Improving Affordability of and Access to Quality Healthcare
- Launched a pilot project with OneCare Vermont, where doctors are compensated based on the quality of care rather than the quantity of services. This new model of health care is designed to focus on prevention and quality, which will also moderate costs of the system.
- Developed strategies to ensure the functionality of Vermont Health Connect, and it is now properly serving Vermonters. The Administration continues to evaluate a path forward to provide continuous quality service in the most cost-effective manner
- With improvement in the economy, the State is seeing a decline in human services caseloads as people transition up the economic ladder.
Strengthening the Mental Health System
- Piloting a Street Outreach and Crisis Response initiative, which places outreach workers on the streets to support individuals in need, the moment they’re in need. This initiative serves to connect individuals with appropriate services, get them the right level of care in a timely manner and reduce the need for emergency room visits.
- Secured funding for a permanent therapeutic community residence to replace the temporary facility in Middlesex, which will also expand capacity.
- Proposed and secured investments in our mental health system and worked with the Legislature to develop a plan to increase bed capacity at one of our designated hospitals, the Brattleboro Retreat.
- The $5.5 million in funding will increase our state’s capacity of level-1 beds by creating an additional 12 beds at the Retreat. The FY20 budget provides $1.5 million more to fund additional beds.
- By increasing out statewide capacity, we are making investments that will help us be more flexible in where patients are located, support those needing care, and reduce emergency department use.
Maintaining the Safest Schools & Communities
Vermont is currently one of the healthiest and safest states in America. We also have some of the best and safest schools in the country. Yet, as events in 2018 made clear, Vermont is not immune to the risk of extreme violence in our schools or communities.
- In February of 2018, the Governor issued a memo to lawmakers recommending a range of next steps to help make our communities healthier and our children safer.
- Worked with lawmakers to pass commonsense gun safety reforms aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them.
- Proposed and secured $5 million in funding for school security grants, which will help schools improve safety and security infrastructure. Secured an additional $1.5 million in FY20 for school safety grants for schools who weren’t able to receive grants in the original round of funding.
- Launched a statewide comprehensive security assessment of all Vermont schools, to help schools further strengthen their safety and security procedures, best practices and infrastructure.
- Created, by Executive Order, a Violence Prevention Task Force.
- Advocated for and signed into law Act 135 of 2018, a domestic terrorism law to criminalize the behavior of those who would plot a crime designed to maximize casualties, like a school shooting – closing a gap in our laws to ensure law enforcement can prevent a tragedy like this before it happens.
Ensuring clean, safe drinking water for Vermonters
- Implemented water source testing at all of Vermont’s schools and child care facilities for lead, and signed S.40 to appropriate $3 million to cover the cost of testing and assist with remediation expenses.
- Addressing PFOA Contamination in Bennington County
- The Governor signed into law Act 55 of 2017, legislation introduced by Bennington County Senators Dick Sears and Brian Campion, which allows the Agency of Natural Resources to initiate a proceeding to determine liability for PFOA contamination.
- In July of 2017, the Attorney General, with support from the Agency of Natural Resources, secured a settlement with Saint-Gobain, which includes funding for water line extension for approximately 200 homes in Bennington and North Bennington, as well as an expedited investigation for the remainder of the impacted area. In April of 2019, the state achieved a final agreement with Saint-Gobain, which includes ensuring safe drinking water to 245 homes on the east side of Bennington via municipal water service.
- Dedicated $2.5 million to finish waterline extensions to the remaining homes impacted by PFOA contamination in Bennington in the FY20 budget.
- Signed into law S.49, which further regulates PFAS chemicals through additional testing and water standards, in response to the PFOA crisis in Bennington County.
- In July 2018, based on the latest available science, the Vermont Department of Health updated its per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) health advisory for drinking water to cover 5 PFAS compounds.
Encouraging Strong, Independent Families
- Introduced and enacted legislation that made strategic changes to the Vermont Reach Up program to move parents towards sustainable employment and self-sufficiency.
- Proposed and signed legislation establishing a prudent parent standard for foster parents, aimed at allowing children in foster care to have the same opportunities to participate in activities similar to their peers, including social activities such as sports and field trips.
Protecting Elderly Vermonters
- Proposed and passed Act 80 of 2017, which increases penalties for those who commit financial crimes against vulnerable Vermonters. This legislation complements the recently enacted regulation designed to give the Department of Financial Regulation new tools to help detect and prevent elder financial abuse.
- Worked with the Legislature to introduce and pass legislation establishing the Older Vermonters Act Working Group. The Working Group is focused on creating a Vermont-specific version of the Older Americans Act, which will articulate the system of care dedicated to older Vermonters and support the larger body of critical work required by the Federal Older Americans Act and the Vermont State Plan on Aging.