July 11, 2023


Thinking of all Responding to Flood Damage

The VMS Staff sends our thoughts and thanks to all members who are assisting with flood relief efforts – whether working as a first responder, traveling dangerous roads to get to shifts, taking patient calls from home, or keeping the flood waters out of your practice basements.  We also hope all of your homes and families are safe.  Please let VMS know if there are ways we can support you or assist with your flood recovery efforts.  Senator Sanders has posted a preliminary list of resources here.  State and federal FEMA resources will be updated here.  Staff will also be assessing damage to the VMS offices, which are unfortunately still under floodwaters in downtown Montpelier – the yellow carriage house in the center of the attached photo. 

Blueprint for Health Community Health Team Expansion Q&A

The newly-passed State budget has authorized expand funding for the Blueprint for Health Community Health Teams to implement a two-year pilot program designed to improve access to mental health and substance use disorder services through increased integration with primary care. Patient-centered medical homes will receive additional staffing resources to incorporate a new Community Health Team member (psychologist, social worker, counselor, community health worker, or family specialist) into the patient’s care team.   The practice will be expected to work with the new staff to implement:

  • Universal screening for mental health, substance use disorder, and social determinants of health,
  • Brief intervention within the practices when there are positive screening results, and
  • Navigation to additional community-based services when warranted. 

Three upcoming webinars will answer practice questions about the expansion:

To read more about the proposed expansion, click here for a summary and here for implementation planning documents.  

Meet Vermont’s New Medicaid Director on July 27th from 12:15 to 1pm – VMS Members Invited to an Open Discussion 

VMS Members are invited to a Zoom meeting with the Vermont Agency of Human Services new State Medicaid Director, Monica Ogelby. Each state has a Medicaid Director to oversee Medicaid and CHIP programs. This position oversees not only the Medicaid health care program administered by the Department of Vermont Health Access but elements of Medicaid that are administered by other Departments such as Aging and Disabilities and Corrections. Ms. Ogelby will be joined on the call by Pat Jones, Interim Director of Health Care Reform at the Agency of Human Services and Kristin McClure, Health Care Reform Integration Manager at AHS.  Ms. Obelby most recently served as the Vermont Department of Health Immunization Program Director. The call will give VMS members an opportunity to hear updates on AHS projects and to ask questions regarding Vermont’s Medicaid programs. 

Join us on July 27th from 12:15 to 1pm here.

Can you identify Lyme Disease and other tickborne diseases across the variation of disease?

Tickborne diseases are a serious health concern in Vermont, and are locally transmitted by the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis. Reports of tickborne diseases are on the rise and most common from April through August when the abundance of host-seeking tick nymphs is highest. While Lyme disease remains the most common tickborne disease in Vermont, other diseases like anaplasmosis and babesiosis are becoming more common. Vermont health professionals are essential partners in tickborne disease prevention and surveillance efforts.

Visit the Vermont Department of Health's website for more information. Learn more about how VisualDx can help you electronically submit case reports and enhance diagnostic accuracy of cases here

Insurance Rate Review Underway

On May 9, 2023, MVP and BlueCross BlueShield of Vermont submitted their Individual and Small Group Rate Filings for 2024. The filings are posted on the GMCB Rate Review Website. The Green Mountain Care Board is accepting public comment on these filings through July 24th, 2023 and is holding hearings on Qualified Health Plan rates throughout the month of July.  Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBSVT) proposed an average annual increase of 14.5% over 2023 rates for small group plans offered on Vermont Health Connect, with proposed changes ranging from 13.2% to 15.8% and an average annual increase of 15.5% over 2023 rates for individual and family plans offered on Vermont Health Connect, with proposed changes ranging from 12.4% to 21.2%.   MVP Health Care (MVP) proposed an average annual increase of 12.5% over 2023 rates for small group plans offered on Vermont Health Connect, with proposed changes ranging from 8.4% to 15.2% and an average annual increase of 12.8% over 2023 rates for individual and family plans offered on Vermont Health Connect.

Board of Medical Practice Important Information for Medical Professionals

Please review the recent Vermont Board of Medical Practice E-Blast for Medical Professionals 06/13/2023 with information about new DEA Training Requirements, Changes to The Patient Choice at End of Life Law, What Licensees Should Know About Seeking Assistance for Personal Health Problems, and a Free CME on Xylazine.


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 by August 25th 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.

Reminder: Vermont Medicaid Coverage Changes Effective 7/1

With the start of the new state fiscal year on July 1, 2023, and with the passage by the legislature of the state budget, a number of changes for Medicaid coverage went into effect on July 1.  Due to VMS and other provider and legislative advocacy, Medicaid rates for primary care and speciality outpatient services have both increased.   Also, see the June 27th Rounds for a summary of other updates, such as continued coverage for audio-only telehealth, increased dental benefits and increased outpatient psychotherapy visits. 

Wildfire Smoke Exposure Poses Threat to At-Risk Populations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reminding healthcare professionals seeing patients affected by wildfire smoke to be alert to the possible adverse effects of smoke exposure, particularly among individuals at higher risk of severe outcomes. The acute signs and symptoms of smoke exposure can include headache, eye and mucous membrane irritation, dyspnea (trouble breathing), cough, wheezing, chest pain, palpitations, and fatigue. Wildfire smoke exposure may exacerbate respiratory, metabolic, and cardiovascular chronic conditions like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and congestive heart failure. 

Learn more here.

Free State Park Passes for Your Patients

In our 10th Year for this program, the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation proudly offer free day use State Park Passes for your patients.

The prescriptions are distributed to physician offices. The purpose is to give physicians and their colleagues a meaningful way to discuss with their patients the importance of outdoor exercise and the obvious connection between exercise and good health. This year we hope to reach as many diverse groups as we can. 

If you have questions or if you are interested in participating this year, please let us know at dbutsch@gmail.com. Please let us know how many prescription pads of 50 each you think you will be able to use when you reach out and if you are interested in posters that we may be able to send you.

The prescriptions are numbered and we hope to be able to tell which of your prescriptions were turned in at a State Park if you ask in the fall.

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.



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.

CPT & RBRVS 2024 Annual Symposium

November 15-17, 2023

CPT & RBRVS 2024 Annual Symposium is the world's only medical coding conference where attendees learn about the upcoming changes to the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code set and payment policies directly from members of the AMA-convened CPT Editorial Panel, AMA/Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC), and CPT and RUC Advisors.

Join virtually to get the first look at the 2024 CPT code set with guidance from the experts, earn continuing education credits, and join over a thousand of your peers for premier coding education at the CPT & RBRVS Symposium!

Register with early bird discounted rates through September 30th here.

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


Vermont Medical Society

134 Main Street

Montpelier, VT 05602

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