April 25, 2011

Subscribe to Maine Medicine eNewsletters
Manage Your Subscriptions
Email our Editor...
Maine Medical Association Home Page
. Search back issues
. Plain Text Version
Printer Friendly

MMA Facing Busy Week at State House

The 125th Maine Legislature resumes work today after taking a break last week.  Literally hundreds of bills are having public hearings or being worked on in work sessions between now and Friday.  MMA will be testifying on proposals regarding the new medical marijuana law, health information exchange, the Medical Professionals Health Program, medical liability (statute of limitations), posting of prices, health insurance (guaranteed issue and community rating), Dirigo Health, and MRSA.  Copies of all MMA testimony is available on the MMA website at www.mainemed.com.

Between now and the statutory adjournment date of June 15th, the legislature will complete work on more than 1500 items of legislation or hold them over to be handled during the Second Regular Session which will convene in January, 2012.  A two-year biennial budget also must be passed with a two-thirds vote.

In addition to the bills noted above, MMA also will be involved the following week as the Certificate-of-Need (CON) bills are finalized in the HHS Committee and the Committee hears bills on Medication Therapy Management (L.D. 612), Academic Detailing (L.D. 719), the Prescription Monitoring Program (L.D. 1429, 1435), and the Maine Health Data Organization (L.D. 1467).

MMA is now following nearly 300 bills which impact on physician practice or public health in some way and advocating for physician and patient interests on each.  Each Tuesday evening, at 8:00 p.m., the MMA Legislative Committee holds a conference call chaired by Committee Chair Lisa Ryan, D.O., a pediatrician practicing in Bridgton, and staffed by Deputy EVP Andrew MacLean.  Any MMA member is welcome to participate on the call and a list of the bills or issues being considered that week is always included in this Weekly Update.


Watch Your Mail for May 18th Practice Education Seminar Brochure

MMA's 20th Annual Practice Education Seminar, being held again this year at the Augusta Civic Center, will feature presentations on a number of topics that members say are difficult for them to get their hands around.  The program will be held on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Registrations materials will be mailed to all MMA members and practice managers early this coming week. 

Among the topics are the following: 

  • Measuring Quality in a physician practice;
  • What's New at Medicare;
  • Achieving Meaningful Use in a Meaningful Way;
  • Preparing for Accountable Care Organizations;
  • Addressing Issues with Elderly Drivers;
  • Social Media in Your Practice:  Friend or Foe; and
  • Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse

 Speakers include Insurance Superintendent Mila Koffman, J.D., John Freedman, M.D. of Freedman HealthCare, Thomas Arnold, Deputy Secretary of State and Elizabeth Mitchell, President of the Maine Health Management Coalition. 

Interested individuals may also register now on the MMA website at www.mainemed.com.  For one information on the Annual Seminar, contact Gail Begin at MMA via e-mail to gbegin@mainemed.com.




  [return to top]

DEAPA Congratulates 2011 Annual Award Recipients

The Downeast Association of Physician Assistants (DEAPA) congratulates the following recipients of its 2011 annual awards:

  • Robert J. Lapham Outstanding Service Award:  Cheryl DeGrandpre, PA-C, Freeport, Maine & Ann Norsworthy, PA-C, Waterville, Maine

  • Rural Physician Assistant of the Year:  Laura Corbett, PA-C, Belgrade, Maine

  • Outstanding Health Care Professional:  Lori Eckerstorfer, PA-C, Fort Fairfield, Maine

  • Physician of the Year:  Mark Silver, M.D., Waterville, Maine 

The Association presented these awards at its annual meeting at the MMA on Saturday, April 9th.

[return to top]

Annual Coding Update Now Rescheduled for April 29th at MMA; Attend Live or via WebEx.

The April 1st First Friday educational program entitled, No April's Fool, Annual Coding Update, rescheduled once because of weather and another time because of illness, is finally planned for Friday, April 29th from 9:00 a.m. to noon at the MMA office in Manchester.  Featuring Laurie Desjardins, CPC and Jana Purrell, CPC from the Learning Center (formerly the Coding Center of MMA) at Baker, Newman & Noyes, this annual update will feature several current coding topics.  A flier including the topics and agenda will be distributed this week and placed on the MMA website at www.mainemed.com.  The cost of the seminar is $65 and interested individuals may attend either via WebEx or by joining the faculty at the MMA offices in Manchester.  MMA Executive Vice President Gordon H. Smith, Esq. will be moderating the discussion.

Questions about the program and any First Friday program may be addressed to Gail Begin at MMA at 622-3374 or via e-mail to gbegin@mainemed.com.

[return to top]

Maine Health, Eastern Maine Health Care & Maine General Complete Community Needs Assessment

Three years ago, Maine Health, Eastern Maine Health Care Systems, and MaineGeneral Health formed a collaborative venture called OneMaine Health to address statewide health issues.  A health needs assessment was the first project and last week the results of the comprehensive study were released to the public.  In a 262 page report based upon hospital data and a survey taken last fall of more than 6,400 households in the state, several interesting patterns are revealed, including county -by-county variations. 

The study included information on several public health topics, including the prevalence of chronic disease, rates of cancer, levels of obesity, tobacco use and substance abuse.  Information was also collected on access to dental health and mental health services.  Among the findings:

  •      Mainers continue to have higher rates of cancer than the national average.

  •      Cancer patients in Aroostook County are more likely to die from the disease than patients in Cumberland county.

  •      Rural Maine counties tend to have higher rates of heart attacks, diabetes and asthma than their urban  counterparts.

  •     Cumberland county leads all other counties in chronic alcohol abuse.

  •     Smoking rates are highest in Aroostook, Oxford, Somerset, Washington and York counties.

  •     Mental heath issues are  most prevalent in Franklin, Kennebec & York counties.

  •     Prescription drug abuse is highest in Knox, Piscataquis & Washington counties.

  •     Obesity rates are highest in Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis and Washington counties.

The study was conducted by the University of Southern Maine and the University of New England.  The OneMaine Health Collaborative hopes to repeat the study every five years in order to measure the progress of prevention efforts and to identify new areas of concern. [return to top]

Attend the EHR Educational Events For Critical Access Hospitals and Primary Care Providers

MEREC, in partnership with Quality Counts, will be hosting the second in a series of free regional forums about electronic health records, meaningful use, and related federal and state incentive programs.  The forums are specifically targeted for primary care providers and staff of small independent practices as well as clinical and administrative staff in Maine’s rural and critical access hospitals.  The events will include a panel of health information technology experts, both local and national, a specific discussion on the integration of HIT in the patient centered medical home, and as group breakout sessions focused on using EHRs (inpatient and outpatient) to improve health care quality and outcomes, reduce costs and ultimately achieve federal meaningful use requirements.  Hope to see you at one of the following events:

•       Franklin Memorial Hospital:  Tues, May 10, 1:30 - 5:30 p.m.
•       Mt. Desert Island Hospital:  Wed, May 11, 2 - 6 p.m.
•       Mayo Hospital:  Wed, May 25, 2 - 6 p.m.
•       Goodall Hospital:  Wed, Jun 1, 2 - 6 p.m.

Register online at http://www.hinfonet.org/rec_news.html or by calling Maria Stevenson at 207-541-9250, ext 201.

  [return to top]

Take-Back Drug Day Scheduled Across the State April 30th

As part of National Take-Back Day, an effort coordinated by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), local police departments, and other law enforcement officials across the state will be out on Saturday, April 30th to collect unused or unwanted prescription drugs.  The goal of the collection is to both prevent the diversion of prescription drugs and also to prevent their disposal from damaging the environment.

During a previous Take-Back Day in September, 2010, officials were surprised to see how many people took advantage of the opportunity to properly dispose of their unused medication.  The items returned ranged from over-the-counter medications to schedule II narcotics.  Collection sites cannot accept hypodermic needles.  In September, law enforcement agencies collected 7,820 pounds of medications in Maine.

The medications will be incinerated, so the drugs won't enter the environment by being flushed down the toilet or tossed in the trash to end up in a land fill.  A DEP study last year found measurable levels of antibiotics, steroids, pain medications, and other drugs in water draining landfills in Augusta, Brunswick, and Bath.

The Take-Back occurs in several Maine communities from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. To find specific drop-off sites, visit the DEA website justice.gov/dea and click on the "Got Drugs" link at the top of the page.




  [return to top]

MaineCare Claims for Services Provided Prior to September 1, 2010 Must be Filed by April 30

MaineCare officials this week notified providers that any MaineCare claim for services provided prior to September 1, 2010 must be submitted to the MECMS system by April 30th (i.e., the end of this week).  After that time, the MECMS system will be shut down now that the MHIMS is operating.  Claims may be submitted either on paper or in spreadsheet form. 

The deadline does not apply to exceptions outlined in Chapter 101 of the MaineCare policy manual or to situations where a provider is waiting on a third party to submit its claim.

 Claims should be send to:

Beth Ketch, Director of Operations, MaineCare Services

11 State House Station

Augusta, Maine 04333

Providers who opt to use a courier service should use 442 Civic Center Drive, 04330.

  [return to top]

DEAPA Announces Susan Vincent Memorial Scholarship Opportunity

The Downeast Association of Physician Assistants (DEAPA) welcomes applications for the annual Susan Vincent Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $1000.  A vibrant person and substantial contributor to the Maine PA community and to health care in our state, Susan died an untimely death from melanoma.  DEAPA honors Susan's memory each year with this scholarship.

Scholarship requirements:

  1. The student recipient of this scholarship must be a Maine resident at the time of acceptance into a PA program.

  2. The student must submit a letter of acceptance from a program for physician assistants; and

  3. The student is also required to submit a brief statement detailing why he or she deserves and needs this scholarship (maximum length - 2 single-spaced, typed pages).

The deadline for submission is June 1st.  For more information, please contact Barbara Farrell at bfarrell@mainemed.com.

[return to top]

Medicare Issues 10th Scope of Work for QIO's, Quality Counts to Compete for Contract

This past Tuesday, April 19th, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) released the 10th Scope of Work to be accomplished by the various Quality Improvement contractors around the country.  Currently, Maine is one of a few states that does not have an in-state QIO, the current contract being held by the Northeast Health Care Quality Foundation in New Hampshire.  Federal law permits a contract to be opened up to competitive bidding in any state without an in-state contractor, so Quality Counts has teamed up with Quality Partners of Rhode Island to prepare an application in response to the RFP which is due by the close of business on May 18th.  Contracts are expected to be awarded by the end of June. [return to top]

Pre-litigation Screening Panel Chair Needs Family Physician who Does Obstetrics

A chair of a pre-litigation screening panel proceeding has asked the Association for assistance in locating a family physician who does obstetrics who might be willing to serve on a panel.  The panel system has served the interests of physicians and patients well over the past 25 years and relies upon the generosity of volunteer panel members to be successful.  Proceedings usually take one full day.

If you or someone you know is interested in accepting this assignment, please contact the MMA EVP, Gordon Smith, via e-mail to gsmith@mainemed.com or via phone at 622-3374, ext. 212. [return to top]

AMA Introduces AMAGINE, a Health IT Solution for Physicians
On April 19th, the AMA through a subsidiary introduced AMAGINE, a health information technology solutions platform for physicians.  The platform has been in pilot testing with the Michigan State Medical Society since 2009.  You can read the AMA's press release with links to more information about this initiative on the web at:  http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/news/news/ama-introduces-amagine.page. [return to top]

SAVE THE DATE: PIerce Atwood Labor & Employment Seminars, Co-sponsored by MMA, June 10th & 17th

Save the Date! Pierce Atwood Program in your area June 10 & 17:

Labor & Employment Issues for the Maine Healthcare Industry

 Brewer & Portland, Maine

Date: June 10 and 17, 2011
Time: 8:30 AM - 3:00 PM

The Pierce Atwood Employment Group, with our co-sponsor Maine Medical Association, is pleased to invite you to a program on Labor & Employment Issues in the Healthcare Industry.  We will be offering this program twice.

  • June 10, also sponsored and hosted by Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, at the EMHS Brewer office 
  • June 17, also sponsored by Martin's Point HealthCare, at The Woodlands Club in Falmouth

Our tentative agenda includes the following topics:

  • Managing the impaired worker
  • Wage-hour challenges for healthcare employers
  • The latest on union activities around the state including, Maine State Nurses Association/California Nurses Association, Teamsters and others
  • Significant developments in Augusta and Washington
  • Immigration issues in the healthcare industry
  • HIPAA, privacy and technology, including duties of employers and employees
  • Special guest Short Fuse Theater: "Coping with the high performing, high risk healthcare employee". (Portland only) 
  • Rapid-fire round - questions and answers on topics across the labor & employment spectrum

Our agenda is tentative because we want your help in shaping it.  When you register, please use the box on the registration screen to suggest questions or topics you'd like to see us address.  We'll synthesize your responses and incorporate as many as we can into our presentation.

Also, when registering, please indicate which program you wish to attend.

This program will be of interest to senior management, human resources management and staff, in-house counsel, risk managers and upper level supervisors.  Please forward to any interested persons in your organization.

The program will run from 8:30 am to approximately 3:00 pm.  There is no charge to register, and lunch will be served.  Our sincere thanks to our co-sponsors for helping to make these events possible.

Please check your email box for a reminder in the next couple of weeks.

If you have any questions, please contact Amber Elliott at aelliott@pierceatwood.com or 207-791-1143.

Copyright � 2011. Pierce Atwood LLP. All rights reserved.

[return to top]

New Hampshire Medical Society Presents "Meaningful Use" Program, May 16th

New Hampshire Medical Society

7 N. State Street, Concord, NH 03301  603 224-1909

Getting There

Meaningful Use and Your Practice

Monday, May 16, 2011     8:00 am – 12:00 pm

Frisbie Memorial Hospital, Community Education Conf. Center, Strafford Room, 11 Whitehall Road, Rochester, NH

As part of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants are required to meet standards of Meaningful Use of electronic health records (EHR) in their treatment of Medicare and Medicaid patients.  To encourage participation, the federal government has incentive payments available starting in 2011.  ARRA specifies three main components of Meaningful Use:

  • The use of a certified EHR in a meaningful manner (e.g.: e-Prescribing);
  • The use of certified EHR technology for electronic exchange of health information to improve quality of health care; and
  • The use of certified EHR technology to submit clinical quality and other measures.

The objectives of this workshop are to educate participants on what they will need to do to qualify for Meaningful Use incentives, to understand the practicalities of choosing between Medicare and Medicaid for purposes of Meaningful Use; and to familiarize participants with the Regional Extension Center of NH (REC) services that will assist them with reaching Meaningful Use, Stage I.

    8:00 am        Registration & Coffee

    8:30 am        Purpose and Requirements for Meaningful Use

William Kassler, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, New England Region                                                                                    Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

   10:00 am        Accessing Regional Extension Center of NH Services

Jeff Loughlin, MHA, Project Director, Regional Extension Center of NH

Under a $5 mil federal grant, the REC of NH will provide medical offices with education, outreach,  vendor selection options, project management and local support to reach Stage I of Meaningful Use.


The Concord Hospital Continuing Medical Education Program designates this educational activity for a maximum of 3  AMA PRA Category 1 Credits ™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

  11:30 am        Questions & Answers

   12:00 pm       Program concludes

New Hampshire Medical Society

7 N. State Street, Concord, NH 03301  603 224-1909

Getting There - Meaningful Use and Your Practice

Monday, May 16, 2011  -   8:00 am – 12:00 pm

Community Education Conference Center, Strafford Room

Frisbie Memorial Hospital, 11 Whitehall Road, Rochester, NH


please type or print

Name  __________________________________________MD/DO/Other___________________

Address _______________________________________________________________________


City                                                                                                                           State    Zip Code

Phone __________________________________________________________

e-mail _______________________________________@_________________

 NHMS Member/Staff                                   Non-Member/Staff   


   ____$50                                                       ____$75                                 


Checks payable to: "NHMS" or use credit card:

VISA/MasterCard # _________________________________________________

exp. date ____ / ____ 



Mail to:                                                

Meaningful Use                                   or  FAX:  603-226-2432  Attn: Catrina                        


7 N. State St.

Concord, NH 03301-4018                               Questions?  Call 603 224-1909


[return to top]

Legislative Committee Conference Call This Tuesday; Quick Update/No New Bills for Review

The MMA's Legislative Committee will hold its next weekly conference call this Tuesday, April 19th 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 legislature had no sessions or committee work last week, so there are no new bills for review this week.  It is, however, a very busy week for hearings at the State House, so the call will provide an update on the first two days' action.

[return to top]

POLITICAL PULSE: Legislative Highlights of the Week

The legislature was off for the school vacation week last week, so we will resume this update next week.   [return to top]

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