Janaury 3, 2023


2023 Legislative Session Begins Tomorrow; RSVP for VMS Advocacy Day, Jan. 18th

Tomorrow, Weds., January 4th the Vermont Legislature will return for opening day of the 2023 legislative session, and the VMS policy team is busy preparing to meet a whole new slate of lawmakers during the first full in-person session since the start of the pandemic. After the "great retirement" last Spring, in which nearly a third of Vermont lawmakers decided not to run for re-election, we will be starting with a lot of unknowns. We are all eagerly awaiting both House and Senate Committee assignments and the naming of nine new Committee Chairs in the House. Jill Krowinski, D-Burlington, will be returning as House Speaker, but as Becca Balint begins her first term in Congress, Phil Baruth, D-Chittenden, will become the new Senate President Pro Tem.  

You are invited to the Statehouse for the 2023 VMS Advocacy Day in Montpelier on January 18th to meet the 2023 class of legislators and to use your voice to advocate for health care policies that will improve your practice environment. This is a unique opportunity early in the new legislative session to let lawmakers know how they can help address the pressing issues you and your patients are facing. We will start the afternoon off with a brief legislative update on VMS' 2023 Policy Priorities. Attendees will then get an opportunity to observe legislative committees or possibly testify. We will then invite lawmakers to join us for a Legislative Reception in the cafeteria entitled, "Health Care Crisis: Steps to Ensure the Survival of Medicine in Vermont."

Please RVSP here.

Invite Your Lawmaker

Please email your lawmakers and introduce yourself as a constituent and invite your lawmaker to the VMS Advocacy Day legislative reception. Start by:

  1. Finding your legislators. Click here and enter your town and find their email by clicking on their name. 
  2. Introduce yourself as a physician/ PA and a constituent in their district
  3. Invite them to the VMS Legislative Reception on Weds. January 18th from 4-6pm in the cafeteria entitled, "Health Care Crisis: Steps to Ensure the Survival of Medicine in Vermont.
  4. Example: "Dear Representative Houghton, Congratulations on your re-election to the Vermont State House. My name is Dr. Jones and I am a primary care physician at UVMMC and just moved to Essex. I look forward to getting to know you and would like to invite you to the VMS Legislative Reception on January 18th from 4-6pm in the Statehouse cafeteria entitled, "Health Care Crisis: Steps to Ensure the Survival of Medicine in Vermont." Please let me know if you can attend. Sincerely, Dr. Jones"

Reach out to Jill with any questions at jsudhoffguerin@vtmd.org

VMS Deputy ED, Stephanie Winters, Celebrates 25 Years

VMS Deputy Executive Director, and Executive Director of many of the specialty societies supported by VMS, Stephanie Winters, celebrates her 25th anniversary of working for VMS this Thursday. Today she shares some reflections on her years of working with VMS members: 

For many, January brings a feeling of new beginnings.  For me it is a chance to reflect on the past and look forward. This is even more true this year as I celebrate my 25th year of being with the Vermont Medical Society. 

On January 5th 1998, a very young and naïve girl in need of health insurance started a job at an organization she knew nothing about. I could never imagine the ways in which the VMS, its mission, and its members would shape me.

Throughout the last 25 years I have been afforded the opportunity to witness the true dedication and compassion of many physicians around the state. Watching their passion and the many different ways they advocate for their patients every single day is inspiring. I am in awe of those who choose the practice of medicine and, despite the hardships, continue to find joy in taking care of people. I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to be a small part of advocacy initiatives that make a difference in the lives and health of Vermonters, and it is my honor to be able to work alongside many selfless leaders who put themselves out in the public eye to push for what is right. 

I have found a home in the VMS, a family and many lifelong friendships. I can’t find the appropriate words to truly convey what it has meant to me to find this job in 1998, build this career over the years, and now get to continue in this chosen profession with purpose. I am lucky.  The mentorship, trust and guidance that has been shown to me is beyond measure and it leaves me humbled, grateful and happy. Thank you for an amazing first 25 years!  

Commissioner of Health Public Health Updates This Thursday

    VMS will host its next call with the Commissioner on Thursday, January 5th at 12:30 pm. Calls will now be held on the first Thursday of each month. 

    You can join the zoom meetings here.

    CDC Health Alert Network Health Advisory: Increase in Pediatric Invasive Group A Streptococcal Infections

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is issuing this Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory to notify clinicians and public health authorities of a recent increase in pediatric invasive group A streptococcal (iGAS) infections. In November 2022, CDC was notified of a possible increase in iGAS infections among children at a hospital in Colorado. Potential increases in pediatric iGAS cases in other states were subsequently noted by contributors to the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s provider-based Emerging Infections Network and by certain jurisdictions participating in CDC’s Active Bacterial Core Surveillance System (ABCs). This increased number of pediatric iGAS cases in some jurisdictions has occurred in the setting of increased circulation of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza viruses, SARS-CoV-2, and other respiratory viruses. While the overall number of cases has remained relatively low and iGAS infections remain rare in children, CDC is investigating these reports

    Learn more here.

    CDC Health Alert Network Health Advisory: Important Updates on COVID-19 Therapeutics for Treatment and Prevention

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is issuing this Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Update to supplement the CDC HAN Health Advisories issued on April 25, 2022 and May 24, 2022 to emphasize to healthcare providers, public health departments, and the public that the majority of Omicron sublineages circulating in the United States have reduced susceptibility to the monoclonal antibody, bebtelovimab and the monoclonal antibody combination, cilgavimab and tixagevimab (EvusheldTM).

    Antiviral therapeutics for the treatment of COVID-19ritonavir-boosted nirmatrelvir (PaxlovidTM)remdesivir (Veklury®), and molnupiravir (LagevrioTM), retain activity against currently circulating Omicron sublineages. These medications can prevent severe disease, hospitalization, and death and are widely available but have been underused.

    This HAN Health Update provides health care professionals, public health officials, and the public with guidance on improving use of therapeutics for treatment of COVID-19 and strategies to prevent serious outcomes of COVID-19.

    Learn more here.

    COVID-19 Guidance for Health Care Workers

    Health care personnel (definition found here) should be using the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Managing Healthcare Personnel with SARS-CoV-2 Infection or Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 | CDC, and not community guidance, when determining when a health care worker can return to work after a COVID-19 infection. This applies to both inpatient and outpatient settings. CDC also has Strategies to Mitigate Healthcare Personnel Staffing Shortages if contingency or crisis strategies are needed to address staffing shortages.


    Request for Ideas Due 1/20: Advancing Rural Health Equity

    The newly established Center for Advancing Rural Health Equity seeks ideas for projects to advance health equity in rural northern New England communities within NH, VT, and ME. The Request for Ideas (RFI) intends to solicit project ideas with strong potential to address health disparities in rural areas. Ideas do not need to be fully developed proposals; they can be at the formative stage. We will work with you to develop an interesting idea into a full project. Ideas could focus on quality improvement, research, education, training, implementation, development of new services, or any combination of these.  Please find more information in the Request for Ideas (RFI) hereProject ideas are due by January 20, 2023.   Contact the Center with any questions: CARHE@hitchcock.org.

    HHS Issues New Conscience and Religious Nondiscrimination Proposed Rule

    In 2019, the HHS’ Office of Civil Rights issued a regulation that provided broad definitions, created new compliance regulations, and created a new enforcement mechanism for a number of statutes related to the conscience rights of certain federally funded health care entities and providers. The 2019 Final Rule was held unlawful by three federal district courts. In light of these court decisions this NPRM proposes to partially rescind the Department’s 2019 rule while reinforcing other processes previously in place for the handling of conscience and religious freedom complaints.  Public comments on the NPRM are due 60 days after publication of the NPRM in the Federal Register.  Read the press release here.   The proposed rule may be viewed here: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/conscience-rule-nprm.pdf 

    CMS Extends 2022 MIPS EUC Deadline to March 3

    Due to American Medical Association advocacy and outreach to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), CMS has extended the deadline to file a 2022 MIPS Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances (EUC) hardship extension until March 3, 2023. The original deadline was Jan 3, 2023. If physicians feel they have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022 they may file a MIPS hardship exemption with CMS to avoid a 2024 MIPS penalty. 

    Additional Resources

    For more information, please see the Quality Payment Program COVID-19 Response webpage of the QPP website.



    Emergency Medicine Update

    January 22 - 25, 2023

    In-Person - Lodge at Spruce Peak, Stowe, VT


    This course will discuss a variety of timely, practical issues that are encountered in the emergency department on a daily basis. Lectures will be engaging, sometimes controversial, and present the audience with examples of both successes and failures in emergency medicine. At the end of this program, participants should be able to distinguish between advancement and change in the emergency department in a relaxed, family-oriented environment where learning does equal fun!

    All emergency medicine professionals are welcome.

    For more information about the speakers, sessions, accreditation and to register please visit: https://go.uvm.edu/stoweem23

    Hospital Medicine 2023

    January 29 - 31, 2023

    In-Person - Lodge at Spruce Peak, Stowe, VT

    This course will provide practical approaches to common problems in hospital medicine informed by experts and the latest evidence. Target audience: physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and nurses practicing Hospital Medicine. Also open to program administrators, resident physicians, and medical students with an interest in careers in Hospital Medicine. Topics will include: Curbing the Opioid Crisis, Pharmacy Pearls, Long COVID, Biliary Disease, End of Life Care in the Hospital. Optional workshop: POCUS

    For more information about the speakers, sessions, accreditation and to register please visit: https://go.uvm.edu/hm2023

    Grand Rounds with Dr. Libby Stuyt

    January 31, 2023, 9am to 10:30am ET


    Dr. Libby Stuyt is a board-certified Addiction Psychiatrist and has worked in the addiction/behavioral health field since 1990.

    Her current mission is to educate as many people as possible on the un-intended consequences of the

    commercialization of marijuana in Colorado, focusing primarily on the deleterious effects of high potency

    THC on the developing brain.

    This webinar will discuss the negative impacts of high potency THC on community and patient safety.

    Learn more here.

    Register here.

    Eastern Winter Dermatology Conference

    February 2 - 5, 2023

    In-person - Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa, Stowe, VT

    The 34th Annual Eastern Winter Dermatology conference is designed to provide high-level continuing education for dermatologists and medical professionals specializing in dermatology, keeping them abreast of new and exciting findings in basic science, clinical dermatology and dermatologic therapy. Primary care physicians and medical professionals with a special interest in dermatology are also welcome to attend. Topics will include: Acne & rosacea update, innovations in connective tissue disease management, diagnosis of early CTCL, hidradenitis suppurativa, pediatric psoriasis issues, professional development - “how to say no,” erythema migrans pearls, management of high risk skin cancer, medical pearls from the literature and more!

    For more information about the speakers, sessions, accreditation and to register please visit: go.uvm.edu/winterderm23

    2023 Epilepsy & EEG in Clinical Practice

    February 10, 2023

    In-person - Main Street Landing, Burlington, VT

    Held in Burlington for the first time, the 2023 Epilepsy & EEG course will focus on providing a review of current medical and surgical clinical practices related to seizures and conjunction with adjunctive EEG testing and will address errors that may lead to incorrect diagnosis and treatment. An interactive and didactic format that includes multimedia presentations and allows for audience participation. Target audience: internists, family practice and general practice physicians, pediatricians, neurologists, physician assistants, nurses, allied health professionals and residents involved in the care of patients with seizures and epilepsy are encouraged to attend.

    Note: This is being held in conjunction with the EAEEG Annual Meeting. There is a discount for attending both events.

    For more information about the speakers, sessions, accreditation and to register please visit: https://go.uvm.edu/epilepsy23

    Future Health Best: Practices for Advancing Care

    March 31, 2023

    Virtual and In-person at Waltham, MA

    Join physician leaders and health care experts from the Northeast for a signature event to share knowledge and research that advances equitable, sustainable, patient-centered, and best-in-class health care.

    For more information about the speakers, program, CME accreditation and to register please visit here.

    Note: You can use the discount code of FHB23NE when registering for this event 

    Save the Dates - Preparing for and Delivering Value-Based Care in Rural Communities

    April 4th, May 2nd, June 6th, and June 27th, 2023

    The Northern Border Region Technical Assistance Center (NBR-TAC) is pleased to present a four-part webinar series on the journey to Value-Based Care (VBC) for rural hospitals and primary care providers/facilities (FQHC’s/RHC’s) interested in learning more about operating in a value-based care environment. This webinar is open to organizations or individuals interested in this topic who are welcome to attend.

    View the topics of the webinar series here.

    Look for more information and registration details in February 2023 

    More conferences from UVM CMIE are expected this Spring to include these topics: Anesthesia, Cardiovascular/Vascular Disease, Geriatrics and Family Medicine. Sign-up to get updates via email for topics that are of interest here


    Vermont Medical Society

    134 Main Street

    Montpelier, VT 05602

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