April 23, 2007

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AMA Urges Physicians to Obtain National Provider Identifier by May 23

CMS has announced its contingency plan guidance for compliance with the National Provider Identifier (NPI) deadline (May 23, 2007).  Nonetheless, the American Medical Association and MMA encourage all physicians to obtain their NPI by the deadline and to document their compliance.  Medicare has not yet announced the duration of its contingency plan.

In the wake of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) announcement of a contingency plan guidance for compliance with the National Provider Identifier (NPI) deadline, CMS has since clarified that penalties will not be levied for non-compliance between May 23, 2007, and May 23, 2008, if a physician has made a "good faith effort" to comply with the May 23, 2007, deadline through "reasonable and diligent efforts." Should CMS receive a complaint about a physician for non-compliance, the agency will consider whether the physician obtained his or her NPI by the May 23, 2007, deadline. Therefore, the AMA strongly encourages physicians to obtain their NPI before May 23 and to document their compliance efforts. This is especially important because Medicare, the nation's largest payer of health care benefits, has not yet announced the duration of its own contingency plan. Physicians should contact each of their other payers to determine whether they plan on implementing contingency plans and, if so, for what length of time.

Annual Corporate Affiliate Breakfast Wednesday, April 25, at Portland Country Club

Bestselling author Tess Gerritsen will be the guest speaker at the Annual MMA Corporate Affiliate Breakfast this coming Wednesday, April 25 at the Portland Country Club in Falmouth.  The breakfast will begin at 7:30am with the program beginning shortly after 8:00am.  Nearly 100 guests have registered for the program.  If you are a corporate affiliate and would like to attend but haven't yet responded, please call Lisa Martin at MMA at 622-3374 x 221.  There is no cost to attend.

Nearly ninety firms and companies participate in the Corporate Affiliate Program which is designed to provide participants with the opportunity to introduce their services and products to MMA members through a joint partnership with the Association.  Law firms specializing in health law, practice management and billing firms, pharmaceutical companies and financial institutions make up the majority of the group.

MMA leadership and members of the Committee on Membership and Member Benefits are also invited.

All attendees will receive a copy of Tess' most recent paperback, Vanish[return to top]

Topics in Gastroenterology for Primary Care, April 28 in Freeport

The Maine Gastroenterology Society is pleased to announce they will hold the 4th annual "Topics in Gastroenterology for Primary Care on Saturday, April 28th, 2007 at the Harraseekett Inn, Freeport, Maine. Dr.’s James Morse and Jay Bosco will co-direct the conference this year. The conference will focus on nutritional issues including obesity management, inflammatory bowel disease and new technologies in gastrointestinal endoscopy. Faculty will present several instructive cases with expert discussion. The conference emphasizes practical clinical issues in patient care. Please join us for what promises to be an exciting and educational day in Freeport! Please contact Gail Begin at the Maine Medical Association at 207-622-3374 x210 for registration materials or more information. [return to top]

Influenza-vaccine Manufacturers Expect to Have 132-Million Doses Ready for Next Season

The Houston Chronicle /AP (4/20, Stobbe) reports that influenza "vaccine manufacturers expect to have a record 132-million doses ready for the 2007-2008 flu season, and even more could be available if a fifth company joins their ranks." CSL Biotherapies, an Australian company, "applied last month for federal approval to sell its flu vaccine in the U.S. this fall." If approved, "CSL would join four other companies providing flu vaccine in the U.S. Three make flu shots -- Sanofi Pasteur, Inc., which projects 50-million doses; Novartis Vaccines, which expects to make up to 40-million doses; and GlaxoSmithKline, which is planning 30-million to 35-million doses. In addition, MedImmune Vaccines, Inc., plans to manufacture about seven-million doses of FluMist, a nasal mist recommended only for healthy people between ages 5 and 49." The manufacturer estimates for the next flu season were announced at the National Influenza Summit Meeting, covered in yesterday's briefing, which is being hosted by the CDC and the American Medical Association. According to statistics from the CDC, "influenza kills an estimated 36,000 Americans each year, and hospitalizes another 200,000." Health officials "have been expanding their flu shot recommendations to cover more age groups, and they now say that more than 200-million Americans should get vaccinated each year." [return to top]

Stop Pharma Sales Reps from Viewing Your Prescribing Data

You can stop pharma sales reps from viewing your prescribing data. All physicians deserve to be able to choose who has access to their prescribing data. The AMA Physician Data Restriction Program (PDRP) makes that decision yours alone by empowering you to opt out of sharing prescribing data with pharmaceutical sales representatives - if you want. But it keeps the data available for researchers to advance important public health benefits, such as timely and appropriate communication about drug recalls and evidence-based medical research. The AMA does not collect, sell or have access to prescribing data, but rather provides a way for doctors to determine how their data will be used. All physicians are eligible for the PDRP.
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Quality Counts! Measurably Improving Health and Healthcare for Maine 2007 Annual Meeting, June 6, 2007

Quality Counts! Measurably Improving Health and Healthcare for Maine
2007 Annual Meeting 
Wednesday, June 6, 2007 2:00 – 4:00 PM
Medical Care Development, 11 Parkwood Drive, Augusta

Please join us for an interactive discussion about the accomplishments and future direction of Quality Counts!

  • Meet the new Executive Director of Quality Counts
  • Get an update on key Quality Counts activities over previous year, and provide direction on primary activities for coming year
  • Hear progress report on the planning for Quality Counts, Part 5, a best practice college to be held on Friday, December 7, 2007
  • Get report on major activities of “Aligning Forces for Quality” (AF4Q) grant, and give input on direction of future project activities
  • QC Member organizations will be asked to vote on stratified terms for Quality Counts Board members

To RSVP, or for questions, please contact Mandi Thibault, tel. (207) 942-5154, or email: a.thibault@mainenetwork.org [return to top]

New Tool from CMS Helps Physicians Adopt EHR

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced the launch of an interactive Web site designed to educate solo and small- to medium-sized medical practices in the use of health information technology, including electronic health records (EHR). The Doctor’s Office Quality Information Technology University (DOQ-IT U) is free and will also include lessons on culture change, vendor selection and operational redesign, along with clinical processes. For more information: http://tinyurl.com/2cls8d

 Physicians can register for the DOQ-IT U Web site at: http://elearning.qualitynet.org/ [return to top]

Inaugural Summit on Behavioral Telehealth: Technology for Behavior Change & Disease Management, May 31-June 1, 2007, The Conference Center at Harvard

The Summit will offer detailed and practical instruction on using emerging information technologies and telemedicine to support the integration of behavioral health into primary care and chronic disease management. The program will explore how e-empowered health consumers can truly become partners in their own self-management. This timely event brings together leaders in behavioral health, disease management and telemedicine to celebrate the successes, tackle the challenges and advance the goal of integration.

Program Chair: Steven Locke, MD, Research Psychiatrist, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School & Associate Professor of Health Sciences and Technology, MIT.
Keynote Speakers Include: Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, Director, Center for Connected Health, Partners HealthCare & Vice-Chair, Dermatology, Harvard Medical School & Robert M. Kolodner, MD, Interim National Coordinator, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Department of Health and Human Services.
For additional information, please visit: http://www.tcbi.org/bc2007/index.html
Or Contact The Center for Business Innovation: Ph: 310-265-2570   Email: info@tcbi.org [return to top]

Medical Office Lease Space Available in Augusta

55 Middle St., Augusta, Maine, Join Medical Rehabilitation Associates. 1900 SF of new medical office lease space available Summer of 2007. Ample parking, walking distance to MaineGeneral, New HVAC. Space meets ADA and ASHRAE specifications. Early enquiries will have the opportunity for wall placement, electrical, plumbing, and color scheme for this rental space. Contact: Bruce.Holmes@Century21.com or tel. 207-622-6221 (ext. 212) for more information. [return to top]

MMA Legislative Committee Forum on Dirigo Health on 4/24: All Welcome!

The MMA Legislative Committee’s next meeting will be:

Date:                            Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Subject:                        the Dirigo Health Program and the health care reform debate in Maine
Time:                            5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. with program beginning at 6 p.m.
Location:                      Frank O. Stred Building, Manchester, Maine Medical Association
Other:                           Hors d’oeuvres and beverages available
Guests:                         Trish Riley, Director, Governor's Office of Health Policy & Finance, Senator Peter Mills (R-Somerset), Representative Wes Richardson (R-Warren), and two Democratic legislators TBA.

 Come hear varying perspectives on the Dirigo Health Program and learn more about Governor Baldacci's Dirigo 2.0.  Please RSVP to Charyl Smith, Legislative Assistant, at csmith@mainemed.com. [return to top]

May 4 First Friday Presentation to Feature CMS Quality Reporting Initiative

The May 4 First Friday CME offering will feature presentations on the Medicare Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) .  The presenters will include Andrew Finnegan from the Region I CMS office in Boston and Jana Purrell, CPC, Director of the Coding Center.  The PQRI begins on July 1, 2007 and offers the opportunity to enhance Medicare reimbursement by a small amount.

The program will run from 9:00am through noon at the MMA offices in Manchester, Maine.  The cost is $60 which includes breakfast and all course materials.

Anyone interested may register through the MMA website at www.mainemed.com or call 622-3374 and ask for Jess Violette (Press 0). [return to top]

MaineCare Program Receives High Marks in Medicaid Survey

MaineCare is ranked the 13th-best Medicaid program in the country, according to a report released by the Public Citizen advocacy group. The state placed well in three of four scoring categories (eligibility, scope of services, and quality of care), but lost points on how poorly it pays doctors and other providers. The highest overall score went to Massachusetts and the lowest to Mississippi.
According to the report, MaineCare covers 29 percent of Maine's population and accounts for 27% of the state's budget. That put Maine 18th in the category of elibility, with Rhode Island highest and Indiana lowest.
The quality of services provided through MaineCare ranked Maine 10th in the states. Massachusetts placed highest and Idaho lowest.
The report found Maine "sorely wanting" in terms of how much it pays providers and ranked the state 38th in the nation in that category. "Physician payment is deficient in all areas of care, and the state pays its providers at some of the lowest rates in the nation," the report reads.
Public Citizen, the group responsible for the report, was founded in 1971 by consumer rights activist Ralph Nader. The full text of the report, "Unsettling Scores" is available online at www.citizen.org. [return to top]

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