Health Care

Another member leaving Green Mountain Care Board

Betty Rambur, a nurse practitioner, said she will leave her seat on the Green Mountain Care Board effective Jan. 15 to take a job in Rhode Island and be closer to her family.

Her departure will leave just three people sitting on the five-person board, which is responsible for regulating health insurance prices and hospital budgets. Al Gobeille, the former board chair who also managed the board’s staff, left Thursday to run the Agency of Human Services.

Betty Rambur
Betty Rambur is leaving her seat on the Green Mountain Care Board. File photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDigger
Rambur’s departure will also mean there are no health care providers left on the board for the time being. She was the last one remaining after Dr. Allan Ramsay, a family doctor, decided not to seek reappointment at the end of September.

The remaining members are Con Hogan, a retired human services administrator who recently underwent a kidney transplant; Jessica Holmes, an economist who teaches at Middlebury College; and Robin Lunge, the former director of health care reform under Gov. Peter Shumlin.

Holmes said in a news release that Rambur will be sorely missed. “Her unique combination of clinical experience and health policy expertise provided great value to our work. We wish her the very best,” Holmes said.

Rambur will become the Routhier Endowed Chair at the University of Rhode Island School of Nursing, in the state where her adult daughter already lives, according to Susan Barrett, the executive director of the board. “We’re very happy for Betty and her life in Rhode Island, but we’re very sad to lose her as a board member,” she added.

Meanwhile, Gov. Phil Scott will have to start his administration without his choice to run the Department of Health. His chosen commissioner, Dr. Mark Levine, cannot start until March. Dr. Harry Chen, who decided not to seek reappointment as health commissioner, will stay in his job until Levine can start.

Levine is a professor of medicine at the University of Vermont and holds administrative positions with both the university’s Larner College of Medicine and the University of Vermont Medical Center.

In the nonprofit realm, Mike Fisher, a former state representative who ran the House Health Care Committee, has been named to lead Vermont Legal Aid’s Office of the Health Care Advocate, which advocates for consumers in front of the Green Mountain Care Board.

Since leaving the Legislature at the end of 2014, Fisher has spent the last two years as a social worker. He will play a key role in advocating for consumers in the rollout of the all-payer model and the potential repeal of the federal Affordable Care Act.

Fisher replaces Trinka Kerr, the longtime health care advocate who retired in the summer.

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Erin Mansfield

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  • I respectfully request the Governor Scott fill at least one of the two spots with a practicing physician, preferably in independent practice. This would allow for an opportunity for the remaining dwindling independent practices to have a voice in the future of health care in VT. The initial verbiage in the bill discussing the nomination and appointment process (18 VSA 9391) included a requirement that a physician be on the board, but this was deleted in the final version. Alas, this might all be a moot point depending on what Trump does to health care. We are looking at difficult times ahead and it would be unfortunate if there is not a voice from the actual practice of medicine involved.