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

CMS extends deadline for 2016 PQRS EHR submission
CMS is extending the submission deadline for 2016 Quality Reporting Document Architecture (QRDA) data submission for the EHR reporting mechanism. Individual eligible professionals (EPs), PQRS group practices, qualified clinical data registries (QCDRs), and qualified EHR data submission vendors (DSVs) now have until March 13, 2017 to submit 2016 EHR data via QRDA. The original submission deadline was February 28, 2017.  More » 

Warehousing mentally ill people in emergency departments must stop
Commentary by Ben Smith, MD, a physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin.  More » 

BMP releases proposed rule changes; member feedback sought by March 3
The Board of Medical Practice has released draft rules that update all of the rules for licensing physicians, physician assistants, podiatrists, anesthesiologist assistants and radiologist assistants, and address the discipline procedures for those professions.  VMS is interested in receiving feedback from members regarding these changes, particularly the revisions to PA supervision requirements.   For more information, including the full rules and summary of the changes, visit here.

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.


VT DIGGER: State’s Medicaid enrollment lowest since 2014

Enrollment in Vermont Medicaid programs is at its lowest point since 2014, according to data from the Joint Fiscal Office, and thousands have been dropped from programs in the course of a year.  Experts say there could be several reasons for people to come off the Medicaid rolls, and one of those is an administrative process that sought to weed out people whose incomes are too high to qualify.  More » 

VPR: Can Acupuncture Offer Pain Relief And Reduce Opioid Use? Vermont Funds Medicaid Study  
Vermont has already invested significant time and money in combating the opioid addiction, from special drug courts to laws regulating prescription monitoring. Now the state is considering a new tool in its arsenal: acupuncture.  The idea isn't to use acupuncture to treat addiction — though that's not unheard of — but instead to investigate if acupuncture could be useful in treating chronic pain, as a way to avoid or reduce reliance on opioid medicines.  More »   

VT DIGGER: Lawmakers mull medical marijuana expansion
As House lawmakers prepare to vet a bill that would legalize marijuana, a Senate panel is considering legislation that would expand Vermont’s medical marijuana system.  The bill, proposed by Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Sears, D-Bennington, would make significant changes to the current medical system, including doubling the number of licenses for dispensaries and expanding the medical conditions that are eligible for medical pot.  More »


MODERN HEALTHCARE: The next frontier in quality care measurement: How patients feel  
Physicians, policymakers and payers in healthcare are increasingly asking patients for their input. This information is viewed as vital for clinicians, payers and health systems as the industry transitions from fee-for-service to value-based payment. By shaping clinical decisions and helping gauge the benefit of medical care, the patient's perception of health before and after treatment is critical not only for maximizing the quality of care but also for assessing its value, many in the industry say.  More »  

MODERN HEALTHCARE: Obama administration's report could help GOP justify Medicaid cuts  
In its final Medicaid spending report, the Obama administration conceded that Medicaid enrollment growth and spending could deplete other federal programs.  Both states and the federal government are spending more to cover more people that became eligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Medicaid expenditures for both the states and federal government grew 4.3% to $575.9 billion in 2016 and federal Medicaid spending grew 4.5% to $363.4 billion for the program to cover low income and disabled people, according to a CMS report posted Monday.  More »  

WASHINGTON POST: Diabetes patients sue insulin makers for ‘pricing fraud’  
A group of diabetes patients filed a lawsuit Monday against three drug companies for systematically increasing the list prices of insulin for years in an alleged fraudulent-pricing scheme that saddled patients with “crushing out-of-pocket expenses,” according to the filing.  The insulin market is dominated by an oligopoly of companies that sell many billions of dollars worth of insulin each year — and have steadily raised the list prices of their drugs. A version of insulin called Humalog launched two decades ago with a sticker price of $21 a vial and has increased to $255 a vial.  More »   

BOSTON GLOBE: Beth Israel, Lahey health systems agree to pursue merger  
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Lahey Health said Monday that they plan to merge, moving forward after years of on-again, off-again talks with a deal they hope could better match the market clout of Partners HealthCare.  The merger would be the largest among hospital systems in Massachusetts since the 1994 formation of Partners, the state’s largest health network. The combined organization would start out with eight hospitals, nearly 29,000 employees, and $4.5 billion in annual revenue.  More »   

NY TIMES: Hormone Blockers Can Prolong Life if Prostate Cancer Recurs  
Men whose prostate cancer comes back after surgery are more likely to survive if, along with the usual radiation, they also take drugs to block male hormones.  The finding, published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, comes from a long-running study that experts say will help clarify treatment for many patients.  After surgery to remove the prostate, more than 30 percent of men have a recurrence, and until now there has not been clear evidence about the best way to stop the disease from killing them. Most are given radiation, but prescribing drugs to counter the effects of male hormones has been inconsistent.  More »   


Wednesday Webinar
What’s New in Fraud and Abuse & Recoupment 
Feb. 15th, 12 noon to 1 p.m.
Register here

2017 Council Meetings

- Wednesday, Feb. 15, 7-8:30 p.m., GoToMeeting or conference Call
- Saturday, April 8, 9-11 a.m., Best Western, Waterbury
- Wednesday, Sept. 13, 7-8:30 p.m., GoToMeeting or conference call
- Sunday, Nov. 5, 9-11:30 a.m., Woodstock Inn, Woodstock, VT

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

Study: Primary Care Physicians can make a profound difference the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias
Researchers believe that early detection will be key to preventing, slowing and stopping Alzheimer’s disease.  Yet among all individuals diagnosed with the disease, only 45 percent are aware that they have it.  More » 

The Patient, the Practitioner and the Computer: Holding on to the Core of Our Healing Professions in a Time of Technological Change
The conference planners have assembled a panel of international participants comprising physicians and other health care professionals, patients and health information technology experts to provide a comprehensive, dynamic exploration of this seminal topic. It is a rare conclave of cumulative expertise. Any physician excited and/or concerned about how the evolution of technology is affecting the evolution of the medical profession will benefit from the opportunity to consider these seismic changes to our field in thoughtful and considerable depth.  Taking place March 17-19 in Providence RI, registration informoation for the event is available here, while and a conference brochure is available here.

Webinar: Case Law Update 2017
In this webinar sponsored by Coverys and taking place Feb. 15 from 2 to 3 p.m., presenter John West, JD, MHA, DFASHRM, CPHRM, will present current cases in healthcare, including cases involving EMTALA and informed consent.  Additionally, cases involving medical malpractice and protecting confidentiality will be discussed.  This conference will present a basic level of information. It is intended for participants who are just beginning to think about this topic.  This webinar is applicable for physicians, nurses, risk managers, quality managers, patient safety officers, performance improvement staff members, administrators, pharmacists, legal counsel, front-line staff members, and any other interested parties.  For more information or to register, click here.

CME: Breaking Through Physician Stress & Burnout to be offered April 20-22 in Maine 
Maine Medical Educational Trust and DocExecutive are offering a 3-day residential CME (47 Category 1 credits) in New Gloucester, Maine, called “Breaking Through Physician Stress & Burnout.”  The workshop is designed to provide a relaxing, stress-free environment through which the latest research for improving mental health and replacing emotionally imbalanced behaviors with healthy alternatives will be translated into personal action planning. More info at  

© Vermont Medical Society 2016
(802) 223-7898
Copyright © 2017 Vermont Medical Society, All rights reserved.

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