Legislative Update 2.27.23


Devon Green, VP of Government Relations
As we head into town meeting week next week, the countdown to crossover has begun. Things are starting to move fast!
Regulatory Flexibilities: The House Health Care Committee voted out a bill that would extend certain COVID regulatory flexibilities, including health care provider licensure for an out-of-state provider in good standing at a facility when a provisional license is not available. The legislation includes a new section that requires this type of “deemed” licensure to be considered a Vermont license to address concerns that some health insurers are not accepting this form of licensure.
Budget Adjustment Act: The FY 23 Budget Adjustment Act will go to a conference committee to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions. The differences that impact hospitals include:
  • The House version includes $9.25 million for and inpatient adolescent psych unit. The Senate eliminated this provision.
  • The Senate version has greater flexibility for pipeline funding. The House version requires health care facilities to provide assistance with living costs.
Mental Health: There was a lot happening with mental health this week.
  • The Department of Mental Health presented their FY 2024 budget initiatives to the House Health Care Committee:
  • ED Alternatives: $1.6 million for an urgent mental health crisis center run by Northeast Kingdom Human Services for individuals in mental health crisis. The Northeast Kingdom currently has very few mental health resources.
  • Mobile Crisis Expansion: Proposal to use $422,812 to continue to expand the mobile crisis program.
  • Peer Credentialing: $375,000 to establish screening, training, and credentialing for peers with an estimated 60 individuals trained in the first year.
  • Forensic Facility Legislation: The Department of Mental Health presented on S.89 and its proposal for 9 forensic beds as residential outpatient care for those involved in the criminal justice system and for those who have a considerable amount of risk for violence. The plan is to use 9 existing beds in the Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital for this population.