Health Care

VTDigger publishes daily stories on health care. We cover the state’s hospitals, the state’s psychiatric care system, the Green Mountain Care Board, insurers, state health care policy, Medicaid and Medicare. Morgan True is VTDigger’s health care reporter. He can be reached at [email protected]

Mental Health Commissioner Paul Dupre to step down next month

-+*Department of Mental Health Commissioner Paul Dupre is stepping down June 12, he said Wednesday. A spokesman for Gov. Peter Shumlin said Agency of Human Services Secretary Hal Cohen is in the process of interviewing candidates to replace the outgoing commissioner. Cohen said Wednesday that over the past few months he’s been “putting out some […]

Shumlin signs physician-assisted suicide bill with Maggie Lake’s family

Gov. Peter Shumlin signs the updated physician-assisted suicide bill at a store owned by Katy Lesser, the sister of Maggie Lake, who used a lethal prescription to end a long battle with cancer earlier this year. Photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDigger

-+*SOUTH BURLINGTON — Gov. Peter Shumlin signed into law Wednesday a bill that makes permanent a series of protections in the state’s physician-assisted suicide law. Physician-assisted suicide passed the Legislature in 2013 and became Act 39, but the procedural requirements and additional safeguards in the bill were set to sunset in 2016 without legislative action. […]

Legislative Wrap: Big expectations, few results on health care

Kellie Lafaille takes Kim Kennison's blood pressure at The Health Center in Plainfield. Photo by Morgan True/VTDigger

-+*When Gov. Peter Shumlin took single-payer off the legislative agenda and lawmakers nixed his $90 million payroll to boost Medicaid, not much was left.

Vermont Veterans’ Home passes inspection with zero deficiencies

Vermont Veterans' Home

-+*Medicare and Medicaid money no longer in jeopardy.

UVM Medical Center makes pitch to regulators for new facility

Architect's drawing shows Fletcher Allen Health Care's proposed inpatient facility. Courtesy of Fletcher Allen

-+*Hospital officials are making the case for a planned seven-story building that will house 128 single-occupancy rooms.

Vermont Health Connect insurers request premium increases

-+*The two insurers participating in the Vermont Health Connect insurance exchange are seeking rate increases from state regulators for next year’s plans. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont is seeking an 8.4 percent increase and MVP Health Care is seeking a 3 percent increase over their 2015 rates, according to filings with the Green Mountain […]

Lawmakers reach late-stage deal to ‘keep the lights’ on for health care reform

House members

-+*Lawmakers rejected the payroll tax, and struggled to find funding for a greatly diminished health care bill. Many legislators were at loss to explain what happened.

Shumlin disappointed with ‘mighty slim’ health care bill

Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals

-+*High hopes for significant health care reform punctured by political and economic reality.

Elimination of philosophical exemption easily survives challenge

Peter Shumlin

-+*An effort to reconsider House approval of a bill that revokes the philosophical exemption for school immunization fails. Governor says he’s likely to sign it.

House votes to remove philosophical exemption to school entry vaccines

House members

-+*Legislators decided 85-57 that protecting public health trumps parental rights in regard to childhood vaccinations.

Shumlin shifts stance on philosophical exemption

Dr. Harry Chen, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Health. VTDigger file photo

-+*Shumlin says the state needs to give the new law a chance to work, but his spokesman says “if the legislature’s thinking on this issue has changed, he’s open to listening to the debate.”

Senate passes health care package, but funding source rankles some business owners

Mike Comeau

-+*Senate’s version increases employer assessment to fund the $11 million package.

Medicaid running $15-$20 million over budget, state says

Medicaid

-+*State will likely need to come up with $7 million to $9 million to cover its share of the program’s cost overrun for FY 2015.

Robert Kennedy Jr., mothers square off on vaccines

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

-+*Son of former presidential candidate urges lawmakers to give parents a choice of whether to vaccinate their children.

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