September 19, 2005

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Space Still Available for Wednesday, Sept. 28 "Tech Talks" Program
The Maine Chapter of MGMA (Medical Group Management Association) and MMA team up on Sept. 28 to present a technology program designed for physicians and office staff interested in moving to electronic health records (EHR). The all-day program will be held at the Augusta Civic Center and will feature vendor presentations as well as lectures from several physicians and vendors who have successfully implemented an EHR system in Maine. Carol Male, CPC, MBA from Baker, Newman & Noyes will start the day off with a presentation on what to look for in a vendor.

In addition to Carol Male, presenters include Daniel Mingle, M.D., Daniel Friedland, M.D., Joel LaFleur, M.D., Roderick Prior, M.D., Michael Parker, M.D., Maureen Kenney of Bath Iron Works, Mike Duddy, Esq. and Lawrence Ramunno, M.D., M.P.H. from the Northeast HealthCare Quality Foundation.

Private payors as well as the federal and state governments are encouraging physicians to invest in technology.  Pay-for-Performance (P4P) initiatives and the ability to improve the quality of care through technology make it imperative for physicians to at least begin thinking about EHR systems.  This Sept. 28th program would be a great place to start.

Registrations are being handled by Kim Anderson at Maine Eye Center (774-8277), but MMA members may call the MMA office at 622-3374 to receive a brochure or more information.  The cost of registration is only $60 which includes lunch and all program materials.

The Coding Center: October ICD-9 and CPT Roundtable

The Coding Center with Jana Purrell, CPC

Fall Coding Roundtable



October 25, 2005

30 Association Drive, Manchester, ME



Learning the Language of ICD-9-CM



Objective:  To gain a working knowledge of diagnosis coding rules as they apply in the physician billing environment.


This workshop will introduce the new medical biller to the principles of ICD-9 coding for physician services.  After this session, the student will have:

  1. Understanding of the purpose of diagnosis coding using ICD-9.

  2.  Familiarity with layout of ICD-9 - Volumes 1 & 2 including Tables.

  3.  The ability to interpret the coding rules & guidelines.

  4.  Understanding of the importance of coding to highest specificity and sequencing.

  5.  An initial introduction to specific coding situations. (Burns, Late effects, Poisoning)

  6.  Knowledge of V and E codes.

Deciphering the Code of CPT



Objective:  Initial introduction to Current Procedural Terminology (CPT).


This workshop is geared to the new medical biller. We will explore the basic layout of the CPT book and discuss general coding principles as they relate to coding for services provided by physicians. After completing the session, the student will have:

  1. Understanding of what CPT means and why it is used.

  2. The ability to navigate the CPT book including Index, Sections, and Appendices.

  3. Understanding of CPT coding rules.

  4.  Introduction to modifiers. 

  5.  Basic knowledge of Evaluation and Management (E/M) services.

  6.  Brief overview of contents of each Subsection.

For registration information, please visit the Coding Center. [return to top]

September 20th: Take A Loved One for a Checkup Day
Take a Loved One for a Checkup Day is part of the national U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Closing the Health Gap campaign that focuses on the health gap between racial and ethnic minorities and the general population. This year, the Closing the Health Gap campaign is also working to spread the word about the new Medicare prescription drug benefit that will begin January 1, 2006. Medicare recipients can begin enrolling in Medicare prescription drug plans on November 15th.

Take a Loved One for a Checkup Day encourages individuals to see a health care professional on September 20, 2005, or make an appointment for the near future. Checkup Day promotes prevention, including regular health care visits and screenings. Many people wait until there is an emergency before they go for a checkup. By focusing our efforts on a single day, we believe we can help generate a greater understanding of the importance of regular health screenings while at the same time focus on those populations that tend to have the least access to health care. Prior to and after Take a Loved One for a Checkup Day, HHS regional offices and national, state, and local partners will plan health activities across the country. Health messages will be aired on radio stations across America discussing the health gap and offering specific tips on leading healthier life.

In previous years, the campaign was called Take A Loved One to the Doctor Day. This year, we have changed the name to Take a Loved One for a Checkup Day to emphasize the importance of preventive screenings and to acknowledge the full breath of health professionals involved in keeping communities healthy (doctors, nurses, dentists, physician's assistants, and other health providers). Since our name change is new, Checkup Day events this September will be held under a variety of names. We encourage partners across the country to customize the campaigns to reach their communities. Some organizations will continue to use Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day. Whatever the name, we all strive to meet the same goal.

Become a Partner Today

Becoming a partner is easy. You can sign up online at, download then fax the attached form, or call 1-800-444-6472. To find out about suggested Checkup day activities, visit [return to top]

Partners Telemedicine Fall Symposium: September 26-27, 2005

Partners HealthCare, the integrated health care system founded by Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, both leading teaching affiliates of Harvard Medical School, is holding a symposium at the Conference Center at Harvard Medical School on Avenue Louis Pasteur in Boston. This year's symposium is entitled, "The Accelerating Use of Communication Technology: Trends, Innovations, Critical Issues, and Value Statement" and will take place on September 26-27, 2005.   

The symposium will be of particular appeal and interest to influential business, technology, and health care professionals with most of the symposium sessions held in the format of keynote presentations followed by moderated interactive discussions.  These will highlight current and emerging  trends in electronic health care applications (e.g. Intensive Care Unit Telemedicine), embracing change, technology, transformational telehealth, venture capital, operational issues, and "C" level decision-making, all presented, discussed and debated in the context of business development and value for the connected health consumer.

The British Consulate will be a major symposium sponsor supporting the participation and involvement of UK government and industry leaders. They will share knowledge and experience of the UK national program for health care informational technology and assessment of clinical effectiveness.

A world class line up of speakers and panelists from academia, health sector, business and industry will provide two days of high quality programming and professional networking.  Selected speakers include:

  • Una S. Ryan, Ph.D., OBE,  CEO  AVANT Therapeutics and Chairperson, Massachusetts Biotechnology Council.
  • Dena Puskin, ScD, Director, US Dept of Human Services, Office for the Advancement of Telehealth
  • Dr. Karen Bell, Director of Quality Improvement Policy for Ambulatory and Chronic Care, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Professor Jeremy Wyatt, Associate Director of Research, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, UK
  • Professor Robert Istepanian, Director - Mobile Information and Network Technologies Research Centre, School of Computing and Information Systems, Kingston University, Kingston Upon Thames, London Kingston University, UK
  • Dr. Simon Wallace, Physician Executive, Cerner Corporation, UK
  • Dr. Michael Jellinek, Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Chief of Child Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital and President of Newton Wellesley Hospital
  • Ron Guerriero, Executive Director, Partners Research Accelerator Program, Partners HealthCare
  • Dr Jeremy Nobel,  Harvard School of Public Health
  • John P. Glaser, Senior VP & CIO, Partners HealthCare System
  • Dr. Joseph Kvedar, Director, Partners Telemedicine, 2004 President, American Telemedicine Association; Vice Chair, Dermatology, Harvard Medical School
The Partners symposium is a high profile, precedent-setting event and they anticipate a capacity crowd with healthcare professionals and executives from the United States and from international locations.
To obtain information on the program agenda, hotel accommodations and registration - please go to the Partners Telemedicine website at  and click on the symposium icon at the top of the page. If the link does not work - copy and paste into your web browser. You can also contact Kathleen Paige at  with questions.


Maine Telemedicine Services has negotiated a special discount registration rate of $300 for the 2 day symposium which includes breakfast, lunch on both days and an evening reception.  To obtain the discounted rate, register as a "General Registrant."  During the registration process, you will be asked to enter a promotional or discount code.  Please type in the word "MAINE."
[return to top]

Third Annual Maine Benzodiazepine Study Group International Conference October 11-12, Bangor
The Third Annual Maine Benzodiazepine Study Group International Conference will be held October 11 - 12, 2005 at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel in Bangor.

The conference features Professor Heather Ashton, author of "Benzodiazepines:  How They Work and How to Withdraw, " and incorporates the 2nd Meeting on Safe Prescription Drug Returns.  For more information, and a registration form, visit the Maine Benzodiazepine Study Group website,

Maine continues to have one of the highest uses of benzodiazepines in the nation.  The Study Group has been an important source of research and information regarding the reasons why. [return to top]

Mold/Moisture Related Illness Program Offered on September 21 in Portland

On Wednesday, September 21, 2005 in Portland, the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council and the American Lung Association of Maine are jointly hosting a 2-hour evening seminar on Recognizing and Managing Mold/Moisture Related Illness.  The program presenters are Dr. Eileen Storey and Paula Schenck of the Center for Indoor Environments and Health at the University of Connecticut.  A variety of professional educational accreditations are available, including CMEs for MDs, DOs, and Family practitioners.
This program will present tools to help health care providers and others recognize when symptoms or illness may be related to mold or moisture in the indoor environment.  It will provide guidance on ways to manage both the mold-related illness as well as the intervention in the underlying environmental factors.
Health care providers will find this program useful, as it presents a workable algorithm to evaluate and manage patient concerns.  Facility managers, school superintendents, employers, building owners, and technical/professional consultants will benefit from the latest medical advice regarding the effect of mold and moisture on human health. 
To register, visit the MIAQC web site at
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Next "First Fridays" Program Features "Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse", Oct. 7
The second "First Fridays" CME program will be held on Friday morning, Oct. 7, 2005 from 9:00 am to noon at the Frank O. Stred Building in Manchester, the MMA headquarters.  The topic is "Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse" and features a faculty of Roy McKinney, Director of the Maine DEA, Daniel Onion, M.D. from the Board of Licensure in Medicine, Chris Baumgartner of the Office of Substance Abuse, Gordon Smith, Esq. and Andrew MacLean, Esq.

One of the most frequent calls to MMA is from practices seeking assistance with handling patients who are demanding narcotics.  This three-hour seminar is intended to provide members and their office staffs with practical information to assist with this problem.  Some of the topics covered will include the information available to practices from the new Prescription Monitoring Program, licensing board regulations on the subject, the use of narcotics contracts, and confidentiality and reporting requirements.

Registration material is available from Chandra Leister at MMA at 622-3374 or via e-mail to [return to top]

Maine Society of Eye Physicians & Surgeons to Meet Friday in Bar Harbor
The Maine Society of Eye Physicians & Surgeons will meet on this coming Friday, Sept. 23 at 10:30 am at the Harborside Hotel and Marina in downtown Bar Harbor for the group's Fall meeting.  The meeting is being held in conjunction with the 4th Annual Downeast Opthalmology Symposium which will again attract nearly 100 ophthalmologists from across the country.  The Symposium begins on Friday afternoon.

Information on the MSEPS meeting is available from Shirley Goggin (445-2260 or  Information on the Symposium is available from Chandra Leister at 622-3374 or [return to top]

More on Hurricane Relief Efforts/Volunteers/Contributions
The Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) has established a Web Site at and a toll-free number, 866-528-6334, to help identify health care professionals and relief personnel to assist in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

These workers will be non-paid temporary federal employees and will therefore be eligible for coverage under the Federal Tort Claims Act for liability coverage and Worker's Compensation when functioning as HHS employees.  Although there will not be any salary, travel and per diem will be paid.

As noted in last week's Maine Medicine Weekly Update, MMA members voted at last week's Annual Meeting to authorize a contribution to the Louisiana State Medical Society, to be used in the relief effort.  Individual members have enhanced the contribution by sending in their own contributions which can be made payable to the Maine Medical Education Trust or to the charity of the member's choice.   All such contributions will be forwarded to the charities selected.

A huge THANK YOU to those members already contributing individually or through their medical staffs or other organizations.

  [return to top]

MMA Meets with Angus King on Medicaid Reform
On Monday, September 12, 2005, MMA EVP Gordon Smith and V.P. & General Counsel Andrew MacLean met with former Maine Governor Angus King to discuss Medicaid reform.  Governor King is Vice Chair of the federal commission created earlier this year to make two sets of recommendations, the first relating to the Congressionally mandated $10 billion reduction in Medicaid expenditures over five years and the second relating to the long-term structural changes in the program. 

During the meeting, Governor King professed to be open-minded about the existing program and invited MMA to make suggestions on how Medicaid could be reformed.  He did express the opinion that, over the long term, the existing program is not sustainable financially.  MMA stressed the importance of the program in states like Maine with low incomes and high numbers of patients dually-eligible for Medicaid and Medicare.

Governor King displayed the deepest knowledge base on prescription drug costs and expressed support for changing the payment formula for drugs.  MMA expressed concern about programs that put high administrative burdens on physicians such as prior authorization.

At present, Congress has held up consideration of the $10 billion reduction because of the hurricane relief efforts.  Senator Olympia Snowe had been one of four Senators asking for a delay in the consideration of any such cuts.  Late last week, House and Senate leaders announced a delay of 6 weeks in the budget reconciliation schedule.

MMA will continue to keep in contact with Governor King as the Medicaid commission carries out its mission.  The commission meets again in late October. [return to top]

For more information or to contact us directly, please visit l ©2003, Maine Medical Association