Notes from Montpelier
by Rep. Bill Frank
I was pleased that Speaker Smith appointed me to serve on the Human Services committee again. The committee has 7 members returning from last session and four freshman members. The first couple of weeks in all committees is a time for agency secretaries and department commissioners to meet the committees and talk about their priorities. With a new administration there are many new people to meet. This is also a time for committees to prioritize what the members want to accomplish for the session.
We received a report from the Health Department on a program we established my first term in the Legislature, the Vermont Prescription Monitoring System. I was especially interested in this report because I reported the bill to the full House and followed the creation of the data base of all prescriptions of controlled drugs dispensed by Vermont pharmacies. The database is for medical purposes to help doctors determine if patients are asking or receiving too many habit forming drugs. We heard from emergency room doctors that this tool has been invaluable in determining when people are asking for drugs other than to control their real pain. In 2½ years more than 2 million entries have been entered into the database. This is a real success story.
The Vermont Ethics Network presented the annual report of the Palliative Care and Pain Management Task Force. They recommend creating a standardize form for out-of-hospital Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) orders and DNR identification and expanding simultaneous eligibility for Choices for Care and Hospice Services. I introduced a bill for these recommendations. I continue to work to achieve access to palliative care and hospice services to children with life-threatening illnesses while they continue to receive curative care. I am hopeful I can report success for this before we adjourn in May.
Thursday evening, February 3rd from 6:30-8:00pm, Rep. Till and I will be at the Deborah Rawson Memorial Library to discuss these and any other items under consideration in the current session. Please join us for an informal discussion. We will be having this type of discussion about every 5 weeks alternating between Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
As always I like to hear from you, either by email: Bill@RepBillFrank.com, phone: 899-3136, mail: 19 Poker Hill Rd, Underhill, 05489 or February 3rd at the Library.