Vermont Medical Society - Rounds Newsletter
View this email in your browser
Everything Vermont's physicians need to know this week

VMS releases updated Vermont Guide to Health Care Law
VMS is pleased to announce that the popular Vermont Guide to Health Care Law has been completely updated and reformatted for 2017 is now available.  The Guide is designed to give physicians and health care facilities a fundamental understanding of legal and regulatory requirements that affect the delivery of health care in Vermont today.
VMS has worked with leading health care attorneys and experts across the state to review, revise or author each chapter of the Guide, including frequently-requested topics such as retaining medical records, closing a medical office and minor consent for health care.  View the Vermont Guide to Health Care Law here

DOH releases updates to Medication-Assisted Treatment and Regulated Drug rules
The Department of Health has released updates to two Department Rules: the Medication-Assisted Treatment Rule and the Regulated Drug Rule. 

The Medication Assisted Treatment Rule establishes the requirements for authorized office based opioid treatment providers to prescribe and dispense buprenorphine.  while the Regulated Drug Rule adds new drugs and other chemical substances that are illegal or judged to be potentially fatal or harmful for human consumption unless prescribed and dispensed by a professional licensed to prescribe or dispense them.  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.


VPR: Shortage of primary care doctors looms for Vermont

A shortage of primary care doctors in most parts of Vermont has the medical community concerned, with nearly 30 percent of primary care physicians over age 60 and nearing retirement.  On today’s Vermont Edition, we look at the state of primary care in Vermont and some of the solutions to address the problem. Our guests are Dr. Allan Ramsay, a former member of the Green Mountain Care Board who has practiced medicine in Vermont for over 35 years, and Dr. Jill Rinehart, an independent pediatrician and president of the Vermont chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Also in the program, should Vermont raise the smoking age from 18 to 21? Advocates fell short of getting this idea enacted into law during the last legislative session, but they're pushing the public health benefits of the law change again this session. Pediatrician Dr. Rebecca Bell explains why she's working in support of the measure.  More »  

VTDIGGER: State retracts data showing jump in psychiatric emergencies
A huge spike the state reported in involuntary hospital admissions for mental health patients has not happened, and officials are blaming a computer glitch for the incorrect report.  The commissioner of the Department of Mental Health said officials “inadvertently double counted” a key category of patients, making it appear that the number of adult emergency admissions for mental health cases had gone way up. There was also a large increase reported in forensic admissions — those typically involve criminal cases — that turned out to be inaccurate as well.  More »

PBS: How this Vermont experiment improves patient health at lower cost
This tiny state, with a population more rural and less diverse than the country as a whole, is embarking on an experiment that could transform the delivery of health care nationwide.  Traditionally, doctors and hospitals are paid for each procedure, treatment or test they provide. But critics say this “fee for service” system drives up costs and harms patients by pushing providers to do as much as possible, regardless of whether it benefits patients.  Under Vermont’s plan, to be phased in through 2022, health plans would pay doctors and hospitals based on how well they care for their patients and contain costs, rather than on the volume of services they provide.  More »

VERMONT BIZ: US News: Vermont Top 10 'Best State,' MA is No. 1, NH is No. 2
Massachusetts is the best state in the nation, New Hampshire is 2 and Vermont is 10, according to US News & World Report. US News, which bills itself as the global rankings authority, evaluated all 50 states across a range of criteria, from education and health care to infrastructure and economy, to capture how states best serve their citizens. The inaugural Best States (link is external) rankings are the centerpiece of a new, interactive platform (link is external) featuring fresh reporting, data and charts on trends, developments and news throughout the states.  More »


NY TIMES: The Obamacare sticking points behind closed doors
The debate over the future of Obamacare is taking place in secret meetings among Republican lawmakers. President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan have promised to bring forward a bill to modify the law soon. But before they do, they have to work out disagreements among their colleagues on the best way to proceed.  There are, of course, many small issues that are likely to be discussed in committee hearings or in other open forums. But several disagreements are so fundamental that they probably need to be resolved behind closed doors before a bill can even be introduced. Here’s a guide to the major sticking points that are holding up Republicans’ quest to replace the Affordable Care Act.  More »

WASHINGTON POST: Rate of birth defects in Zika pregnancies 20 times higher than in pre-Zika years, CDC says
Pregnancies of women in the United States infected with the Zika virus are about 20 times more likely to result in babies with certain birth defects, compared with the prevalence of these birth defects before the Zika epidemic swept through the Americas, according to a report released Thursday.  Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are trying to determine how common these birth defects, such as microcephaly, brain abnormalities, eye defects and central nervous system problems, were in the years before the Zika outbreak. Although a Zika infection during pregnancy is linked to a distinct pattern of birth defects, those abnormalities are not unique to Zika. Genetic factors and other viral infections may also cause these birth defects, although in many cases the causes are unknown, experts say.  More »

NY TIMES: Republican unity on health care is elusive, despite Trump’s support 
President Trump’s address to Congress on Tuesday night buoyed House Republican leaders who were hopeful that his leadership would unite fractious lawmakers around a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. But fundamental disagreements still divide Republicans on one of the central promises of their 2016 campaigns: repealing the health law.  While Mr. Trump appeared to back a health plan being drawn up by Republican leaders, it became clear Wednesday that lawmakers were continuing to argue over its details. Republican senators emerged from a closed-door meeting on health care tight-lipped.  Some have balked at a proposal to require workers to pay taxes on particularly generous employer-provided health benefits. Some are worried about the future of Medicaid.  But the central dividing line appears to be over how the federal government would help people purchase health insurance.  More »

MODERN HEALTHCARE: CMS fines 17 insurers for violating Medicare Rx plan rules
The CMS slapped nearly half of the health plans offering Medicare prescription drug benefits with fines for improperly denying beneficiaries access to drugs and other services.  The fines were a result of a 2016 audit of 37 health plans made public this week. The agency issued fines to 17 of those plans.  It fined Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealthcare, the nation's largest insurer, $2.5 million for failing to comply with a range of Medicare prescription drug requirements. The 17 insurers were fined a total of $7.3 million.  Violations of the Medicare Advantage Part D prescription drug requirements led to reduced access to medical services and drugs, the CMS said.  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

Webinar: Medicare Physician Payment Changes in 2019:An Introduction to the AMA Payment Model Evaluator
March 9, 12 noon to 1 p.m.
Info/registration here.

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

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 (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.

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.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list