Health Care

House lawmakers eye changes to Senate-passed involuntary medication bill

Dr. W. Gordon Frankle, left, chief of psychiatry for Rutland Regional Medical Center, and Dr. Craig Van Tuinen, former Vermont State Hospital psychiatrist who now works with severely mentally ill patients in a community setting, testify before the Senate Health and Welfare and Judiciary committees on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2014. Photo by Morgan True/VTDigger

Opponents say consolidating the involuntary medication and treatment hearings would give patients less opportunity to voluntarily accept medication.

House passes medical marijuana bill

Keith Flynn, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. Photo by Anne Galloway

The House approved an amendment that will study potential tax revenue from legalizing and taxing pot.

VTDigger/Castleton Poll: Vermonters split on single payer

Peter Shumlin signed the historic health care reform act on the Statehouse steps on Thursday. VTD/Taylor Dobbs.

Forty percent expressed support for the concept, while 39 percent were opposed. More say Vermont Health Connect will increase access to insurance.

Wallack weighs consulting job with Dartmouth-Hitchcock, says it won’t conflict with her work for Vermont

Anya Rader Wallack

Former head of Green Mountain Care Board currently oversees $45 million federal grant to lead state’s health care payment and delivery system.

MVP, private doctors’ group sign payment deal

Aerial view of the Fletcher Allen Health Care campus. Photo courtesy of FAHC.

Members of Vermont Managed Care to migrate to OneCare in system based on quality of care.

Lawmakers hold brief ‘lessons learned’ hearing on health care exchange

Rep. Mike Fisher, D-Lincoln, chairman of the House Health Care Committee, hears testimony at the Statehouse in Montpelier. Photo by Roger Crowley/for VTDigger

Despite huge state and federal investments in the exchange website and a call center to handle interactions with the public, the system still has significant problems.

Contract prevents state auditor from reviewing VSEA pharmacy benefits

Prescription drugs. Photo by Alissa Walker

St. Louis-based Express Scripts is one of the largest pharmacy benefit managers in the United States – netting $1.3 billion in profits last year — and it holds the VSEA contract as well as a contract with the state’s largest private health insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont.

Consultant’s memo stirs single-payer controversy

Health care consultant Ken Thorpe addressed lawmakers Tuesday in Montpelier. Photo by Morgan True/VTDigger

Lawmakers rejected the notion that Ken Thorpe’s three-page memo is a Plan B for single payer.

House committee looks to set February deadline for health care financing plan, adds consequence

StockXchng image of stethoscope and calculator.

The proposal would freeze the administration’s funding to plan and implement the transition to a universal health care program if it doesn’t present lawmakers with public financing details by February.

Pathways Vermont seeks designated agency status, meets resistance from other mental health programs

Hilary Melton, executive director of Pathways Vermont, testifies Monday, April 14, 2014, at a public hearing before Department of Mental Health officials. Photo by Morgan True/VTDigger

Pathways will lose $800,000 when federal grants run out. The nonprofit is applying for Medicaid funding, which would require a state match of $350,000.

Vermont to launch global budget pilot for hospitals

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

Rutland Regional wants to test system that pays for treating an entire hospital population rather than one service at a time.

House lawmakers look to take on prescription drug companies in push for transparency

Prescription drugs. Photo by Alissa Walker

The proposal would require pharmacy benefits managers to report an aggregate dollar amount they pocket for all claims to health insurers.

State auditor to take on Vermont Health Connect rollout

Vermont State Auditor Doug Hoffer.

The auditor also exploring a partnership with federal auditors from the Health and Human Services Inspector General’s Office.

Senate gives preliminary approval to Lyme disease legislation

The black-legged tick carries Lyme disease. Creative Commons photo

There is medical controversy over the benefit of using long-term antibiotics to treat lingering symptoms of tick-borne illnesses.

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