April 9, 2024


Vermont Medical Society 2024 Mid-Session Legislative Bulletin

The Vermont Legislature has passed the mid-way point of the 2024 session and when the weather turns warm legislators kick into action with the end of the session in sight. Compared to the COVID years, this has been a more contentious time in the legislature with over 1,000 bills introduced this legislative session and a lack of revenue to pay for any of the new programs included in this legislation. 

The VMS policy team has also been working hard to advance some important legislation and are incredibly grateful for the amazing VMS members who have shown up to testify on prior authorization, telehealth audio only coverage, obesity treatment coverage, and a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products. Your expertise and advocacy provide the Committees with information on what actually happens in the field of healthcare in the State and has real impact. We welcome your voice and as always thank you for your incredible commitment and dedication to your patients and the practice of medicine in Vermont. We also have two more advocacy breakfasts too, one for the VT Academy of Family Physicians on April 18th and one for the Vermont Medical Society (which any specialties can attend) on April 26th. Click here to register today!

VMS is pleased to release this 2024 Mid-Session Legislative Bulletin, which provides summaries and the status of legislation that VMS has actively tracked this session. Click here for the 2024 Mid-Session Legislative Bulletin.

Flavor Tobacco Ban Vetoed; Prior Authorization Bill Continues to Advance with VMS Advocacy

Last week, in a surprising move, on the last day of possible action, Governor Scott vetoed S.18, the flavored tobacco ban bill with this veto message. This bill, which prohibits the sale of flavored vapes, menthol cigarettes and flavored synthetic tobacco products like Zyn pouches, has the potential to go into law if the House and the Senate can override the Governor’s veto. In order to do that, the bill needs a 2/3rds majority vote in each chamber. The VMS wants to thank all of our members and partners, like the American Academy of Pediatrics Vermont Chapter and the Vermont Academy of Family Physicians, for all of the advocacy and support that helped us get the bill passed in both the House and Senate.  Please email the Governor to tell him how disappointed you are in his decision to veto this primary prevention bill. Please email your legislator to urge them to support the override in the House and Senate. 

This week, work continues on H. 766, reducing prior authorization, step therapy and other administrative burdens in health care. The bill will receive a brief hearing in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee on Wednesday morning at 9am before a press conference with patients and clinicians at 11am in the Cedar Creek Room at the Statehouse.  All members are welcome to come join us at the statehouse to show support for the bill!  Please contact Jessa Barnard at jbarnard@vtmd.org if you would like to attend. 

Last week, the Senate Finance Committee gave preliminary approval to H. 861, which would provide payment parity for telehealth and audio-only visits (the bill is still awaiting an official vote). Thank you to the Senate Finance Committee for their thoughtful deliberations and support and also a huge thanks to YOU for submitting comments regarding the importance of telehealth services for your patients. Members of the committee repeatedly quoted from emails that they had received from clinicians, such as how telehealth provides access to neonatal care and following up with patients undergoing chemotherapy. The bill is unlikely to need further stops before becoming law, a win for preserving patient access to these important services!

VMS will also testify this week in the Senate Economic Development Committee expressing concerns the current form of H. 121, a data privacy bill, creates conflicting requirements with HIPAA. 

Vermont Department of Health Advisory: Increase in Measles Cases

Last week, the Vermont Department of Health issued a Health Advisory regarding an increase in measles cases, including those in the Canadian province of Quebec, primarily in Montreal and surrounding suburbs.  Please see the full advisory for required actions, including:

  • Strongly consider measles, especially in unvaccinated patients with compatible illnesses;
  • Report all suspected cases of measles immediately to the Health Department’s Infectious Disease Epidemiology program (802-863-7240, option 2; available 24/7) at the time of initial clinical suspicion. Do not wait for laboratory confirmation to report; and
  • Contact the Health Department for assistance with submitting specimens to the Health Department Laboratory for testing.

CDC Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory: Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued this Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory to inform clinicians, state health departments, and the public of a recently confirmed human infection with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5N1) virus in the United States following exposure to presumably infected dairy cattle. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently reported detections of highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N1) virus in U.S. dairy cattle in multiple states. This Health Advisory also includes a summary of interim CDC recommendations for preventing, monitoring, and conducting public health investigations of potential human infections with HPAI A(H5N1) virus.

Participation Interest Form - 41st Annual Vermont Corporate Cup Challenge & State Agency 5K Race with the VMS

The VMS is trying to gain insight on whether VMS members, Specialty Society Members, and their families would be interested in joining the VMS Staff as a team for the 41st Annual Vermont Corporate Cup Challenge & State Agency 5K on Thursday, May 16th, 2024.

Please note, the VMS has not committed to participating in the event, but just wants to gain insight on if we have enough interest to register.

Fill out the interest form here if you are interested in joining us. 


VMS Board to Discuss Obesity Resolution, AHEAD Model       

The VMS Board will hold a regularly scheduled meeting this Wednesday evening from 6:30-8:30 pm via Zoom.  The Board will discuss several policy items including taking a position on insurance coverage for obesity treatment and providing feedback on the AHEAD payment reform model.  The Board will also consider supporting a resolution for the AMA annual meeting in June on the Preservation of the Primary Care Relationship.  VMS Board meetings are open to any VMS member.  For a copy of materials or to join the meeting, please contact Birdie Pauley at bpauley@vtmd.org.

Commissioner Call Thursday, June 6, 2024

The Commissioner of Health, Mark Levine, MD, will hold his next Public Health Update with VMS Members Thursday, June 6th at 12:30 pm. You can join the zoom meetings here.

He held his most recent VMS member call on April 4th. Notes from the call are here



18th Annual Vermont Geriatrics Conference

April 16, 2024

In-Person South Burlington, VT

Please join us for the 18th Annual Vermont Geriatrics Conference. The conference is designed to equip nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physicians, physician assistants, social workers and other healthcare professionals with practical and innovative approaches to the medical care of older adults.

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

2024 Annual NNESAM Conference

April 26 and 27, 2024

Virtual and In-Person Wolfeboro, NH

Presenters will be:

  1. Dr. David Smith- founder of the Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinic- Psychedelics and the
  2. Treatment of SUD: The Risks and Potential Rewards of using Psychedelics in Recovery.
  3. Dr. Marc Potenza- Non-Substance or Behavioral Addictions in the DSM-5 and ICD-11:
  4. Clinical and Practical Considerations.
  5. Dr. Elisabeth Mock- Addiction, Pain and Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs)
  6. Dr. Andrew Seefeld- Emotional Sobriety and the Science of Addiction.
  7. Dr. David de Gijsel- Hep Free NNE- Hepatitis Elimination in Northern New England
  8. Dr. Cornel Stanciu MD- Understanding Kratom- Consumption, Addiction: A Workshop for Clinicians

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

Diabetes 2024: Updates on Management and Treatment

May 3, 2024

In-Person South Burlington, VT

This conference is designed to equip primary care clinicians with updated knowledge on issues related to outpatient management of patients with diabetes. Specific topics to be addressed at this year’s conference include Lipid-Lowering Therapies to Reduce Cardiovascular Disease, Basal Insulin Use, Insulin Titration, MASLD (Liver Disease) and more.

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

The 50th Annual Family Medicine Course

June 4th-June 7th, 2024

In-Person South Burlington, VT

This intensive four-day program for family physicians, advance practice providers, nurses, and other primary care professionals will focus on current issues in the practice of Family Medicine, with special attention to new contributions. An optional, pre-conference full-day workshop on Mastering Early Goals of Care Conversations will also be offered. Conference emphasis is on practical, clinically applicable diagnostic and management issues in primary care. This conference will be presented in-person and virtually; participants may choose to join via a mixture of in-person and remote attendance. This conference is also anticipated to overlap with the Burlington Jazz Festival, taking place June 5-9, 2024.

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

Whole Person Care: Enhancing Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Treatment

June 14, 2024

Lake Morey, VT

Please mark your calendars for Friday June 14 when we will be hosting "Whole Person Care: Enhancing Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Treatment", an in-person conference at Lake Morey, VT.

This is a part of the Collaborative to Advance Mental Health Treatment and Substance Use Recovery for Everyone (or CARE Series).

Learn more here.

For more information about offerings from UVM CMIE, visit here.


Vermont Medical Society

134 Main Street

Montpelier, VT 05602

-- Unsubscribe --