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

CMS extends deadline for 2016 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) Electronic Health Record (EHR) submission
From the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: CMS extends the submission deadline for 2016 Quality Reporting Document Architecture (QRDA) data submission for the EHR reporting mechanism of the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) program. Individual eligible professionals (EPs), PQRS group practices, qualified clinical data registries (QCDRs), and qualified EHR data submission vendors (DSVs) now have until Friday, March 31, 2017 to submit 2016 EHR data via QRDA. The deadline is extended to March 31, 2017 for EPs to electronically report electronic Clinical Quality Measures (eCQMs) for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program.  More » 

HIPAA and compliance update with Anne Cramer, Esq. & Shireen Hart, Esq., of Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer PC 
Participate in this free webinar - March 15 from 12 noon to 1 p.m. - and hear from some of Vermont’s experts on privacy and confidentiality laws.  Topics to include HIPAA and Vermont privacy law overview/refresher, recent developments in HIPAA, what you should know about the HIPAA audit program, and recent enforcement actions.  Attend with your staff to meet HIPAA training obligations.   More » 

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: New health care bill could cost Vermont $200 million

Officials at the Vermont Agency of Human Services say a bill currently moving through Congress could cost the state $200 million per year in federal funding starting in late 2019.  That staggering sum is the first estimate of potential losses the state could face if the proposed American Health Care Act is enacted. The state currently spends $1.7 billion in federal and state dollars on the Medicaid program.  Al Gobeille, the secretary of the Agency of Human Services, said without that $200 million per year, the state could be forced to lower Medicaid payments to doctors and hospitals; reduce benefits for Medicaid patients; and cut other health programs that receive Medicaid funding.  More »

VPR: After meeting with Trump, Welch optimistic about controlling prescription drug prices
Vermont Democratic Congressman Peter Welch is optimistic after having President Donald Trump's ear last week week on controlling drug prices. But others in Congress are dubious that the president was swayed by the Democrat's argument.  President Trump brought in Rep. Welch for a small group meeting to discuss the high cost of prescription drugs. Welch reports having a receptive audience with the leader of the free world who has promised to save you money — from the cost of new military airplanes to those pills you need every once in a while.  More »

VTDIGGER: Vermont insurer, hospitals oppose Obamacare replacement bill
Vermont’s largest insurance company and the association representing all of the state’s hospitals are coming out against a Republican proposal in Congress that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.  The proposal is called the American Health Care Act. It would keep a few popular commercial insurance regulations from Obamacare while lowering the amount of help the federal government gives people to pay their health care premiums.  Insurance companies would be allowed to charge more to customers who let their coverage lapse during the year, and Americans could not use the federal money to buy insurance plans that cover abortion. Medicaid patients would no longer be able to use their insurance to get services through Planned Parenthood.  More »

VPR: Beyond Lyme: New Tick-Borne Diseases On The Rise In U.S.
It all started in the shower. Tucker Lane looked down, and there they were.  “Two ticks, on my right hip, directly next to each other," he says.  At the time, Lane didn't think much about it. He grew up on Cape Cod. Ticks are everywhere there in the summer. "Just another tick bite. Not a big deal," he thought.  That was June. In September, everything changed.  More »


NY TIMES: G.O.P. health law insures fewer people, nonpartisan review shows
The House Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would cause 24 million people to lose health insurance within a decade, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said on Monday.  Republicans had been bracing for what was almost certain to be a bleak accounting of the legislation’s projected effects. The American Health Care Act, as Republicans call their bill, was already facing widespread criticism from providers of health care, some conservatives, and a united Democratic Party. The numbers released Monday will only make it more difficult for Republicans to explain why their legislation would bring positive change to the country’s health care system.  More » 

WASHINGTON POST: The GOP’s dramatic change in strategy to pass its health-care law
To get the Affordable Care Act passed, Democrats used a big-tent approach, convening health-care groups that did not normally talk to each other while cutting deals and strong-arming key industry players to build broad support for the plan. First, the drug companies got on board. Then came the hospitals and the doctors. “It was a little thuggish. You’d be at the table or you’d be on the menu,” said Doug Badger, who was a senior health-policy adviser to President George W. Bush.  In contrast, the Republican effort to sweep away President Barack Obama’s signature health-care law has unfolded so fast that lobbyists and industry groups barely had time to digest the bill before lawmakers began marking it up.  More »

NY TIMES: Health groups denounce G.O.P. bill as its backers scramble
Influential groups representing hospitals and nurses came out on Wednesday against a Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, joining doctors and the retirees’ lobby to warn that it would lead to a rise in the uninsured.  In a letter to lawmakers, major hospital groups wrote, “As organizations that take care of every individual who walks through our doors, both due to our mission and our obligations under federal law, we are committed to ensuring health care coverage is available and affordable for all.”  More »

THE HILL: Trump to name Scott Gottlieb as FDA chief
President Trump plans to nominate Scott Gottlieb to be commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a more mainstream choice than some expected.  Gottlieb is a former FDA official under President George W. Bush, and seen as a qualified choice within the normal bounds for a Republican administration.  More » 

MODERN HEALTHCARE: Healthcare jobs grew by 26,800 in February under shadow of ACA repeal
Hospitals and the healthcare industry posted another month of robust job growth in February even as a looming repeal of the Affordable Care Act hangs over the sector.  The healthcare sector created 26,800 jobs in February, surpassing the 18,300 new positions in January, according to the February jobs report issued Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Healthcare was among the sectors that drove total national jobs creation in February to a better-than-expected 235,000 jobs. Analysts had expected the number to be just shy of 200,000. The national unemployment rate stands at 4.7%.  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

Wednesday Webinar: HIPAA & compliance update
March 15, 12 noon to 1 p.m.
Presented by Anne Cramer, Esq., and Shireen Hart, Esq.

Info/registration below and here

Stepping forward together: Advancing equity and cultural competency to improve population health
March 27-28
Burlington Sheraton
Info here.  

Pastore Financial Group Complementary Financial Planning Webinars
Mid-career physicians
April 8, 12 noon to 1 p.m. and 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Info 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 at or or (802) 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 noon 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.

ADAP survey request
The Vermont Department of Health Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs (ADAP) is working to improve access to and the quality of adolescent substance abuse assessment, treatment and recovery services in Vermont.  It needs physicians’ input on the specific strengths, needs and concerns of their community.  Responses to this 5-110 minute survey will be anonymous, unless survey takers choose to give their name and contact information. The information gained from this Needs Assessment will be used to assess the adolescent substance abuse treatment services in local communities.. Take the survey 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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