In the News
Lawmaker plans to take aim at stem cell therapies
VT Digger

Vermont lawmakers will be asked in the coming year to consider regulating stem cell clinics like Vitality Healthcare in Williston and Regenexx in Winooski, which promote using stem cells to heal tissue. 

Sen. Ginny Lyons said she plans to introduce legislation that addresses how clinics inform patients of the risks and benefits of unproven treatments.

“The use of untested or unapproved clinical interventions is something I think we should all be concerned about,” said Lyons, D-Chittenden.

The Food and Drug Administration has issued warnings as recently as September about unapproved stem cell treatments, in which a patient’s own cells are extracted and then injected back into their body. 

Regenexx, a Colorado-based company that lists several physicians in clinics around the country, including Dr. Jonathan Fenton of Winooski, says that it uses “your body’s natural healing ability to repair damage to bones, muscles, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments non-surgically.”
Santa visits UVM Children's Hospital
My Champlain Valley

Watch as Santa and Mrs. Claus visit with the patients of UVM Children's Hospital!

Vermont's 'all-payer' model aims for patient accountability
WCAX

Democratic presidential hopefuls on the campaign trail have had a lot to say this fall about "Medicare for all," the single-payer health care plan championed by Bernie Sanders. But Vermont abandoned single-payer a few years ago and is now working toward an "all-payer" model which maintains the commercial insurance market and fundamentally changes how doctors and hospitals get paid, and how people receive care and interact with their doctors.

D.J. Redmond lives alone in Winooski. Over the years he's dealt with a laundry list of chronic medical conditions from Parkinson's disease to diabetes to arthritis.

"I had my gall bladder out in my late 20s, then they found out I was bipolar in the early 80s, and I also had post-traumatic stress syndrome. And they have thrown just about every medication in the book at me, and nothing stuck," Redmond said.

He's just one of many patients in Vermont who manages severe, chronic conditions that require frequent visits to the doctor. Vermonters with conditions like these utilize time and resources in the health care system, driving up costs for everyone.

SVMC earns 'A' rating for safety from Leapfrog
Vermont Business Magazine

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), earned an ‘A’ for hospital safety from the Leapfrog Group. The national distinction recognizes SVMC’s achievements protecting patients from harm and providing safer health care.

“This recognition is a reflection on the diligent professionals we have working in patients’ best interests every day,” said Thomas A. Dee, FACHE, SVHC’s president and CEO. “We are proud to share this news.”

The Leapfrog Group is an independent national watchdog organization driven by employers and other purchasers of health care. The organization is committed to improving health care quality and safety for consumers and purchasers. The Safety Grade assigns an ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’ or ‘F’ grade to all general hospitals across the country based on their performance in preventing medical errors, injuries, accidents, infections and other harms to patients in their care.

“‘A’ hospitals show us their leadership is protecting patients from preventable medical harm and error,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “It takes genuine commitment at every level—from clinicians to administrators to the board of directors—and we congratulate the teams who have worked so hard to earn this A.”

Green Mountain Care Board approves $1.42 billion OneCare budget
Vermont Business Magazine

Health care regulators approved a $1.42 billion budget for OneCare Vermont, a 59% increase over last year. The growth reflects the increase in size in the accountable care organization, which has been charged with enacting the state’s health care reform efforts. 

The five members of the Green Mountain Care Board voted unanimously in favor of the budget — which included 23 conditions — on Wednesday. They requested that OneCare create an online dashboard by next summer to increase transparency and allow the public to see health data results. 

OneCare Vermont has been charged with implementing the state’s all-payer health care system, which was launched in 2016. The company collects money from insurers and then funnels it to hospitals and providers, paying them a set amount for each patient rather than for each procedure. They provide data and analytics, coordinating care and finding new ways to keep people healthy. The effort aims to improve care and reduce costs by incentivizing doctors to keep patients healthy. 


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