January 24, 2011

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Gov. LePage Nominates Mary Mayhew to be DHHS Commissioner

Last week, Governor Paul LePage nominated Mary Mayhew to be commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services.  Mayhew most recently had served as the Governor's health policy advisor.  Prior to that appointment, she had worked for the Maine Hospital Association for eleven years, serving most of that time as the MHA Vice President of Government Affairs and Communications.  Her confirmation hearing before the Health and Human Services Committee of the Legislature will be held at 1:00pm on Feb. 1.

MMA representatives will attend the confirmation hearing and testify in favor of the nomination.  "Mary Mayhew has been one of the most capable and visible health care lobbyists at the state house the last decade," noted MMA EVP Gordon Smith. "She is very well versed in health care issues including regulatory issues and financing.  We have worked very closely with Mary over many years and are pleased to have the opportunity to support her nomination to this position which has such impact on physicians and their patients.  We look forward to working with her when the confirmation process is completed."



Legislative Committee Conference Call This Tuesday; New Bills for Review

The MMA's Legislative Committee will hold its next weekly conference call this Tuesday, January 25th at 8:00 p.m.  Legislative Committee members and specialty society legislative liaisons are strongly encouraged to participate.  Any physician, practice manager, or other staff member who is interested in the MMA's legislative advocacy also is welcome to participate.  It is not necessary to RSVP for the calls.

Please use the following conference call number and passcode.  These will remain the same for every weekly call during the session:

Conference call number:  1-877-669-3239

Passcode:  23045263

The purpose of the weekly conference calls is to review and finalize the MMA's position on bills printed that week, to hear the views of specialty societies on the new bills or their concerns about any health policy issues, and to discuss the highlights of legislative action that week.  The calls rarely last longer than an hour and usually we can accomplish our business in much less time.

If you have any questions about the conference calls, please contact Andrew MacLean, Deputy EVP at amaclean@mainemed.com or 622-3374, ext. 214.

The following bills of interest to the physician community have been printed since last week's call and will be discussed on Tuesday.  For each bill, MMA Deputy EVP Andrew MacLean has proposed a staff recommendation for the MMA's position (support, oppose, monitor) and any specialty society or MMA committee that may be particularly interested in the bill.  Clicking on the "L.D. XX" will take you to the summary page on the legislature's web site showing you the procedural status of the bill.  To find the bill text for review, click on the "Bill Text and Other Docs" tab on the left side of the page.

L.D. 83, An Act To Legalize the Sale, Possession and Use of Fireworks (oppose; ophthalmologists , emergency physicians, Public Health Committee) 

L.D. 90, An Act Regarding Graphic Images Displayed with the Intention of Interfering with Civil Rights  (monitor; OB/GYNs) 

L.D. 98, Resolve, Directing the Commissioner of Education To Adopt a Policy Regarding Management of Head Injuries in Youth Sports (support; Public Health Committee, neurologists) 

L.D. 100, Fiscal Year 2011 Supplemental Budget (oppose cuts to Doctor's for Maine's Future Program; support hospital settlements) 

L.D. 116, An Act To Require a 24-hour Waiting Period prior to an Abortion (monitor; OB/GYNs) 

L.D. 121, An Act To Amend the Laws Regarding Public Health Infrastructure (monitor; Public Health Committee) 

L.D. 129, An Act To Eliminate Dual Certification Requirements for Speech-language Pathologists (monitor; ENTs) 

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Legislature Holds Hearings on Regulatory Reform

The legislature's Joint Select Committee on Regulatory Fairness & Reform, http://www.maine.gov/legis/house/jt_com/rfr.htm, has scheduled a series of 9 public hearings around the state between January 24th and February 14th to hear Mainers' views on the state's regulatory climate.  The first hearing was held today in Presque Isle.  The remaining hearing dates and locations are:

  •  January 26, 2011, Hutchinson Center, Belfast, 3-6 p.m.

  • January 31, 2011, University of Maine at Machias, Machias, 1-4 p.m.

  • February 2, 2011, Eastern Maine Community College, Bangor, 3-6 p.m.

  • February 3, 2011, Central Maine Community College, Auburn, 3-6 p.m.

  • February 7, 2011, Town Hall, Sanford, 3-6 p.m.

  • February 9, 2011, Southern Maine Community College, South Portland, 3-6 p.m.

  • February 14, 2011, Cross State Office Building, Augusta, 1 p.m.

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MMA Lends Support to Doctor's for Maine's Future Scholarship Program

In his Fiscal Year 2011 Supplemental Budget, LD 100, Governor Paul LePage has proposed cutting $125,000 from the Doctor's for Maine's Future Scholarship program.   The program awards students who have a substantial connection to the State of Maine and are attending a qualifying Maine-based medical school program up to 50% of the institution's cost of attendance or $25,000 annually.  Eight students from the Maine Medical Center/Tufts University School of Medicine Program and six students from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine are currently receiving assistance from the program. 

On Monday, the Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs and the Joint Standing Committee on Education heard testimony regarding the proposed cuts.  Elizabeth Bordowitz, Chief Executive Officer of the Finance Authority of Maine, which oversees the program, testified that the cuts would mean three fewer students receive funding.  Several students who currently participate testified about how the funding has allowed them to pursue medical education and supported their goals of practicing primary care in rural parts of the state.   Jessa Barnard, JD, testified on behalf of the MMA and reminded the Committee members that the needs that led to the formation of the program, including an acute shortage of primary care physicians, still remain.  

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MMA Executive Committee Completes Successful President's Retreat

Eighteen members of the MMA Executive Committee traveled to Boston this past weekend to participate in an annual retreat that has come to be known over the years as the President's Retreat.  President Jo Linder, M.D. had chaired an ad hoc committee on Governance that had been meeting since late August, 2010 to draft a series of recommendations intended to modernize the governance structure of the association.  These recommendations were the focus of the Retreat.

Among the more significant recommendations involved moving away from geographic representation on MMA's 28 member Executive Committee.  The recommendation was supported by the committee and the Bylaws Committee, under the leadership of David McDermott, M.D., MPH will now begin to draft implementing bylaw amendments. The goal is to have Executive Committee members nominated through a robust nominating committee structure that will involve the committee working year-round to find potential members.  While geography will be one criteria considered for membership, other criteria will also be considered such as experience, leadership capabilities, gender, age, specialty and mode of practice (private practice, employment, etc.)  Ultimately, the hope is that the MMA Executive Committee membership will begin to resemble the physician population at large in the state.

The current Executive Committee will likely become the Board of Directors and the current 7-member Operations Committee will be re-named the Executive Committee.

Another significant recommendation approved was the reduction in the number of Standing Committees and the addition of an Audit Committee.

Once the bylaws are drafted and approved by the Executive Committee, they will be voted upon by the membership present at the Annual Meeting in September in Bar Harbor. The draft changes will be posted on the MMA website at www.mainemed.com at least 60 days prior to the Annual Meeting (Sept. 9-11, 2011).







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MaineCDC Updates Progress on Public Health Goals

The MeCDC recently released an update on progress made towards reaching its Healthy Maine 2010 goals. The 2010 targets were set in 2000 as a way to gauge the state's status and accomplishments in 10 subject areas including substance abuse, family planning, injury, mental health and chronic disease.  

Data has been updated for 72 measures, showing that the state met 23 percent of its goals but did not reach the target for 60 percent. 

Among the goals met: 

  • Only 17 percent of Maine adults now smoke.
  • More than 80 percent of adults have had their cholesterol checked in the past five years.
  • More than 25,000 homes were tested for radon between 2001 and 2009, and more than 4,500 were mitigated.
  • More than 92 percent of adults use seat belts.

Among the goals not met:

  • Only 62.5 percent of women in their 50s are getting mammograms or clinical breast exams. 
  • Just over 86 percent of women got pap smears in the past three years.
  • Fewer Mainers overall — and fewer women, specifically — are protecting themselves from skin cancer.
  • Nearly half of Mainers live in counties that exceed state recommended ozone levels.
  • Fewer pregnancies are planned.
  • More teens are sexually active.
  • Fewer adults are getting flu shots.
Stephen Sears, MD, acting director of the Maine CDC, commented that the data helps set the direction for public health efforts in the state moving forward.   Maine's progress towards meeting its Healthy Maine 2010 goals and objectives can be found on this updated website: http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/boh/healthy_maine/index.shtml.

Healthy People 2020 (HP2020), the decade's public health plan for the country, was released in mid-December.  Maine, along with all other states, is expected to start creating its version of this plan in the coming months.  The HP2020 website can be found at:
 http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/default.aspx.   [return to top]

CMS Enhances Physician Directory Tool

In late December, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it enhanced its physician directory tool with new information.  Called Physician Compare, the new aspect of the web site is intended to help beneficiaries find physicians and other health care professionals in their communities.  The new site is required by the ACA.

The information on the site includes:

  • contact and address information for the practice office;

  • medical specialty;

  • institution awarding professional degree and residency or other clinical training;

  • any foreign language spoken by the practitioner;

  • the practitioner's gender; and

  • whether the practitioner has reported data through the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS).

The web site is at http://www.medicare.gov/find-a-doctor.

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Introducing "Get with the Guidelines - Outpatient" - Jan 26 Webinar

Introducing: Get With the Guidelines - Outpaitient


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

9 am - 10 am

Guest Speaker: Vincent Bufalino, MD, FAHA

Get With The Guidelines® -Outpatient puts evidence-based guidelines for preventing and treating chronic diseases to work in outpatient settings.

The program brings together the disease prevention and management efforts of the American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, and American Heart Association/American Stroke Association to offer a broad approach to primary and secondary prevention. Practices’ existing electronic health records (EHRs) or health technology systems extract relevant patient data without disturbing clinical workflow. Participants receive quarterly reports charting guidelines adherence, providing benchmarking information and supporting continuing quality improvement.  Get With The Guidelines-Outpatient currently captures the core clinical quality measures required to achieve Meaningful Use in the program’s ideal data set. Many EHR vendors support Get With The Guidelines-Outpatient

For Webinar Registration and Information, email: profedfda@heart.org and reference GWTG-Outpaient

For additional information on the Get with The Guidelines Program, visit: http://outpatient.heart.org/GWTG/ [return to top]

MMA Public Health Committee CME: Social Determinants of Health Outcomes, Feb 9th

The MMA Public Health Committee Presents:

Social Determinants of Health Outcomes

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

4 pm - 5 pm

MMA Large Conference Room, 30 Association Drive, Manchester

Speaker: Dr. Ed Pontius

1 AMA PRE Category 1 Credit

This CME seminar will discuss the social determinants of physical and mental health outcomes, the causes of our increasing health challenges and how we can best advocate for the health of Maine communities.  Topics include:

  • Current research relating mental health outcomes to social factors internationally and in the United States;
  • The physical and mental illnesses that demonstrate significant gradients in prevalence with socioeconomic status, and how prevalence of those illnesses relates both to poverty and to income inequality;   
  • Trends in health outcomes and the future need for health services in nations reducing income inequality and in nations with increasing income inequality.

For more information, or to register, contact Jessa Barnard at 207-622-3374 x 211 or jbarnard@mainemed.org.   [return to top]

Maine Mental Health Law Update, March 10th

Maine State Bar Association Webcast 

Maine Mental Health Law: Involuntary Hospitalization and Community Commitment 

Thursday, March 11, 2011 

9:30 am - 12:00 pm  


This webcast provides an overview of Maine`s mental health laws relating to involuntary hospitalization, court-ordered involuntary treatment, and community commitment.
  • Involuntary Hospitalization: Emergency Hospitalization & Involuntary Commitment

  • Involuntary Treatment

  • Progressive Treatment


Katherine Greason, AAG

The Hon. Robert E. Mullen

William A. Lee, III, Esquire

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Prescription Monitoring Program Delays Vendor Transition

The Maine Office of Substance Abuse (OSA) has revised its timeline for the transition between web hosts for the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP). The new target date for the shutdown of the current site hosted by Goold Health Systems (GHS) is Monday, January 31, 2011. The new service provider, Health Information Designs (HID), plans to activate its new Maine PMP online database the next day, February 1, 2011. Practices should plan on an interruption of all PMP-related services for at least 24 hours. 

Data submitters are asked to continue using the current site until 5 pm on Thursday, January 27. On or soon after February 1, data submitters will need to go to HID's new data submitter site to set up their accounts and submit data there. Details on how to set up your account  are documented in the RxSentry Data Submitter's Implementation Guide posted at http://www.hidinc.com/mainepmp.  User guides to the new site for both data submitters and data requesters are already posted and available.  Current users of the PMP web site will also be sent an e-mail message with instructions on logging in and setting up a new password.

Data requesters are encouraged to run any reports on the current web site that they can anticipate needing prior to January 31st.  

If you have any questions regarding the upcoming changes to the PMP web site, please contact Dan Eccher, Prescription Monitoring Program Coordinator at the Office of Substance Abuse at 207-287-3363 or daniel.eccher@maine.gov.  [return to top]

New Registration Links: What Health Care Reform Means for the Health Care Community (Jan 25) and Practices (Jan 28)

What Health Care Reform Means for Maine Practices and Patients

Friday, January 28, 2011

12 pm – 1 pm


This webinar program is geared towards those who work with patients or in a health care practice.  

  • Learn how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) impacts Maine patients and physicians
  • Learn about efforts to educate patients regarding coverage opportunities
  • Learn where to refer your patients for more information, and where to get educational materials for your patients

What Health Care Reform Means for the Health Care Community in Maine 
Quality Counts Brown Bag Forum 

Tuesday, January 25th     

 12 pm - 1 pm   


            This webinar program will be geared towards all interested parties.  

  • Learn how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) impacts Maine patients and the health care community at large

  • Learn about efforts to educate ME residents about coverage opportunities

  • Learn where to get more information

For more information, please contact Jessa Barnard at 207-622-3374, ext. 211 or jbarnard@mainemed.com

These programs are offered as a collaborative effort of the Maine Medical Association, the Maine Primary Care Association and CarePartners, with support from the Maine Health Access Foundation in an effort to inform patients of coverage opportunities under the federal Affordable Care Act.   For more information about the grant and how it can help you inform your patients,  contact either Jessa Barnard or Gordon Smith (gsmith@mainemed.com). [return to top]

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