by VAHHS President Jeff Tieman There are few places in the U.S. today where partisanship isn’t front and center, too often clouding common sense and derailing progress on critical issues. Given the state of affairs in Washington and the stress of our third year managing a pandemic, it was hopeful last week to see some unity and common purpose in our corner of the country.
Our independent Senator Bernie Sanders, Republican Governor Phil Scott and State Senate President, Democrat Becca Balint, joined forces on the steps of the State House to highlight the critical importance of bolstering our health care workforce. That is no small thing. We should be proud they came together, not just because this issue is among the most acute and complex to tackle, but because they came together at all.
In that same spirit of collaboration, last week the VAHHS team interfaced directly with our entire congressional delegation and top state officials on the serious health care challenges facing our state. In both cases—the federal and state leaders—we have serious and thoughtful partners working in unison to ensure Vermont’s response continues to be effective.
It can be easy to take this for granted because working together is more familiar in Vermont than it is foreign. I hope that sense of possibility and collaboration is a feature of the legislative session that just began. Even with a foundation of collaborating more than confronting, the weeks ahead will require hard work, debate and compromise to develop sound public policy at a crucial time. Our health care work force is depending on us to get it right.
That is why the commitment last week to grow and retain our health care workforce was such a unifying and important step. It was welcome news for health care team members who have endured so much over the past 21 months and continue to show up and take care of us through everything COVID has thrown at them.
As lawmakers discuss the workforce proposals and policies, VAHHS will be there every step of the way to advocate for patients, health care providers, hospitals and our system of care. Have a safe, careful and healthy week!