchasing Options for PPE
VMS realizes that Vermont medical practices are struggling to obtain various items of PPE and that both availability and cost are an issue. While we continue to advocate for more state-run purchasing options, we are also pleased to offer discount group purchasing options available now to our members. Click here to learn more about the available sources including: W.B. Mason (VMS group discount), Action PPE (group purchasing through VMS/State Medical Society consortium) and generally available sources of PPE through Project N95 and Amazon.
Legislature Continues to Meet; Primary Care Scholarship Bill Passes the House
The Vermont legislature has extended their 2020 legislative session, which typically ends in mid-May, through September 2020. The legislature is working to pass COVID-related legislation, to appropriate federal Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF), to pass a First Quarter FY2021 Budget (covering funds needed July-Sept.2020), to pass the remaining FY2021 Budget, and to continue work on 2020 bills that were being considered before lawmakers went remote due to the COVID-19 emergency. Lawmakers are scheduled to work until the end of June and then will recess until mid-August when they will receive updates on the use of CRF funds and begin work on the larger FY2021 Budget (Sept.2020-June 30, 2021). Today, the Vermont House passed H.607 (p.4351), the bill that creates a primary care scholarship program, by a vote of 137 to 0. The bill, which now advances to the Senate, creates an annual scholarship program for up to five third-year and up to five fourth-year medical students annually who commit to practicing primary care in a rural, health professional shortage or medically underserved area of this State. S. 220 (p.5592), a bill that allows pharmacy prescribing of certain medications and devices, now including COVID-19 vaccines, is up for final consideration in the Senate tomorrow morning. S. 438, updating Board of Medical Practice statutes and expanding disciplinary actions that employers of health care providers need to report to the Board, has passed both the House and Senate and moves to the Governor for his signature.
DVHA Extends Special Enrollment Program to August 14, 2020
In order to ensure Vermonters do not have to go without health insurance coverage due to job disruption, or any other cause, the Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA) extended the COVID-19 special enrollment period (SEP), currently set to expire on June 15, until August 14, 2020. Applicants must be uninsured (demonstrated through self-attestation); current enrollees are not permitted to change plans under this SEP and uninsured households previously terminated for non-payment in 2020 are permitted to re-enroll under this SEP with full payment of the previous balance. Please visit https://dvha.vermont.gov/covid-19 for more information.
Recently Updated COVID-19 Helpful Links: