Two years ago, Vermont’s House Committee on Health Care became the first legislative panel in the country to approve a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. The vote triggered a massive response from the beverage industry, which poured more than $600,000 into advertising and lobbying aimed at killing the measure.
“We really got outspent, big time,” says Tina Zuk, director of government relations for the American Heart Association. “I think we got outspent 80-to-1.”
An economist who helped the Obama administration design the Affordable Care Act is coming to Vermont to help Gov. Peter Shumlin develop a proposal for single-payer health care. And his work will help decide which taxes Shumlin will propose using to raise the $2 billion needed to support the new system.
Vermont gets an “A” for state policies that govern the way doctors prescribe pain medications. That’s according to new study conducted by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, with support from the American Cancer Society.
The state-by-state report card looks primarily at legislation and rules that spell out for doctors how to make sure that people in pain get the medications they need to maintain some quality of life as they battle serious conditions, like cancer.
Vermont is on the hunt for a technology firm to help with a massive overhaul of the state’s human services system. And state officials are hoping to deliver better living through computer science.
The new request for proposal is for a “Medicaid Management Information System.” It’s part of a broader project called the Health and Human Services Enterprise, which is among the biggest, and most costly system overhauls in the history of the state.
Vermont’s 14 hospitals have submitted budgets for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1 that increase by just 2.6 percent over the current year’s budgets, the smallest annual increase for the Vermont health care delivery system in four decades.
Proposed spending for fiscal year 2015 came in at $2.229 billion, compared to the $2.172 billion approved by the Green Mountain Care Board for the current fiscal year. The 2.6 percent increase amounts to just under $57 million in new money.
As Vermont heads down the path toward a single-payer health care system, lawmakers want to make sure the options are affordable for taxpayers and consumers. And the economic analysis about to be launched by the Legislature may duplicate similar work being performed for the Shumlin Administration.
A report from the Auditor’s Office says Vermont is falling short when it comes to giving consumers a way to research the prices of medical procedures from different health care providers around the state. Wednesday on Vermont Edition, we talk with Auditor Doug Hoffer what the report says about VHCURES, the current database the state is using, which the Green Mountain Care Board plans to revamp.
Nearly three years after Tropical Storm Irene flooded Vermont’s only inpatient psychiatric hospital, state officials are finally ready to open its replacement. And they say the 25-bed facility in Berlin showcases the state’s new approach to mental health care.
Vermont's auditor wants the state to develop a database that will allow consumers to compare prices charged by hospitals and doctors. Over the last seven years, a program known as the Vermont Health Care Uniform Reporting and Evaluation System has compiled a database of virtually all health care claims made in the state.
The database is a digital catalog of all fees and services that insurance companies, as well as Medicaid and Medicare, have paid out for Vermont residents.