January 11th, 2022


Scott Administration Launches Antigen Test Ordering Platform; Clarifies School Guidelines

Governor Phil Scott announced last week that beginning this week the State of Vermont will use a program developed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to deliver 500,000 recently acquired rapid COVID-19 tests to households across the state.  Governor Scott added detail at his weekly press conference today that the platform to order the tests will be launched tomorrow (Wednesday) and that individuals should visit the Department of Health website beginning at 10 am tomorrow to order up to 2 test kits per household.   Governor Scott, pediatrician Rebecca Bell, MD, and administration officials also clarified changes to school testing and contact tracing strategy that were first announced on Friday.  Dr. Mark Levine clarified that families will still be notified if a student in the classroom has tested positive and antigen tests will be provided for families to administer at home.  Dr. Levine added that tests will be available to schools not only to unvaccinated students to test daily for 5 days in the Test to Stay model but can also be provided to asymptomatic vaccinated students who want to test at days 3, 4, or 5 after being a close contact; vaccinated staff; or even to students who are identified as close contacts outside the school.  The American Academy of Pediatrics Vermont Chapter supports a shift to widely available antigen testing. Notes from the press conference can be found here and notes from the health commissioner call can be found here.

Other updates from the week include:

  • The Vermont Department of Health held a COVID-19 therapeutics office hours last Thursday to discuss the recent HAN on therapeutics and provide information on where and how to order in Vermont.  Find the presentation here.  Updated information will also be added to the VDH Health Professionals Guidance webpage.
  • Governor Phil Scott today announced the State opened registration for COVID-19 booster shots for children 12 to 15 years old last Wednesday, following approval by CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky late Wednesday night.  This age group can receive their Pfizer booster as early as five months after their second Pfizer dose. 
  • The Vermont Immunization Program’s January 2022 newsletter can be found here, including reminders that all practices must reenroll in the Vermont Child and Adult Immunization Programs by February 1, 2022 or further orders will be suspended. 
  • FDA shortened the interval for a booster dose of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to five months
  • OSHA has withdrawn the non-recordkeeping portion of the healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard that was announced in June and required COVID-19 plans as well as mitigation measures such as patient screening, physical distancing and physical barriers. OSHA strongly encourages all healthcare employers to continue to implement the ETS’s requirements and will enforce general duty standards to protect employees from hazards.
  • Following the recent statement from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel regarding therapies for the COVID-19 Omicron variant, CMS created HCPCS code J0248 for VEKLURY™ (remdesivir) antiviral medication when administered in an outpatient setting.


      February 2022: VMS Advocacy Month

      Do you have insight to share on what it is like to be a health care professional as we approach the second year of the pandemic? Are you passionate about a current health policy issue? Your medical expertise makes you uniquely qualified to be a health advocate and help lead evidence-based health care policy change in Vermont. This February, VMS will host four weeks of virtual advocacy actions as part of our 2022 VMS Advocacy Month. Join us, as your voice is critical to improving care for Vermonters, Vermont’s health care system and the practice environment. Advocacy actions include:

      • Feb. 14th at Noon - Engage in our Vermont Health Policy Town Hall discussion with Vermont legislative leadership and Senate and House Health Care Chairs 
      • March 3 at 12:30 -  Engage in our Town Hall discussion with our invited Congressional delegation. 

      Although we are only in the second week of the 2022 legislative session, the VMS is being asked to speak on a myriad of health care policy issues and your practice experience is critical for these discussions. Please let us know if you are interested in testifying (virtually) during our Advocacy Month. We need your voice on health care policy issues regarding:

      • Health Care Workforce
      • Primary Care Sustainability
      • Pediatric Mental Health
      • Gun Violence Prevention
      • Constitutional Protections for Reproductive Health (Prop 5)

      For more information on VMS' 2022 Advocacy click here.

      First Week and Vermont Legislature Begins to Tackle VMS Priorities 

      The first week of the 2022 legislative session, albeit remote, began with a flurry of activity on health care policy and action on many of VMS' 2022 policy priorities. This week, both the Senate and House Health Care Committees will continue their work to again extend the COVID-19 regulatory flexibilities passed in Act 6. VMS, as part of the Health Care Association Coalition, urged lawmakers to extend the majority of the regulatory flexibilities until March 31, 2023 and stressed the quick turn-around. Both health care committees also heard from the Office of Professional Regulation on last year's Interstate Telehealth Working Group’s recommendations regarding telehealth licensure. The House Health Care Committee is also considering whether to support the Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA) recommendation to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates in the FY 2022 Budget Adjustment, which is scheduled to be voted out of the House Appropriations Committee this week. The Scott Administration is also asking for $40 million to be invested immediately into health care workforce needs, which includes: 

      • $25 million - for current traveler contracts, including those for ICUs and long term care facilities
      • $15 million -  in health care employee retention programs, including an open grant opportunity
      • $1.4 million - in staffing incentives to open beds at the Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital

      This week the House and Senate Human Services Committees will also be holding hearings on a proposed statewide mask mandate and new COVID-19 testing and contact tracing protocols for schools and early childhood educators. 


        Join us every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month from 12:30pm to 1pm as Commissioner of Health, Mark Levine provides us with the most pressing COVID-19 information affecting the state and nation. You will have the opportunity to submit questions to Dr. Levine who will answer them, time-permitting.

        You can join the zoom meetings beginning in January here or add to your calendar by following this link and clicking download (you will then need to open the downloaded file and click save to add to your calendar).

        AMA to Host Webinar on Strategies to Make Virtual Visits Successful

        January 26th - 12pm, CST

        The AMA will host a live webinar, “Web-side” Manner: Strategies to make the virtual visit a success,” at noon CST on January 26. The webinar will provide suggested strategies to improve patient connection and communication when delivering care remotely. Participants will learn about pre-visit strategies to smoothly onboard patients to their first virtual visit, ways to conduct a virtual physical exam, and best practices for patient communication over video.

        Register here.

        Hospital Medicine 2022 and Optional POCUS Workshop

        January 30th - February 1st, 2022, ET

        The course will provide practical approaches to common problems in hospital medicine, informed by experts and the latest evidence. All provider types practicing Hospital Medicine are welcome, including administrators, resident physicians and medical students.

        An optional Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS) workshop will take place at the UVM SIM Lab in Burlington on Sunday morning, January 30.

        For registration information (in-person and virtual option), full agenda & accreditation details, click here. 

        Questions: Contact Michele Morin at: Michele.Morin@med.uvm.edu or 802-922-3594

        The 33rd Annual Eastern Winter Dermatology Conference

        February 5th - 7th, 2022, ET

        Dr. Glenn Goldman invites you to attend this year’s dermatology conference which is returning to Stowe for its 33rd year. The conference is divided into morning and late afternoon sessions, with a large mid-day break to allow for recreation. Although the course is designed for dermatologists, medical professionals with an interest in dermatology are welcome to attend.

        Topics: Locoregional and in-transit metastatic melanoma, skin reactions to immunotherapy, testing and imaging for SCC, MCC, and MM, cosmetic dermatology, challenging cases, medical pearls, Dermatology Jeopardy, and more!

        For registration information, full agenda & accreditation details, click here.

        Questions: Contact Michele Morin at: Michele.Morin@med.uvm.edu or 802-922-3594

        The 27th Annual Vermont Perspectives in Anesthesia Conference

        March 2nd - March 4th, ET

        Drs. Matt Fisher and Bob Williams invite you to join them for this year’s Live VIRTUAL Conference, with practical reviews and timely informative clinical updates on a variety of topics of current interest in Anesthesia. Registered participants will have access to On-Demand Recordings to view and claim credit for any sessions that are missed during the live conference - for up to 12 months following the conference.

        Topics: The Difficult Airway, Obstructive Breathing Patterns in the PACU, Perioperative EEG, Patients with Opioid Use Disorder, NORA emergencies, Non-Cardiac Surgery: Myocardial Injury and Preoperative Assessment, The Value of Women on Teams, The Anesthesia Department on the Other Side of COVID, and more!

        For registration information, full agenda & accreditation details, click here.

        Questions: Contact Michele Morin at: Michele.Morin@med.uvm.edu or 802-922-3594

        The Third Annual Teaching Cannabis Awareness and Prevention Conference, will be held remotely on April 27th & 28th, 2022 from 8:00am-12:30pm PT.

        This conference is for educators, TUPE Coordinators, community-based organizations, school administrators, healthcare providers, school resource officers, parents, and anyone else working with youth to learn about the latest research on youth and cannabis, including products being used, reasons for use, health effects, and the latest available lessons for teaching cannabis education and prevention to middle- and high school-aged youth. 

        This year there will be a Call for Workshops, where individuals are invited to submit abstracts and ideas if interested in presenting your own workshop. Submit Call for Workshop proposals by January 17th by visiting here.

        The registration fee is a $125 per person, which will include unlimited access to view all Keynotes, workshops and resources for one year after the conference. To register visit here.

        If you have any questions, email canprevtoolkit@stanford.edu.

        New Free Course - Caring for Newly Arrived Afghans

        With the influx of Afghan families resettling to U.S. States under Operation Allies Welcome we know that many clinicians and health care systems will be seeing  these individuals. 

        We put together this free four-hour course, composed of recorded lectures and interactive lessons to help prepare providers to serve newly arrived Afghans. It covers topics ranging from Operation: Allies Welcome to Afghan cultural background, general and skin medical exams, and mental health care, to clinical observations from practitioners at welcome centers and in receiving states. 

        We hope you will find this resource helpful. Please share this message and link with anyone you think would find it useful. We have additional free resources available here.

        Register here! This course is free but does require registration. Once registered you will receive an email receipt with a link to the course.


        Vermont Medical Society

        134 Main Street

        Montpelier, VT 05602

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