June 28, 2022


There will be no Rounds Weekly Newsletter on July 5th, but will resume on July 12th.

Join the Cultural Considerations Webinar on June 30th from 12:15 to 1pm EST!

The Providing Health Care to Afghan Refugees: Cultural Considerations webinar will discuss Afghan resettlement in Vermont and both general Afghan culture as well as cultural considerations applicable to providing health care.

This webinar will be a first in a series of webinars on Health Care for Afghan Refugees hosted by the Vermont Medical Society. Anyone interested is encouraged to attend. Registration is required here.

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

Implications of Dobbs Decision Felt in Vermont and Nationally

As sent to members last week, the Vermont Medical Society joined with a coalition of Vermont health care organizations to decry the Supreme Court decision last Friday in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning Roe v. Wade and undermining access to reproductive health care for millions of patients.   The statement holds that all people should have the right to control their own health care decisions, including the right to abortion care. As health care organizations, we strongly believe that abortion services should be treated like any other health care service.  The consequences of overturning Roe v. Wade will block millions of people from the health care they need, especially those who have less ability to take time from work or pay the expenses to travel.   The statement also urges Vermonters to vote in November to support Article 22, the Reproductive Liberty Amendment that will amend the Constitution of the State of Vermont to ensure that every Vermonter’s right to personal reproductive liberty is protected into the future.  See the full statement here.

In expectation of the Dobbs decision, the AMA and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) joined on two letters June 21 to the White House (PDF) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to support continued unrestricted access to mifepristone. The White House has directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services to identify all ways to ensure that mifepristone is as widely accessible as possible in light of the FDA’s determination that the drug is safe and effective.  U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland made clear that women must remain free to travel safely to another state to seek the care they need. The Administration has launched a website on the right to access reproductive health care, including birth control, abortion services, other preventative health services, and health insurance coverage at ReproductiveRights.gov and will be discussing federal actions to protect access to reproductive care in press conferences today and tomorrow.

Select coverage:

VTDigger: As US Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade, abortion remains protected in Vermont (Quoting VMS Members Kimberly Sampson, MD & Clara Keegan, MD)

Vermont Public: The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. What it means for Vermonters (Quoting VMS Executive Director Jessa Barnard)

VTDigger: Democratic candidates for attorney general vow to increase abortion protections if elected

Vermont Public: Law scholar on Prop 5, which would enshrine reproductive rights in Vt. Constitution

Reuters: White House prepares to fight states over abortion pill

NPR: For doctors, abortion restrictions create an 'impossible choice' when providing care

New York Times: Tracking the States Where Abortion Is Now Banned

Politico: Justice Thomas: SCOTUS ‘should reconsider’ contraception, same-sex marriage rulings

President Biden Signs Gun Reform Legislation

Saturday morning, President Joe Biden signed S. 2938, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. 

Among other things, the legislation:

  • provides funding for states to pass "red flag" laws (extreme risk protection orders) to keep guns out of potentially violent people;
  • provides for enhanced background checks for those under 21;
  • provides billions of dollars for mental health and school safety, including cash for community health clinics;
  • closes the "boyfriend loophole," denying domestic abusers, including serious dating partners, the ability to buy a gun if they are convicted of abusing their partners;
  • clarifies that all truly commercial firearms sellers are doing required background checks; and
  • creates a new law banning gun trafficking and straw gun purchasing, a measure intended to reduce the flow of guns into cities where the firearms are illegal.

This legislation comes on the heals of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen striking down state laws that deny concealed-carry gun permits to residents wanting a gun for self-defense unless they could prove they had "proper cause." Read the statement from AMA President Jack Resneck Jr., M.D. expressing disappointment with the Supreme Court ruling.  

COVID-19 Updates

The Scott Administration will not hold a weekly press conference today addressing COVID-19, and is instead highlighting transportation initiatives passed this legislative session.  Please join VMS for its next COVID-19 Conversation with Commissioner of Health Mark Levine, MD, next Thursday, July 7th from  12:30-1pm. Click here for more information and the zoom link.  Other updates from the week can be found here:

    Reminder: New Updates to Vermont’s Medical Aid in Dying Law

    On April 27, 2022, Senate Bill 74 was signed into law.  The bill made three important changes to Act 39, Vermont’s medical aid in dying law.  A one-page summary and a video explanation are available on the website of Patient Choices Vermont at https://www.patientchoices.org/s74-amendments.html.

    In short:

    1. Legal Immunity:  Senate Bill 74 clarifies that legal immunity is provided for all practitioners, including pharmacists.  This means that the pharmacist who currently fills Act 39 prescriptions will no longer require the indemnification agreement that he previously required doctors to sign.
    2. Video Telemedicine:  The amendment allows video telemedicine for Act 39 requests.  Please see full website more details, especially about the requirement that a physical exam be in the patient’s record and reviewed by the prescribing physician. 
    3. Final 48-Hour Delay Eliminated:  As soon as all the other steps have been taken, a prescription may be written.

    The improvements to Act 39 are intended to make the process less stressful for doctors, patients and families.  Patient Choices Vermont maintains a helpline that is always available to doctors, patients and caregivers at 802-448-0542 or info@patientchoices.org.  As needed, PCV connects callers with a knowledgeable colleague.


    Department of Health Proposes Rules for Birth Certificate Amendment

    Consistent with Act 88 of 2022 passed this legislative session, the Department of Health has proposed draft rules to implement a process for individuals to amend the marker on their birth certificate to reflect the individual's gender identity. Specifically, it does the following: 1) Defines the term "non-binary" to describe the additional gender identities that may be reflected on a birth certificate. 2) Creates a process for registrants to file their Affidavit of Gender Identity with the Department.  Individuals would be allowed to amend their gender marker to reflect their identity through self-attestation by filing an Affidavit of Gender Identity available on the Department’s website.  A public hearing is scheduled for July 22nd at 1 pm and comments on the proposed rule are due to the Department of Health by July 29th at ahs.vdhrules@vermont.gov.  VMS members can also contact jbarnard@vtmd.org with questions or concerns.

    New Income-Based Special Enrollment Period for Qualified Health Plans

    The Agency of Human Services has created a new Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for Vermonters to enroll in Qualified Health Plans through the Vermont Health Connect health insurance marketplace. This new SEP will be available year-round for Vermonters who are eligible for marketplace subsidies and have income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL).  More information about Vermont Health Connect can be found here.

    In the News: New Program Gives Vermont Kids Faster Access to Mental Health Care 

    The Vermont Child Psychiatry Access Program gives pediatric health care providers a hotline to help address moderate to mild mental health needs immediately.  See the news coverage here and more information on the program here.


    Join us for the next conversation with the Commissioner - Thursday, July 7th @ 12:30!

    Join us the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month from 12:30pm to 1pm as Commissioner of Health, Mark Levine provides us with the most pressing 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 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 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. 

    Fostering Trauma Informed Care: Key Practices for Medical Providers Working with Children in Foster Care

    June 29 2022, 12pm to 1pm EST


    Children in foster care are designated as children with special health needs by the American

    Academy of Pediatrics. This population requires coordinated care, an understanding of best practices and their often complex situations for effective, on-going care. Mr. Cudney will review child and adolescent behaviors and symptoms often linked to trauma. Utilizing a solutions-based/strength-based approach, participants will identify ways to have a positive impact with children and foster parents to promote resilience within office visits.

    Register here.

    AMA's Racism in Medicine Webinar

    June 29 2022, 7pm to 8:30pm EST


    American Medical Association will host a 90-minute webinar on the foundations of racism in medicine. Dr. Emily Cleveland Manchanda, the Director for Social Justice Education and Implementation at the AMA, will give a 60-minute didactic presentation followed by 30-minutes for Q&A. The presentation will include descriptions of:

    1. Basic terminology around race and racism
    2. Manifestations of racism in medicine at interpersonal, institutional, and systemic levels
    3. Recommendations for additional reading and learning for physicians to continue their health equity education

    The webinar will be uploaded to AMA’s EdHub and 1.0 CME credit will be offered.

    Register here. Registration is required to access the Zoom link for this event.

    Strategies for Distributing Naloxone to Rural Communities

    July 13, 2022, 12pm to 1pm EST

    Join the UVM CORA Community Rounds Workshop series session on, “Strategies for Distributing Naloxone to Rural Communities.” Our speakers are Geoff Capraro, MD, and Brooke Lawrence, co-founders of NaloxBox, an organization whose mission is to reduce harm from opioid use disorder by improving access to naloxone. This presentation will explore the need for naloxone distribution in rural areas and discuss innovative methods and technologies for increasing access.

    Register here.

    Can't make it? Watch the webinar recording to claim Continuing Education credits (within one month of the live event). Register for the webinar before July 13th so that you'll receive the recording later!

    Vermont ACP Chapter Annual Scientific Meeting

    October 14, 2022

    Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, VT

    The Vermont ACP Chapter's Annual Scientific Meeting will occur on Friday, October 14, 2022. The ACP is optimistically planning for an in-person meeting. The ACP will host a virtual poster competition for resident and student members.

    Update your medical knowledge, engage with colleagues, and receive CME credits and MOC points.

    Meeting details and agenda forthcoming.

    Vermont Medical Society Annual and Collaborative Meeting

    November 4th and 5th, 2022

    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.

    To view more information or submit nominees for 2022 leadership awards, please click here. Registration information will be shared in the future.

    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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