October 19th, 2021


Physician Executive Leadership Institute - Now Accepting Applications!

The Vermont Medical Society Education & Research Foundation (VMSERF) is proud to announce its third statewide Physician Executive Leadership Institute Foundational Course to begin in winter 2022! This course is offered in partnership with the Daniel Hanley Center for Health Leadership and Lumunos.

Physicians and PAs have been asked to step up and skillfully lead rapid change throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Every clinician brought their leadership, management styles, and skills to the forefront to ensure the best outcomes for Vermont patients. VMSERF is pleased to continue an experiential learning opportunity that will enhance and fine-tune the most important leadership skills and concepts for a statewide cohort of Vermont physicians and PAs.

The physician or PA leader attending this program will benefit from the following:

  • A 40-hour curriculum incorporating online resources of Harvard Business Publishing
  • 40 Category One CME credits (application in process) * 
  • One-on-one or group leadership/executive coaching
  • Certificate of Completion
  • Four quarterly alumni meetings to process leadership challenges
  • Long standing and supportive networks of colleagues across the state
  • A higher level of personal and professional development

To learn more details about the 2022 course, the curriculum, and how to apply, click here or contact swinters@vtmd.org.  

Applications are due November 19th.


Administration Holds Weekly COVID-19 Press Conference

The weekly modeling report from the Department of Financial Regulation can be found here.  It shows that while last week was encouraging for case counts and hospitalizations nationally and regionally, the trends do not apply to Vermont. Case counts increased 26% over the last 7 days and at the moment it is uncertain the direction Vermont cases will be heading. The administration stated that most cases are stemming from small to mid-size indoor gatherings and not large outdoor events and that while they are recommending wearing a mask indoors, a mask mandate is unlikely to be effective to address the current modes of transmission.

29,000 Vermonters have received boosters to date. The FDA is widely expected this week to authorize boosters for all J&J vaccine recipients 18 and older and Moderna recipients who are who are at least 65 or otherwise considered at high risk. It has also been reported that the FDA may approve “mix and match” vaccines this week for those who received the Johnson & Johnson shot initially, or potentially as an approach for all boosters. The State is also gearing up to work with pediatricians on COVID-19 vaccine administration to children 11 and under.

The CDC has also begun weekly reporting on COVID-19 cases and outcomes based on age and vaccination status, including comparing vaccine types. In Vermont 69% of those hospitalized are not fully vaccinated and 82% in the ICU are unvaccinated. All age groups are seeing increases in COVID cases.


Vermont Practitioner Health Program (VPHP): Here to Assist You

The Vermont Practitioner Health Program (VPHP) is a health service that the Vermont Medical Society created for the benefit of Vermont's health professionals. Its purpose is to identify, evaluate and ensure effective treatment for clinicians whose ability to practice medicine is impaired, or is at the risk of becoming impaired. Physicians (including M.D.s and D.O.s), podiatrists, radiology assistants, anesthesia assistants, and physician assistants are eligible to participate. VPHP assists practitioners dealing with impairment or risk of impairment due to use of drugs, including alcohol, as well as impairment caused by any factor that interferes with cognition, judgment or behavior. This includes mental health challenges, organic causes of cognitive impairment, and cognitive deficits associated with the aging process.

VPHP is available as a confidential resource for referral recommendations or for more structured support if needed. Please contact us with any concerns you might have or if you have a concern about a colleague. We’re here to assist you. Here is the Confidential Phone Number: 802-223-0400. 

For more information click here or email Colleen Magne at cmagne@vtmd.org.



Congressman Welch Voices Opposition to Pending Cuts to Medicare Physician Payments

In what amounts to a “perfect storm” of payment reductions going into effect in 2022, several scheduled Medicare spending cuts would result in a combined 9.75% payment cut for physician practices on January 1st. Vermont’s Congressman Peter Welch has joined a “Dear Colleague letter urging House leaders to act before the end of the year to avert the imminent cuts, including extending a 3.75% increase to the Medicare conversion factor that Congress included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, to provide continued stability to the physician and provider community as it works toward broader Medicare payment reform.  VMS thanks Congressman Welch for his efforts to support Vermont’s physicians and health care practices. 


Medical Societies Call to End Unfair Charges for Electronic Payments  

Last week, the VMS joined with the American Medical Association and other state and national medical societies to call for an end to unfair business practices by which physician practices are forced to pay percentage-based fees when receiving electronic funds transfer (EFT) from payers. An increasing number of physicians across the country are reporting that they are forced to incur mandatory, percentage-based fees for the receipt of electronic payments from health plans for payments made via an EFT transaction standard. VMS and the medical associations call on the Biden Administration to swiftly address this problem by issuing guidance that affirms physicians’ right to choose and receive basic EFT payments without paying for additional services and undertaking necessary enforcement activities. Click here to read more.


Regulatory Update: Make Sure to Respond to Requests to Update Payer Provider Directories

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 included a number of health transparency measures (summary here), one of which requires payers to maintain accurate information on their provider networks.  Insurers and plans are required by the law to verify and update provider directory information at least every 90 days and remove any providers where information can no longer be verified.  This means that you or your practice must watch for requests from insurers to verify that plan information is accurate – otherwise they could begin steps to remove you from the directory and then the plan network. 


VDH Releases HAN on Coadministration of COVID-19 Vaccine and Flu Vaccine

Current guidance for the use of COVID-19 vaccines indicates that these vaccines can be coadministered with other vaccines, including influenza vaccines. This includes simultaneous administration of COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines on the same day. It is best practice to administer both the COVID-19 and influenza vaccines to eligible individuals unless otherwise contraindicated by a healthcare provider.

Read the full HAN here.


VDH Adopts Emergency Revised Rule Adding COVID-19 to Reportable Diseases

Effective October 15th, 2021, the Vermont Department of Health (VDH) has adopted the Reportable and Communicable Diseases Emergency Rule 21-E20, which adds COVID-19 to Vermont's list of reportable diseases, clarifies how diseases are to be reported to VDH and by whom, as well as requiring the reporting of specific demographic information to the Department. The adoption of this rule requires prompt reporting of all listed diseases. The collection of demographic information through this reporting is aimed at identifying and addressing inequities associated with race and ethnicity. The Department anticipates initiating formal rulemaking soon, which will include the proposed changes to this emergency rule. This emergency rule will remain in effect until no later than April 13th, 2022. 


    UVM Larner School of Medicine: Primary Care Mental Health Integration Conference - All Virtual

    October 21st, 7:30am - 4:30pm

    This year's Primary Care Mental Health conference will enable your team to implement evidence-based screening and behavior change strategies by learning specific problem-based techniques, assessing and changing the culture of your office site and learning how to measure your success. Earn 6.25 CME credits in an array of disciplines. Click for more information.

    Register here.

    Vermont Ethics Network: "What I Hate about Advance Directives: A Case-based Panel Discussion""

    October 26th 12-1:15pm, ET

    Through discussion of case studies, we will highlight and explore wording commonly used in health care directives that is potentially ambiguous and may lead to misunderstanding of patient goals and wishes.

    Register here.

    Vermont Department of Health: "Vax Visits with Less Stress: Training for Providers in Pediatric & Family Care Practices"

    October 28th 12-1:15pm, ET

    Vermont is launching an initiative to increase sensory supports for children with disabilities and special health needs to help ease their anxiety when they are getting their COVID-19 vaccine at pediatric and family care practices in Vermont. Join us for a one hour training led by UVM’s Children’s Hospital Empower Team. Participants will learn strategies and tips for creating a sensory-friendly environment and each participating practice will receive a sensory tool kit, shipped right to your office. 

    Register here.

    Vermont Ethics Network: "Let's Talk Refusals"

    November 2nd 12-1:15pm, ET

    We are obligated to provide our very best care to the patients we see. Yet sometimes, patient’s disagree with our recommendations and refuse what is being offered. This session will discuss the ethical obligations and legal framework for addressing patient refusals in a variety of clinical situations.

    Register here.

    UVM CORA Community Rounds: "Cannabis Use and Cannabis Addiction in Rural Populations: Phenomenology, Intervention, & Policy"

    November 3rd 12-1pm, ET

    Join Dr. Alan Budney, PhD, from Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.

    Register here.


    Vermont Medical Society

    134 Main Street

    Montpelier, VT 05602

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