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

VMS-supported bills make progress in the Senate
Within the past week, several VMS-supported bills have passed the Senate, including S.45, S.3 and S.50, which would make changes to the Vermont Prescribed Products Gift Ban, clarify when mental health professionals have a “duty to warn,” and expand insurance coverage to telemedicine services, respectively. 

To read more about these and other health-care related topics currently under consideration in the Vermont General Assembly, click 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.


VTDIGGER: OneCare pushes back on bill that would require open meetings

Vermont’s largest health care organization is pushing back on a bill in the Senate that would require it to hold open meetings.  The bill, S.4, would require OneCare Vermont, which is set up to become a regulated monopoly representing virtually all doctors in the state, to hold open meetings in most circumstances.  The bill’s language is similar to the Vermont Open Meeting Law. That law requires public bodies, such as selectboards and legislative committees, to hold open meetings, with exceptions such as if the public body needs to discuss contracting or personnel issues.  More »

VALLEY NEWS: Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Elliot Hospital end affiliation talks
Officials at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Elliot Health System said on Friday they had ended formal affiliation talks, a setback for the state’s only academic medical center as it seeks to establish a hub among the bigger cities of southern New Hampshire.  “After due consideration and deliberation, both organizations have determined that we can best serve our respective missions by continuing to work collaboratively in selected areas rather than by entering into a more fully integrated relationship,” D-H CEO and President James Weinstein said in an email to employees at the Lebanon-based health system.  More »

VTDIGGER: Telemedicine on the rise at Vermont hospitals
Hospital administrators say giving patients remote access to routine checkups and specialists can improve care and cut costs. The efforts come as a telemedicine bill, approved by the Senate Friday, aims to increase insurer reimbursement.  More »

VTDIGGER: Senate OKs bill allowing doctors to eat conference food paid for by drug companies
The Vermont Senate gave preliminary approval Friday to a bill that would allow doctors and other health care providers to eat food paid for by pharmaceutical companies.  The Senate approved S.45 in a voice vote, with a handful of voices dissenting. The bill is scheduled to be read the third time, and possibly passed, on Tuesday. The bill would then head to the House.  If S.45 is approved by the Legislature, Vermont would adopt federal rules to allow doctors to eat food provided at conferences, but require pharmaceutical companies to report more free food as gifts, according to Sen. Debbie Ingram, D-Chittenden.  More »


NY TIMES: Trump Concedes Health Law Overhaul Is ‘Unbelievably Complex’
President Trump, meeting with the nation’s governors, conceded Monday that he had not been aware of the complexities of health care policy-making: “I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject. Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.”  The president also suggested that the struggle to replace the Affordable Care Act was creating a legislative logjam that could delay other parts of his political agenda.  Many policy makers had anticipated the intricacies of changing the health care law, and Mr. Trump’s demands in the opening days of his administration to simultaneously repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement made the political calculations far more complicated.  More »

WASHINGTON POST: House GOP plans to keep some Medicaid expansion - and steer money to states that never bought in 
Congressional Republicans have been struggling for months to resolve one of the most vexing problems in their tortuous effort to replace the Affordable Care Act: What to do about the generous federal funding for states that broadened their Medicaid programs under the law, while not shortchanging the 19 states that balked at expansion?  Now, as the House begins to hone details of its legislative proposal, a possible compromise has emerged. It would temporarily keep federal dollars flowing to cover almost the entire cost of the roughly 11 million Americans who have gained Medicaid coverage but would block that enhanced funding for any new participants.  More »  

MODERN HEALTHCARE: More than 65,000 providers are cut from Medicaid rolls in 15 states
A provision of the Affordable Care Act that requires providers to revalidate or recertify their Medicaid reimbursement eligibility has caused more than 65,000 providers to be stripped from the federal program, according to a Modern Healthcare analysis.  Providers that enrolled in Medicaid before March 25, 2011, had to send in revalidation notices to the CMS on or before Sept. 25, 2016, or risk being dropped.  The move was an effort to curb fraud, waste and abuse in the program.  More »

NY TIMES: Deadly, drug-resistant ‘Superbugs’ pose huge threat, WHO says
The World Health Organization warned on Monday that a dozen antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” pose an enormous threat to human health, and urged hospital infection-control experts and pharmaceutical researchers to focus on fighting the most dangerous pathogens first.  The rate at which new strains of drug-resistant bacteria have emerged in recent years, prompted by overuse of antibiotics in humans and livestock, terrifies public health experts. Many consider the new strains just as dangerous as emerging viruses like Zika or Ebola.  More »

2017 Council Meetings
- 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

Pastore Financial Group webinar: Residents, Fellows, and New Physicians
March 8th, 12 noon to 1 p.m. or 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Info/registration here

Wednesday Webinar: HIPP & compliance update
March 15, 12 noon to 1 p.m.
Presented by Anne Cramer, Esq., and Shireen Hart, Esq.
Info/registration below and here

Lyme disease and Zika in Vermont update
April 29, 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Equinox Village, Manchester Center
CME’s & CEU’s available
Info to or (80) 885-2126, ext. 205 

Challenges to Professionalism in a Time of Change
Presented by the Maine Medical Association
June 17th, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
Sheraton Hotel, Portsmouth, NH
Info here

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

Wednesday Webinar: HIPAA and compliance update
On March 15th from 12 non to 1 p.m. Anne Cramer and Shireen Hart will present a webinar related to Hipaa compliance.  The webinar is open to VMS members, practice staff and others interested in the practice of medicine.  Practices are encouraged to invite their medical staff in order to meet HIPAA training obligations.  

The webinar will cover: HIPAA and Vermont privacy law overview/refresher;  
recent developments in HIPAA; what you should know about the HIPAA audit program; recent enforcement actions; and a Q&A with speakers. 

Click here for additional information and registration.

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.

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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