VMS members adopt resolutions, set policy priorities for 2018

The Vermont Medical Society adopted policy resolutions that address issues of importance to the state’s physicians, including the implementation of Vermont Department of Health opioid rules, revising its policy on end-of-life-care, reaffirming its opposition to the legalization of non-medical marijuana, and ensuring that at least one Green Mountain Care Board seat be occupied with a physician or other health care professional.  

VMS members approved the resolutions during the organization’s 204th annual meeting Nov. 4, in Woodstock, Vt.   

The resolutions will form the basis of the organization’s 2018 public policy efforts on behalf of its 2,000 physician members. The adopted resolutions were: 

Implementation of VDH Opioid Rules
VMS urges the Vermont Department of Health and Vermont Board of Medical Practice to: meet with a Society representative(s) on a regular basis to discuss implementation of the Rules; pursue alternatives to disciplinary action, such as educational outreach, for any prescriber attempting in good faith to comply with the Rules; and, to continue to use Vermont Prescription Monitoring Program data as a clinical tool and resist attempts to use the data for law enforcement purposes aimed at prescribers.  Full resolution

Vermont Medical Society Policy on End-of-life-Care
VMS revises and updates its Policy of Physician Assisted Suicide to recognize that that medical aid in dying, in the form of Vermont Act 39, is a legal option that could be made in the context of the physician-patient relationship. Recognizing that principled physicians disagree about the ethics of Act 39, VMS is committed to protecting its members' freedom to decide whether to participate in medical aid in dying according to their own values and beliefs.  Full resolution

Legalizing Non-Medical Marijuana in Vermont
VMS reaffirms its opposition to the legalization of non-medical marijuana and will work to educate youth to counter the climate that portrays marijuana as a benign drug and support education directed toward parents and adults on the negative health impact of marijuana on parenting ability, the developing fetus and the dangers of second hand smoke.  Additionally, VMS urges the Governor of the State of Vermont and Vermont General Assembly to oppose legalization of marijuana and to determine and meet appropriate benchmarks including, but not limited to: increasing the percentage of Vermont adolescents who perceive marijuana as harmful; increasing substance abuse treatment facilities; and, decreasing the utilization of emergency rooms for holding areas for psychiatric admissions.  Full resolution

Improving the Safety of the THC-Dominant Medical Marijuana System in Vermont
VMS reaffirms is policies “Medical Use of Marijuana” and “Cannabis Research” adopted in 2002 and recommends that Medical THC-9 dominant Marijuana should only be available for conditions if high quality scientific studies for safety, efficacy, and side effects demonstrate that Medical THC-11 dominant Marijuana is safe and effective for those conditions.  VMS recommends that the General Assembly amend the statute governing the Vermont Marijuana Registry to require that conditions can only be added to the Marijuana Registry program after the Marijuana Review Board 18 established under 18 VSA § 4473 reviews the evidence and makes a finding that high quality medical research demonstrates that marijuana is safe and effective for that condition.  Additionally, VMS recommends that the Marijuana Review Board establish a clinically appropriate THC dose limit and concentration limit for THC-containing products sold by dispensaries, taking into consideration the 10mg maximum dose established by the FDA for FDA-approved dronabinol (Marinol).  Full resolution

Ensuring a Health Professional Member of the Green Mountain Care Board
VMS urges the Governor of Vermont to ensure that at least one Green Mountain Care Board seat be occupied with a physician or other health care professional (registered nurse, nurse practitioner, or physician 8 assistant), and advocates for changing the authorizing statute to require that at least one seat of the Board be filled by a currently- or recently-practicing physician or health care professional.  Full resolution

Ensuring an Adequate and Effective Health Care Workforce to Meet the Increased Demand for Health Services for an Aging Population
VMS urges the Governor of Vermont, the Vermont General Assembly, and the Green Mountain Care Board to support a work group to develop a strategy to ensure the state’s health workforce is adequate to meet the heath care needs of the state’s aging population.  Additionally, VMS supports the creation of a warning system to assure the availability of an adequate and effective health care workforce supply in order to meet Vermont’s goal of providing access to high quality, affordable and accessible care for our population.  Full resolution

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