Changes to the Department of Health Access (H.206)

The House Health Care Committee took up H.206, which is entitled “An act relating to miscellaneous changes affecting the duties of the Department of Vermont Health Access,” on Thursday. Stephanie Winters of the Vermont Medical Society (VMS) shared the perspective of the VMS on Section 3 of the bill pertaining to the Vermont Prescription System (VPMS) and the use of the data in this important registry. She reiterated that “VMS was involved in the design of VPMS at its inception and has always been our position that the focus should be clinical improvement and coordination and not enforcement purposes.”

Winters further stated that VPMS is an important tool for clinicians to use improving clinical care and safety, and that it contains extremely sensitive health care data including patient and clinician’s prescription history. Because of this, any access beyond prescribers and patients  is, and should be, very limited. The VMS has concerns about a new addition of Pharmacy Director and two designees being added to the bill. Presumably because these persons would have access to the data in the VPMS and it was unclear what they would use it for.

The requested changes were reviewed by the Committee, which eventually decided to agree to those changes. The then voted on and passed the bill.

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