June 20, 2023


Vermont Legislature Returns to Override the Governor's Veto of the Budget; Extend Housing Program

Today marks the first day of the Legislature's veto session, which is scheduled from Tuesday to Thursday of this week, and in which House and Senate leadership are working to position lawmakers in each chamber to override the seven bills the Governor has vetoed including the $8.5 billion State Fiscal Year 2024 Budget. The State Fiscal Year begins July 1 so a budget must be in place by then.  With 106 Democrats in the House and 22 Democrats in the Senate it seemed like it would be easy to achieve the 2/3rds necessary to vote to override the Governor’s veto, but this was complicated by a group of lawmakers who late in the legislative session threatened to withhold override votes unless there was a plan in place to create a transition for the roughly 1,800 people who will be unhoused by the end of a motel housing program this summer. Advocates and a small group of legislators have said that without funding for a proper transition, these low-income Vermonters and Vermont communities will experience a humanitarian crisis. This morning, the House Human Services Committee begin reviewing a supplemental funding proposal that will extend the hotel housing program until April 1, 2024 for those who qualify and enter before June 30th and agree to participate in case management.  The State will also renegotiate lower rates with hotels and motels providing housing. The Committee chair stated that the proposal has agreement from House and Senate leadership as well as the Governor’s office.  Lawmakers hope this plan will allow the legislature to garner the votes needed to override the Budget veto. The FY24 Budget includes funding that has far-reaching benefits for all Vermonters and includes VMS priority items including a substantial increase in Medicaid rates for primary care services, an increase for specialty care rates, and a pilot increase in funding for the Blueprint for Health. The Governor also vetoed a childcare funding bill, which will be considered this week.  VMS will be reporting on all 2023 legislation following the veto session in the 2023 VMS Final Legislative Bulletin. 

Highlights from the 2023 AMA Annual Meeting

The 2023 Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association wrapped up last Tuesday.  The AMA House of Delegates, Vermont represented by Delegate Norman Ward, MD, and Alternate Delegate Catherine Schneider, MD, covered a wide range of critical topics facing the nation’s health care system—including key pillars of the AMA Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians.  Last Tuesday, Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, M.D., M.P.H, an anesthesiologist from Wisconsin, was sworn in as the 178th president of the AMA, and first openly gay AMA president.

The following are some of the major issues that were discussed at the meeting: 

  • Medicare physician payment: Adopted policy pushing for a comprehensive campaign to achieve Medicare physician payment reform  
  • Physician burnout: Created policy to ensure that only questions about relevant mental health information are asked in licensing and credentialing applications
  • Prior authorization: Adopted policy calling for insurers to require human examination of patient records, rather than relying on augmented intelligence, when denying a prior authorization request 
  • Administrative burdens: Supported development of tools and education for physicians and insurers on the appropriate reporting of modifiers, including the use of modifier 25 
  • Scope of practice: Adopted new policy and strengthened existing policy supporting physician-led care teams and opposing inappropriate scope of practice expansions  
  • Telehealth: Adopted policy to support digital literacy and protect continued access to care for underserved populations through the extension of telehealth insurance coverage and payment parity 
  • IMG licensure: Developed a strategy to reduce cost barriers for IMGs seeking licensure 
  • Substance use: Advocated for access to safe and effective overdose reversal medications in educational settings, as well as increased support and treatment for pregnant people with substance use disorders 
  • Physician noncompete provisions: Voted to oppose noncompete contracts for physicians in clinical practice who are employed by for-profit or nonprofit hospitals, hospital systems or staffing company employers  

For more information, view the complete day-to-day overview of meeting highlights

Vermont 211 Call Center Hours Reduced to 8am-11pm Daily

Vermont 211, Vermont’s one-stop number to call for information about community, health, and human services and resources has announced that it is no longer able to offer 24/7 service. Effective July 1, Vermont 211 contact center hours will be 8:00am-11:00pm daily, including during holidays.  “The cutback in hours is the result of changes to the contract with the Agency of Human Services Economic Services Division that supports daily operations and after-hours emergency housing,” said United Ways of Vermont Executive Director Elizabeth Gilman. Vermont 211 is a program of the United Ways of Vermont.  To read the full announcement and learn more about 211 visit: https://vermont211.org/


Mildred Reardon Medical Student Scholarship Open for Applications

Do you dream of becoming a Vermont doctor?  See below to apply for a $10,000 scholarship for a rising 3rd year student committed to practicing medicine in Vermont.

The Vermont Medical Society’s Education and Research Foundation (VMSERF) is now accepting applications for the Mildred Reardon scholarship, which awards $10,000 to a University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine third year student committed to practicing medicine in Vermont. The scholarship is made to a student interested in any specialty, with a preference for specialties in high need in Vermont.  The scholarship is tuition-linked and is paid directly to the College of Medicine towards tuition. This year the award will be made at the VMS Annual Meeting, being held at Topnotch in Stowe and virtually on November 3, 2023.  Click here for more information and details on applying for the scholarship.

Commissioner of Health Public Health Update on Thursday, July 6th

The next Public Health Update call with Commissioner of Health Mark Levine, MD will be Thursday, July 6th at 12:30 pm. Hear about the the most pressing public health information affecting the state and nation and have the opportunity to submit questions to Dr. Levine who will answer them, time-permitting. You can view the notes from the June 1, 2023 call here.

You can join the zoom meetings here.

BCBSVT Offers Lifestyle Medicine Training and Board Certification Scholarships

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, in partnership with the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) and the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine (ABLM), is offering Lifestyle Medicine training and board certification to our clinical provider network through a unique scholarship program. ACLM/ABLM Certification typically costs over $2500 per provider, but BCBSVT is funding fifty (50) awards free of charge to eligible healthcare clinicians who are interested in pursuing a high level of professional training in lifestyle medicine and who are committed to the expansion of lifestyle medicine education, programs and initiatives to better serve their patients.

Learn more here. With questions or to apply for one of the scholarship awards, email Keri LeCompte at lecomptek@bcbsvt.com, BCBTVT Program Director for Lifestyle Medicine.



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

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.

Save the Date: Vermont ACP Chapter Annual Scientific Meeting

September 29, 2023 at Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, VT

The Vermont ACP Chapter's Annual Scientific Meeting will occur on Friday, September 29, 2023. We are planning for an in person meeting. We will again host a poster competition for resident and student members.

Update your medical knowledge, engage with colleagues, and receive 5 AMA PRA Category 1 CME credits and 5 MOC points.

Meeting details, agenda and registration information will be forthcoming.

Primary Care Sports Medicine and

Wilderness Medicine Conference

October 15 – 17, 2023

Delta Hotel in South Burlington, Vermont

The 2023 Primary Care Sports Medicine and Wilderness Medicine is designed to update knowledge and skills in the diagnosis and management of common sports medicine and wilderness medicine problems. Topics will include discussions of medical and orthopedic issues. There will be ample opportunity for participants to ask questions and interact with faculty, who hail from the University of Vermont Health Network and local community. The teaching program includes lectures and workshops.

For more information, go to the website here.

Save the Date: 210th Annual and Collaborative Meeting Taking Place from November 3-4, 2023

The 210th VMS Annual Meeting will be held on November 3rd and 4th in person at Topnotch Resort, Stowe, VT, with virtual options. The weekend will be filled with educational content, time spent with colleagues, policy-setting meetings, and the opportunity to honor physicians and other health care leaders across the state.

Stay up to date on details here and nominate Vermont leaders who have provided outstanding contributions to the medical profession, to health organizations and to the welfare of the public for a VMS Leadership Award here.

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


Vermont Medical Society

134 Main Street

Montpelier, VT 05602

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