November 8, 2010

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State Republicans Win Control of Governorship and Both Legislative Chambers

For the first time in nearly 45 years, both chambers of the Maine Legislature and the Governorship will be in Republican hands come January, following the results of last Tuesday's election.  Paul LePage won the gubernatorial election receiving more than 38% of the vote to Eliot Cutler's 36.5%.  Governor-elect LePage will be the first Republican Governor in almost twenty years. The Senate appears to be 20 Republicans, 14 Democrats, and Independent Richard Woodbury, although one recount is likely in South Portland.  In the House, the split is 77 Republicans, 73 Democrats, and one Independent.

Because Republcians will have a majority of the seats in the combined houses (97-87-2), they have the opportunity to elect the four Constitutional Officers (Attorney General, Secretary of State, Treasurer, and Auditor).  Candidates are emerging for all positions.

The bond issue aimed at improving access to dental services passed narrowly.  It was supported by the MMA and several other health related organizations.

Almost no observers anticipated Maine Republicans taking over the House.  Several candidates for House Speaker have been mentioned, including Representatives Patrick Flood, Paul Davis, Andre Cushing, and others.

Of the five physicians who ran for the House or Senate, only incumbent House member Linda Sanborn, M.D. was victorious.  Dr. Sanborn, a retired family physician from Gorham, will be serving her second term and will be seeking a second term on the Health & Human Services Committee.

MMA congratulates all the winners and we look forward to working with the new Governor and the Legislature toward the goals of improving access to care, improving the quality of medical care, and controlling its cost.

MMA Testifies on Proposed Amendments to Prescription Monitoring Program Rules

On Monday, November 1, 2010, MMA Executive Vice President Gordon H. Smith, Esq., provided both written and oral testimony on proposed rule changes impacting the operation of the state's Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP).   While supporting a change to allow office staff to access the database on behalf of a prescriber, MMA strongly opposed having the database searched by OSA (Office of Substance Abuse) staff for the purpose of making referrals to the licensing boards.  MMA also urged OSA staff to refer the proposed changes to the PMP Advisory Committee which meets on November 16th. 

The proposed changes also would authorize OSA staff to refer appropriate cases to the Medical Professionals Health Program.  These cases would involve evidence of self-prescribing.  MMA does not oppose that change.

Rules implementing the PMP are designated in the enabling legislation as "major substantive" rules, meaning that the committee of jurisdiction of the legislature (in this case, the Joint Standing Committee on Health & Human Services) must approve the rule change before it can take effect.  One impact of this is that any proposed rule could not take effect until around the middle of next year.

MMA anticipates that legislators or regulators may submit legislation in the upcoming session which would propose additional changes to the PMP.  Mandatory use of the PMP by prescribers is one such possibility, which MMA likely would oppose.  This issue will be discussed at the MMA Legislative Committee meeting on Nov. 29th.

Mr. Smith's full testimony is available on the MMA website at

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Congress Re-convenes on November 15th and Must Adress Medicare SGR

If Congress fails to act by November 30th, Medicare and TRICARE payments to physicians will be cut by 23% on December 1st with an additional cut of 6% on January 1, 2011. 

On November 17th, the AMA has called for a White Coat Wednesday, when physicians from across the country will call their U.S. Senators to urge them to act on this issue.  Call the AMA grassroots hot line at 800-833-6354 to be put in touch with the officers of Senator Snowe and Collins.  Please express to them our appreciation for their past efforts while advocating strongly for a thirteen month delay in the cuts so that the new Congress can have time to develop a permanent plan to replace the sustainable growth rate formula.

You should also get your patients engaged in this issue.  Inform them about the damage Medicare cuts could have on access to care.  Visit to print 50 patient-focused fliers and distribute them in your waiting area.  Give your patients accurate information and encourage them to call Senators Snowe and Collins to ask for assistance.


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2010 Electronic Prescribing Incentive Program Update

According to CMS, it is not too late to start participating in the 2010 Electronic Prescribing (eRx) Incentive Program and potentially qualify to receive a full-year incentive payment.  Eligible professionals (EPs) may begin reporting eRx at any time during the 2010 program year of January 1 - December 31, 2010.  Those who successfully report the eRx measure in 2010 will be eligible to receive an eRx incentive equal to 2.0% of their total Medicare Part B Physician Fee Schedule allowed charges for services performed during the reporting period.  

The eRx Incentive Program is a separate incentive program from the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI), with different reporting requirements.  To access all available educational resources on the eRx program please visit: [return to top]

Distribution of 2009 PQRI Incentive Payments & Feedback Reports

CMS will distribute 2009 PQRI (Physician Quality Reporting Initiative) incentive payments to successful participants between October 25 and November 12, 2010.  The 2009 PQRI feedback reports will be available on the Physician and Other Health Care Professionals Quality Reporting Portal at starting this week.  Participants may also contact their Carrier/MAC to request individual NPI-level reports at

Effective January 2010, CMS revised the manner in which incentive payment information is communicated to eligible professionals receiving electronic remittance advices.  CMS has instructed Medicare contractors to use a new indicator of LE to indicate incentive payments instead of LS.  LE will appear on the electronic remit.  In an effort to further clarify the type of incentive payment issued (either PQRI or eRx), CMS created a 4-digit code to indicate the type of incentive and reporting year.  For the 2009 PQRI incentive payments, the 4-digit code is PQ09.  This code will be displayed on the electronic remittance advice along with the LE indicator.  For questions about the status of PQRI incentive payments (during the distribution timeframe), please contact your Provider Contact Center.  The Contact Center Directory is available on the CMS web site at:

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Martin's Point Health Care Opens Portland Health Care Center

On Thursday, November 4th, Martin's Point Health Care opened the doors of a new, state-of-the-art Portland Health Care Center to members of the community for a special preview.  Kicking off the day was a press conference attended by more than 100 individuals, featuring remarks by David Howes, M.D., President and CEO of Martin's Point, and Nick Mavodones, Mayor of the City of Portland, and other special guests.  Immediately following the press conference, there was a ceremonial ribbon cutting and guided tours of the new facility.

The health care center is nearly 43,000 square feet and is "green" and built to LEED certification requirements.  The Center will open to existing and new patients on November 15th.

Martin's Point is a non-for-profit health care organization that operates nine health centers in Maine and New Hampshire.  MMA is proud to note that Martin's Point participates in the Association's group membership plan with the result that all its employed physicians are members of MMA. [return to top]

MeMGMA's Employment Law Update is This Wednesday, November 10th at MMA

The Medical Group Management Association, Maine Affiliate presents an Employment Law Update from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 10th at the MMA offices in Manchester.  The featured speaker is Lawrence C. Winger, Esq.  Mr. Winger has more than 24 years of experience in Labor & Employment Law and he is on retainer to MeMGMA to answer employment law questions for members.  He has handled labor and employment law litigation matters such as NLRB unfair labor practice trials, union picketing injunction litigation, age, sex, and handicap discrimination trials, sexual harassment jury trials, wage and hour cases, non-compete cases, wrongful discharge allegations, unemployment compensation, and arbitrations.

During this session, Mr. Winger will address the following current topics in labor and employment law:

  • Family medical leave;
  • Discrimination laws;
  • Lactation breaks;
  • FLSA overtime exemptions;
  • the Maine Medical Marijuana law; and
  • the applicability of various statutes to domestic partners.

The cost for the program (whether live or by Webex) is $25 for members and staff, $50 for non-members.  For more information, please contact Karen Wheeler at 873-6173 or by email at

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Medical Societies/AMA to Offer Payment Reform Seminar - Postponed from Nov 13th

AMA Pathways to Success:  What physicians need to know about the coming revolution in payment practices

Postponed from November 13th

New Date TBA - Watch your Inbox! 

Still Time to Register!  

 Marriott Grappone Conference Center, Concord, N.H.

Attend this dynamic seminar on physician payment and delivery models being tested within Medicare and adopted in the private sector.  Hear from experts who have had success with the new payment models, in accountable care organizations, the medical home and more.  The American Medical Association designates this educational activity for a maximum of 4.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.

Topics to include: 

  • “Pathways for physician success under healthcare payment and delivery reforms,” Harold Miller, executive director of the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform, will explore new approaches to physician payment and delivery of care.
  • “Physician leadership in the coming revolution,” AMA Immediate Past President J. James Rohack, MD, will describe the Washington landscape with regard to new federal pilot programs and discuss how physicians can lead in this new payment revolution.
  • “Vermont’s Blueprint for Health and the patient-centered medical home,” Jennifer Gilwee, MD, will discuss Vermont’s Blueprint for Health and its model for a patient-centered medical home and the opportunities and challenges facing primary care physicians.
  • “Moving orthopaedics toward a functioning market in Portland,” Orthopaedic surgeon James D. Kuhn, MD, will discuss a program to make the market for surgical services function more effective by offering warranties and other innovations at the Mercy Joint Replacement Center in Maine.
  • “The New Hampshire Citizens Health Initiative ACO pilot program,” Co-chair of the New Hampshire Citizens Health Initiative, Philip Boulter, MD, will delve into the initiative’s new multipayer ACO pilot project. 

This seminar is an American Medical Association program presented in conjunction with Maine Medical Association, the New Hampshire Medical Society and the Vermont Medical Association.


$125 for AMA members and their office staff;

$155 for State or specialty society members and their office staff;

$195 for Non-members

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MaineGeneral Health Presents Fall Coding Conference on November 17th

MaineGeneral Health has planned its Fall 2010 Coding Conference entitled, Navigating the Coding Maze for 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, November 17th at the Waterville Elks Lodge, 76 Industrial Road, Waterville.  The cost is $75 and 6.5 AAPC CEUs are available for attendance.  The conference speakers include:

  • Laurie Desjardins, CPC, PCS, Senior Manager, Health Care Consulting Division, Baker, Newman & Noyes
  • Wendy Pelletier, RHIT, CCS, CPC, Clinical Coding Manager, MaineGeneral Medical Center's Health Information Services Division
  • Marci Alexander, Esq., Chief Compliance Officer & Counsel, MaineGeneral Health
  • Jeffrey J. Wrigley, Detective, Maine Office of the Attorney General.

The registration deadline is November 12th and no late or same day registrations are permitted.  For more information, please contact Lisa Beeckel, CPC, Physician Liaison, MaineGeneral Health at 626-1094 or by email at 

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Dinner Meeting Features Maine MSO's: Ambulatory EHR for a Connected Maine Healthcare Community

You don't have to be a large healthcare system or employ a staff of information technology professionals to have full featured affordable EHR.  Dan Mingle, M.D., extends this invitation to any practice for dinner, discussion, and a product demonstration at the Marriott Residence Inn on the Portland waterfront at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday evening, November 18th.

Maine MSO has teamed with Allscripts to put enterprise-class EHR and Practice Management software into the hands of private practices and small to medium sized healthcare organizations.  The EHR is locally operated and locally supported.  Maine MSO will provide connectivity, content, and data meaningful to Maine.  Do not miss this opportunity to see how Maine MSO's One-Patient One-Chart EHR strategy will provide you with unparalleled patient safety and practice performance.

The dinner and product demonstration are free of cost.  Space is limited so call today to reserve your seat for November 18th or for an alternate date and location.  Contact Ashley Picard at Maine MSO via e-mail to or call 207-370-6445, extension 223.

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Register Now for Hanley Leadership Forum Featuring T.R. Reid on November 30th

The Daniel Hanley for Health Leadership, Quality Counts, & the World Affairs Council of Maine are collaborating on a Quality Healthcare Forum at the Holiday Inn by the Bay on Tuesday, November 30th.  The afternoon session is entitled, The Affordable Care Act and Opportunities for Improving Healthcare.  The evening program includes the 2010 Hanley Leadership Recognition Dinner with a keynote address by T.R. Reid, noted journalist, NPR commentator, and author of The Healing of America:  A Global Quest for Better, Fairer, Cheaper Health Care.

You can find registration information on the web at:

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Stop the Flu - It Starts with You!

Recognizing that influenza infection in health care workers can lead to outbreaks with serious consequences for patients, the Maine Medical Association's Public Health Committee and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention are committed to increasing influenza immunization rates among Maine's medical staff.  

The MMA Public Health Committee and MeCDC therefore encourage all Maine physicians to receive the influenza vaccination this fall and to create policies regarding vaccination among your staff.  For more information, visit: or

- Norma Dreyfus, MD, MMA Public Health Committee Co-Chair

- Lani Graham, MD, MPH, MMA Public Health Committee Co-Chair

- Stephen Sears, MD, MPH, State Epidemiologist, MeCDC 

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