This media release was published in VTDigger on February 13, 2023.

Colchester, Vt., – OneCare Vermont announced today that they will be granting six new waivers to their health care provider partners to alleviate Vermont’s strained hospital system and improve healthcare for Vermonters in 2023.

As an accountable care organization, under the All-Payer Model, OneCare has the unique ability to petition the federal government to waive certain rules and regulations that stand in the way of improved health care for Vermonters. These waivers give OneCare’s provider partners flexibility and freedom from federal rules within the highly regulated health care system to work together and get people the care they need at the right time and the right place.

The waivers create more freedom for providers by allowing them to bypass Federal regulations and more quickly discharge patients from hospitals to better access to skilled nursing facilities, hospice and the Brattleboro Retreat and provide in home support for patients.

“Issuing these waivers to our providers will help improve the quality of healthcare for Vermonters around the state,” said Vicki Loner, CEO of OneCare Vermont. “Rather than being stuck in hospital beds due to bureaucratic red tape, Vermonters will be able to receive care in more appropriate settings. Just last week it was reported that systemwide, inpatient medical surgical beds in local hospitals are at 97% capacity, with UVM and Dartmouth Hitchcock medical centers both entirely full. These waivers will help relieve the strain on these hospital beds.”

OneCare’s waivers allow providers to better work together to support patient needs and allow hospitals to more easily discharge patients to home or to the next best care setting to meet their needs. Vermont’s healthcare system remains under intense strain which includes Emergency Department overcrowding, part of which is a result of lack of resources for transportation to a referred treatment provider. One of the waivers OneCare is issuing provides patient transport from emergency departments to treatment at the Brattleboro Retreat at no cost to the patient. This, along with the other waivers, will help improve the quality of care for Vermonters while keeping critically needed hospital beds open for patients who need higher levels of care.

OneCare’s providers will also be able to use these waivers to provide for medical nutrition counseling and genomic counseling for their patients. The waivers will allow providers to better support higher quality care at home by enabling them to provide healthy food for chronic conditions, in-home infusion drugs, and personal care needs – all of which are restricted under federal rules and regulations.

“We know that in many instances patients would prefer to be treated at home,” said Carrie Wulfman, MD. “By issuing these waivers, OneCare Vermont is giving doctors like myself the flexibility and freedom we need to ensure our patients are getting the highest quality care they need in the best place for them, which is often their home.”

OneCare Vermont joins together over 5,000 healthcare providers throughout the state of Vermont to improve the quality of care and ultimately, lower costs. These waivers will be available to OneCare’s provider partners throughout 2023.