August 18, 2008

 
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Not Too Late to Register for 155th Annual Session, Sept. 4-7 at Samoset

There is still time to register for the Association's 155th Annual Session being held this year at the Samoset Resort in Rockport.  Over three hundred members, guests and exhibitors are expected to attend some portion of the three and one-half day meeting.  The Session begins with a day-long Quality Symposium jointly sponsored by the Maine Hospital Association on Thursday, Sept. 4.  Well known Dartmouth researcher Elliott Fisher, M.D. is the featured presenter on Thursday.

A few rooms are still available for each evening and may be reserved by calling the Samoset at 1-800-341-1650.  Be sure to say you are reserving a room in connection with the Annual Meeting.  If you need registration material for the meeting, you may register on-line at www.mainemed.com or call the MMA office at 622-3374 (Press 0 for assistance).

Members or other persons interested may register for the entire Session or on a daily basis.  In additional to Thursday's QI program, six and one-half hours of CME are available Friday through Sunday morning.

Three medical specialty societies are meeting at the Session including the Maine Society of Orthopedic Surgeons, the Maine Urological Association and the Maine Association of Psychiatric Physicians. In addition, county medical societies representing Aroostook and Kennebec counties will have meetings on Saturday afternoon at the Samoset.

On Saturday evening, annual awards will be presented and several physicians will be recognized on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of their medical school graduation.  At the conclusion of the dinner, MMA President William Strassberg, M.D. will present the Presidential gavel to in-coming President Stephanie Lash, M.D.   Dr. Lash practices neurology in Bangor and is President of Neurology Associates of Eastern Maine which has produced two previous MMA Presidents, Francis Kittredge, M.D. and Edward David, M.D., J.D.

The Session concludes mid-morning on Sunday morning.

Among the special features of the meeting this year are a physician art exhibit and a unique display of Time/Life magazine covers featuring medicine.

Physician Grassroots Efforts Were Key to Recent Medicare Win

Looking back on our success on the Medicare payment issue earlier this month the numbers are very impressive.  In 2006, physicians made about 1000 calls and sent slightly more than 11,000 emails to Congress.  This year, from July 1st, the day the cuts became effective, until July 15th, the day of the veto override, physicians made more than 10,600 phone calls to Congress.  You also sent more than 14,200 emails via the AMA's grassroots advocacy site.  Patients also reacted positively.  More than 9200 phone calls were made from patient volunteers in the first half of July and on the day of the veto override vote Congress received more than 35,000 emails from patients.  State medical societies, specialty groups, and other patient advocacy organizations also generated significant grassroots support for the legislation.  

Grassroots activity will continue to be a vital part of the Medicare physician payment campaign, especially as we begin the aggressive lobbying to develop long-term Medicare payment reform proposals.

You can receive free legislative updates from the AMA by going to the Physicians Grassroots Network at:  http://capwiz.com/ama/mlm/signup/.  The MMA will continue to keep you posted on our Medicare payment advocacy through the Maine Medicine Weekly Update.  If you have an opportunity to speak with Senator Snowe, Senator Collins, Representative Allen, or Representative Michaud, please thank them for their continued strong support on this issue! [return to top]

Annual Session Resolutions: What is Your Association Up To?

The Annual Session being held Sept. 4-7, 2008 at the Samoset Resort in Rockport presents an opportunity for any MMA member to present a Resolution directing the Association to take action or otherwise establishing policy for the largest physician organization in the State.  To be considered at the meeting, any draft Resolution to be presented needs to be sent to the attention of the Association EVP Gordon Smith at gsmith@mainemed.com

To date, Resolutions to be considered include the following topics:

  • Patient-centered Medical Home
  • Immunizations
  • Maine's Epidemic of Obesity
  • Health Disparities
  • Domestic Violence Education
  • Toxic Chemical Policies 
  • Anticipated Fall Referendum on Taxes and Healthcare
  • Need for Heating Assistance for Maine Citizens this winter

The Resolutions will be considered at the General Membership Meeting being held on Saturday morning, Sept. 6, at 8:30am as part of the Annual Session.  Other business at the meeting will include election of officers, establishment of the MMA budget for 2009, consideration of amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws and committee and section reports.  Terrance Sheehan, M.D., President of Medical Mutual Insurance Company of Maine will present his annual report to the membership on the financial status of the company and on the general medical liability situation in Maine. [return to top]

MMA and Board of Licensure in Medicine Team Up to Improve Prescribing for Chronic Pain

Through a contract with MMA, the Board of Licensure in Medicine has funded a confidential, in-office chronic pain consultation service, at no charge to participating medical practices.  The service is aimed at primary care practices, or to specialists in fields other than chronic pain management.  The consultations are flexible and the format can be arranged to suit the requesting practice.

One option offers two credits of category I CME, consisting of a presentation to clinicians and appropriate office staff, followed by a quality assurance style chart review, with a report of the findings from the review with recommendations for possible improvement.  The report is confidential.

Practices interested in the consultation should contact MMA EVP Gordon Smith at gsmith@mainemed.com or by calling 622-3374 ext. 212.

The contract between the Board and MMA also provided for prescribing information and tools to prevent diversion of narcotics to be placed on the MMA website (see www.mainemed.com) and for development of a home study course for physicians, eligible for CME.  The home-study course is expected to be available this Fall. [return to top]

MMA to Support Proposed PFR Commissioner and Dirigo Health Board Nominees this Week

The Maine Senate will hold a confirmation session on Wednesday, August 20, 2008 following hearings by several legislative committees earlier in the week.  Among the persons nominated for positions by Governor Baldacci are Anne Head, of Yarmouth for Commissioner of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulations.  Ms. Head has served as acting Commissioner of the Department on more than one occasion.  MMA will support her nomination in testimony before the Committee on Insurance and Financial Regulation on Tuesday.  The Department oversees the Bureau of Insurance and all the state licensing boards and commissions in the state as well as the financial and securities industry.

Also on Tuesday, MMA will support the nominations of all four of the Governor's nominees to the Dirigo Health Agency Board of Directors. These include Sarah Gagne-Holmes, J.D., of Augusta; Marianne Ringel, of Gardiner; former State Representatives Joseph Bruno of Raymond and Judy Foss of Yarmouth.  Mr. Bruno and Ms. Foss were put forward by the Republican leaders in the Legislature.  Legislation enacted during the past legislative session expanded the number of Board members. [return to top]

New AMA Resource: Selecting the Best EMR/EHR System for Your Practice

Procuring an electronic medical record (EMR) or electronic health record (EHR) system for your practice can be an intimidating process with the many facets and the multitude of EMR/EHR vendors currently available. How do you select the one that’s best for your practice? The American Medical Association has created the educational resource “15 questions to ask before signing an electronic medical record or electronic health record agreement” to help you assess your practice’s needs and determine which vendor will best meet those needs.

Visit the AMA Practice Management Center Web site at www.ama-assn.org/go/pmc to access “15 questions to ask before signing an electronic medical record or electronic health record agreement” as well as many other educational resources. [return to top]

MGMA Presents "Delivering Customer Service for Better Patient Satisfaction," October 3

Customer service in a medical setting has a set of challenges unique to healthcare and patient satisfaction. Among these are issues such as patient privacy, high volume and management of people in crisis.
Unlike customer service interactions in non medical settings, those involving patients and their families are additionally stressful because of their need for medical attention. This training introduces participants to both the basics of customer service and the specifics of providing it in a healthcare setting. Training topics include calming upset patients and families, rephrasing messages such as “I don’t know” and “I’m not sure how much longer this will take,” and handling difficult situations with confidence and competence.

For more information or to register, click here [pdf] [return to top]

August 27th Set for Maine Physicians Action Fund Trustee Meeting

The biennial Maine Physicians Action Fund Trustee (MPAF) Meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, August 27th from 6pm - 9pm, immediately following the MMA's Public Health Committee meeting at the association headquarters in Manchester, Maine.  MMA members of the Executive, Legislative and Public Health Committees, as well as any interested MMA members are encouraged to attend.  The full agenda will include:  telephone interviews with congressional candidates, Chellie Pingree and Charlie Summers to ascertain MMA's recommendation to AMPAC for its contribution/endorsement; an overview of the state legislative races for the 124th Maine Legislature and likely leadership contests, review of campaign contributions to date, decisions on pending requests for campaign assistance; discussion of any potential independent expenditures from the MPAF, as well as fundraising efforts and strategies.

For more information, contact Andrew MacLean, JD, Deputy Executive VP at 207-622-3374, ext. 214 or amaclean@mainemed.com

  [return to top]

Quality Counts Seeks Associate Director

Quality Counts, a statewide non-profit organization whose mission is to improve chronic illness care and prevention and to forge collaborative relationships between healthcare providers, employers, payers and policymakers, is seeking an Associate Director to assist with managing the operational and quality improvement activities of the organization.  Duties include managing Quality Counts (QC) staff and contractors; providing oversight of QC budget and finances; supporting QC quality improvement activities; supporting communications and relationships with QC Member organizations and key stakeholders throughout the state; assisting with fund development; and managing projects and budgets within the policies and guidelines established by the QC Board.  Position reports to Quality Counts Executive Director.

Job Requirements: The successful candidate will have a minimum of 3-5 years experience in project management, administrative practices, and healthcare system management, with demonstrated project management and program development expertise, and preference for additional experience in quality or performance improvement.  Excellent oral and written communications skills and a proven ability to work independently while collaborating with teams of individuals in diverse settings are essential.  Strong relationship management skills and experience working with committees and boards comprised of healthcare providers is preferred. The position also requires excellent organizational skills and a working knowledge of computer software, including Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.)  Experience in grant writing and fundraising would be a plus.

Education Requirements: Undergraduate degree in health, health education, healthcare communications, non-profit management or related field is required.  Bachelor’s degree preferred.

Other Information:
Post on Site:   August 18-31, 2008
Full/Part Time:  Full time
Salary:   Annual
Location Notes: Quality Counts is located at the Maine Medical Association in Manchester.  The position is flexible regarding physical presence at the QC offices, though would require physical presence at the office at least to 2 days per week.
Benefits:   Competitive salary and benefits.
Company Information: see www.mainequalitycounts.org
Contact Information:  Please email resumes and send any inquiries directly to Lisa Letourneau MD, MPH, Executive Director; Tel. (207) 415.4043; E-mail: letoul@mmc.org   [return to top]

Physicians Encouraged To Submit Hanley Award Nominations

The 2008 Dan Hanley Leadership Award will be presented on November 10 at a luncheon keynoted by nationally known medical researcher Dr. Jack Wennberg.  The Daniel Hanley Center for Health Leadership is inviting nominees for the Award. The deadline for submissions is September 24.  You may visit www.hanleyleadership.org for more information and nomination form.

Each year, the Award recognizes a healthcare professional, organization, team or initiative that embodies Dr. Dan Hanley’s values. Since the Award’s inception in 2003, honorees have included Stephen Shannon, D.O, M.P.H., at the time of the award, Dean of the University of New England College of Medicine (2003); nationally known medical researcher John Wennberg, M.D., M.P.H., Chair of the Center for the Evaluative Clinical Services at Dartmouth Medical School (2004); and highly regarded Franklin County clinicians Sandra Record, R.N. and Burgess Record, M.D. (2005) and diabetes treatment pioneer Ann Gahagan, F.N.P. of Caribou (2006); Robert Ritchie, M.D., the father of Maine’s biotech industry (2007).

Please note that the Hanley Center has expanded eligibility for the Hanley Leadership Award. Organizations, teams, partnerships and collaborative initiatives are now eligible for selection, as are individuals. Nominees must reside in Maine (or be based in Maine). Their achievements must have had an impact on improving health and healthcare at the community, region and/or state levels. The nominee’s work should reflect the values exemplified by Dr. Hanley.

For more informatoin, contact Hanley Center Executive Director Jim Harnar at jharnar@maine.rr.com. [return to top]

Cost of Health Care Focus of Oct. 1 Conference

The high and rising cost of health care in Maine will be the focus of a statewide conference on Wednesday, October 1 sponsored by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Maine Health Management Coalition.   “Health Care Costs: Maine’s Burning Platform – Can We Extinguish the Fire?” will examine strategies to moderate Maine’s cost of care.

The morning conference will feature keynote speeches by two national experts on health care and health insurance costs: Dr. Arnie Milstein, Medical Director, Pacific Business Group on Health and the National Health Care Thought Leader at Mercer Consulting and Michael Chernew, Professor, Harvard Medical School, Dept. of Health Care Policy. Dr. Erik Steele, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Eastern Maine Health Systems, will open the conference with a presentation on why it is critical that Maine control health care cost increases.
“Our Health Care Leadership Conference Series focuses attention on the important issues facing Maine and no issue is more important right now than moderating the cost of health care in Maine,” said Dan Corcoran, president, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

“The Maine Health Management Coalition is pleased to co-sponsor this conference bringing together the purchasers and providers of health care to seek solutions to the unsustainable increases we have seen in costs of care,” said Doug Libby, executive director, Maine Health Management Coalition.
The half day conference will take place at the University of Southern Maine’s Abromson Community Center will run from 8:15 a.m. until noon. The cost to attend the conference is $25. Pre-registration is required by September 25. Participants can find more information about the conference and register online at  www.anthem.com/maine/conference .

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine’s Health Care Leadership Conference series examines critical health care issues facing Maine. A series of conferences over the past three years has focused on wellness and preventative strategies to improve the health of Maine people.

The October 1 conference will be of special interest to health care providers and the Maine business community, as well as public policy makers and the general public. [return to top]

Anthem Presents Statewide Conference on Rising Healthcare Costs, October 1

The high and rising cost of health care in Maine will be the focus of a statewide conference on Wednesday, October 1 sponsored by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Maine Health Management Coalition.   “Health Care Costs: Maine’s Burning Platform – Can We Extinguish the Fire?” will examine strategies to moderate Maine’s cost of care.

The morning conference will feature keynote speeches by two national experts on health care and health insurance costs: Dr. Arnie Milstein, Medical Director, Pacific Business Group on Health and the National Health Care Thought Leader at Mercer Consulting and Michael Chernew, Professor, Harvard Medical School, Dept. of Health Care Policy. Dr. Erik Steele, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Eastern Maine Health Systems, will open the conference with a presentation on why it is critical that Maine control health care cost increases.
“Our Health Care Leadership Conference Series focuses attention on the important issues facing Maine and no issue is more important right now than moderating the cost of health care in Maine,” said Dan Corcoran, president, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

“The Maine Health Management Coalition is pleased to co-sponsor this conference bringing together the purchasers and providers of health care to seek solutions to the unsustainable increases we have seen in costs of care,” said Doug Libby, executive director, Maine Health Management Coalition.
The half day conference will take place at the University of Southern Maine’s Abromson Community Center will run from 8:15 a.m. until noon. The cost to attend the conference is $25. Pre-registration is required by September 25. Participants can find more information about the conference and register online at  www.anthem.com/maine/conference .

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine’s Health Care Leadership Conference series examines critical health care issues facing Maine. A series of conferences over the past three years has focused on wellness and preventative strategies to improve the health of Maine people.
The October 1 conference will be of special interest to health care providers and the Maine business community, as well as public policy makers and the general public. [return to top]

Congress Closer on Mental Health Parity

House & Senate negotiators are close on mental health parity.  Negotiators are working to reconcile the differences between H.R. 1424, “Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act” and S. 558, “Mental Health Parity Act.”  Both bills would prohibit group health insurance plans from imposing treatment limits of financial requirements for mental health or substance-related disorder benefits that differ from those applied to covered medical and surgical benefits.  The AMA supported both HR 1424 & S 558. [return to top]

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