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]

Mullin offers proposal to address Medicaid cost shift

Sen. Kevin Mullin, R-Rutland. File photo by Hilary Niles/

-+*The Shumlin administration supports the effort but says the “preferred revenue source” would still be a payroll tax — which Mullin said he will not support.

House panels approve $12M health care package and zero in on taxes

Bill Lippert

-+*The package would strengthen primary care in Vermont and reduce out-of-pocket costs for low- and middle-income people insured through the Vermont Health Connect exchange.

Senate votes to repeal philosophical exemption for childhood immunizations

Kevin Mullin

-+*The issue resurfaced this winter following a measles outbreak that spread to 19 states and infected more than 150 people, raising concerns about declining immunization rates nationally and in Vermont.

Lawmakers look to tighten May 31 deadline for Vermont Health Connect

Doug Hoffer

-+*Lawmakers press Shumlin for tighter contingency plans if health exchange doesn’t function as promised.

Health care package shrinks again

Bill Lippert

-+*Leadership is zeroing in on $12 million in new revenue to increase Medicaid payments for primary care and subsidies offered through the state health care exchange.

Two federal audits of Vermont Health Connect ongoing, state confirms

Lawrence Miller

-+*The Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General is entering the second stage of an audit of the state health care exchange, and the congressional Governmental Accountability Office began an “IT security review” in March, according to a state official.

After auditor’s report, Shumlin, legislative leaders disagree on path forward for exchange

Peter Shumlin Mark Johnson

-+*Gov. Peter Shumlin says decision whether to scrap Vermont Health Connect won’t come until next fall. House Speaker Shap Smith says May 31 deadline is vital for consumer confidence.

Auditor’s report: No guarantee state can complete Vermont Health Connect

State Auditor Doug Hoffer. Photo by Roger Crowley/for VTDigger

-+*The report shows a management structure in flux, contracts that lack performance metrics or financial penalties, ongoing security shortcomings and an unsustainable reliance on expensive and inefficient manual processes.

Blue Cross pressures the state to reconcile millions of dollars in unpaid premiums

Don George (center), president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, Gov. Peter Shumlin and Nicole Ravlin, of Cabot Hosiery Mills kick off the 2013 Blue Socks for Kids project.

-+*In a letter to the state BCBSVT said it expects that $3 million to $5 million in past due premiums from 2014 “will never be collected,” and the company would be billing VHC at the end of March, although it has not done so.

Senate strikes down broader toxic chemical regulations

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott in the Senate on Wednesday. Photo by Elizabeth Hewitt/VTDigger

-+*Lt. Gov. Phil Scott broke a 15-15 deadlock by voting against tougher chemical safety requirements for children’s products.

Shumlin’s payroll tax, Medicaid proposal on the rocks

Payroll tax

-+*The governor’s alternative health care reform plan finding little support in the Senate.

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, senators explore alternative to Vermont Health Exchange

Phil Scott

-+*Sens. Tim Ashe and Jane Kitchel join Scott on ‘fact-finding’ mission to learn more about components of the Connecticut exchange that Vermont could use.

Invoices show Optum not under budget, contrary to governor’s statements

Lawrence Miller

-+*Lawrence Miller took responsibility for the inaccuracy of the governor’s statements, which he said were based on incomplete information he provided the governor.

Dental bill gets initial approval from full Senate

A root canal gone bad is shown on a dental X-ray. Creative Commons photo by Wonderland via Flickr

-+*Advocates say licensing dental practitioners will improve access to oral health services for Medicaid patients and residents of rural areas.

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