Hospital has Oct. deadline for fixes
BRATTLEBORO — The Brattleboro Retreat psychiatric hospital has until Oct. 30 to implement changes in its handling of violent or aggressive patient behavior or risk losing federal funding.
The Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements account for more than half of its revenues.
The hospital has provided the largest share of acute psychiatric care capacity to fill the gap created by the forced closure of the 54-bed Vermont State Hospital in Waterbury after flooding from Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 inundated the state office complex.
The Brattleboro Retreat had been working on corrections, but inspectors investigated a new complaint in July about a patient that revealed more problems. A patient had behaved aggressively for several days, frightening other patients and repeatedly striking a mental health worker.
Document said when the patient resisted emergency medication, Brattleboro police were called in to help and the patient ended up being tasered.
The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services said the hospital violated the patient’s rights by handing over authority to police when the patient was under the hospital’s protection.
Senior Vice President Peter Albert said the hospital has adjusted its policies and created proper training and supervision of staff.
UVM gets grant to study tobacco
BURLINGTON — The University of Vermont is the recipient of a $19.5 million, five-year federal grant to bring science-based regulation to the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of tobacco.
UVM officials said Thursday the school is one of 14 tobacco centers of regulatory science, which are receiving a total of up to $53 million for tobacco-related research in fiscal 2013.
The money is coming from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health.
The tobacco centers are designed to generate research to inform the regulation of tobacco products and protect public health.
UVM psychiatry professor Stephen Higgins said the school has a long history and extensive expertise in the field of changing unhealthy behaviors like smoking.
Gov.: No worries over health glitch
MONTPELIER — Gov. Peter Shumlin said he’s not worried about a glitch that’s popped up in connection with the Vermont Health Connect insurance exchange.
The exchange will not be able to accept electronic payments until a month after its scheduled Oct. 1 startup.
Shumlin said people can begin shopping for health insurance as planned Oct. 1 through the exchange. But he noted the coverage won’t actually start until Jan. 1, and he said it’s unlikely anyone will want to pay for it before it starts.
Administration officials had been saying for months it would be all systems go on the exchange by Oct. 1.
— The Associated Press
Electric co-op members get payout
MONTPELIER — The Vermont Electric Cooperative is returning $850,000 to members, the first time it’s made such a distribution in its 75-year history.
In previous years, the co-op has reinvested earnings in upgrades to its electrical system and used capital to secure power supply contracts.
The co-op said it recently adopted new policies that enable “patronage capital” distributions. That’s based on the principle that the economic benefits of a cooperative’s operation should be returned to its members or reinvested in the co-op.
The distributions apply to members during 1997 and 2012. Active members in good account standing and with patronage capital balances from these years can expect to receive a credit on their bills between now and mid-October.
— The Associated Press