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. Erin Mansfield is VTDigger’s health care reporter. She can be reached at [email protected]

House passes bill on mental health provider ‘duty to warn’

The bill would explicitly negate the Vermont Supreme Court decision Kuligoski v. Brattleboro Retreat and Northeast Kingdom Human Services and turn back the clock to earlier standards.

Senate Finance may pass language on medical pay parity

The committee is looking at forcing insurance companies to pay independent doctors and hospital-employed doctors equitably. The language would be attached to H.29.  

Leahy pushes to expand generic prescription drugs

The senator’s bill would prevent large pharmaceutical companies from certain practices that hamper the development of generic, lower-cost drugs.

Lawmakers advance four mental health bills

The House moved forward with three bills related to mental health, while the Senate used a procedural move to advance the workers’ compensation expansion for mental health.

Medical marijuana expansion bill heads to House floor

In addition to adding more medical conditions that qualify, the bill would allow dispensaries to open more retail locations and become for-profit entities.

Senate confirms Lunge to GMCB amid procedural questions

Her appointment was questioned over paperwork, and a former member of the regulatory board never got a vote. The Senate president hinted the process may change.

Issue arises with past Green Mountain Care Board appointment

Betty Rambur served from 2013 until Jan. 15, but the Senate never confirmed her appointment, says the chamber’s secretary. A current interim member’s status has been questioned too.

Scott predicts $26M savings from statewide teacher health plan

His proposal “goes hand in hand” with the budget bill, he said, although Senate leaders responded that the idea came too late.

Senate votes down bill to raise smoking age to 21

The vote against S.88 kills the bill and ends a political saga that has enveloped the legislation in recent weeks.

Independent doctors form new advocacy group

They have created a Vermont chapter of the Association of Independent Doctors, a national nonprofit organization that fights acquisition by hospitals and hospital systems.

Patients complain of long wait times for surgeries

Patients and their doctors wrote in public comments about a proposed independent surgical center that people have suffered while awaiting treatment.

Bennington top in state in tick-borne illness

Infectious disease experts note ticks can cause not only Lyme disease but other serious diseases such as anaplasmosis and babesiosis.

Senators push regulators for progress on medical pay parity

Insurers still pay hospital doctors more for the same procedure than those who are self-employed. “When this building gets frustrated, our inclination is to tell you what to do,” one lawmaker warned regulators.

Hospitals ordered to lower future growth in prices by $15 million

The Green Mountain Care Board voted to have hospitals use half of any unexpected profits they made in fiscal year 2016 to offset price increases.