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

Green Mountain Physician now available
The winter issue of the Green Mountain Physician can be read here.  Stories include:

  • VMS taps new officers
  • Members adopt new resolutions, set health care public policy priorities for 2017
  • Five honored for outstanding service to health care and community
  • VMS Foundation awards scholarships to two medical students
  • More physicians should seek elective office
  • And, a study comparing Vermont emergency room departments from 2010 versus 2015

Candidates sought for Green Mountain Care Board positions More »

Breast density notification law in effect
As of January 15, women in Vermont must begin receiving notification of their breast density classification in the summary of a mammography report.  Act 139 passed last session and contains the requirement.  The law states that all health care facilities that perform mammography examinations must inform all women of their breast tissue classification based on the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System established by the American College of Radiology.  If a woman has heterogeneously dense or extremely dense breasts the report must also contain a notice explaining that dense breast tissue may make it more difficult to detect cancer on a mammogram and may be associated with a slightly increased risk of cancer.  The notice must further state that the information is provided to raise awareness and encourage patients to discuss this issue with their health care providers.  The full law and language of the notice can be found 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: Welch: Vermonters’ health care vulnerable under Trump

Rep. Peter Welch painted a dire picture Wednesday for Vermont lawmakers over the future of health care funding under the incoming Trump administration.  In briefings to the Senate and House, as well as Gov. Phil Scott, Welch highlighted two major concerns: First, if the Affordable Care Act is repealed without a sufficient replacement, he said, thousands of Vermonters would lose their health insurance. Some key benefits of the ACA — including requirements that insurance be offered to those with pre-existing conditions, elimination of lifetime caps on insurance claims, and clearance for children to stay on their parents’ policy until age 26 — would also go away, he said.  The second issue he warned about was the push by the Republican-controlled Congress, and supported by President-elect Donald Trump, to change Medicaid payments to the states from reimbursements for each procedure to set amounts in the form of block grants.  More » 

VTDIGGER: Planned parenthood defunding would affect Medicaid patients
As Republicans in Congress vow to defund Planned Parenthood, leaders in Vermont warn access to basic health care for thousands of Vermonters could be affected.  The organization is the only federally designated family planning provider in Vermont. Planned Parenthood has more than 18,000 patients at 12 different health centers, and serves a large proportion of women of reproductive age in Vermont communities.  More »

VTDIGGER: Complex “surgery” prescribed to fix Vermont Health Connect
The two insurance companies that sell products through Vermont Health Connect are warning about the risks associated with fixing the health care insurance website.  Representatives from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont and MVP Health Care told the Senate Health and Welfare Committee on Wednesday the state needs to be prepared to take on substantial risk.  The insurers responded to a report from Strategic Solutions Group that suggests fixing the exchange is the best path forward for the state. A consultant from the group called that fix “a complex bit of surgery.”  More »


WASHINGTON POST: Pressure mounts on GOP for post-Obamacare plan following CBO report
A new analysis that at least 18 million people could lose health insurance in the first year if Congress repeals the Affordable Care Act without replacing it intensified the battle this week over the landmark health-care law as President-elect Donald Trump and Republicans try to figure out how to dismantle it.  Trump waded into the fray over the weekend when he declared that his own replacement plan is nearly complete — touting the goal of “insurance for everybody” and promising “much lower deductibles” for consumers.  More » 

NY TIMES: Fear Spurs Support for Health Law as Republicans Work to Repeal
President-elect Donald J. Trump and congressional Republicans appear to have accomplished a feat that President Obama, with all the power at his disposal, could not in the past seven years: They have galvanized outspoken support for the Affordable Care Act.  Thousands of people across the country held rallies over the weekend to save the health care law, which Republicans moved last week to repeal with a first but crucial legislative step.  More »  

NY TIMES: Trump Health Secretary Pick’s Longtime Foes: Big Government and Insurance Companies
It was 1 in the morning, and the orthopedic surgeon on call was preparing to operate on a woman whose foot had been shattered in a car wreck, after hours of tending to other patients. The woman’s husband, Jeff Anderson, asked him, “Are you too tired to do this?”  “He looked me straight in the eye — very quiet guy — and said, ‘I was born to do this,’” Mr. Anderson recalled.  The surgeon that night more than 20 years ago was Representative Tom Price of Georgia, President-elect Donald J. Trump’s nominee for secretary of health and human services, the cabinet official who will lead the new administration’s efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.  Many who knew Mr. Price as a doctor here in Atlanta’s affluent northern suburbs praise his commitment to his patients. But his legislative record shows that over eight years in the Georgia Senate and 12 years in Congress, he has advocated at least as much for physician groups and health care companies — seeking to limit damages in malpractice cases, for instance, and voting against legislation that would have required the government to negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries.  More » 

BBC: 'Huge leap' in prostate cancer testing
The biggest leap in diagnosing prostate cancer "in decades" has been made using new scanning equipment, say doctors and campaigners.  Using advanced MRI nearly doubles the number of aggressive tumours that are caught.  And the trial on 576 men, published in the Lancet, showed more than a quarter could be spared invasive biopsies, which can lead to severe side-effects.  The trial, at 11 hospitals in the UK, used multi-parametric MRI on men with high PSA levels.  It showed 27% of the men did not need a biopsy at all.  And 93% of aggressive cancers were detected by using the MRI scan to guide the biopsy compared with just 48% when the biopsy was done at random.  More » 

NY TIMES: Cervical Cancer Taking Deadlier Toll in U.S. Than Had Been Thought
The death rate from cervical cancer in the United States is considerably higher than previously estimated and the disparity in death rates between black women and white women is significantly wider, according to a study published Monday in the journal Cancer.  More » 

Running on Empty?
Jan. 25
12 noon to 1 p.m.
MMS course: Physicians' path to enjoying life and medicine
More »

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. 

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 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.


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

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