March 26, 2007

 
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You are INVITED to Participate in Physicians' Day at the Legislature on Thursday, March 29

Dozens of physicians will converge on the Legislature this coming Thursday (March 29) as part of MMA's annual Physician's Day at the Legislature.  Several specialties will be participating and for the first time, some group practices as well.  In addition to hearing from legislative leaders, attendees will talk with their own representatives and visit with Governor Baldacci.

The two physicians in the legislature, Senator Lisa Marrache and Representative Robert Walker, will both present to the attendees as well.  Briefing points on the major issues will be available and any Maine physician, M.D. or D.O. is invited to attend.  Registration begins at 8:00am with the program running through mid-afternoon.   The day's events are co-sponsored by the Maine Osteopathic Association.

The MMA will have a display table set up with information about our advocacy work and the services we provide.  Any medical specialty society or medical practice is welcome to set up a display table as well to showcase your specialty or the nature of your practice.  As he has done many times in the past, Dr. Jan Berlin will sing the national anthem at the opening of the legislative session for the day.  In addition to informal mingling with legislators in the Hall of Flags, you will have a chance to watch the legislative session, to participate in visits with members of the legislative leadership and the Governor, and to attend committee public hearings on bills in the afternoon.

A draft agenda is listed below.  Please feel free to participate in part or all of the event.

  • 8:00 - 9:00 a.m.        Arrive:  Set up Displays (Hall of Flags)
  • 9:00 - 9:30 a.m.        Welcome and Orientation (Hall of Flags)  
    Remarks by:
    • Senator Lisa T. Marraché, MD (D) Kennebec County
    • Representative Bob Walker, MD (R) Lincolnville
    • Thomas DeLuca, DO, President, MOA
    • Kevin Flanigan, MD, President,  MMA
    • Andrew MacLean, Deputy Executive Vice President, MMA
    • Jack Ginty, Executive Director, MOA
  • 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.           Mingle with Legislators; Attend House/Senate Sessions (Schedules TBA)
  • 11:30 - 1:00 p.m.           Refreshments in the Hall of Flags with Legislators, staff and representatives from relevant state agencies
  • 1:00 p.m.                        Appropriations and Financial Affairs (Room 228, State House)
                                             Work Session – Budget, LD 499, 2008-2009 Biennial Budget
  • 1:00 p.m.                        Education and Cultural Affairs (Room 202, Cross State Office Building)  
                 Public Hearing - LD 334, Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Portions of Chapter 182: Formula for Distribution of Funds to Child Development Services Regional Sites
  • 1:00 p.m.                         Health and Human Services (Room 209, Cross State Office Building)
                                              Public Hearings –  
    • LD 436, An Act To Postpone the Expiration of the Required Nonhospital Expenditures Component in the Capital Investment Fund
    • LD 615, An Act To Authorize the Use of the Department of Health and Human Services Staff as Hearing Officers
    • LD 902, An Act To Amend the Maine Health Data Organization Laws
    • LD 984, Resolve, To Evaluate MaineCare Finances
  • 2:30 - 3:00 p.m.                Meet with Governor John E. Baldacci (Cabinet Room - State House)

Please Join Us for Part or All of This Event !

For more information about Physicians' Day at the Legislature, please contact Charyl Smith at csmith@mainemed.com or 622-3374, ext. 211.

Happy Doctors' Day, March 30

March 30 is National Doctors' Day, a day to express appreciation for the role of physicians in caring for patients and advancing the art and science of medicine. 

March 30 represents the anniversary of the day that anesthesia was discovered by Crawford B. Long in 1842.  On that day, Dr. Long administered ether to a patient for the removal of a tumor on his neck.  In l990, federal legislation was introduced in Congress which recommended the observance of Doctors' Day on March 30.  President George H.W. Bush issued an executive order in 1991 officially proclaiming March 30 as Doctors' Day.

We take a moment to pause and thank all MMA members for their outstanding service and their dedication to medicine.  We are proud to represent you. [return to top]

MECMS/ Mainecare Update

Material prepared by the Department of Human Services for the Legislature's Appropriations Committee this past week showed the following:

  • The Interim Payment Recovery Team report showed that as of March 2, Physicians (including PA's and Nurse Practitioners) were still owed over $15 million in suspended claims and owed back $11,606,852 in interim payments.  The only other categories of providers who are owed more than they owe back are podiatrists and the providers of medical imaging services.
  • The balance of interim payments made to providers stands at $519.7, representing a $132,000 increase from the previous week.
  • During the week ending March 2, the State recovered $2.9 million in interim payments.  As of the end of that week, $329.7 million (63%) of interim payments have been recovered.  Providers accounting for $67.8 million in interim payment balances are in a recovery plan.
  • This week's payment cycle totaled $42.3 million, of which the state paid $37 million, which increased the carry forward as a result of caps to $17.2 million. When the department caps a cycle, those claims held as a result of the cap are processed first in the next week's cycle (as long as there hasn't been more than a full cycle capped).
  • The claims hold functionality, designed to offset outstanding interim balances by applying payments of claims with pre-2006 dates of service, has been delayed due to contractual discussions with the vendor; this will impact the interim recoveries.

To MMA's knowledge, the state's negotiations with the cuurent vendor (CNSI) are still on-going.  In the meantime, MMA representatives have been meeting with representatives of companies expected to be candidates for the position of fiscal agent as the current MECMS system is transitioned to a fiscal agent.  Those firms include EDS, ACS and Public Consulting Group.  Any such transition will take several months with a final contract likely to take over two years. [return to top]

Gordon Moore, M.D. Brings his Micropractice to MMA

Family physician Gordon Moore, M.D. of Rochester, N.Y. brought his ideas and experience regarding "Micropractices" to the Maine Medical Association last Thursday evening.  Speaking to a group including practices volunteering to participate in the MMA/MOA Voluntary Practice Assessment Project, Dr. Moore described the attributes of an ideal micropractice as including:

  • low overhead
  • high technology
  • patient-centered care

After eight years as a staff physician at a hospital-owned practice, Dr. Moore began to think of other alternatives.  In 2001, he took the risky step of borrowing money and establishing his own solo practice in a tiny space with no nurse, receptionist or waiting room.  He brought computer software to help him track patients' appointments, illnesses and medications, and to process insurance claims.

Patients at Dr. Moore's micropractice can call or e-mail to get an appointments the same day.  Patient visits last 30 minutes and Dr. Moore can be reached day or might on his cell phone.

Dr. Moore belongs to a small but growing number of physicians converting to high-tech, low-overhead practices to try to preserve a disappearing style of care often provided by solo family physicians.  [return to top]

Community Health Center System Seeks Physicians

Maine’s Community Health Center systemhas a variety of MD/DO opportunities currently available. These range from the Lewiston/Auburn area to the very convenient central Maine/greater Augusta and Waterville region to Bangor and Millinocket/Patten further north. There are also openings in the truly "Downeast" Washington County. Some opportunities are immediate; some are longer term. Most positions are family practice; several are Peds and one IM.

These are all Federally Qualified Health Centers providing comprehensive primary care to all regardless of ability to pay. Our health centers have full office staffs to handle scheduling, patient reminders, sliding fee scales and billing etc. Some offer Ob or would be willing to. Very competitive and comprehensive compensation packages include full liability coverage. Some sites feature incentive bonuses; some would be happy to offer very flexible scheduling.

Above all, Maine is a great place to practice medicine- as you know(!)  

Please Contact:
Jim Dowling
Maine Primary Care Association
207-621-0677
-- Jdowling@mepca.org -- [return to top]

Ad hoc Group Hears of Dirigo Next Steps

The Governor's Office of Health Policy and Finance held a meeting on March 15 of an Ad hoc Group to look at next steps coming out of the Dirigo Blue Ribbon Commission's Report.

Representatives of consumers, payers, businesses and providers, including MMA and the Maine Hospital Association, were all invited. There was a briefing from Glen Griswald and Rick Diamond from the Bureau of Insurance on an actuarial analysis they are doing to look at the ramifications of various proposed market reforms. The types of market reforms being considered include combining the individual and small group markets or repealing some of the guaranteed issue laws. The study is intended to model what would happen to the market and the price of various products in the event that any of these market reforms were implemented.

Trish Riley, head of the Governor's Office of Health Policy and Finance, also asked the group for advice regarding whether the Governor should submit a bill during this legislative session to implement a mandate that businesses offer health insurance or pay a fee and also require individuals to have health insurance as will be required in Massachusetts. The group decided that it was probably unlikely that such a bill would actually pass the Legislature in the next few months so the Governor should consider gathering information on how the law is working in Massachusetts over the summer and fall and consider such a proposal next year. [return to top]

MMA and Medical Mutual Team up for Risk Management Seminar on Friday, April 6

The Maine Medical Association First Fridays Presentation for the April 6 will be "Risk Management in the Physician Office Practice".  Speakers for this program will be Nancy Brandow, Cheryl Vacchiano, Cheryl Peaslee and Georgia Downs, all employed by Medical Mutual Insurance Company of Maine.

Because many malpractice claims originate from system failure in the physician office practice, physicians and practice managers alike will benefit from a discussion of risk prevention strategies.

At the conclusion of the program the participants will be able to:

  • Describe areas of risk in physician office practices
  • Identify at-risk systems in their own office practice
  • Acknowledge implementation strategies to mitigate the identified risks

This program has been approved for 3 CME credits and will be held at the Maine Medical Association office in Manchester, Maine.  If you have any questions, please contact Gail Begin at 622-3374 ext. 210. [return to top]

CMS To Host First in Series of Calls on National Provider Identifier, Tues. March 27

CMS will host the first in a series of conference calls on Tuesday, March 27, from 3 to 5 p.m., EST. You must apply for your NPI by May 23, 2007. This toll-free call will show you how to get it and use it. You must register to participate.

  • Go to: https://ww4.premconf.com/webrsvp/register?conf_id=549030 
  • Click “Continue” to be taken to the registration screen
  • Fill in all required data
  • Click “Submit”
  • You will be taken to the confirmation screen where the call-in number will be given
  • The pass code for the call is 549030
  • To view the time the call will start, registrants will need to select their time zone in the drop down box under “Time” on the confirmation screen
  • Click “Confirm Registration” to receive a confirmation email

A PowerPoint slide presentation will be posted on the CMS Web site for you to download prior to the call. If you have questions, or require special accommodations, please contact Geanelle E. Griffith at geanelle.griffith@cms.hhs.gov or call 410.786.4466. [return to top]

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