Annual Meeting Update
Our Virtual Annual Meeting, "Further Together" is this Thursday from
9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Continuing Education Credits
We're happy to announce that the Northern Vermont Area Health Education Center (AHEC), approved provider of continuing nursing education and accredited provider for continuing medical education for physicians, is awarding contact hours for completion of several sessions at our annual meeting:
  • Dr. Mercedes Avila's session on "Best Practice Models to Advance Health Equity in Health Care Organizations"
  • Lumunos's Doug Wysockey-Johnson's workshop on "Cultivating Resilience: The Power of Calling, Self Awareness and Collegiality" and
  • Bess O'Brien and Sarah Lowry's "Listen Up Project: A Report On What Drives Vermont Teens"

In addition, we have our keynote speaker, Aron Ralston, outdoorsman and mechanical engineer known for cutting off his own arm to survive a hiking accident. And we'll wrap with the premiere of a new documentary on COVID-19 in Vermont and a conversation between our CEO, Jeff Tieman, and Health Commissioner Mark Levine.
In the News
US panel backs COVID-19 booster

Dealing the White House a stinging setback, a government advisory panel overwhelmingly rejected a plan Friday to give Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots across the board, and instead endorsed the extra vaccine dose only for those who are 65 or older or run a high risk of severe disease.

The twin votes represented a heavy blow to the Biden administration’s sweeping effort, announced a month ago, to shore up nearly all Americans’ protection amid the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.

The nonbinding recommendation — from an influential committee of outside experts who advise the Food and Drug Administration — is not the last word. The FDA will consider the group’s advice and make its own decision, probably within days. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is set to weigh in next week.
3 states have fully vaccinated more than 2/3 of residents
Action News Now

New data shows 26 states have fully vaccinated more than half their residents, and those with the highest vaccination rates have among the lowest Covid-19 cases.

Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts have fully vaccinated at least two-thirds of their population, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Those three states also have among the lowest new Covid-19 cases per capita over the past week, CDC data shows.

"We actually have the lowest ICU available rate that we've had since the start of this crisis, in part due to the unvaccinated with Covid and just other types of trauma that goes up seasonally this time of year," Gov. Jared Polis, D-Colo., said Friday.

"Some hospitals are reaching very close to their capacity limits. And that wouldn't be happening if people were vaccinated."
Help wanted: Vermont facilities seek to staff mental health beds

More mental health beds are coming online to serve Vermonters in crisis, but staffing shortages could leave some of them empty.
Pandemic restrictions cut down on capacity at many facilities. Now, as many are opening back up, they have to contend with staffing shortages.

It’s no secret that pandemic-driven isolation, stress and anxiety are taking a toll on Vermonters’ mental heath. More are seeking acute care and some are having to wait sometimes days in the emergency room until they are admitted to a facility.

“This pandemic has really increased the mental health needs of many individuals,” said Samantha Sweet of the Vermont Department of Mental Health.

The Brattleboro Retreat is opening up six new beds so they can treat 75 patients by Oct. 1. The retreat declined an interview but issued a statement saying: “Ultimately we believe we can open more beds and be able to admit people waiting in emergency rooms more quickly. It is always best for patients and the healthcare system as a whole when we can initiate a person’s psychiatric care as soon as possible.”
Vermont hospital spending outpaces economic growth for 2nd year in a row

On the heels of approving a major increase in hospital budgets for fiscal year 2022, the chair of the Vermont’s health care regulatory board said executives should expect cutbacks in future budget cycles. 

The Green Mountain Care Board oversees health care costs and has set a cap for annual increases at 3.5%, in line with the state’s economic growth. In the past several budget cycles, the board has allowed Vermont’s 14 hospitals to exceed that figure due to pandemic-related pressures. 

That approach has run its course, said board chair Kevin Mullin. For the past two years the board has given hospitals leeway to get their finances back on track, “but this is not something that’s going to keep happening,” Mullin said. 
Hospitals in the News
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