Today the Essex delegation and our neighbors had a robust community conversation at The Nest with topics ranging from Brattleboro Retreat, the state’s bond rating, criminal justice reform, plastics and climate change - just to name a few of the interesting discussions. These conversations are offered in a friendly setting so residents can tell Legislators your wants and desires for yourself, the Essex community and the State. Our next event is planned for Saturday February 15th from 9:00 am to 10:30 am at Sweet Alchemy Bakery and Cafe. Come for the entirety or just a few minutes. Hope to see you there!
This past week in House Health Care we began our rural health discussion by hearing testimony from the Rural Health Services task force created with legislation last year. The task force was charged with creating an inventory of the current system of rural health delivery in Vermont, consider how to ensure sustainability, including financial, administrative and workforce barriers, identify ways to overcome these barriers to sustainability, identify ways to encourage and improve care coordination and consider the potential consequences of the failure of one or more rural hospitals in Vermont. We also had a group of primary care doctors testify on the challenges they face followed by attending a Green Mountain Care Board meeting of the same topic. One primary care practice has been recruiting for a doctor for 2 years, another for 6 years - with no luck. The committee will take a deep dive with the Rural Health Services Task Force into their recommendations including work force, telehealth, care coordination and revenue stability. The report and their presentation can be found here.
Continuing our discussions from previous legislative years OneCare, Vermont’s accountable care organization (ACO) and a key player in our healthcare reform, presented during a joint session with House Health Care and Senate Health & Welfare. An ACO is a legal entity, comprised and led by providers that take accountability for both quality and costs of care for a defined population. You may be attributed to Vermont’s ACO, OneCare, if your primary care doctor is a partner. Being attributed to OneCare does not affect your health insurance benefits. OneCare and our health care reform effort has frequented news articles and commentary recently, with not all the information provided being factual. The Green Mountain Care Board website hosts seven legislative one page summaries about Vermont’s health care reform efforts. Those summaries can be found here and the OneCare testimony can be found here (see both Jan 16th and 17th testimony.) I will also continue to use my legislative updates as a fact based communication mechanism for these efforts and to ensure the public that the legislative body is overseeing these efforts.
Some of the issues other House committees discussed this week:
Change the Story VT presented to the Women’s Caucus their new report that looks at how Vermont woman experience work and how our systems impact their financial well-being. Just a few of the eye-opening findings:
Finally, the Senate and House reached consensus on the Paid Family and Medical Leave Bill (H.107). This bill passed the Senate on Friday by a vote of 20-9-1. The House expects to take action this week.
I’m honored to serve Essex Junction in Montpelier but can’t do it effectively without hearing your hopes and dreams for our community and Vermont. Please reach out at any time – 802-373-0599 or Houghton.firstname.lastname@example.org or through my website's contact section.