Vermont Medical Society - Rounds Newsletter
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Everything Vermont's physicians need to know this week

Court Blocks Overtime Rule Raising Exempt Employee Salary Requirements
Last week, a federal judge in Texas granted a nationwide preliminary injunction blocking the Department of Labor’s Overtime Rule from taking effect.  The court’s decision in State of Nevada v. U.S. Dep’t of Labor is available here.  The Overtime Rule was scheduled to take effect on Dec. 1, 2016.  The Rule would have doubled the Fair Labor Standard Act’s minimum salary threshold for exempt employees (from $23,660 to $47,476) and included automatic increases to the salary threshold every 3 years.
Practical implications:  The Overtime Rule will not take effect on Dec. 1, 2016.  The Rule could still be implemented at a later date, pending the court’s decision on a permanent injunction and any decisions on appeal.  For now, employers may continue to follow the FLSA’s existing salary thresholds for exempt employees. 

VMS Seeks feedback on Vermont Practitioner Health Program
VMS invites all Vermont-licensed physicians to complete the following survey regarding the Vermont Practitioner Health Program.  Your answers will provide us with valuable feedback as VMS considers future directions for the VPHP program.  This survey asks more detailed questions in follow-up to a question asked in the 2016 VMS Physician Survey circulated in July and will take less than five minutes of your time.  Click here to access the survey. Please reply by Tuesday, Dec. 6th.

In The News is a concise digest of health care news in Vermont and the nation.  VMS is not responsible for the content of the articles.


VPR: Non-Physicians Will Be Able To Prescribe Drugs That Curbs Opioid Addictions

The federal government will offer waivers to nurse practitioners and physicians assistants to write prescriptions for drugs that curb addiction to opioids.  Dr. Harry Chen the Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Health says in a rural state like Vermont there aren't enough doctors to prescribe the drug to those in need. He says it’s important to allow other medical professionals to prescribe the treatment.  “To have another additional workforce that can take the training, that can prescribe that evidence based treatment for opioid use disorder is really beneficial” says Chen. The waivers will require a 24 hour training and will take effect in February. More »   

VPR: Long Time Rutland Pediatrician Arthur Wolk Dies at 97
Dr. Arthur Wolk, a beloved Rutland area pediatrician, died Thursday at the age of 97. Wolk took care of thousands of children in his 42-year medical career.  Born in 1919, Wolk grew up in Rutland and attended the University of Vermont for undergraduate studies and medical school. During World War II and the Korean War, he served in the US Army Medical Corps. He served as chairman of the Vermont Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, served as president of the medical staff of what is now Rutland Regional Medical Center and was chairman of the Rutland County Medical Society. More »  

VPR: Shumlin And Scott Remain Hopeful Trump Will Honor 'All-Payer' Deal
Gov. Peter Shumlin says he's optimistic the administration of President-elect Donald Trump will support the state's new health care payment reform plan known as "all-payer." In late September state and federal officials signed an agreement that allows Vermont to make a dramatic change in the way that health care is paid for in the state.  The idea is to shift away from the current system, known as "fee-for-service" which reimburses the health care system for every procedure and test that's done, and move towards a system that rewards positive health care outcomes and emphasizes primary care services. More »  


NBC News: Trump Picks Rep. Tom Price to Lead HHS
President-elect Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he will nominate Georgia Rep. Tom Price to head the Department of Health and Human Services.  The Cabinet-level pick, which requires Senate confirmation, inserts one of Obamacare's most outspoken critics into the key position to dismantle it and help Republicans implement their own blueprint for health care reform. More » 

The Hill: House GOP eying major Medicare overhaul in 2017
The head of the House Budget Committee said Thursday that lawmakers are eying an overhaul of Medicare next year.  Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) said he expects lawmakers to push forward with an overhaul “within the first six to eight months” of President-elect Donald Trump's administration.  It's the first time that a House GOP leader has said officials are planning to fast-track an overhaul of Medicare in 2017. More » 

NY Times: U.S. Dementia Rates Are Dropping Even as Population Ages
Despite fears that dementia rates were going to explode as the population grows older and fatter, and has more diabetes and high blood pressure, a large nationally representative survey has found the reverse. Dementia is actually on the wane. And when people do get dementia, they get it at older and older ages.  The new study found that the dementia rate in Americans 65 and older fell by 24 percent over 12 years, to 8.8 percent in 2012 from 11.6 percent in 2000. That trend that is “statistically significant and impressive,” said Samuel Preston, a demographer at the University of Pennsylvania who was not associated with the study. More »

NY Times: Many Insured Children Lack Essential Health Care, Study Finds
A new study to be released on Monday by the Children’s Health Fund, a nonprofit based in New York City that expands access to health care for disadvantaged children, found that one in four children in the United States did not have access to essential health care, though a record number of young people now have health insurance.  The report found that 20.3 million people in the nation under the age of 18 lack “access to care that meets modern pediatric standards.” More » 

NY Times: House to Vote on Bill Aimed at Speeding Approval of Drugs
The House plans to vote Wednesday on a $6.3 billion bill aimed at speeding federal approval of drugs and medical devices and boosting biomedical research.  The legislation, a priority for congressional leaders in the lame-duck session, seeks to streamline how federal regulators assess the safety of new treatments and let them reach markets more quickly. It provides new money for the National Institutes of Health and Food and Drug Administration, including funding for the White House's cancer moonshot and precision medicine initiatives.  The bill also would seek $1 billion in grants to states to fight opioid abuse. More » 

Wednesday Webinar
Jan. 18th
12 noon to 1 p.m.
Update on the Quality Payment Program: What you need to know to be successful
More »

Wednesday Webinar
Feb. 15th
12 noon to 1 p.m.
What’s new in fraud and abuse & recoupment
More »

2017 Annual Meeting
November 3-4, 2017
Woodstock Inn
Woodstock, Vt. 

Vermont Practitioner Health Program is available to help
Are you or one of your colleague’s struggling with substance abuse issues? The VMS-administered Vermont Practitioner Health Program (VPHP) can help.  Click here for more information, or if you’d like to have VPHP present at a local staff meeting.

VMS honors outstanding service to Vermont
The Vermont Medical Society recognized five Vermonters for their outstanding contributions to the health and well being of the state’s residents during its 203rd annual meeting held Nov. 5, in Burlington, Vt.  Lewis First, M.D., FAAP, of the University of Vermont Medical Center and The Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine at The University of Vermont, was awarded the Distinguished Service Award, The University of Vermont Medical Center’s David Halsey, M.D., was named the Physician of the Year, Rutland- and Castelton-area family physician James Thomas, M.D., was honored with the Physician Award for Community Service, the Citizen of the Year Award was given to Montpelier’s Madeleine Mongan, Esq., and William Cyrus Jordan, M.D., MPH, of Montpelier was honored with the Founder’s Award. More » 

Submit an Informal Review for 2017 PQRS Results through Nov. 30
In 2017, CMS will apply a downward payment adjustment to those who did not satisfactorily report PQRS in 2015.  If you believe you have been incorrectly assessed the 2017 PQRS payment adjustment, submit an informal review between September 26, 2016 and November 30, 2016 requesting CMS investigate your payment adjustment determination. More »  
Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) resources
VMS has created a special website page regarding MACRA.  Click here for more info. 

© Vermont Medical Society, 2016
(802) 223-7898
Copyright © 2016 Vermont Medical Society, All rights reserved.

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