Health

The momentum to reform Vermont’s earned income tax credit appeared to run out last week, but Governor Peter Shumlin continues to lobby a small group of state senators. He hopes to strike a deal on his proposal to subsidize child care by redirecting $17 million from the tax credit for poor working Vermonters.

A week after a key House committee narrowly rejected his plan, Shumlin has his work cut out for him in the Senate.

The very mention of Alzheimer's strikes fear into the hearts of many of us who have watched loved ones disappear into the dark depths of this disease.

Dr. William Pendlebury is a Professor of Pathology and Neurology and Director of the UVM Center on Aging and Fletcher Allen's Memory Center. She spoke with Vermont Edition about the search for a cure for Alzheimer's.

Rutland Hospital Plans Methadone Clinic

Apr 3, 2013

The Rutland Regional Medical center is hoping to open a methadone clinic by fall.

Last week the hospital's board of directors voted to move forward with a state Department of Health plan to open a drug treatment center that police and health officials say is needed to treat people addicted to heroin and prescription painkillers.

Hospital spokeswoman Priscilla Latkin says the target date is Oct. 1

The facility will open with enough staff to handle 400 people a year but will probably not come close to that number of patients during its first 12 months in operation.

A bacterial disease spread by tick bites is getting attention this week in the Statehouse.

Lyme disease patients and their advocates are pushing for a bill that requires insurance companies to cover long-term antibiotic care for the debilitating illness.

The bill highlights a debate in the medical community about the most effective treatment, because it sanctions a medical practice that critics say is not recommended by state and federal agencies.

Doctor Elliott Fisher has had a note on his office wall for several years now that states his professional mission - try to help fix health care.

This week the physician and researcher is even better positioned to do just that.The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice just named Fisher as its new director.

Fisher has been integral to the Dartmouth Institute's purpose of studying how to make health care systems work better. He spoke with Vermont edition about some of the inherent problems in how health care is delivered.

FAHC Wants To Convert To Only Single Rooms

Apr 2, 2013

Vermont's largest hospital is considering expanding, so it can offer most of its patients private rooms.

Fletcher Allen Health Care wants state permission to build 48 new patient rooms in a new two-story building. Cost estimates run up to $85 million.

The hospital is planning to submit its application for the planning phase within the next few weeks. Once the planning is done, the hospital could apply for permission to construct the building.

A spokesman for the hospital says the goal is to make sure 90 percent of the hospital's patients are in private rooms.

Kirk Carapezza / VPR

Vermont became the first state on Monday to publish the rates it would charge people who don't currently have health insurance to get coverage - a key step toward establishing the health exchanges that are central to the federal health care law known as Obamacare.

Under the proposed rates, the amount that individuals would pay every month would vary from $360 for the most basic package to more than $600 for the most comprehensive.

A school in Hanover is being tested for the presence of a chemical that was used as a refrigerant at a nearby laboratory.

Richmond Middle School sits across the road from the U-S Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory.

The chemical trichloroethylene was used as a refrigerant at the lab from the 1960s until 1987.

Officials say TCE has been found at trace levels on the lab grounds, but recent testing hasn't found any unsafe levels of the vapor at the school.

One of the concepts we hear about in the effort to improve our health care system is the idea of a patient-centered medical home.

Traditionally, a patient's health might be managed based on whatever ailment prompted an office visit. A medical home, by contrast, takes the person's major health issues into account as a more holistic idea. It requires the entire office staff to be involved in anticipating what care and information that patient will need. It's that anticipation that's one of the key differences that makes a medical home work.

Kirk Carapezza / VPR File Photo

Vermont, which continues to emerge as a national health care leader, released on Monday the amount it proposes to charge consumers for health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Under the proposed rates, the average cost for an individual would vary from $365.76 for the most basic package to $609.47 for the most comprehensive. Rates for family plans would be higher. People under certain income limits would get federal subsidies to pay for insurance.

UVM To Offer Online Public Health Course

Apr 1, 2013

The University of Vermont is launching an online certificate of graduate study in public health.

Beginning this summer, medical and nursing students, health practitioners, public health professionals, and health care researchers will be able to enroll in the 18-credit, online graduate course that navigates current public health and health policy issues.

The course is designed to give students a strong foundation in population health sciences including epidemiology, bio statistics and environmental health.

Volunteers Wanted For EEE Study

Apr 1, 2013

Vermont health officials are seeking volunteers for a study of Eastern equine encephalitis.

Matthew Thomas of the state Department of Health says officials hope to learn more about the prevalence of the mosquito-transmitted virus in Vermont. Two men, one from Brandon and the other from Sudbury, died last year in Vermont's first human cases of EEE.

Thomas tells the Rutland Herald that the plan is to draw blood from 150 to 200 volunteers at clinics in Brandon, Whiting and Sudbury.

Vt. To Post Health Care Rates

Apr 1, 2013

Vermont is poised to become the first state in the country to tell people without health insurance how much they can pay for coverage through the federal Affordable Care Act when it begins offering benefits next year.

The state starting today is going to post the proposed rates offered through the state's health care marketplace for various levels of coverage.

Andy Hyman of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says it's a big step.

Moretown Landfill Shuts Down Before Deadline

Apr 1, 2013

A Vermont landfill that was ordered closed has shut down.

The Moretown landfill had until mid-April to close, but it closed on Saturday.

The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources this month ordered the Moretown landfill to cease operations, citing odor problem sand groundwater pollution.

WPTZ-TV reported that landfill officials said they closed earlier than required to prepare an appeal of the agency's decision to the state's environmental court.

Vermont now has only one landfill left used for trash disposal, in the northern Vermont town of Coventry.

Bill Would Regulate Disposal Of Unclaimed Remains

Apr 1, 2013

Dozens of long-dead patients at a Vermont psychiatric hospital are helping to modernize state law regulating what happens to unclaimed human remains.

The cemetery holding them came to public attention when Tropical Storm Irene flooded the Waterbury hospital complex in August 2011. A state lawmaker wanted to make sure the cemetery would be protected forever after the ruined hospital was relocated.

AP/Toby Talbot / This photo taken March 20, 2013 shows people listening to Lindsey Tucker, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Vermont

Vermont's new health care exchange will go into effect in January 2014. Starting then, all individuals and companies with fewer than 50 employees will be required to purchase health insurance coverage through that exchange.

Mares: Health Care

Feb 5, 2013

According to a recent study by the National Research council and Institute of Medicine, across most health indicators, age and wealth groups, people in the US have shorter lives and more illness than people in other advanced countries. Even advantaged Americans - with health insurance, college educations, higher incomes, and healthier behaviors -appear to be sicker than their peers in other rich nations.

(Host) Commentator Tom Blinkhorn has worked in development of social services around the world. But as 2013 confronts the nation with a fresh set of challenges in implementing the Affordable Health Care Act, an innovative pioneer program at Dartmouth college designed to help meet those challenges has caught his attention.

(Blinkhorn) On Saturday morning, January 19, 45 mid-career professionals from 17 states plus France and India will receive Dartmouth college's very first master of science degree in health care delivery.

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