Morning Newscast: October 3, 2008

Here are the top stories at 7:30 a.m.: The Douglas Administration may have to fill a seven million dollar hole in the budget next year because the federal government says it will not pay for patient care at the Vermont State Hospital; Consumer advocate and presidential candidate Ralph Nader is visiting Vermont and New Hampshire…

Health care groups want doctor loophole closed

Two groups involved with mental health care want to know which Vermont doctors got thousands of dollars last year in gifts from drug companies. The companies can withhold some of the names under a law that protects trade secrets. The groups say that loophole should be closed. VPR’s John Dillon reports.

Mental health group wants doctors, hospitals to reject gifts from drug industry

A leading mental health advocacy group is calling on doctors and hospitals to reject gifts from the pharmaceutical industry. The Vermont Association for Mental Health says the payments to doctors create a conflict of interest that could compromise patient care. But medical professionals say they are already taking steps to limit the influence of drug companies. VPR’s John Dillon reports.

House approves mental health parity law

The House has approved legislation that supporters say strengthens Vermont’s mental health parity law. The state’s original parity law passed ten years ago. It requires health insurance companies to provide comparable coverage for physical and mental health conditions.