• Vermont’s laws increase health care costs, say analysts

    • September 2017


    Vermont has the most restrictive laws in the country governing whether new health care facilities can start up and whether existing facilities can buy new equipment, according to researchers at George Mason University in Virginia.

    The laws are so restrictive that Vermonters are spending more on health care than they would spend without the laws, lowering Vermonters’ access to care, and lowering the quality of the care they do receive, the researchers say.

    George Mason University is known for publishing economic research that supports libertarian viewpoints. The university’s Mercatus Center, which performed the study, was founded and...


  • As large hospital systems buy up independent medical practices, the cost of health care rises

    • Other
    • September 2017


    On a sunny day this spring, obstetrician Dr. Sarah Azad walked into her exam room. Just weeks from her due date, Ruby Lin sat on the end of the exam table holding her belly. The two women greeted each other like old friends. 

    “Hi! You look great,” Lin told Azad.

    This is Lin’s second baby under Azad's care, and Azad will be with her from her first appointments through her delivery. This sort of long, personal relationship is not as common as it used to be, but it’s Azad’s favorite part of being a doctor. She runs the same kind of small obstetrics practice that her mother did.

    “From the time we were young, my mom's patients loved her. She was a part of their lives. That’s just always how I’ve seen medical care. So when I came out [of medical school] into practice, it’s something you really want,” Azad explained.

    But over the past decade, she’s watched as one doctor after another in her area has sold their practice and gone to work for one of the large hospital systems in town. Today, Azad runs one of the last remaining independent OB-GYN practices.... 


  • Regulators may tie pay parity to hospital budget process

    • August 2017


    Health care regulators say they want to use the ongoing hospital budget review process to narrow the reimbursement differences between independent doctors and hospital-employed doctors.

    Members of the Green Mountain Care Board made the comments at a meeting held Monday to discuss how to reduce the disparities, which independent doctors have been seeking to do for years.

    In 2015, commercial insurance companies reimbursed independent doctors about $100 for a typical primary care visit and paid academic medical centers $168 for that same service, according to data the Green Mountain Care Board’s staff presented at the meeting.

    The majority of independent practices are in Chittenden County, according to a trade organization, where many are either closing or selling to the state’s largest hospital, the University of Vermont Medical Center. The hospital enjoys higher reimbursements than independent doctors for many services.

    Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont, which covers 70 percent of the commercial insurance market, has said it has two separate ways of paying for services in Vermont: a community fee schedule, which applies to...



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    September 27, 2017 6:00 pm-8:00 pm


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