June 25, 2024


Vermont Medical Society 2024 Final Legislative Bulletin

This was a big legislative session for the Vermont Medical Society, with major advocacy efforts leading to the most significant prior authorization reform in years and to achieving the long-standing goal of requiring commercial plans to pay the same for telehealth services as in-person services, including for billable audio-only care. And VMS advocacy successfully protected the health of Vermonters by retaining potency caps for THC products, preventing an expanded scope of practice for optometrists that would have allowed them to perform eye surgery, updating Vermont’s car seat laws, ensuring insurance coverage for mammograms and colonoscopies match clinical guidelines, strengthening liability protection for those working at or using an overdose prevention center and more. Thank you for your testimony, emails, phone calls and attendance at legislative breakfasts that led to these achievements – none of VMS’ advocacy goals are possible without lawmakers and the administration hearing directly from you about how these bills will impact your practice and patients. The VMS will be hosting a series of regional Candidate Meet and Greets across the State this summer and fall. Please stay tuned for more information as we will be rolling out the event information soon. 

VMS is pleased to release this end of session Legislative Bulletin, which provides summaries and the status of legislation that VMS has actively tracked this session.

Click here for the 2024 VMS Final Legislative Bulletin.

GMCB Receives Statewide Recommendations on Transforming Vermont’s Health Care System

As reported in last week’s Rounds, in response to national trends, deteriorating hospital financial health, increasing costs for Vermonters, and gaps in access to local services, the legislature in 2022 directed the Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB) to retain a consultant to develop recommendations for hospital and health care system transformation. The GMCB retained Dr. Bruce Hamory and the Oliver Wyman’s Health and Life Sciences Practice to assist with this work.  At the June 19th GMCB public meeting, GMCB staff presented why this work was undertaken and Dr. Hamory and team shared their preliminary findings and options for statewide transformation efforts for Vermont’s healthcare system.  Recommendations fall in the categories of productivity (EMR optimization, adequate support staff, training, licensure, housing); availability of appropriate transportation (EMS, non-emergency); viability (financial and operational, including for home health, long term care and MH/SUD services); and affordability (appropriate sites of care, transparency of costs, translation services).  The presentation also includes a 4-5 year timeline for achieving some of the recommended action steps and included additional details such as devising and testing primary care and hospital alignment incentives; revising licensure for mental health professionals, pharmacists and APRNs; and improving VITL clinical data access.  A recording of the meeting can be found here (Part 1) and here (Part 2); media coverage of the meeting can be found here.  The GMCB will meet again on July 8th to begin to hear recommendations more specific to transforming Vermont hospitals.

Public, in-person community meetings will run from July 9th through August 5th to share and receive feedback on community and hospital specific options for addressing access, cost and health equity.

Meeting schedule

Kick-Off and Preview for Healthcare Community Conversations at GMCB Board Meeting

14 In-Person Community Meetings

July 9th 6:00 - 7:30 pm - Newport / North Country Hospital

July 10th 6:00 - 7:30 pm - St. Albans / Northwestern Medical Center

July 11th 6:00 - 7:30 pm - St. Johnsbury / Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital

July 15th 6:00 - 7:30 pm - Windsor / Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center

July 16th 4:30 - 6:00 pm - Springfield / Springfield Hospital

July 17th 6:00 - 7:30 pm - Brattleboro / Brattleboro Memorial Hospital

July 18th 6:00 - 7:30 pm - Townshend / Grace Cottage Hospital

July 22nd 6:00 - 7:30 pm - Morrisville / Copley Hospital

July 23rd 6:00 - 7:30 pm - Barre / Central Vermont Medical Center

July 24th 6:00 - 7:30 pm - Randolph / Gifford Medical Center

July 29th 4:30 - 6:00 pm - Burlington / University of Vermont Medical Center

July 30th 6:00 - 7:30 pm - Middlebury / Porter Medical Center

July 31st 6:00 - 7:30 pm - Rutland / Rutland Regional Medical Center

August 1st 4:00 - 5:30 pm - Bennington / Southwestern Vermont Medical Center

August 5th 6:00 - 7:30 pm - State-wide / All Hospitals

AHS Primary Care Workgroup Continues Reviewing AHEAD Model

Vermont’s Agency of Human Services continues to convene a Primary Care Work Group to review updates on Vermont joining the federal AHEAD Model as well as to share feedback on elements of the model.  The group met last Friday and was told that AHS expects to hear imminently regarding CMS approving Vermont’s application to participate in AHEAD, which would set the stage for almost a year of negotiations between the State and CMS over the terms of participation.  The group also discussed potential options for Vermont primary care practices continuing to receive an exemption from MIPS federal quality reporting, as they have under OneCare, such as having a “care relationship” with a hospital participating in the AHEAD global budget model.  Slides from the meeting can be found here. Please contact Jessa Barnard at jbarnard@vtmd.org with questions or concerns. 


HHS Finalizes Rule Establishing Disincentives for Health Care Providers That Have Committed Information Blocking

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) yesterday released a final rule that establishes disincentives for health care providers that have committed information blocking. This final rule exercises the Secretary’s authority under the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act) to establish “disincentives” for health care providers who engage in practices that the health care providers knew were unreasonable and were likely to interfere with, prevent, or materially discourage the access, exchange, or use of electronic health information (EHI), except as required by law or covered by a regulatory exception.

The penalties apply to hospitals, clinicians and clinician practices, ACOs and ACO participating providers.  For example, a MIPS-participating clinician who has committed information blocking will not be a meaningful EHR user during the calendar year of the performance period in which OIG refers its determination to CMS.  Under the Medicare Shared Savings Program, a health care provider that is an Accountable Care Organization (ACO), ACO participant, or ACO provider or supplier who has committed information blocking may be ineligible to participate in the program for a period of at least one year.  Read more here.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and CMS will host a joint information session about the final rule on June 26, 2024 at 2pm ET. More information can be found at healthit.gov/informationblocking.  See more about complying with information blocking rules from VITL here and the AMA here.

Cape Cares - Volunteers Needed for October 19 - 26, 2024 in San Marcos, Honduras

Cape Cares is a nonprofit organization that has been providing medical and dental care to people living in rural Honduras for over 30 years. 

With no religious or political affiliation, Cape Cares focuses on team-centered primary care, preventative treatment and health education along with dental care. 

Volunteers from divers backgrounds join Cape Cares to make a difference offering expertise in areas such as dental, medical, nursing, physical therapy, pharmacy, translation and more. 

During week-long brigades we treat anywhere from 500-1,000 patients. visit local schools and meet with local medical providers. 

We are currently recruiting for our upcoming October 19-26, 2024 trip to San Marcos. For more information email Mara Saulitis at mara@efmed.net or visit the Cape Cares website.

Save the Date - VMS Annual and Collaborative Meeting on November 1st to 2nd

The 211th VMS Annual and Collaborative Meeting will be held on November 1st and 2nd in-person with virtual options at Topnotch Resort, Stowe, VT. 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 submit nominations for 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.

VT Immunization Program Update Meeting Scheduled for July 11

The Immunization Program will be hosting a quarterly meeting to provide information on ACIP updates, vaccine updates, and other relevant information. In addition to providing information, time will be available for questions and discussion. Please consider attending and inviting colleagues to attend. A recording of the event will be made available for those unable to attend.

If you need an invite, please email jessica.buchanan@vermont.gov

For more information and links to the monthly Vaccine Program e-newsletters, see: https://www.healthvermont.gov/disease-control/immunization-health-care-professionals

Next Commissioner Call Thursday, August 1, 2024

The Commissioner of Health, Mark Levine, MD, will hold his next Public Health Update with VMS Members Thursday, August 1st at 12:30 pm. You can join the zoom meetings here.

He held his most recent VMS member call on June 6th. Notes from the call are here.



Birth Certificate Quality Improvement Initiative Learning Series

July 15, September 9, October 7, 2024


In collaboration with the Vermont Department of Health Division of Family and Child Health and the Division of Health Statistics and Informatics, the Perinatal Quality Collaborative - Vermont (PQC-VT) is embarking on a vital statistics birth certificate quality improvement initiative (BCQII).

The project aim is to improve the accuracy of key birth certificate variables to support public health and quality improvement efforts. The objective is to increase birth certificate data quality in Vermont by providing education opportunities, technical assistance, and shared learning to Vermont hospital teams involved in birth certificate data collection.

Register here for the learning series.

Saving Time: Practice Innovation Boot Camp

September 23 - 24 AMA Plaza, Chicago

This two-day, interactive boot camp from the AMA STEPS Forward® Innovation Academy equips attendees with the time-saving tools and strategies needed to reform their organizations and enhance professional satisfaction. CME eligible.

Learn more here.

Vermont ACP Chapter Annual Scientific Meeting

October 18, 2024

Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, VT

The Vermont ACP Chapter's Annual Scientific Meeting will occur on

Friday, October 18, 2024.

This will be an in person meeting. We will

again host a poster competition for resident and student members.

Update your medical knowledge, engage with colleagues.

Meeting details and agenda forthcoming.

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


Vermont Medical Society

134 Main Street

Montpelier, VT 05602

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