Health Care

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, fevealed 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. […]

Opiate treatment center to open in Bennington

Gov. Peter Shumlin announced an opiate addiction center in Bennington on Friday. Photo courtesy of Bennington Office of Economic and Community Development

Southwest Vermont will get a new opiate treatment center next year. A public-private partnership will provide services that are currently available an hour’s drive away. The new initiative was unveiled at a news conference Friday with Gov. Shumlin, state and local officials, and caregivers.

Feds extend support for program that helps seniors stay healthy

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The extension is good news for the Support and Services at Home program (SASH), which has shown positive results in maintaining the health of senior Vermonters. Its future remains in doubt because a new Medicare program may reduce its client base.

Health care exchange backlog reduced, but many cases still unresolved

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Vermont Health Connect is making strides in reducing a backlog in change requests, but thousands more remain in the queue. VHC is trying to clear the backlog before Nov. 15, when a new open enrollment period begins.

Vermont opens state-of-the-art public health laboratory

An exam room at the new state Health Department laboratory in Colchester. Photo by Morgan True/VTDigger

The $31 million lab will house public health workers and UVM researchers, allowing for sharing of information and ideas. It will replace the state’s current lab, which is outdated and too small, officials say.

Health officials: VT Ebola case highly unlikely, but state is prepared

The Ebola virus. Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Trainings for health care providers emphasize asking patients about travel history and use of personal protective gear.

State employee health plan premiums to increase 17.9 percent

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State officials blame “greater than expected” high cost claims and premature “premium holidays” for wiping out an anticipated $30 million surplus as well as millions in reserve funds.

Copley Hospital could face big bill from feds

The new emergency room entrance at Copley Hospital in Morrisville. Stowe Reporter photo by Glenn Callahan

Copley is one of seven small hospitals in Vermont that together could be ordered to repay as much as $12 million.

CMS survey reveals near drowning in Brattleboro Retreat’s adolescent unit

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The incident happened on the Tyler 3 adolescent unit, where there have been two suicide attempts in the last six months

Low reimbursements threaten Blueprint for Health despite promising results

A nurse bandages a patient at Central Vermont Medical Center

The state’s Blueprint for Health program is reducing health care costs by strengthening preventive care; but low payment rates could mean trouble for Blueprint in the near future. Lawmakers are considering raising those rates, but acknowledge it will be difficult in the current budget climate.

VA chief sees critical shortage in providers

Sen. Bernie Sanders (left), I-Vt., the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman,  and Robert A. McDonald, secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, listen to questions during a media availability after a meeting with medical students and professionals at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., about new recruitment for health care positions at VA hospitals nationwide on Oct. 13, 2014. Photo by Ariana van den Akker/Valley News

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald joined Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday to stress the need for more doctors and nurses for the VA.

State signs $14.3 million expansion of Optum’s exchange contract

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The total amount Optum can earn is $29.4 million on a contract that currently runs through the end of January 2015.

Sanders, VA secretary to talk careers at UVM, Dartmouth-Hitchcock

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., will be joined by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald on Monday to speak with students at the University of Vermont College of Medicine about careers with the VA. A new federal law has drawn billions of dollars in funding into the VA to support increase residency slots at […]

Federal law raises questions about who can bid for IT projects that support the exchange

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The same provision may interfere with Hewlett-Packard’s plan to hire Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont as a subcontractor on a state health IT project.

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