October 25, 2022


Thank You to VMS Members for Attending the Rutland Cty. Candidate Meet & Greet!

Thank you to all of the VMS members who attended our Rutland County Candidate Meet & Greet last Tuesday at the Rutland Country Club in Rutland. Members we were able to spend time educating returning and aspiring legislative candidates on VMS priorities, including health care workforce shortages, a need for mental health and substance use disorder treatment capacity, and addressing violence against physicians and health care workers.  Thank you also to our members who attended our previous legislative events in Washington and Chittenden Counties. Don’t forget that election day is just two weeks away!  Find out more about how and where to vote here.  

Commissioner of Health Public Health Updates

Last Thursday, Commissioner of Health Mark Levine, MD, updated VMS members on public health issues facing the state.  While Vermont is now considered to have medium COVID-19 transmission due to hospital admissions, it is rather stable.  Hospitals are stressed with high admissions and ED usage, this is due to a combination of factors and not just COVID-19. Commissioner Levine also addressed July’s Opioid Overdose report, noting that 44% of overdose deaths had xylazine in toxicology reports.  This is a non-opioid veterinary tranquilizer not approved for human use, and has been linked to an increasing number of overdose deaths nationwide.  Experts recommend giving naloxone in cases of suspected overdose because xylazine is frequently combined with opioids, however, naloxone is not effective against the effects xylazine has on breathing. Notes from the Commissioner’s call with VMS and VAHHS are linked here.   VMS also reminds members that our Thursday calls with the Commissioner are not just focused on COVID, and members are encouraged to attend to learn about important infectious disease and other public health updates. The next call will be November 3, 2022, find zoom information here.  

Vermont Emergency Departments Overwhelmed

As highlighted in this week’s e-newsletter from the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, hospital emergency departments (EDs) are stretched to their limits.  VAHHS interim-CEO Michael Del Trecco writes:

This reality is not limited to any one hospital and sadly, this is anything but new. Since last year, hospitals have struggled to care for more and sicker patients and they have been doing so during an ongoing pandemic, while managing staffing shortages, and with fewer resources. To say this trend is unsustainable is a massive understatement. The challenge is multidimensional, but a major factor is the inability of hospitals to place people in the right level of care. Some would be much better treated at mental health facilities, but beds in those facilities are hard to find. Some could get the care they need at long-term care, nursing home or rehab facilities. These facilities, however, don’t have the staffing they need to fill all their beds and provide quality care to complex patients, so hospitals can’t discharge patients there either. The result is full emergency rooms, full inpatient floors, stressed staff and higher health care costs.

To read the full article or subscribe to the VAHHS newsletter, click here

Feedback Needed: Does Your Practice Use Standing Orders?

Standing orders and protocols allow practitioners to direct clinical staff (nurses, medical assistants) to initiate patient care interventions in the future based on an individual patient’s future clinical needs. The Vermont Medical Society along with other health care associations are in conversation with the Vermont Office of Professional Regulation regarding whether health care practitioners and facilities need more guidance, education and/or regulatory clarity regarding standing orders and how to balance the potential benefits of practice efficiency with patient safety and federal and state law.  At this point, we are looking to gather information from health care facilities and practices regarding what types of standing orders are currently in use in Vermont.  If you have knowledge of your organization’s use of standing orders and/or clinical operations, your assistance in filling out a brief survey by Tuesday, Nov 1. is much appreciated.  This information is being collected anonymously and will not be linked to specific practice locations. Please click here for the survey and feel free to share with others in your practices who are best able to respond.

Applications Still Open for 2023 VMS ERF Leadership Course – A Few Spots Remaining!

The Vermont Medical Society Education & Research Foundation is open for enrollment for a 4th statewide Physician Executive Leadership Institute Foundational Course beginning in January 2023.

This course is offered in partnership with the Daniel Hanley Center for Health Leadership and Lumunos and is supported by funding from the Physicians Foundation.  Perhaps more than ever before physicians and PAs are being asked to step up and skillfully lead rapid change. Every clinician is being called upon to bring their leadership and management styles and skills to the forefront to ensure the best outcomes for Vermont patients. VMSERF is pleased to continue to offer an experiential learning opportunity that will enhance and fine-tune leadership skills and concepts for a statewide cohort of Vermont physicians and PAs.

The course will run from January through November 2023.  It is aimed at individuals with 5 or more years of clinical experience but minimal formal leadership training, with a goal of enrolling 15-20 physicians and PAs from across Vermont. To apply, submit a CV and brief description of interest to swinters@vtmd.org.  Rolling applications now being accepted through December 9th (new extended deadline). View the full 2023 brochure, schedule and application information here.


Register Today for the Vermont Medical Society Annual and Collaborative Meeting

The 209th VMS Annual Meeting will be held on November 4th and 5th in person at Topnotch Resort, Stowe, VT, with virtual options.

The weekend will be filled with educational content, time to spend with colleagues, policy-setting meetings, and the opportunity to honor physicians and other health care leaders across the state. VMS’ Annual Meeting, hosted in collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics Vermont Chapter, the Vermont Academy of Family Physicians and the Vermont Psychiatric Association, is a celebration of the unwavering commitment Vermont clinicians have to their practice and to the deep connection VMS members have with each other.

Educational content topics include:

  • Addressing Pediatric Mental Health Needs
  • Addressing Social Determinants of Health Through Community Connections
  • Visualizing Disease in a Click
  • Preserving Access to Reproductive and Gender Affirmative Health Care Services
  • Updates on Caring for Patients at the End-of-Life (Designed to meet the 1 hour licensing requirement for addressing palliative care, hospice care or pain management)
  • Future of Payment Reform in Vermont
  • Updates in Medication for Opioid Disorder (MOUD) (Designed to meet 1 out of 2 hours of required credits for addressing prescribing controlled substances for prescribers with DEA registrations)

View more meeting details, including the presenters, award winners and more here.

Register here.

Providing Health Care to Refugees: Social Work Considerations for New Americans

Join us on October 27th from 12:15pm to 1pm EST, for a webinar that will discuss social work considerations for new Americans.

This webinar is a part of a series of webinars on Health Care for Refugees hosted by the Vermont Medical Society. Anyone interested is encouraged to attend.

Registration is free and required here.

To learn more about what other topics will be included in this series, click here.

AAPVT Chapter Application for Flu and COVID-19 Vaccines

The American Academy of Pediatrics Vermont Chapter, in collaboration with the Department of Health’s Immunization Program, is providing funding to support expanded influenza and/or COVID vaccination by healthcare practitioners or organizations. 

This new round of funding allows practices that have applied/received funding previously or new practices to apply for a maximum grant award of $5,000 (pending availability of funds).

It is the intent of the State to provide financial support for health care practices/organizations activities that:

  • assess barriers to pediatric COVID-19 and/or seasonal influenza vaccinations in the communities served by the recipient and in collaboration with community organizations.
  • properly manage vaccines and off-site by ensuring vaccine storage equipment meets or exceeds CDC Storage and Handling Toolkit recommendations
  • implement COVID-19 and/or seasonal influenza vaccination clinics in communities to address identified barriers. Emphasis should be placed on offering vaccination clinics specifically to high-risk populations or those with limited access (e.g. assisting living communities, senior housing, schools, children under the age of 18 and their care givers).
  • expand access to COVID-19 and/or seasonal influenza vaccination at primary care practices through patient outreach, vaccine promotion, and expansion of vaccination services.
  • offer off-site, weekend, and after-hours COVID-19 and/or seasonal influenza vaccination clinics at selected locations to meet the need(s) of the community served (e.g. schools, shelters, meal sites, etc.)

Health Care Practices/Organizations may apply online here OR complete the application via word here and email back to Birdie Pauley at BPauley@vtmd.org by October 31, 2022.

Applications will be reviewed on receipt and funds will be distributed upon receipt of final project report. Reporting will be due by April 1, 2023 here.



    No Cost Well-Being Workshops

    VMS is continuing our partnership with Doug Wysockey-Johnson of LumunosWellBeing to offer no-cost clinician wellbeing workshops at up to 10 Vermont medical staffs/practices over 2022. There are 3 remaining slots available this summer.  New topics for 2022 include A Clinician’s Guide to Recovering from the COVID Marathon and A Realistic Look at ‘Work-Home Balance’ for Clinicians. See the full list and additional details here.  Members can contact jbarnard@vtmd.org or doug@lumunos.org for more information or to schedule a workshop. 

    Fall 2022 Virtual Ethics Education Series

    November 1st and November 9th, 12:00pm to 1:15pm EST

    The Vermont Ethics Network presents the last installment of their Fall 2022 Virtual Ethics Education Series:

    • November 1st - Covert Medications: Is this Ever Okay?, presented by Bob Macauley, MD 
      • Learn more and register here
    • November 9th - Mounting Pressure in the Emergency Department – Are there ethical and legal solutions?, presented by Shireen Hard, JD
      • Learn more and register here

    "What Congress needs to do now: A grassroots update"

    November 3rd, 11am CT

    As we approach the end of this year and head into the next, physicians are taking this message to Congress: Reforming Medicare payment and fixing prior authorization need to top the agenda. Without Congressional action, physician practices that have already been weathered by the pandemic will face an 8%+ pay cut next year. Not only that, but prior authorization continues to delay patient care, cause patient harm and create practice hassles.

    Virtually join AMA President Jack Resneck, MD, in conversation with Todd Askew, SVP, AMA Advocacy, and Jason Marino, Director, AMA Congressional Affairs, to hear about the AMA’s grassroots calls to action on these issues and what you can do.

    Register here.

    Osteoporosis Update for Primary Care 2022

    November 4, 2022, The Hampton Inn Conference Center in Colchester, VT

    Designed to improve the skills of the primary care healthcare team as they are often the first to encounter patients who have, or who are at risk of developing, osteoporosis. Topics include: Osteo in men, treatment medications, proper use of calcium and vitamin D, fractures from an orthopedic standpoint, and more!

    For more information about our speakers, sessions, accreditation and to register please visit here.

    Medical Mutual' s 2022 Risk Management Seminar

    November, 15, 2022, 12pm to 4pm

    Understanding the Rules of Play

    for Telemedicine Virtual care is no longer a nice to have, but a necessity.

    Come join healthcare legal guru, Nan Gallagher, as she conveys how to engage in telehealth services so as best to minimize risk, administrative scrutiny, and payer woes, while maximizing your practice’s revenue and overall worth to patients.

    Learn more and register here.

    Webinar: Rapid Treatment Access for Alcohol Use Disorder

    November 16th and November 18th, 11:30am to 1 pm EST

    Join the Vermont Department of Health for a webinar that will have topics including:

    • Walk through of Clinical Protocol including the Use of Medication to treat Alcohol Use Disorder and withdrawal management
    • Epidemiology of Alcohol Use Disorder, recognizing signs and symptoms
    • Organizing Systems of Care Within a Community

    For more information and to register for either the November 16th or 18th session, click here.

    UVM will have conferences for Emergency Medicine, Hospital Medicine, Dermatology and Anesthesia this Winter 2023. 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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