Angela Evancie / VPR

Six of Vermont's largest physician organizations are urging the Legislature not to legalize marijuana this year.

Homeyer: Clean Water

Jan 27, 2016

We Americans take clean, abundant water as a birthright, and nearly everywhere it is. But this isn’t the case in some parts of the world.

JJRD / iStock

When Gov. Peter Shumlin voiced his support for legalizing recreational marijuana, he made a specific exception: edibles — pot infused cookies, brownies, butters and goodies.

Mel Evens / AP

Naloxone, or Narcan, is a prescription drug designed to reverse respiratory depression caused by opioid overdose.

The drug has become widely accessible in Vermont, with various police agencies and first responders gaining access to the drug.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

Last October, Gov. Peter Shumlin said his administration had finally eliminated the customer-service bottleneck that had long plagued Vermont Health Connect. The change-of-circumstance backlog has since returned, however, and the setback has further eroded confidence in the future of the online insurance exchange.

Nadezhda1906 /

More heroin is coming into Vermont than ever, state officials say, and the ripple effects are disturbing.  Families are facing tough choices as their loved-ones descend into addiction, and communities working to respond to the effects of addiction, including increased crime.

But Vermont's opiate epidemic also has a huge impact on the children who are living through the crisis.

Courtesy of Tom McNeill Photography

Mt.  Ascutney Hospital could face federal sanctions after an unannounced site survey from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services uncovered patient care and restraint issues.

When I was eighteen, so was the drinking age. My friends and I drank our parents’ booze in each others’ homes. One icy December night I was on my way home from such a gathering. At best, steering my mom’s station wagon was like navigating a boat. That night, I swerved to a stop after running a red light. I was lucky: the intersection was empty. I was shaken. And I was drunk.

Bob Kinzel / VPR

The future funding of Vermont's Medicaid program will be one of the biggest issues facing lawmakers during the upcoming Legislative session. On Monday, the House Appropriations Committee started its review of this ever-expanding program.

retrorocket /

What do these three things have in common? We're talking about all of them on the next Vermont Edition.

This fall’s been one of the warmest in years, with weeks of blue skies and bright sunshine inviting us to indulge in lots of hikes and leaf raking. But I had other plans. I was among the thousands of people in the U.S. who opted for an arthroscopic partial meniscectomy after one routine step up my stairs created a tear in the protective disc of cartilage between the femur and tibia, called the meniscus. It felt like being stuck in the knee with a pitchfork.

Brzozowska / iStock

Federal and state agriculture officials will be in Brattleboro Monday to talk about new federal food safety rules.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

It’s been almost a year since Gov. Peter Shumlin abandoned his push for single-payer health care. But the fight for a publicly-funded health care system continues, and House Speaker Shap Smith is now eyeing universal care for a large subset of Vermont’s population.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Going to the dentist can be expensive. And under the Affordable Care Act, Vermonters have increased access to insurance for dental services, including Medicaid. But many dentists do not accept new Medicaid patients.

The chief of the Veterans Affairs hospital in White River Junction is moving to Phoenix, Ariz., to oversee a troubled VA facility there.           

Deborah Amdur is a social worker by training, and she will replace one of several interim directors in Phoenix. Her appointment comes after allegations surfaced last year that the Arizona hospital had manipulated reports on patient wait-times.

The Phoenix VA became a flashpoint in a national scandal over mismanagement and corruption in the VA health system.

Herb Swanson /

It's hard to imagine a worse disease than amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. The muscle-wasting affliction strikes about 5,600 patients each year. Thirty thousand people are living with it in the United States. The vast majority of those cases are not inherited.

But for families that do carry the gene, it is especially heartbreaking. One of those families lives in Vermont, and they are helping to advance medical research.

If there's one thing most doctors, patients and lawmakers agree on when it comes to health care, it's that the fee-for-service model simply isn’t working. That model has been the standard for many years, but it creates an economic pressure for doctors and hospitals to administer more tests – which don’t necessarily make people any healthier.

But there’s little consensus on just how to set up a medical system that gives people the health care they need, and ensures that doctors and hospitals stay in the black.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

An unassuming two-story house on the outskirts of downtown Burlington has become an unlikely refuge for heroin addicts. But a funding crisis means the doors are about to close, and advocates say addicts, and the community at large, will pay a steep price if people lose access to the clean needles and overdose-reversal kits handed out here daily. 

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital / BMH

Federal regulators have accepted a plan of corrections from Brattleboro Memorial Hospital following an unannounced site visit from the Division of Licensing and Protection.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Artie Aiken used to have stomach problems. During World War II, he served on bases in Connecticut and Texas instead of going overseas. When he got back to Vermont, a doctor prescribed goat milk – and things were never the same.