Health Care

Old mistakes, new problems haunt Vermont Health Connect

Gov. Peter Shumlin and Lawrence Miller, chief of the state's heath care reform effort, attend a news conference Thursday in Barre to announce a grant to repair flood damage in the city. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

In order to relieve stress on the incomplete website, previously insured users are being asked to avoid it and, unless they have a problem, the call center, too. Snail mail is the recommended option. Additional costs to make the exchange functional could deepen the state’s budget gap. The project has a “current shortfall” of $11 million in requested federal grants and could need as much as $8.5 million beyond that, according to the internal memos.

Nurse describes trip to intercept Peter Italia at JFK Airport

Joanne Calvi, Rutland District director for the Vermont Health Department, accompanied Peter Italia as he was returned to Vermont after spending about a month in West Africa. Italia is in voluntary quarantine so health officials can make certain that he did not contract the Ebola virus. Photo by Laura Krantz/VTDigger

Joanne Calvi, a public health nurse and state health department official, was dispatched on Monday with the Rutland County sheriff to retrieve Peter Italia upon his return from West Africa. Calvi describes how Italia was handed over to them by federal officials, and her conversation with him during the five-hour drive to Rutland.

Rutland mayor exchanged emails with quarantine subject Italia

Rutland Mayor Chris Louras (center) endorsed Democrat Rose Kennedy in her race against Republican incumbent Marc Brierre. Photo by Wade Goodenough.

Chris Louras was in email contact with Peter Italia during the latter’s trip to Africa. The Mayor said he wanted to track Italia’s activities and learn when he planned to come home. The last email, from Oct. 26, indicated that Italia was returning to the U.S. He was met by state officials at the airport and put into voluntary quarantine to ensure he is not infected with the Ebola virus.

Italia’s Africa trip was discovered by Deputy State’s Attorney

Peter Italia outside Conakry airport in Guinea with his friend and guide Francis, who is from Sierra Leone. Peter Italia Facebook photo

The first official discovery of Peter Italia’s visit to West Africa came from a county prosecutor, who was seeking him as a witness in an unrelated case. She noticed Italia’s postings on Facebook, and triggered a series of events that led to Italia’s voluntary confinement upon his return to America.

Vermont Health Connect customers encouraged to renew offline

Vermont Health Connect feature

Existing Vermont Health Connect customers looking to renew coverage during the open enrollment period that starts Nov. 15 will be asked to avoid the exchange’s web portal, a state official said. Chief of Health Care Reform Lawrence Miller said the VHC web portal is expected to relaunch before Nov. 15, but those seeking changes will […]

Rutland man being monitored for Ebola is identified

Peter Italia outside Conakry airport in Guinea with his friend and guide Francis, who is from Sierra Leone. Peter Italia Facebook photo

Peter Italia penned a Facebook trail describing his attempts to help Ebola victims and his frustration with not being taken seriously as a medical professional. Italia has written about time travel and claims to have a medical degree from the Dominican Republic.

State prepares to help people with Affordable Care Act tax changes

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Some Vermonters will see changes in tax-filing requirements because of the Affordable Care Act. State officials are preparing to offer information to those affected.

Vermonter quarantined to test for Ebola

Tracy Dolan, acting Health Commissioner, joined Gov. Peter Shumlin on Tuesday at a news conference regarding a person who is under quarantine after returning from West Africa, where the deadly Ebola virus has claimed nearly 5,000 lives. Photo by Morgan True/VTDigger

A Rutland man who recently returned from Sierra Leone and Guinea in West Africa has agreed to be held in 21-day quarantine to monitor him for the deadly virus that has killed 5,000 people this year.

Perkinsville woman convicted of false pretenses

A Windsor County woman was convicted of submitting false timesheets to obtain Medicaid pay for home care, the Attorney General’s Office said. Megan Hill of Perkinsville was sentenced to 18 to 36 months in jail, suspended, and placed on 18 months of probation. She was also ordered to pay $4,485 in restitution to Vermont Medicaid. […]

Study: Health care reforms could save property taxpayers tens of millions of dollars

View of a school bus through a rainy window.

Districts could see a $39 million statewide drop in health care premium costs if school districts offered gold level insurance plans to school staff under the exchange. Under a single payer initiative, school districts could save between $83 million and $119 million in premiums, and taxpayers would see a drop in property tax rates of between 8 cents and 12 cents per $100 of assessed property.

Feds won’t let Vermont have Medicare cash; seniors’ need for gap coverage under single-payer unknown

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Gov. Peter Shumlin has said he wants a true single-payer system that covers all Vermonters, including seniors on Medicare, but the framework that would have rolled Medicare into Green Mountain Care is not an option, according to health officials.

CMS OKs Brattleboro Retreat plan of correction

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The Retreat has until Nov. 1 to finalize a Systems Improvement Agreement with CMS, which will incorporate the plan of correction.

Medicare repayments won’t impact hospital services, but will hurt bottom lines

Central Vermont Medical Center's Emergency Room. Photo by Roger Crowley/for VTDigger

The repayments are the result of Medicare enforcing a 2012 policy change that many hospital executives say was unexpected. The policy change has been applied retroactively to 2010.

State awards $2.6 million in health care reform grants

The Shumlin administration has announced $2.6 million in health care reform grants to seven organizations. The grants, revealed on Friday, will support initiatives to align doctor and hospital payments with quality outcomes, increase coordination within the health care system and create an interoperable electronic medical records system to support the sharing of patient information across organizations. […]

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