September 14, 2009

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MMA Successfully Concludes 156th Annual Session

MMA's 156th Annual Session held in Bar Harbor this past weekend concluded successfully on Sunday morning with a CME program regarding the physician's role in preventing and treating H1N1 flu.  More than 225 members, guests, and vendors attended the weekend meeting.  All seven Resolutions presented by MMA Committees and individual members were adopted at the general membership meeting on Saturday morning, although Resolution seven relating to the Association's review of any public health implications of wind energy projects was passed with significant amendments. 

David McDermott, M.D., MPH of Dover-Foxcroft was installed as President of the Association for the coming year.  Jo Linder, M.D. of Falmouth was elected President-elect.  Nancy Cummings, M.D., an orthopaedic surgeon at Franklin Memorial Hospital, was elected Chair of the Executive Committee.  Jennifer Charity, M.D., a family physician in Newport, and Kenneth Christian, M.D., an emergency physician from Ellsworth, were elected to at-large seats on the Operations Committee.

This year's educational program was presented by The Jackson Laboratory, which also hosted the opening Friday night reception at the lab.  Featuring the topic of Personalized Medicine, Jackson Lab researchers were matched with Maine physicians in a related field that allowed attendees to get a look into the future of medicine in the fields of cancer, diabetes, and neurology.

Twenty-five runners and walkers participated in the 29th Annual Edmund Hardy, M.D. road race, a three-mile loop around Bar Harbor including the scenic shore path.  Abby Chick, age 16 and the daughter of Lisa Letourneau, M.D. and Lee Chick, was the overall winner of the race, edging out runner-up Dan Hale, M.D. by a nose.

The Sunday morning public health forum was well-attended and featured presentations by ME CDC Director Dora A. Mills, M.D., MPH, Kathy Knight, RN, and Donald Burgess, M.D.  The session was moderated by Charles Danielson, M.D., out-going chair of the MMA Public Health Committee.


John D. West, III, M.D., 1957-2009

The MMA family was saddened Thursday to learn of the unexpected death of John D. West, III, M.D. of Orrington.  Dr. West was an active orthopedic surgeon in Bangor and the husband of MMA President Stephanie Lash, M.D. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family at this difficult time.

Although a native of Pittsburgh, Dr. West grew up in the Bangor area graduating from Bangor High School in 1975.  He went on to Dartmouth College and Dartmouth Medical School and completed his surgical residency at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.  He completed his Orthopedic Residency at the University of Washington.

Since returning to the Bangor area to establish practice, Dr. West was active at both St. Joseph Hospital and Eastern Maine Medical Center.  He was the team orthopedic surgeon for the University of Maine from 1993 to the present, a position he enjoyed and at which he excelled.

Dr. West is survived by his mother Louise West, his wife Stephanie, and two sons, Andrew and Geoffrey.

A service of remembrance was held today, September 14th at 2:00 pm at All Souls Congregational Church in Bangor.  Gifts in memory of Dr. West may be sent to the Natural Resources Council of Maine, 3 Wade St., Augusta, Maine 04330 or  A delegation from MMA will attend the service. [return to top]

MMA Enters Social Networking Age

At the Annual Session this past weekend at the Harborside Hotel & Marine in Bar Harbor, Maine, newly installed President Dave McDermott announced that the MMA has now developed a presence on the social networking site LinkedIn.  Members of the MMA can join the discussion group “Maine Medical Association” on LinkedIn.  Dr. McDermott’s email for his presence on LinkedIn is  Any MMA member can use this email address to contact Dr. McDermott throughout the year.  He has also set up a twitter account for MMA members to follow with updates on information about the Association and its activities.  That account is @mmapresident.

During the coming year we will be updating the MMA webpage to make it even more interactive and accessible for our members, and we will explore how we can use newer web tools like the social networking facilities to bring our members together and connect them to share resources and insights across the state.

If you already use LinkedIn:  please join the MMA group.  If you are not yet a user of social networking tools:  now may be the time to explore them. [return to top]

MaineCare Re-enrollment for MIHMS is well underway for Cycle 1 Providers

Cycle 1 Providers:  Please follow this link to the Health PAS provider re-enrollment portal to complete the re-enrollment application before September 16, 2009.  It is important to the MIHMS implementation process and projected staff workload that providers re-enroll in a timely manner according to their assigned cycle.  To begin the process, please click on the Provider Enrollment link in the middle of the left pane menu.

Please check this site to verify your assigned re-enrollment cycle  If you believe you are not assigned to the correct cycle, please contact us at

Re-enrollments have been staggered to allow for processing of all current MaineCare Providers in an efficient and timely manner.  Following this established schedule will allow for payments to be made in the first MIHMS financial cycle.  Providers who have not re-enrolled will experience delays in claims processing.

Please do not delay – get your application in now! 

The schedule for re-enrollment is:
Cycle 1:  August 19 through September 16
Cycle 2:  September 17 through October 14
Cycle 3:  October 15 through November 13

Cycle 2 Providers:  Re-enrollment begins September 17, 2009!

Please note:  Providers should not attempt to re-enroll prior to their assigned dates. 

The re-enrollment application is being updated to reflect policy revisions and attempting to re-enroll early will result in an inability to complete the re-enrollment application.

Questions regarding re-enrollment can be sent to  [return to top]

Fall 2009 J14 A/B MAC Educational Conference!

NHIC, Corp. is pleased to present the Fall Educational Conference on October 13, 2009, in Norwood, MA, at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center.  Please join the Provider Outreach and Education team of NHIC, Corp. for an informative educational conference on Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B services.

For schedule, topic description, and more information "Click Here".  For "Questions" in regards to the conference or "No Internet Access" please call 781-741-3190.

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you in Norwood! [return to top]

CMS Hosts Call on H1N1 on September 14th at 1:30 pm

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is convening a call for the physician community on September 14th to share information on H1N1.  Questions may be submitted in advance via e-mail. Details of the call are as follows:

Information Sharing from HHS on H1N1

Call: 1-800-837-1935; Conference ID: 2H1N1
Date: September 14, 2009
Time: 1:30 -3:00 pm, Eastern DS Time               

Opening Remarks --- Chair- Dr. Nicole Lurie, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Co-Chairs – CAPT Clare Helminiak, Dr. Sally Phillips, and RADM Ann Knebel
Moderator – Susie Butler, CMS Office of External Affairs

The purpose of this information session is to update and inform the provider community about issues around H1N1 preparedness and response, vaccine availability, infection control, and other questions that have come in. We will cover the following topic areas:

  1. General Update

  2. Vaccines and Antivirals

  3. Special Populations

  4. Healthcare System Surge Capacity

  5. Infection Control and Personal Protective Equipment

Submit questions in advance:  We invite you to submit questions now at:

Please note – we know that we cannot respond to each individual email question. Submitting questions prior to the call will allow us to address as many questions as possible.

Helpful websites, should you have questions:

All callers, please dial: 1-800-837-1935 and use Conference ID 2H1N1.
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MeMGMA Offers Half-Day Quickbooks Training, September 23rd at MMA

MeMGMA presents a half-day Quickbooks training September 23rd, from 8 am to noon, at the MMA office in Manchester.  For more information, click here [return to top]

Public Health Forum Panel Delivers Excellent Presentation on Emerging Public Health Threats at MMA’s 156th Annual Session in Bar Harbor

Dr. Burgess, Dr. Danielson, Dr. Mills, and Kathy Knight, RN delivered an excellent H1N1 and emerging public health threats presentation at the 156th MMA Annual Session.  Session attendees received and participated in the Public Health Forum, Public Health, Swine Flu & You: The Practicing Physician’s Role.  Practical protocols, staying abreast of the current information, connecting to your local community, knowing who to contact for emergency preparedness surge response, preparing your clinical setting, how to handle patient surge during the possibility of a H1N1 influx of patients were a few of the topics covered in the Sunday morning program.  For a complete copy of the forum handouts, go to the MMA website at or contact staff, Kellie Miller at

Updates regarding H1N1 will be available on the website and/or go to for immediate updates.  Encourage your staff to check in with this site very frequently during the upcoming fall months.

It will be critical assure that your medical office/clinic can manage an increased demand for services in the midst of a novel H1N1 influenza outbreak.  Ensuring a sustainable community health care response will be important for a likely recurrence of novel H1N1 flu this fall.  Highlighted during the forum was the document – Ten Steps you Can Take:  Actions for Novel H1N1 Influenza Planning and Response for Medical Offices and Outpatient Facilities, available at  As Dr. Burgess stated during his presentation, taking the time to develop a plan for your office will negate the need for mass confusion for your staff and your patients.  The Hepatitis A outbreak in his school system would have been much more difficult to deal with if they hadn’t implemented a basic plan at the office and within the community at large.  As Dr. Burgess indicated, “communication is key.”

Liability was discussed during the forum and to summarize - it was reiterated that Governor John E. Baldacci signed a Proclamation of Civil Emergency Due to a Highly Infectious Agent to allow the state to better respond to the potential dangers of H1N1 flu and to facilitate a statewide vaccination campaign.  This proclamation protects schools districts and other vaccination clinic participants from liability.  The Proclamation also provides immunity from tort liability for approved health care workers who administer the flu vaccines. 



  • Maine CDC is working with Maine Department of Education (DOE) to assure that all Maine children are offered seasonal (regular) and H1N1 vaccine in local schools.  The toll free H1N1 number (1-888-257-0990) to assist schools and partnering health care professionals is staffed 9am-5pm.  A District vaccine Coordinator will be referred to health care providers and/or schools who need more direct assistance in this effort.

  • Maine CDC is working with the Regional Resource Centers at Eastern Maine Medical Center, Central Maine Medical Center, and Maine Medical Center, to assure that all health care providers and Emergency Medical Services personnel (EMS) are offered H1N1 vaccine during the first few weeks of its arrival.

  • Maine CDC is working with clinicians who provide health care for pregnant women to assure they have H1N1 vaccine for their patients and themselves as soon as it arrives in Maine.

  • Maine CDC will also be working with residential schools, employers, and health care providers to assure all others in the high-risk groups for H1N1 are offered vaccine.

  • Vaccine Coordinators have been appointed for each Public health District in Maine.  Vaccine Coordinators will be one component of district leadership teams, which also include staff from the three Regional Resource centers for Public health Emergency Preparedness, and Emergency Management Agencies.  These Vaccine Coordinators will be following up on discussions had at the August 20th, 2009 Summit to plan for local vaccine distribution and ensuring that people in the groups prioritized by US CDC are offered vaccine.

Vaccine Coordinators as of September 2009:

  • District 1 – York:                                                Sharon Leahy-Lind, 490-4625

  • District 2 – Cumberland:                                  Meredith Tipton, 592-5631

  • District 3 – Western Maine:                             MaryAnn Amrich, 753-9103 (Franklin, Oxford and Androscoggin)

  • District 4 – Mid-Coast:                                      Jen Gunderman-King, 596-4278 (Waldo, Knox, Lincoln, and                Sagadahoc)

  • District 5 – Central Maine:                                Sue Lee, 592-5634 

  • District 6 – Penquis:                                          Jessica Fogg, 592-5633 (Penobscot and Piscataquis)

  • District 7 – Downeast                                        Al May, 263-4975 (Washington, Hancock)

  • District 8 – Aroostook                                         Sharon Ramey, 592-5632 (interim until 9/21

  • Tribal:                                                                     Jerolyn Ireland, 532-2240, ext. 15

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    Dirigo Health Board Receives Legal Advice, Continues Discussion of DirigoChoice Product Design for Future

    The Dirigo Health Agency Board of Directors held a regular meeting this morning at the DHA offices at 211 Water Street in Augusta.  Members spent the first hour and a half with the board's legal counsel, AAG William Laubenstein, receiving advice about pending litigation.  The Board also continued its discussion of the design of the DirigoChoice product and the RFP for plan sponsorship for the next contract period.  Members conducted a lengthy discussion of whether eligibility for subsidy in the program should be open to both the uninsured and under-insured or just the uninsured, including the proper definition of each status.  The Board voted 5-3 in favor of making both categories eligible for subsidized access to the product.  Based upon a staff recommendation, the Board adopted a change relative to the 80% subsidy eligibility making the change effective January 1, 2010 rather than July 1, 2010 as agreed at the previous meeting.  The Board also approved a RFP Scoring Methodology and received updated financial statements from the staff.  Maine Quality Forum Director Josh Cutler, M.D. presented members with an update on the MQF work in four priority areas, health information technology; quality analysis, particularly variation analysis; development of the patient centered medical home concept in Maine; and patient safety, particularly health care associated infections.  

    Dr. Cutler provided an update on the work of the HIT Plan Steering Committee, especially a draft letter of intent to apply for federal funding available through the ARRA to support states in their HIT planning and implementation approved for submission at a meeting of the Steering Committee last week.  Maine's project is entitled, The Maine Health Information Exchange to Improve Health Care Delivery Project:  Maine HIE Cooperative Agreement to Advance a Statewide Infrastructure for Safe and Secure Health Information Exchange.  the Governor's Office of Health Policy & Finance will be the prime contractor for the Project and other key stakeholders will be the Maine Quality Forum, MaineCare, and HealthInfoNet.  The HIT Steering Committee (HITSC) includes the MMA and many other stakeholder groups.  Finally, Dr. Cutler mentioned the MQF's work to address legislative directives regarding MRSA and so-called "shared decisionmaking."  A working group on shared decisionmaking will be convened in October.

    The Board scheduled its next meeting for 9 am to noon on Friday, October 16, 2009. [return to top]

    National Health Care Reform: President Addresses Joint Session of Congress, Baucus Releases Finance Framework

    Last Wednesday evening, September 9th, President Obama delivered a prime time address to a joint session of Congress to reiterate his case for national health care reform.  You can read the AMA's response to the President's speech on the web at:

     More information about health care reform may be found on the AMA's web site at:

    Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) said on September 9th that he would release his health care reform plan during the week of September 14th and would schedule a mark-up for the week of September 21st regardless of whether any Republicans on the committee support the plan.  You can find the Senate Finance Chair's 18-page outline, Framework for Comprehensive Health Reform on the web at:

    Also on September 9th, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) accepted the chairmanship of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee, succeeding the late Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA). [return to top]

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