Vermont Business Magazine Three months after federal disaster declarations for COVID-19, New England States and Tribes are slowly emerging from an unprecedented public health crisis. In March, COVID-19 arrived with a devastating impact to the residents, businesses and the collective health of New England. Thousands were left suddenly unemployed, hospitals were overwhelmed with critically ill patients, and businesses were forced to close with little notice. As of June 24, over $150 million has been obligated for Mission Assignments in the region, including the National Guard. Connecticut received $30.9 million; Massachusetts received $62.8 million; Maine, $10 million; New Hampshire $17.1 million; Rhode Island $27.5 million; and Vermont $9.3 million.
Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Public Radio has won four national awards for its news coverage in 2019 from the Public Radio Journalists Association (formerly Public Radio News Directors Incorporated). The winning stories included an episode of VPR’s people-powered journalism project Brave Little State and This Land, VPR’s collaboration with Vermont PBS about the changing story of rural Vermont.
by Jeff Tieman, VAHHS President and CEO We cannot not let our guard down. Right now, Vermont has a low infection rate and less than a handful of people hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide. Our ICU capacity is not stressed and community transmission is not substantial. This great news is the result of our collective hard work. But we cannot let up on our commitment to known and effective prevention strategies.
by John McClaughry The pressure is on, in Washington and Montpelier, to take far-reaching (and long overdue) action to insofar as possible prevent future police-citizen interactions of the sort that led to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Last Wednesday in Washington, Senate Democrats mustered 45 votes to prevent even consideration of a reform bill. That produced the familiar partisan gridlock that will likely prevent any reform action until after the November election.
Vermont Business Magazine Forbes announced that One Credit Union has been named Best-In-State Credit Union for Vermont. Forbes partnered with market research firm Statista to produce its third annual look at the Best Credit Unions In Each State. Consumers were asked 20 questions about their financial dealings.
Vermont Business Magazine The Green Mountain Care Board has scheduled the FY21 hospital budget hearings to be held in August 2020. These meetings will be held remotely via Microsoft Teams and conference call-in number. The information on how to attend the hearings will be posted on the GMCB Website once the August schedule is posted. The first hearing is August 18 and run through August 28.
Vermont Business Magazine The US Supreme Court on Monday struck down a medically unnecessary Louisiana abortion restriction in a 5-4 decision in June Medical Services v. Russo. This means access to safe, legal abortion in Louisiana is protected for now, but attacks on our reproductive rights continue. The court ruled that Louisiana’s abortion restriction, which is identical to one it struck down four years ago in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, cannot stand under that precedent — it is unconstitutional to impose medically unnecessary laws that burden a person’s right to safe, legal abortion.
Vermont Business Magazine Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD, reminded Vermonters on Monday that some US states are hitting single-day records of COVID-19, with the result that their hospital resources are being stretched, and re-opening plans have come to a halt. It appears people in the states seeing an increase in cases have not followed health guidance strictly, particularly social distancing and wearing masks, said Dr Levine, calling it a lesson for Vermonters to keep up our prevention efforts. In Vermont, the VDH is reporting six new cases for a statewide total of 1,208. none of the new cases are related to the outbreaks in Winooski or Rutland or Windham counties. There are no new deaths.
Vermont Business Magazine As Vermonters spend more time in the water this Fourth of July weekend and throughout the summer, health officials want you to know what cyanobacteria blooms look like so you can avoid them. With the recent heat wave, many Vermont waters are warmer than usual for this time of year. Warm waters create ideal conditions for cyanobacteria (sometimes referred to as blue-green algae) to grow.
Vermont Business Magazine On Monday, the Vermont Community Foundation announced $380,500 in grants in the fourth round of grantmaking from the VT COVID-19 Response Fund. As Governor Phil Scott continues to “turn the spigot” to re-open the state’s economy, Foundation staff focused this round on expanding access to housing, medical care, support services, and other essential items people need to stay safe as social distancing relaxes.
Vermont Business Magazine Green Mountain Power (GMP) customers can now sign up for Save and Share, a pilot program that empowers customers to reduce energy use, saving them and all GMP customers money while also raising money for the Vermont Foodbank during this unprecedented time of increased need. Customers who enroll will get notifications about predicted energy peaks so they can reduce their own energy use during times when power is most expensive, and often dirtiest. This program will further add to savings generated for customers through the network of stored energy GMP already uses to manage energy peaks.
by Devon Green, VAHHS Vice President of Government Relations Everything about the legislature has changed, but one thing remains the same—just when it seemed impossible for all the necessary bills to pass before “leaving town,” it all came together, including a $275 million package for Vermont’s health care providers and an extension on COVID-19 regulatory flexibilities. The legislature has adjourned for now, but they will be back in August to pass the remaining three quarters of the FY 2021 budget and examine and adjust the disbursement of Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF).