August 9, 2022


Vermont Primary Day!

Today is primary day in Vermont!  With a number of competitive statewide primary races including for the U.S. Senate and House, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State and Attorney General as well as many competitive Vermont House and Senate seats, it is likely to be a busy day at the polls.  If you have not yet voted, find your polling place here – polls are open until 7 pm.  You can still research your local candidates – with a searchable map by House or Senate district here.  Recordings of the VMS Health Care Policy Candidate Forums with the candidates for U.S. Senate and House can be found here.

COVID-19 Updates, Commissioner of Health Call Schedule

VMS held its biweekly call last Thursday with Commissioner of Health Mark Levine, MD.  Notes from the call can be found here. Commissioner Levine referenced the latest surveillance report, which shows level of the virus in Vermont is still low.  Cases are decreasing while there has been a slight uptick in hospital and ICU admissions.  State officials met recently with a CDC modeling team, which feels confident that the U.S. is near the peak of BA.5 and the Northeast is likely past its peak.  As of the last surveillance report, 15 out of 16 samples sequenced showed the BA.5 variant, while one was BA.4. The Health Department will be issuing school guidance shortly, which will focus on when children can remain in school and when they should be sent home if exhibiting symptoms. 

Our August 18th call with the Commissioner of Health has been cancelled. The September 1st call will be replaced by the Providing Catch Up Immunizations/On-going Pediatric Care as part of our Providing Healthcare to Refugees webinar series. You can register for that webinar here.

The next time we will speak with the Commissioner of Health will be September 15th. You can join the zoom meetings here.

VMS Leadership Award Nominations Extended – Submit by August 17th

Who do you know that should receive an award for their outstanding leadership throughout the last year? We extended our deadline and are still accepting nominations for our Annual Leadership Awards until August 17th. To view the award categories and criteria click here.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Birdie Pauley at

Green Mountain Care Board Finalizes Health Insurance Rate Changes For Small Group and Individual & Family Plans for 2023

The Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB) last Thursday issued decisions setting Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBSVT) and MVP Health Plan, Inc. (MVP) premiums for individuals and small businesses for health insurance plans in 2023. Approximately 72,000 Vermonters were enrolled in these plans as of March 2022. The large rate increases proposed by MVP and BCBSVT this year were driven by several factors, including rising costs for specialty pharmaceuticals and higher costs paid to health care providers for delivering services, which in turn are being driven by inflationary and workforce pressures being faced by many sectors of the economy. After its review, the Board approved increases for BCBSVT and MVP in the amounts reflected in the following tables: 

Vermonters can use the Plan Comparison Tool starting October 14, 2022, to compare plans for 2023. Open enrollment for 2023 plans begins November 1, 2022.  As of August 9, 2022, it remains uncertain, although likely, that Congress will renew for 2023 the expanded premium tax credits initially made available through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Information is available here about ARPA and how it impacts eligibility for premium assistance. 

Congressional Updates from the AMA

This is a busy time for Congress as members are heading home for their August district work period and also preparing to get legislation across the finish line before the elections in November and end of the year.  Key issues in progress include:

  • The Senate approved a sweeping reconciliation bill on Aug. 7, with the House expected to take up the legislation later in the week. The legislation would lower prescription drug costs for people with Medicare and reduce drug spending by the federal government. The bill also would extend for three years the enhanced Affordable Care Act subsidies that Congress passed last year as part of the American Rescue Plan Act.  More analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation here.
  • Reminding members of Congress back in district that there is still unfinished work on important health care issues, including looming cuts to physician Medicare payments and fixing the cumbersome prior authorization process.  Read more.
  • The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly for a bipartisan bill that extends Medicare telehealth payment and regulatory flexibilities through the end of 2024. It is now up to the Senate to act.  Read more.
  • The House Ways and Means Committee has successfully marked up and passed via voice vote legislation that would streamline prior authorization processes in Medicare Advantage plans. Read more.


Providing Healthcare to Refugees: Blood Lead Screening and Management in Newly Resettled Pediatric Refugees 

Join us on August 11th from 12:15pm to 1pm EST, for a webinar that will discuss blood lead screening and education of newly resettled pediatric refugee families. 

This webinar is a part of a series of webinars on Health Care for 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.

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 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 4th, 2022.

Click here for more information and details on applying for the scholarship by August 26, 2022.

Vermont Ranks 5th in Child Well-Being

Vermont ranks 5th in child well-being, according to the 2022 KIDS COUNT® Data Book, a 50-state report of recent household data developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation analyzing how children and families are faring. However, children in Vermont and across America are in the midst of a mental health crisis, struggling with anxiety and depression at unprecedented levels. This year’s annual resource focuses on youth mental health, concurring with a recent assessment by the U.S. surgeon general that conditions amount to a youth “mental health pandemic.” The report presents data indicating that in Vermont between 2016 and 2020, the number of 3-17 year olds experiencing depression or anxiety had already increased by 40%, from 13.7% to 19.2%.  Read more here and find the full report and Vermont county data here.

Lyme Disease Vaccine Enters Stage 3 Trial

Pfizer Inc. and Valneva SE yesterday announced the initiation of a Phase 3 clinical study to investigate the efficacy, safety and immunogenicity of their investigational Lyme disease vaccine candidate, VLA15. The randomized, placebo-controlled, Phase 3 study is planned to enroll approximately 6,000 participants 5 years of age and older. The study is being conducted at up to 50 sites located in areas where Lyme disease is highly endemic, including Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the United States (CT, MA, NJ, NY, RI and PA locations). Participants will receive three doses of VLA15 180 µg or saline placebo as a primary vaccination series followed by one booster dose of VLA15 or saline placebo. Read more about study criteria and participation here.


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 or for more information or to schedule a workshop. 

Virtual Forum on Global Health with Senator Patrick Leahy and Tim Rieser

August 22, 2022, 7pm EST

This forum will acknowledge Senator Leahy on the occasion of his pending retirement for his many global health accomplishments over 33 years as a leader on the Senate subcommittee that funds foreign aid. There will be a discussion with his long-time staffer Tim Rieser on the backstory of some of these accomplishments and an opportunity to ask Tim for advice on what needs doing next.

Register here.

Addressing Adult Suicidal Ideation in Primary Care Setting

September 1, 2022, 12:00 pm CT

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Building off the Practical Strategies for Managing Suicidal Ideation & Reducing Risk, this pre-recorded webinar focuses on how primary care practices can address suicidal ideation within their adult patient population.

Register here.

Dismantling Stigma for All: Addressing Physician and Patient Mental Health and Suicide Risk

September 8, 2022, 12:00 pm CT

As part of National Suicide Prevention Week, this live, interactive forum will connect attendees with industry experts on suicidal ideation and physicians with lived experience to discuss solutions for dismantling the stigma around seeking mental health treatment.

Register here.

VMS COVID Conversation with the Commissioner of Health, Mark Levine, M.D.

September 15, 2022, 12:30pm EST

Our August 18th call with the Commissioner of Health has been cancelled. The September 1st call will be replaced by the Providing Catch Up Immunizations/On-going Pediatric Care as part of our Providing Healthcare to Refugees webinar series. You can register for that webinar here.

The next time we will speak with the Commissioner of Health will be September 15th where he will provide 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 which take place on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month from 12:30pm to 1pm EST 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).

25th Annual Women's Health and Cancer Conference

September 30, 2022, 8am to 3pm EST

In-person and Virtual

Join us for a special 25th anniversary celebration and a keynote address by Kim Dittus, MD, PhD, Moving from treating cancer to treating the whole person

This free, educational event is geared towards a broad range of clinical providers as well as patients, friends and family members, researchers, and caregivers. Together, you'll learn about cancer screening, treatment, survivorship, reducing the cancer burden, and how the science has changed over 25 years (and where it’s going next). This conference is accredited at no charge to participants courtesy of the UVM Cancer Center.

For more information about the speakers, sessions, accreditation and to register please visit here.

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.

Register here.

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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