Health Care

VPR's coverage of changes to Vermont's Health Care laws and systems. Follow Bob Kinzel on Twitter. Read the Vermont Health Care Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

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VPR News
5:42 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Legislative Memo Outlines Single-Payer Alternative

It’s only three and a half pages long. And it’s much more of a conceptual outline than a fully formed plan. But a March 24 memo, authored by a policy analyst hired by the Legislature earlier this year, shows that at least some lawmakers are already considering alternatives to the single-payer proposal Gov. Peter Shumlin will drop on their desks next year.

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VPR News
5:00 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Veterans Face A Little Less Paperwork This Tax Year

A health card entitles a veteran to services at the VA Hospital.
VA

For millions of American taxpayers, the federal tax return due on April 15 serves more than one purpose. In addition to tallying up what they owe - or are owed - IRS income data determine who qualifies for benefits of all kinds. This year, for the first time, the Veterans Administration will use federal tax returns as a means test, to decide whether a veteran is eligible for subsidized health care.

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VPR News
5:00 am
Fri April 11, 2014

State And Feds Likely To Audit Vermont Health Connect

State Auditor Doug Hoffer says it’s possible that his office and the federal government will work together to review the troubled roll-out of Vermont Health Connect, the state's health insurance exchange. 

The price tag for getting Vermont Health Connect up and running exceeds $180 million and most of the money has come to the state in the form of federal grants.

A new independent report concludes that the exchange encountered serious technical problems for several key reasons.

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VPR News
5:31 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

House, Senate Ponder Single-Payer Details

Less than three years from now, Vermont is scheduled to make the transition to a single-payer health care system. And while the all-important question of how to pay for it has been put off until 2015, lawmakers say it’s time to start making some tough decisions about what that future system will look like.

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VPR News
3:52 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Shumlin Adds Upper Management In Health Care Reform Efforts

Lawrence Miller, right, and Patricia Moulton at a news conference on Thursday.
VPR/Steve Zind

Gov. Peter Shumlin added a high-level slot in his administration today when he made former Commerce Secretary Lawrence Miller the new “senior advisor to the governor and Chief of Health Care Reform.”

Miller will report directly to Shumlin, officials said at a news conference Thursday, and serve as the governor’s point person on health care reform issues. Previously, Robin Lunge, who serves as director of health care reform, was the top administration official working exclusively on health care reform issues.

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Health Care
9:49 am
Fri April 4, 2014

State, CGI Agree To New Schedule

State officials and the contractor for the Vermont Health Connect website have agreed on a new schedule for launching missing functions that includes additional financial penalties for missed deadlines.

Under the amended contract signed Tuesday, tech giant CGI must deliver "change of circumstance" functionality by May 21. By July 2, small business functionality must work. Failure to deliver by those dates will result in penalties in addition to the $5 million in "liquidated damages" the state has already claimed for CGI's incomplete work.

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Vermont Edition
12:00 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Lessons Learned From Health Connect Failures

Lawrence Miller, Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, and Mark Larson, commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access.
Taylor Dobbs VPR

The problems that plagued the rollout of Vermont Health Connect were both self-inflicted, and beyond the state’s control. That’s the assessment in an independent report that was presented last week.

We'll talk to Lawrence Miller, Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, who was assigned to get the online health care exchange back on track.

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VPR News
5:30 am
Mon March 31, 2014

After Mass. Hospital Closure, SVMC Gears Up For Influx Of Patients

With the closure of North Adams Regional Hospital in Massachusetts, some patients may come to Vermont for care at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington.

Now, the hospital is gearing up for a potential influx of new patients.

Though it’s across the state line, SVMC is now the closest hospital to North Adams and Williamstown, Massachusetts. And with the abrupt closure of the North Adams hospital last week, many patients are wondering where to turn.

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VPR News
5:44 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Report Identifies Reasons For Health Exchange Problems

An independent review of the troubled roll out of the state's health care exchange concludes that a combination of factors is responsible for many of the problems at Vermont Health Connect.

The report says the federal government, the Shumlin Administration and the major contractor of the project all contributed to the situation.

Gov. Peter Shumlin called for the independent review after the state’s health care exchange encountered numerous technical problems last fall. The report was done by the firm Berry, Dunn, MacNeil and Parker of Portland, Maine.

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VPR News
5:38 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Shumlin: 'Don't Quit' On Single Payer Before Work Begins

Gov. Peter Shumlin is fiercely defending his plan to implement a single payer health care system after Senate President John Campbell expressed concerns about the plan.

A number of Democrats are reluctant to commit to a single payer plan before there’s a comprehensive review of the $2 billion financing system that will be needed to pay for it. Some Democratic lawmakers worry that moving to a single payer health care system in several years could be a political liability. They also want to know the details of the benefit package that will be part of a single payer program.

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