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).

Pages

VPR News
5:51 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

In Fight For Soda Tax, Stakes Getting Bigger

Anthony Iarrapino, who will lead the lobbying push for a 2-cent per-ounce excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, sits behind a display showing how much sugar some common drinks contain.
VPR/Peter Hirschfeld

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.”

Read more
VPR News
6:29 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Obamacare Architect To Help Vermont Design Single Payer

In this May 12, 2009, file photo Jonathan Gruber, professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, participates in a Capitol Hill hearing on the overhaul of the heath care system in Washington.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

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.

Read more
The Frequency
12:50 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

New Report Applauds Vermont's Policies Guiding Pain Medication

A new report that ranks states' policies that govern the way doctors prescribe pain medications gives Vermont an "A". "Higher grades mean more balanced state policies influencing pain management, including with the medical use of opioid analgesics."
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

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.

Read more
VPR News
6:02 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

State Seeking Tech Firm For Medicaid Overhaul

State data centers director Joe Ng walks through a South Burlington data center on Thursday. The Agency of Human Services is looking to upgrade its entire computer system to deliver better services.
VPR/Angela Evancie

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.

Read more
The Frequency
12:43 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Vermont Hospital Budgets Come In Below Targets

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.

Read more
VPR News
5:42 am
Thu July 3, 2014

State Health Officials Prepare For Possible Measles Outbreak

A public health nurse gives an MMR vaccine in Ohio. That state's current outbreak of measles consists of more than 360 cases and is the biggest in the U.S. since 1994. Vermont's largest measles outbreak was in 1993.
Tom E. Puskar Associated Press

The Vermont Health Department is telling health care providers to be on the lookout for measles because it’s been reported in 18 states this year.

In the past decade, there has been only one reported case of measles in Vermont, and the last outbreak was in 1993 when there were 31 documented cases.

Patsy Kelso is the state epidemiologist at the Vermont Health Department.

Read more
Health Care
5:37 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Legislature To Conduct Independent Analysis of Health Care Costs

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.

Read more
Vermont Edition
12:00 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

What Does A Knee Replacement Cost? A Database Could Tell You

vschlichting Thinkstock

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.

Read more
VPR News
5:51 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

After Long Wait, Mental Health Hospital Ready For First Patients

Visitors tour a spacious open air courtyard at the new, $29 million Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital.
Peter Hirschfeld VPR

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.

Read more
VPR News
5:00 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Health Data Has Potential To Help Consumers Compare Prices

Vermont's auditor wants the state to develop a comprehensive database that would allow consumers to check out specific price information for all health care procedures throughout the state.
violetkaipa Thinkstock

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. 

Read more

Pages