April 5th, 2022


Action: Please Tell Lawmakers Why Increased Investment into Vermont's Loan Repayment Program is Needed Now!

This week, Senate Committees are putting together their FY23 Budget recommendations to inform the work of the Senate Appropriations Committee, so they can finish their version of the budget. We have heard they are working on a very tight timeline, which is why your voice needs to be heard now. The Vermont Medical Society has asked the legislature to devote $793,000 to restore the AHEC primary care loan repayment program to 2009 funding levels.  Click here for the VMS Loan Repayment Memo

Instead of increasing support, over time, the funding for Vermont AHEC's Educational Loan Repayment Program has been drastically reduced to a current rate of $667,111 from a high in FY2009, when it was provided $1,460,000. Although, the Vermont Legislature has developed several new initiatives to bolster Vermont's health care workforce this session, they have not provided any additional funding for the Vermont's Area Health Education Center's (AHEC) Loan Repayment Program. 

Please tell the Senate Health and Welfare and the Senate Appropriations Committees how increasing funding for AHEC's loan repayment is critically necessary for primary care workforce recruitment, both in your practice and statewide. 

Please email these Senators:

vlyons@leg.state.vt.us; chooker@leg.state.vt.us; jterenzini@leg.state.vt.us; acummings@leg.state.vt.us; rhardy@leg.state.vt.us; jkitchel@leg.state.vt.us; rsears@leg.state.vt.us; rawestman@gmail.com; anitka@leg.state.vt.us; pbaruth@leg.state.vt.us; bbalint@leg.state.vt.us; rstarr@leg.state.vt.us

Legislature Heads into Final Month of the Session; Budget & Workforce Discussions Dominate

The legislature continues to be busy with many health care-related topics. Last week, the Senate Health and Welfare finished work on S. 204, related to licensing birth centers, with the Committee and full Senate ultimately retaining a CON provision for birth centers, which VMS supported. The Senate Health and Welfare Committee also continued work last week on H. 655, which would create a permanent process for telehealth registration and licensure. VMS testified in favor of the bill. The Senate Judiciary Committee this week will take up H.548, which passed the House maintaining caps on THC potency as part of retail sales of cannabis. The cannabis industry is pushing for the removal of any potency limits and VMS expects the cap to be challenged again in the Senate. The Senate Economic Development Committee is working through H.703, a bill that contains several health care workforce initiatives. Bills that have crossed over from the Senate and are being taken up by House Committees this week include S.206, related to Alzheimer’s Disease, S. 285, related to hospital global budgeting, and S.74, related to the Patient Choices at the End of Life law.  For the full status of health care legislation, the VMS’ 2022 Mid-Session Legislative Bulletin can be found here.

COVID-19 Rates, Hospitalization in Vermont Stable

Governor Phil Scott focused his press conference today on economic development, and Commissioner of Health Mark Levine was not in attendance. The written DFR Modeling Report can be found here. The 7-day COVID-19 case average increased slightly from 129 to 150 (+16%) cases per day over the last week. Week-over-week testing decreased, with the 7-day average decreasing 5%. Vermont COVID-19 cases are expected to remain relatively low over the coming weeks, however, there is some increased uncertainty with the spread of the Omicron BA.2 subvariant, which is now estimated to be 84% of all New England cases. Average hospital admissions decreased this week, as did the number of patients in the ICU. State Epidemiologist Patsy Kelso commented that the slight increase in cases this week reflect that COVID-19 is still here but the fact that we have not seen a large increase after BA.2 has been circulating for several weeks makes it unlikely we will see another significant surge with this variant.

Other updates from the week:

  • The COVID-19 Coverage Assistance Fund which reimburses for the claims for testing, treatment and vaccine administration is running out and the deadline to submit for vaccine administration claims is quickly approaching. Claims will be accepted through April 5, 2022, at 11:59 pm via the COVID-19 CAF portal. Claims submitted to the portal after the April 5, 2022, deadline will not be adjudicated. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) notes that claims submitted by the deadline will be paid subject to their eligibility and the availability of funds. The AMA has urged Congress to appropriate more money to support the COVID-19 efforts.
  • Vermont Vaccine Program March 2022 Update is now available here. It covers important updates regarding the future of COVID-19 vaccine administration in Vermont, vaccine for those under 5, information on additional boosters, new vaccine ordering procedures, an analysis of COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness in Vermont and more.
  • CDC/IDSA COVID-19 Clinician Call: All About Paxlovid; Plus Variants Update; Saturday, April 9, 3 p.m. ET. Register here.
  • Updated ASPR decision aid for COVID-19 Outpatient Therapeutics to guide alternatives to sotrovimab.
  • The Biden-Harris Administration announced yesterday that more than 59 million Americans with Medicare Part B, including those enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, now have access to FDA approved, authorized, or cleared over-the-counter COVID-19 tests at no cost.

VMS Resolution-Adoption Process – Help Direct the Work of YOUR Society

VMS welcomes members to submit resolution ideas! Resolutions set the policy positions of VMS and often drive VMS advocacy work at the state and federal levels.  See adopted VMS resolutions here.

The VMS resolution-adoption process was modified in 2021 via an update to the VMS Bylaws. Resolutions may now be submitted to the VMS Board for consideration on a year-round basis, at any time by a committee or section of the Society, the Board or individual members of the Society, including student members. Resolutions are intended to express composite positions of the VMS and are to suggest a significant course of action to be taken by the Society. 

Click here for more information about the resolution submission process or contact jbarnard@vtmd.org. For a schedule of VMS Board meetings, click here.


Vermont Maintains Record High Insured Rate

Nearly 97% of all Vermonters have health insurance, matching the state’s highest insured rate on record. According to the 2021 Vermont Household Health Insurance Survey released last week, almost 600,000 Vermonters are covered. The data is consistent with studies from the U.S. Census Bureau which found that, in 2020, Vermont ranked second in the nation for its percentage of people with health insurance. Additional highlights of the survey findings include that average monthly premiums are down 15%, partly due to expanded federal subsidies, and fewer Vermonters had problems paying medical bills in 2021 compared to previous survey years. State officials acknowledged that, while overall trends were largely positive, challenges exist related to health inequities and among small business employees. The full report can be found on the Vermont Department of Health website here.

Vermont Project Firstline: Infection Prevention Training for all Vermont Health Care Workers

The Vermont Project Firstline program, is a tangent to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention initiative designed to support a cultural shift and improve baseline training and education related to infection control and prevention for all healthcare workers. Vermont's program is meant to be informative, engaging, and appropriate for all healthcare workers in Vermont. 

Vermont's program has been specifically designed for Vermont healthcare workers. The trainings were developed by healthcare workers, for healthcare workers. All trainings are free and some will be eligible for continuing education credit. 

Sign up to receive updates on future trainings 

April 2022 Declared Medical Reserve Corps Awareness Month

Last week, Governor Phil Scott proclaimed April 2022 Medical Reserve Corps Awareness Month in recognition of the service of the Reserve Corps volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic, including contributing over 6,000 volunteer shifts and 27,000 hours in support of Vermont’s COVID-19 response. Read more here.

US Surgeon General Murthy Seeks Stories on COVID-19 Misinformation. 

The Office of the Surgeon General recently issued a Request for Information about the impact of misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Comments are due and the Surgeon General’s Office wants to hear from physicians about personal experiences related to health misinformation.  Please join a webinar on Thursday April 7, 4:30 p.m. (ET), where staff in the Office of the Surgeon General will share information about the request for information and how to share your story. Register here. To learn more about the Request for information on health information, visit here.


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).

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 spring.  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. 

Telehealth Q&A: A Discussion with Vermont Payers

April 6, 2022, 12pm to 1pm

A virtual discussion with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, MVP Health Care, and Vermont Medicaid, to hear about their latest telehealth policies, including details on billing, coding, and reimbursement. Each payer will provide a brief overview of their current telehealth policies, and a Q&A session will follow.

Register here.

The Howard Center 5th Annual Conference: Vision, Visionaries and Voices

April 7, 2022, 9am to 4pm


Confronting Stigma. Improving Access. Continuing Advocacy. Advancing Policy. Giving Voice. Please join The Howard Center online for a day of inspiration, learning, and rich conversation at Vision, Visionaries and Voices, for their fifth annual spring conference on April 7, 2022 from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Speakers will provide unique perspectives for a broad audience, including educators, healthcare providers, representatives of local and state government, legal and law enforcement professionals, clients and families, and the general public. They expect attendees from throughout Vermont, New York, New England, and Canada.

The conference will be held virtually by Zoom webinar. To register (registration cost is $89) and view the full conference agenda, please click here.

Vermont Geriatrics Conference

April 12, 2022


The16th Annual Vermont Geriatrics Conference will equip physicians and other healthcare professionals with practical and innovative approaches to the medical care of older adults. This in-person event is taking place at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, Burlington, VT.

TOPICS: commonly-used medications for preventative care, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety and depression, falls prevention, Medicare wellness visits, ethical issues in COVID, and more.

Registration information, full agenda, and accreditation details can be found here.

Clinician Information Sessions: New 2022 DNR/COLST Form

April 14, April 26, May 11, May 26, 2022, 12pm to 1:15pm


On June 1, 2022, the Vermont Department of Health will be launching a new and improved DNR/COLST form for use across the state. Join the Vermont Ethics Network's Executive Director & Clinical Ethicist, Cindy Bruzzese, MPA, MSB, HEC-C, to learn about the new Vermont DNR/COLST form and review best practices for completing medical orders.

Registration will be live soon. Check their website here.

3rd Annual Teaching Cannabis Awareness and Prevention 2022 

April 27 - 28, 2022, 8am to 12:45pm (PST)


The 3rd Annual Teaching Cannabis Awareness & Prevention Conference: A Focus on the Triangulum of Cannabis, Tobacco, and Vaping is a 2 day virtual conference will be held on April 27th, 2022 & April 28th, 2022 from 8am-12:30pm PST. Registration for this conference is $125. To view the conference schedule and speakers at a glance, please click here.

Registration information can be found here.

The UVM Medical Center Cardiovascular/Vascular Forum

May 2, 2022

In-Person and Virtual Option

Course Director Dr. Matt Alef invites Primary Care, internal medicine, and urgent care providers to attend virtually or in-person at the Delta-Marriott, South Burlington, VT to learn more about cardiovascular and vascular disease, including additional POCUS skills for evaluation. The objective is to improve accuracy of appropriate and timely cardiovascular disease treatment and efficiently use expert consultation in a value-based environment.

TOPICS include: SAVR vs TAVR, vascular nurse wounds, aortic dissections, POCUS hands-on workshop, echocardiography and more.

Registration information, full agenda and accreditation details can be found here.

The Upstanders, An Indieflix Film About Cyberbullying

May 4, 2022, 6pm to 7:30pm

The Upstanders explores all sides of cyberbullying, from bully to victim, bystanders, and family members. Social media’s power means that bullying is now a 24/7 phenomenon, where even changing schools and phone numbers, or deleting accounts cannot stop the cycle. COVID has increased the incidence of cyberbullying by 70%. Changing human behavior and connection is the key, and this is what the film addresses.

Weaving together personal stories of teenagers and their families, as well as teachers and brain-scientists, The Upstanders shows the importance of empathy and resilience to transforming attitudes and action, and highlights new laws and established programs that are already reducing bullying in schools and communities. It shows that everyone is needed to eradicate cyberbullying, and gives bystanders the confidence and tools to become ‘Upstanders’, and help change the narrative. To view the trailer, please visit their website.

This film screening and panel discussion is hosted in partnership with Champlain Community Services. This event is part of The Marna and Stephen Wise Tulin Spring Community Education Series presented by the Howard Center. Read more about the series here.

Register here.

How Can We Make Vermont More Welcoming and Inclusive for Our Diverse Community?

May 18, 2022, 6pm to 7:30pm

Vermont is one of the least diverse states in the nation. With that as our starting point, how can Vermont attract more people with diverse backgrounds and help them find community so they decide to stay? Join a panel of professionals working to promote diversity and equity in area businesses and institutions to hear about lessons they’ve learned in the workplace, and how those lessons can be applied to make the Green Mountain State more welcoming and inclusive.

This event is part of The Marna and Stephen Wise Tulin Spring Community Education Series presented by the Howard Center. Read more about the series here.

Register here.

The 48th Annual Family Medicine Review Course

June 7-10, 2022

In-Person and Virtual

Course Director Dr. Anya Koutras invites you to this intensive four-day program for family physicians and other primary care professionals. The program will focus on current issues in the practice of Family Medicine, with special attention to new contributions. Attendees will have a choice between in-person at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Burlington, VT and virtual participation. This conference coincides with the Discover Jazz Festival and makes it a great time to bring the family for a visit to Burlington. TOPICS include: genomics testing, Parkinson’s disease, hypothyroidism, headache management, valvular heart disease, type-2 diabetes, HPV disease, bipolar disease, endometrial cancer, LARC, skin biopsies, end of life care, knee exam, substance use disorder, gender-affirming care, geriatric psychiatry, urgent care cases

Registration information, full agenda and accreditation details can be found here.

UVM will have more primary care conferences in Fall 2022. 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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