July 2, 2024


Registration Now Open – VMS Fall 2024 Legislative Candidate Meet & Greet Series 

Please join the Vermont Medical Society this fall for our 2024 Legislative Candidate Meet & Greet receptions that we will hold in six districts across the State. With the retirement of approximately 45 House and Senate members, the 2024 elections will bring big changes to the makeup of the Statehouse, and these receptions are an opportunity for you to get to know the candidates running in your district. We will invite all Vermont State House and Senate legislative candidates from Addison, Bennington, Chittenden, Essex-Orleans, Rutland and Washington counties to member-led receptions in these respective districts. All VMS members who work or practice in these districts are invited to these informal meet & greets. Only the Addison county reception will happen before Vermont's August 13th primary, as long-time Democrat incumbents from this district face a race between other Democratic candidates to determine who will be on the ballot in November. The Addison County event is on August 6th from 6-8pm at the Middlebury Inn. All of the receptions run from 6-8 pm and the other locations are: Bennington (September 10th), Burlington (September 17th); Essex/Orleans County (date TBD); Rutland (October 1st) and Montpelier (October 16th). Register here for all events. For questions, please email Birdie at bpauley@vtmd.org

Vermont Selected for New Federal AHEAD Model

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced it has accepted Vermont’s application to participate in the States Advancing All-Payer Health Equity Approaches and Development (AHEAD) program. AHEAD offers Vermont an opportunity to collaborate with the federal government to impact how Medicare, the health insurer for 24% of Vermonters, pays for care.  The model includes voluntary global budget payments for hospitals  and a voluntary primary care payment model.  Vermont’s selection for AHEAD is the first step in a multi-year process to work with CMS to design a model that works for Vermont, rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach. After a detailed negotiation process, Vermont will evaluate whether to participate in the model. If the State moves forward with this model, an agreement outlining the terms of the program would have to be in place by July 1, 2025, prior to implementation on January 1, 2026.  AHEAD would be in place for up to nine performance years, from 2026 through 2034.  Learn more about the model components and see VMS public comments on the model here. Contact Jessa Barnard at jbarnard@vtmd.org for more information or with questions. 

VMS Board Discusses Organizational and Advocacy Priorities, Ways to Support Medical Students

The VMS Board held its annual retreat last Wednesday in Waterbury.  The Board discussed what factors led to the success of H. 766 (prior authorization reform), what lessons the organization can learn for future advocacy efforts, and advocacy priorities for the next year.  Members mentioned the importance of being engaged with the Act 167 hospital and health system transformation report and the AHEAD Model for payment reform.   VMS President Rebecca Bell, MD, also led a discussion with Raihan Kabir, a UVM Larner College of Medicine student leader of the VMS Student Interest Group at LCOM.  One idea generated in the discussion, focused on how VMS can support and engage medical students, is for VMS to create and facilitate a clearinghouse for clinicians to post projects that LCOM students can assist with, whether advocacy-related or research, to help connect students with opportunities around the State.  The Board capped off the meeting by reviewing member survey feedback regarding organizational priorities and began incorporating the suggestions into updated 2024-2025 priorities.  Thank you to the members who completed the survey.   The Board also elected and welcomed a new member, Kimberly Sampson, MD, an OBGYN from Bennington. Contact Jessa Barnard at jbarnard@vtmd.org with any questions. 


New Resources - HIPAA Privacy Rule to Support Reproductive Healthcare Privacy

The Biden-Harris Administration, through the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), has issued a Final Rule modifying the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule to enhance reproductive health care privacy.

The Final Rule outlines prohibited uses or disclosures of protected health information (PHI) related to reproductive health by covered entities (e.g., physicians, hospitals, health plans, health care clearinghouses) and their business associates.  Prohibited purposes include using PHI to: investigate any person for seeking, obtaining, providing, or facilitating lawful reproductive health care; to impose liability on any person for seeking, obtaining, providing, or facilitating lawful reproductive health care; and to identify any person for the purposes of investigation or liability.

The Final Rule also permits covered entities to use or disclose PHI for certain non-prohibited purposes under the Privacy Rule.  To enforce the prohibition, the Final Rule mandates that covered entities obtain a signed attestation from requestors affirming that the PHI will not be used for prohibited purposes.

Physicians must be in compliance with the Final Rule by December 23, 2024.

Below are several helpful resources provided by OCR. These include:

A summary of the rule is also available from the AMA here.   More materials will be available this summer comparing the HIPAA changes to the Vermont “shield law” found in 18 VSA § 1881, which also prohibits the use and disclosure of PHI related to a legally protected health care activity for many purposes.   Contact Jessa Barnard at jbarnard@vtmd.org with questions. 

User Upload Launches July 1 for Vermont Advance Directive Registry

Throughout the months of July and August, the Vermont Ethics Network will be offering live webinar sessions about changes to the Vermont Advance Directive Registry, including a new user upload option and being able to email or mail documents directly to VEN in Montpelier. These webinars are aimed at health care providers, attorneys and other professionals who assist Vermonters with completing advance directives.

VADR Informational Webinars: For Health Professionals and Volunteers

All sessions will be recorded and recordings will be posted to the VEN website in the week following the session. Please join and ask us your questions!

Washington Post: How the Supreme Court has Roiled U.S. Health-Care Agencies

The Washington Post today outlines how recent major decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court complicate the regulation of drugs, tobacco products, cutting-edge medical technologies, Medicaid and Medicare.  Read more here.   Politico discusses how even though the Court this term did not reach the merits on cases related to mifepristone and emergency access to abortion services, the Court will be facing a number of cases related to abortion soon, impacting the ability of patients to cross state lines for abortions, the regulation of abortion pills, and minors’ ability to get an abortion without parental consent.  Read more 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 diverse 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. Cape Cares is currently recruiting for an 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.

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.

Save the date: 2024 Vermont Suicide Prevention Symposium

September 13, 2024

Join the Vermont Collaborative for Practice Improvement & Innovation in-person on September 13, 2024 at the Vermont State University Randolph campus for a day-long conference that will include presentations, workshops, and networking opportunities featuring leading voices in the field from Vermont, New England, and beyond. Our focus is on equitable, sustainable, and comprehensive suicide prevention with sessions designed for mental health clinicians, peer support workers, advocates & families, individuals with lived experience, healthcare providers, educators, and community members.  This event is presented by the nonprofit Vermont Collaborative for Practice Improvement & Innovation in partnership with the Vermont Department of Mental Health and United Way of Northwest Vermont.

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.

Learning Collaboratives on In-Basket Reduction and Reducing Regulatory Burden

October 2024 – March 2025

AMA STEPS Forward® Innovation Academy is launching two new, six-month learning collaboratives on optimizing the in-basket to reduce work burden and rethinking how organizations apply regulatory rules to clinical practice. Each collaborative will convene dyads or triads of leadership representatives from multiple organizations to engage in a longitudinal shared learning experience. Limited space available. Learn more.

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


Vermont Medical Society

134 Main Street

Montpelier, VT 05602

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