June 7, 2022


VMS Compliance Update Webinar: Effective Communication (Translation/Interpretation) Services

Representatives from the US Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights will be presenting on June 9, 2022, 12:30pm to 1:30pm EST the legal obligations of healthcare clinicians to provide effective communication under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Title II of the American with Disabilities Act, Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.  The presentation will focus on ensuring that healthcare practices provide effective communication to individuals with disabilities as well as individuals with Limited English Proficiency, and will include a discussion of recent effective communication settlements agreements.  Open to VMS members, office/compliance staff and any others interested in this important topic. 

Register in advance for this webinar here.

Telemedicine Equipment Available  – Survey Due by June 10th to Indicate Need

The Vermont Program for Quality in Health Care, Inc. (VPQHC) has received funding to support organizations with acquiring equipment to increase Vermonters’ access to telemedicine services. The equipment can be used on site to deliver telemedicine services to patients, or loaned out to patients to enable access to telemedicine services remotely.

If you are interested in participating in this program, please complete the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GWMJX8Q. In this survey, organizations are asked to provide information on the number and types of equipment they would like to receive. Please note that the demand for equipment may be greater than the funding we have available through this grant. We will prioritize organizations serving patients in rural areas.

Reporting requirements: To determine the impact of the program, after distributing the equipment, VPQHC will be sending out a brief, single, point-in-time survey to collect participating organizations’ feedback on how the equipment was used, barriers encountered, lessons learned, etc. We may also be partnering with an evaluation consultant that could have questions for participating organizations as well. The intent is to fortify this program toward actionable outcomes with minimal administrative burden on behalf of the organization.

Please complete the survey no later than Friday, June 10th. You will receive notification about whether your request is able to be fulfilled no later than Friday, June 24th. If you have any questions about this survey, please contact Hillary Wolfley (hillaryw@vpqhc.org) (802-262-1304).

    Commissioner of Health COVID-19 Updates

    The Commissioner of Health, Mark Levine, MD, did not participate in this week’s administration press conference as the topic focused on investment in housing.  Commissioner Levine did speak with VMS members last Thursday as part of VMS’s Thursday calls with the Commissioner twice per month, and to the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems on Friday.  Notes from both calls can be found here and here. Commissioner Levine highlighted that the 7-day case average has been decreasing over the past several weeks in Vermont, and is now down to a 7-day average of 171 cases per day from 223.  The rest of New England is also started to see a decrease in cases.  Testing and percent positivity have also decreased.   The vast majority of cases in Vermont are now the BA2 variant or its progeny; BA4  and BA5 are now starting to appear in the United States at around 5% and we have had once case of BA4 in VT.  We are still learning what these  variants mean and if you will have immunity from prior Omicron variants.  There is now a very adequate supply of Paxlovid and we are starting to see higher prescribing.  The concern now is whether patients are correctly self-identifying as high risk and informing their PCPs that they have tested positive – in response state test kits will now be handed out with a label informing patients that they should notify their PCPs if they test positive.   Commissioner Levine reiterated that state test sites are winding down in the next few weeks and that pharmacies and health care providers might have to increase capacity to meet the need, although at-home rapid tests should be the first option for anyone over the age of 2. 

    Other updates from the week:

    • COVID-19 vaccine for children under the age of 5 is available for pre-order from the Vermont Immunization Program on June 6 & June 7. All practices with pediatric Pfizer (orange cap) in their VIMS catalog will have the new products available to pre-order in VIMS. Orders will arrive the week of June 20. Read more here.
    • The FDA's vaccine Advisory Committee is meeting today to consider Novavax's coronavirus vaccine.


    Focus Groups to Improve Care of Patients Concerned about Chronic Lyme Disease

    Vermont physicians are invited to participate in an effort by the American Medical Association (AMA) and Mathematica with assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to learn how physicians manage patients presenting with concerns for chronic Lyme disease. (Chronic Lyme disease is a term sometimes used to describe illness in patients with Lyme disease, but it has also been used to describe persistent symptoms in people who have no clinical or diagnostic evidence of Lyme disease. Because it is a confusing term, conversations with patients can be challenging.)

    Invitation for physicians who typically see 5-30 patients per year with concerns for chronic Lyme disease, or who report persistent, prolonged symptoms that they attribute to Lyme disease:

    • Join a virtual focus group! Spend an hour with other experienced physicians discussing your experience seeing patients with concerns for chronic Lyme disease.
    • The virtual focus group times are:
      • Primary care (family medicine, internal medicine, or pediatrics): June 13, 7-8 PM Eastern
      • Rheumatology: June 15, 7-8 PM Eastern
      • Infectious Disease: June 16, 7-8 PM Eastern
      • Psychiatry: June 21, 7-8 PM Eastern
      • Neurology: June 23, 7-8 PM Eastern

    Please email us at CLDProj@mathematica-mpr.com  if you would like to participate.

    Why do it? This project is a key step to improve support for physicians to effectively care for patients with concerns for chronic Lyme disease. You may learn useful information from the discussion with your colleagues as well as allowing them to learn from you. After your participation, you will receive a $100 Amazon gift card as a thank you for your time and expertise.

    Project leads:

    Arnold Chen, MD, Principal Investigator, achen@mathematica-mpr.com

    Sue Felt-Lisk, Project Director, sfelt-lisk@mathematica-mpr.com

    Chronic Lyme Disease Project

    Mathematica, under contract with the American Medical Association, with CDC funding

    Change to Hysterectomy Prior Authorization Requirements

    The Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA) is proposing to no longer require prior authorizations for hysterectomy surgical procedures (not related to gender reaffirming surgery) effective July 1, 2022. As a result of Act 140 from the 2020 Vermont Legislative session and a DVHA initiative to reduce administrative burden, DVHA identified hysterectomy surgical procedures as a procedure that is frequently approved and no longer necessary to require prior authorization.  The proposed effective date is July 1, 2022. Read more here. Submit any feedback to jbarnard@vtmd.org at VMS by June 20, 2022.


    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. 

    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.


    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

    -- Unsubscribe --