May 19, 2008

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Register NOW for 17th Annual Practice Education Seminar, in Augusta, May 28

On Wednesday, May 28th, the Augusta Civic Center will be the site of MMA's 17th Annual Practice Education Seminar.  The day-long program runs from 8:30am to 4:30pm and over one hundred physicians and office staff are expected to attend.  While over a dozen different topics are being discussed, one major theme is the continued problems with prescription drug abuse in the state, with the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maine, Paula Silsby, giving a keynote talk on the subject.  Register now for the program by calling 622-3374 or by going on line at

Joining Paula Silsby, Esq. will be Marcella Sorg, PhD, from the Margaret Chase Smith Center for Public Policy at the University of Maine.  Dr. Sorg is the primary author of a recent study on the prevalence of accidental death by drug overdose in the state.   Two breakout sessions in the afternoon will also feature information on the tools available to help prevent prescription drug abuse.

Other topics include Stark II and its phase III regulations, insurers' profiling of physicians using episodic treatment groups, physician compensation, quality improvement and the workforce shortage.

This yearly program gives MMA an opportunity in one day to provide the kind of information that medical practices need to be up-to-date with compliance in the regulatory world.

Register now by calling MMA at 622-3374 or by going on-line to

MMA Hosts First District Congressional District Candidates Forum

On Tuesday, May 13, seven of the eight candidates vying to replace Tom Allen as Representative to the U.S. House of Representatives from Maine's First Congressional District participated in a Candidate's Forum sponsored by MMA.  The event was covered by local press and a front page article in the Kennebec Journal described the event on Wednesday morning.  Over fifty members and guests attended the session.

The evening began with opening comments by MMA Legislative Committee Chair Katherine Pope, M.D. who thanked participants and guests as well.  The candidates then introduced themselves and spoke for up to five minutes on the theme of their campaign.  The focus the rest of the evening was on health care.

MMA member Steve Meister, M.D., Chellie Pingree, Adam Cote, Michael Brennan, Ethan Strimling, Dean Scontras and Charlie Summers all participated.

The primary election will be held on June 10. [return to top]

June 23rd MMA Golf Event to Benefit Medical Professionals Health Program

MMA will hold its Annual Golf Tournament on Monday, June 23rd, 2008 at the Augusta Country Club.  The net proceeds this year will benefit the Medical Professionals Health Program (formerly called the Physician Health Program).  Lunch will be served on the deck beginning at 11:00am with a shot-gun start at noon. 

The event will be a traditional scramble and golfers of all ages and capabilities are welcome.  The Chair of the event will be Brian Jumper, MD.

The field will be limited to 120 golfers (30 teams) and it is hoped that some teams will come from single specialties and different hospitals.  Appropriate prizes for the top two teams, gross and net, will be awarded, as well as prizes being given for longest drive (male and female) and closest to the pin.

To receive registration materials, call MMA at 622-3374. [return to top]

Watch the Mail for Registration Materials for MMA's 155th Annual Meeting, Sept 4-7 at the Samoset

The Association's 155th Annual Session will be held this year Sept. 4-7, 2008 at the Samoset Resort, in Rockport.  The traditional weekend meeting will be preceded this year by a Thursday session focusing on the theme of quality improvement through hospital-based teams.  Eliott Fisher, M.D. of Dartmouth Medical School will be the keynote speaker.

Registration materials for the meeting will be mailed shortly and more information will be included in the May-June issue of Maine Medicine which should be received by you during the first week of June.

At the conclusion of the general business meeting on Saturday morning, an "open microphone" session will be held, giving MMA members an opportunity to bring to the attention of MMA officers and staff any issues or concerns.

In addition to Thursday's sessions, educational programs will also be held on Friday afternoon, Saturday noon and Sunday morning.

Maine author Kate Braestrup, author of Here if You Need Me, will present at noontime on Saturday.

Orthopedic surgeons, urologists and psychiatrists will hold specialty society meetings during the course of the Session. [return to top]

Public Health Committee to Meet May 28th, 4-6pm

The Public Health Committee meeting is scheduled on May 28th from 4pm - 6pm at the Maine Medical Association in Manchester, Maine. This meeting immediately follows the MMA's 17th Annual Practice Education Seminar, held at the Augusta Civic Center.  Issues for the agenda will include: 1) resolution concepts in preparation for the MMA's Annual Session, 2) obesity policy initiatives for the upcoming legislative session, 3) updates on the core public health areas of activities: immunization, environmental health and obesity regarding the Healthy Trends Survey, which is in collaboration with the Harvard School of Public Health and the Maine Center for Public Health.

To participate by conference call: the Dial-In Number is: 1-800-989-2842, access code: 6223374#.

Guests joining the meeting to discuss obesity policy initiatives are Becky Smith, Executive Director of Health Policy Partners of Maine (under the umbrella of the Smoking or Health Coalition) and Dennise Whitley, with the American Heart Association. 

The Maine Medical Association Public Health Committee’s primary role, under the direction of Chair, Charles Danielson, MD is to support the MMA, the leadership and staff in enhancing the health of all Mainers. The committee addresses issues of healthy communities and clinical preventive services and maintains and understanding of how core public health services, such as disease control, disaster response, environmental health, vital statistics and other public health data are provided in Maine. The PHC committee is currently involved in three major policy initiatives in 2008:

  • Immunization Supply, Vaccines and Funding 
  • Obesity/Healthy Weight Management
  • Environmental Health

If you are interested in strengthening and broadening our public health policy initiatives in the year ahead and would like to serve on the PHC, please contact Kellie Miller, Director of Public Health Policy, MMA staff for the PHC at 622-3374, ext. 229 or [return to top]

Next First Friday Program: Patient Disclosure Following an Unanticipated Outcome, June 6

MMA's next First Friday education presentation will be held on Friday, June 6th, on the subject of "Patient Disclosure Following an Unanticipated Outcome."  The program begins at 9:00 am and runs until noon and will be held at the MMA offices in the Frank O. Stred Building in Manchester.

The program has been approved for three category one CME credits.  The program will be presented by three experienced risk managers from Medical Mutual Insurance Co. of Maine, including Jackie Madore, RN, CEN, CCRN, Cheryl Peaslee, RN, BSN, MBA, CPHQ, and Nancy Brandow, MS.

"What constitutes an unanticipated outcome?  How should disclosure to patient and family members be handled?"  Attend the program and find out.

The program will also address disclosure, apology, and related liability.  Program participants will be provided with practical risk management advice to assist the practitioner with development of a thoughtful and consistent disclosure process applicable to the private practice and hospital-based setting.  Review of case studies will walk the program participants through actual patient disclosure discussions and allow ample opportunity for questions.

The state law granting limited protection in the case of an apology will also be covered.

Physicians, Practice Managers, Risk Managers, and others will benefit from this presentation.

Registration is available by calling MMA at 622-3374 (Press 0) or by going to the MMA website at [return to top]

In-Office Consultations Available on Prescribing for Chronic Pain

Through the generosity of the Board of Licensure in Medicine, in-office consultations are available on the subject of prescribing for chronic pain.  For more information on the availability of these consultations, at  no cost to the practice, call Gordon Smith, Esq. at MMA at 622-3374 (ext 212) or via e-mail to

These consultations are part of a contract between MMA and the BOLM which includes funding for placing resources on the MMA website, development of a home study course, and the in-office consultations.

This contract complements the contract MMA has with the Office of Substance Abuse (OSA) to educate physicians and other prescribers on the Prescription Monitoring Program and other means of preventing diversion of narcotics.  The Association has presented 18 of these programs.  If your hospital medical staff, specialty society, or group practice is interested in one of these programs, contact Gordon Smith (contact information above).  These programs are offered in one, two, three, and four hour increments. [return to top]

New MaineCare Claims System to Require Re-enrollment

MaineCare providers will soon get a letter from the state notifying them that they will have to re-enroll in the program as part of the conversion to the new claims system. 

MHA and other organizations representing large numbers of providers had asked MaineCare Services about the possibility of a batch upload for re-enrollment to streamline the process.  MaineCare Services has agreed to provide such a method. 

Re-enrollment will begin in early 2009.  The claims processing system is expected to start processing claims in 2010. [return to top]

Medication Disposal Project Underway

The Safe Medicine Disposal for ME program provides Maine's older adults and their caregivers with a safe disposal option for unused and unwanted medicine. 

Free medicine mail-back envelopes are now available at participating pharmacies.  This program is funded through a grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Aging Initiative.

Beginning May 12, 2008 envelopes will be available at the following locations:

  • Caribou: Rite Aid Pharmacy, 112 Bennett Drive, 498-8735
  • Houlton: Rite Aid Pharmacy, 137 North Street, 532-6876
  • Indian Island: Penobscot Nation Health Center Pharmacy, 23 Wabanaki Way, 817-7435     
  • Bangor: Miller Drug, 210 State St, 1-800-427-8369
  • Bangor: Penobscot Community Health Center Pharmacy, 1084 Union Street, 992-4100
  • Augusta: Rite Aid Pharmacy, 83 Hospital St., 623-1414
  • Augusta: Rite Aid Pharmacy, 2007 No. Belfast Ave., 622-2626
  • Waterville: Rite Aid Pharmacy, 211 Main Street, 877-9004
  • Portland: Rite Aid Pharmacy, 365 Allen Ave., 797-4351
  • Scarborough: Rite Aid Pharmacy, 600 U.S. Route 1, 885-1515
[return to top]

NPI Deadline - Input Requested

As you are aware, the National Provider Identifier (NPI) deadline is less than two weeks away.  CMS has told us they have no plans to extend the NPI contingency timeframe past May 23.  During a recent exercise Medicare conducted with numerous clearinghouses on May 7, the clearinghouses "stripped off" legacy numbers contained on any claims they received and forwarded them onto Medicare with just the NPI numbers.  Medicare reported that this drill resulted in a low claims rejection rate.  The purpose of this drill was to determine what the situation may look like after May 23rd when just the NPI number will be the only identifier permitted on claims. 
The AMA is concerned that while this drill may have been helpful, it does not include the numerous physicians who are presently unable to bill Medicare and thus are sitting on their claims due to being required to re-enroll or other NPI matching problems.  Medicare has asked the AMA for information on:
  • Names of physicians who are unable to submit claims now due to enrollment / NPI matching problems
  • Where they are located (city / state)
  • The dollar amount of claims they are sitting on
  • A phone number (Medicare has said it will not be able to reach out to everyone)
  • Their Medicare legacy number(s) / NPI number(s) if possible
The AMA would like to forward this information onto CMS by Monday, June 19. If you have any questions about this please contact Mari Savickis at or at 202-789-7414.
[return to top]

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