Message From The CEO
We cannot let our guard down.

Right now, Vermont has a low infection rate and less than a handful of people hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide. Our ICU capacity is not stressed and community transmission is not substantial. This great news is the result of our collective hard work. But we cannot let up on our commitment to known and effective prevention strategies. We know this because in Houston and other parts of the country, infection rates are climbing dramatically and hospitalizations are growing exponentially.

Compared with other states, including our neighbors, we continue to be fortunate on COVID-19 rates. That is not by accident. Vermont’s success containing the virus is the direct result of smart policy and a shared understanding of how to keep each other safe.

Early on, Vermonters adopted social distancing measures. We listened to the public health guidance on washing hands, touching faces and cleaning surfaces. And we wore masks to minimize the chances of spreading infection.

Our state leaders took the right steps, too. We closed non-essential businesses and schools, and we suspended non-urgent medical procedures when we feared a surge would overwhelm our health care system. And we have approached re-opening the state carefully. All of this has saved lives and prevented illness. Without a doubt.

Legislative Update
by Devon Green
Vice President of Government Relations

Everything about the legislature has changed, but one thing remains the same—just when it seemed impossible for all the necessary bills to pass before “leaving town,” it all came together, including a $275 million package for Vermont’s health care providers and an extension on COVID-19 regulatory flexibilities. The legislature has adjourned for now, but they will be back in August to pass the remaining three quarters of the FY 2021 budget and examine and adjust the disbursement of Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF).  

Last Week

Health Care Provider Stabilization Program:  The Vermont Legislature unanimously passed  H.965 , which would create a $275 million Health Care Provider Stabilization Program. Once the measure is signed into law by the governor, the Agency of Human Services would administer the program through a needs-based application process. Health care providers can request funding for COVID-19-related costs and lost revenue. The legislature directs AHS to consider grant applications based on:
  • Impact on applicant’s sustainability
  • Degree to which CRF grant would go toward services that would otherwise become limited or unavailable and/or would enable applicant to stay in business
  • Degree to which applicant maintains participation in value-based payment arrangements, if applicable
  • Degree to which applicant can make appropriate and efficient use of CRF funds
  • Financial assistance received from other sources

In the News
Basic Health Precautions Remain Key Deterrent To Viral Spread.

The upcoming 4th of July led to a holiday theme at the Governor Phil Scott's press conference Wednesday, and a familiar message -- COVID-19 spreads easily and it's imperative to continue with efforts to social-distance, use masks, and wash hands.

"In education terms, we call this planned redundancy to reinforce the concept," said Vt. Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine.

Health officials remain concerned about the potential for over-sized celebrating crowds. Vt. Commerce Secretary Lindsay Kurrle applauded how towns are getting creative to keep Independence Day festivities going safely with drive-in fireworks, longer parades, and take out foods instead of concerts and cookouts. Officials are putting up a list of planned events to give other towns some ideas on the state's website.
Health Care Leaders: LGBTQ Discrimination Has No Place In Vermont.
Vt DIgger

As leaders in Vermont’s health care system, we are committed to providing care and services without discrimination, regardless of who you are and who you love. Vermont’s hospitals, providers, health care professionals, and insurers will not change our practices based on new federal guidance that attempts to strip protections from lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people.

Every LGBTQ Vermonter must be able to access health care without fear of discrimination. Vermont law protects LGBTQ people from discrimination in health care today, and Vermont’s health care community stands united against this discrimination.

Along with our continued commitment to provide care and services without discrimination, we recommit to improving the ways we serve the LGBTQ community.
As ATV Injuries Climb Threefold So Far This Year, Vermonters Are Advised to Follow Safety Precautions While Riding.
VT Digger

The University of Vermont Medical Center Emergency Department has seen the number of people treated for ATV injuries significantly increase this year through May – and is urging Vermonters to take safety precautions.

The total number of people treated for ATV injuries through May 31 is 17 – up from six in 2019 and four in 2018. The number of pediatric cases has jumped to five – up from average of less than one for the last two years. Additionally, alcohol appears to be a factor in about half of the adult cases. For this time period, helmet usage was low among those admitted to the trauma service for ATV related injuries: 25 percent in 2018, 33 percent in 2019 and 29 percent in 2020.

“The rise in ATV injuries this year is alarming. We are concerned that the numbers will continue to increase this summer unless our communities become aware of the issue and practice safe ridership,” said Abby Beerman, an injury prevention coordinator at UVM Medical Center.
Vermont Health Official And Winooski Mayor On Children and COVID-19.

Kids are not immune to COVID-19, as we've seen in the recent outbreak centered in Winooski, where nearly half of the positive tests are in children. This hour: we'll spend some time looking at coronavirus and children with Dr. Breena Holmes, the director of maternal and child health for Vermont's Health Department. And Winooski's mayor Kristine Lott joins us as well.
Vermont Officials Warn Against Reliance on Antibody Test Results.
Valley News

Charles Keating thought he might have had COVID-19 in March. His mother-in-law tested positive for the virus around that time, and soon afterward, he lost his sense of taste and smell.

In early June, the 34-year-old Bolton, Vt., resident got confirmation that his hunch was right. Keating, his wife, Samantha, and both his in-laws all tested positive for Covid antibodies. He had his blood drawn at ClearChoiceMD Urgent Care in South Burlington, and the test result, which arrived the next morning, showed that he had the antibodies that fight coronavirus.
People in the News