Senate Committee Includes $275 million in Federal Funds in Health Care Stabilization Grant Program
Thank you to our VMS members who reached out to the Vermont Senate on H. 965. Due to your advocacy, the bill now appropriates $275 million in CARES Act federal funds to the Health Care Provider Stabilization Grant Program. The Senate Appropriations Committee simplified the Grant Program to provide maximum flexibility for AHS to create a needs-based application process for a broad range of health care facilities and providers. The bill is expected to be debated in front of the full Senate later this afternoon and then differences with the House will have to be resolved. The Agency of Human Services (AHS) has also already provided approximately $50 million in funds to health care practitioners through the DVHA Retainer program.
Constitutionality of High-Capacity Magazine Ban Heard in VT Supreme Court
past Tuesday, the Vermont Supreme Court heard arguments regarding a challenge of the
constitutionality of Vermont's ban on high-capacity magazines, which became state law in 2018. Attorney Bridget Asay,
representing organizations that submitted an amicus brief in the case,
including the Vermont Medical Society and gun
control advocacy groups, also argued Tuesday before the high court in support
of the constitutionality of the provision. To read the VT Digger article, click
AMA Releases Updated Prior Authorization Physician Survey
Recently updated survey data (PDF) of practicing physicians nationwide indicate that prior authorization continues to interfere with patient care and can lead to adverse clinical consequences. The survey results also reflect the limited progress (PDF) that health plans have made toward implementing each of five key areas of prior authorization reform. VMS has been using these results to advocate for retaining the provisions of H. 960 that address prior authorization reform, including requiring all health plans by January 2022 to have a “gold card” pilot program that exempts from or streamlines prior authorization requirements for a subset of participating health care providers.
Legislature Plans to Begin Summer Recess Tomorrow
Vermont lawmakers are working furiously to advance necessary legislation and committee priority bills in anticipation of the legislature beginning their summer recess on Friday. They plan toreturn in mid-August to work on a FY21 Budget for the 2nd-4th quarters of the year. Currently, legislators are laser focused on finalizing appropriating federal Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) and on negotiating any differences that remain between the House and the Senate on the FY21 First Quarter Budget. Legislation receiving action this week includes:
- H. 960, a miscellaneous health care provision bill, passed the Senate and heads back to the House for concurrence. The bill includes VMS-supported sections addressing prior authorization – including requiring all payers to have “gold card” pilot programs. The bill also extends a number of COVID-related licensing and regulatory flexibilities beyond the State of Emergency. Most of these provisions are extended to March 31, 2021 when the legislature will be back in session.
- H.572, a bill that adds a licensed substance use disorder practitioner, a mental health prescribing expert and a licensed social worker to the Maternal Mortality Review Panel passed the Senate and goes back to the House for concurrence.
Vermont Medical Society Extends Deadline for 2020 Award Nominations
The 2020 VMS Annual Meeting will be held on Saturday, November 7th, as a virtual-only event. VMS is currently soliciting 2020 Physician Leader 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 in 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 has extended the deadline and will now be accepting nominations for these awards until July 10th. Click HERE to complete an awards nomination. Please let Stephanie Winters know if you have any questions or suggestions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to learn more about the 207th Annual Meeting.
VMS Foundation Now Accepting Applications for Physician Executive Leadership Institute
Perhaps never before have physicians and PAs been asked to step up and skillfully lead rapid change than they have throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Every clinician has brought her or his leadership and management styles and skills to the forefront to ensure the best outcomes for Vermont patients. The VMS Education & Research Foundation is pleased to announce it is now accepting applications for its experiential Executive Leadership Institute, which will enhance and fine-tune the most important leadership skills and concepts for a statewide cohort of Vermont physicians and PAs. Applications will be accepted through September 18th, and the 40-hour, year-long course begins in November. Click here for more information.
Recently Updated COVID-19 Helpful Links: