Louis Meyers, M.D.

Louis Meyers for State Senate

Policy Statements on Healthcare

As a physician and a candidate for the state senate in Chittenden County I have deep concerns about the Medicare All-Payer plan. While I support moving away from fee-for-service and toward capitation, the All-Payer statewide Accountable Care Organization (ACO) will put a great deal of decision-making power within the nexus of the University of Vermont medical system.

The move toward “standardization” of care will further lead to an erosion of decision-making between patients and their medical care providers. We have seen this play out in the No Child Left Behind process in which teachers were rewarded or punished primarily for their students' scores on standardized testing. The result was that many teachers gave up their creativity and joy of teaching in order to “teach to the test.” The subsequent burn-out drove many good teachers from the profession.

We can do better, but to do so we must remember that each patient is a unique individual and that the trust between patients and their care providers is a very important part of the healing process.

I met with Dr. John Brumsted, the CEO of the University of Vermont Medical Center. We had a wide-ranging discussion of healthcare issues. UVM Medical is the biggest employer in the state and has a big stake in these issues. I came away from that meeting more convinced than ever that we need an experienced physician in the state senate who is actively involved in medicine and can bring real-life experience to debates on healthcare.

My mission is to fight for the rights of patients, and to preserve what works well while exploring how we can make sensible improvements. I hope you will help me reach the senate and join me in this cause.

I met with Dr. Gordon Frankle. Dr. Frankle is a psychiatrist at Rutland Regional Medical Center and is very involved with the treatment of opiate, alcohol, and general mental health issues in the community and the state.

There is no question that we have a terrible problem regarding opiate abuse and addiction in our state, one which we share with many other states around the country, whether they be rural or more urban. Governor Shumlin took a bold and courageous stand in making this a focus of his administration over the past two years. We are making progress, with increased numbers of medical clinicians trained and licensed to provide suboxone or methadone, and increased numbers of rehab slots. Our police departments are becoming increasingly effective at interdicting the supply of street drugs, nearly all of which comes from out of state. And the proposed establishment of drug courts may be helpful in diverting users out of costly incarceration and into more effective drug therapy programs. We do need more of these programs, especially in the Burlington area, where waiting periods for therapy can be many months. There are people addicted to opiates who will die while waiting for treatment and that is unacceptable.

Alcohol treatment in some ways is even more difficult than the treatment of opiate addiction, in part because there is currently no effective medication to treat the disease. However, in-patient rehab capacity has increased and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) remains the most reliable treatment modality and is free and available to all who need it.

The treatment of other mental health disorders continues to be somewhat dysfunctional. We have increased in-patient capacity- which is good - but community services remain underfunded and coordination of care is lacking.

Overall, drug/alcohol and other mental health disorders not only take a terrible toll on individuals and families, but are also contributing a very significant amount to the ballooning cost of medicaid in our state. Our efforts to reduce medicaid spending must address effective and cost-efficient prevention and treatment.

As a former social worker/probation officer and as a physician for over twenty years, if elected as a State Senator I pledge to work with our next governor and the legislature in continuing to make progress in this area.

I am fully in support of Planned Parenthood and the work they do in keeping women healthy. Their staff provides supportive care and advice to women in need. They are often able to diagnose and treat infections before they become life-threatening. And they offer contraceptive counseling which helps reduce both accidental pregnancies and abortions. They provide an important service to the community.

Other Policy Statements

Save Vermonters Money

Criminal Justice

Economy

Healthcare

Public Safety

Transportation

Education

Military

Social Services

General

Environment