Health Care

Nina Keck / VPR

Vermont's population is aging, and that demographic trend has put new pressure on Medicare spending. It's also highlighted the need to improve care for older Vermonters. A unique program that links health care and other services to affordable housing complexes in Vermont may be part of the solution.  

New research out of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center on babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) as a result of their mother's opiate use shows that a different method for neo-natal care can address infants' symptoms more effectively.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

When the new governor takes office in January, he or she will be given a new, independent analysis concerning the future of Vermont Health Connect, the state's health care web site.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

The Brattleboro Retreat has reclaimed a historic cemetery that was a burial place for patients who died while being treated at the psychiatric hospital.

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Hopes for single-payer health care in Vermont were sidelined at the end of 2014, but lawmakers haven’t given up on the concept of publicly-financed medical system. And a coming study could lay the groundwork for universal care for all Vermonters under the age of 27.

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The state’s two main health insurance providers are seeking a more than 8-percent increase in rates next year, and state officials say the requests underscore the need for comprehensive health care reform.

Vermont has made it easier for both women and men to get birth control services. For the first time, new legislation requires that vasectomies are added to insurance policies — with no co-pay for the patient. 

YakubovAlim / iStock

The Vermont House has advanced legislation that's designed to make dental care more accessible to low-income people throughout the state. The legislation creates a new category of professional within the state's dentistry system.

Last year, Canada's Supreme Court overturned the country's ban on doctor-assisted suicide. Advocates for a patient's right to choose to end their own lives with a physician's help applauded the ruling. But they have been waiting since then for the federal government to issue a new law that spells out the conditions for which seriously ill or dying Canadians can ask for a doctor's help to end their lives.

Nina Keck / VPR

Despite the introduction of electronic medical records, pharmacists say they are often out of the loop when it comes to knowing if their patients' medications have been changed. Partly that’s a technology glitch. But many pharmacists complain that despite their expertise they’re not considered providers so most hospitals don’t allow them access to patients' electronic records. 

But at Beauchamp and O’Rourke, a family owned pharmacy in Rutland, managing pharmacist Marty Irons wants to change that.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR file

Vermont Commissioner of Health Harry Chen is urging federal officials to alter medical guidelines that might be contributing to the state’s opiate abuse problem.

Nina Keck / VPR

Nearly 60 percent of Americans are taking prescription drugs – the highest percentage ever – and more than half of those 65 and older are taking five to nine medications. With all those pills in our medicine cabinets, it's no surprise that medication mix-ups are on the rise.

When I was a little girl living in Pennsylvania, my dentist, Dr. Miller, was a curmudgeon. If he happened to spot you in the local diner about to stick your fork into a piece of pie, he would whisk away the dessert plate and replace it with a piece of fruit.

Vermont Health Connect screen shot

According to a federal report, Vermont is one of three states that have experienced security problems with their health care exchanges. But the Shumlin Administration says these problems were fixed more than a year ago.

Vermont Health Connect screen shot

Federal investigators found significant cybersecurity weaknesses in the health insurance websites of California, Kentucky and Vermont that could enable hackers to get their hands on sensitive personal information on hundreds of thousands of people.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

The Vermont House has given strong tri-partisan support to a plan that calls for an independent review of Vermont Health Connect, the state's health care exchange.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

House leaders are calling for a comprehensive independent assessment of Vermont Health Connect, the state's health care exchange, to determine the best way to provide coverage to Vermonters in the future.

But the Shumlin administration says the study isn't needed.


Results from a new study run by researchers at the University of Vermont and Johns Hopkins University show big strides in the development of a vaccine for the dengue virus. To learn more about this study released March 16, VPR's Mitch Wertlieb and Kathleen Masterson spoke with the research team at UVM on Friday.  

Melody Bodette / VPR

The CEO of Porter Medical Center in Middlebury resigned Friday.

Lynn Boggs told staff in an email that she submitted her resignation to the board of directors, adding that it was a challenging time for the organization and she wished them well.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

A key House committee has given the go ahead to legislation that would raise taxes and fees on Vermonters by $48 million next year. Democratic leaders say they need the money to bring revenues in line with spending, but critics of the plan say they should have cut the budget instead.