May 23, 2011

 
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Please Plan to Attend Physicians' Day at the Legislature on May 26th

With several issues important to physicians still remaining in the First Regular Session of the 125th Legislature, the Physicians' Day at the Legislature this coming Thursday could not come at a better time.  With only three three weeks left in the session, legislators will be very busy on Thursday getting ready for the three day Memorial Day weekend.  In fact, it is a four day weekend for the state as Friday is one of the mandated "shut down days" included in the previous budget.  Thursday's events begin with a two-mile run/walk with legislators on the Kennebec River Rail Trail at 7:00 a.m.  Whether you are a runner or not, please consider joining your colleagues at the State House on Thursday.

2011 PHYSICIANS' DAY AT THE LEGISLATURE

                                               

State House, Hall of Flags, Second Floor

May 26, 2011, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm

Speak with your legislators and participate in the legislative process.  Speak up on issues of significance to physicians, such as:  health care reform; Medicaid funding; practice issues, state budget priorities; public health issues (prize-fighting, consumer fireworks, state regulation of chemical substances) and insurance regulation. 

We strongly urge you to attend and invite your colleagues.

Our State House visits make a very positive impression on legislators.

In addition to the traditional events in the Hall of Flags, the MMA & MOA will start the day at 7a.m. with a Walk/Run, along the Kennebec River Rail Trail.  All physicians and legislators are welcome.  The Kennebec Valley YMCA’s locker rooms will be available to all participants before and after the walk/run.  The starting point and ending point will be the Kennebec River Rail Trail Message Board at Capitol Park, which is located west of the YMCA on the opposite side of the football field.  The participants will walk/run along the trail to Hallowell and back (2 miles).  Come start your morning with a healthy walk/run along the beautiful Kennebec River Rail Trail!

Following the early morning event, physicians will meet in the Hall of Flags of the State House to network with legislators and hear from physician advocates.  The remainder of the day includes observation of the general sessions of the Senate and House and meetings with legislative leadership.  The events of the day are co-sponsored by the Maine Osteopathic Association.

Questions?

Contact Maureen Elwell:

(207) 622-3374 ext. 219

Maine Medical Association

melwell@mainemed.com


Register Now for MMA's 158th Annual Session in Bar Harbor, September 9-11

Registration materials for MMA's 158th Annual Session are now available and were included as an insert in the recent issue of Maine Medicine which arrived in members' offices last week.  Soon you will be able to register on the MMA website at www.mainemed.com.  The meeting will be held September 9-11 in Bar Harbor with the Friday educational program being held again this year at the Jackson Laboratory and the Saturday and Sunday morning events being held at the Bar Harbor Club adjacent to the Harborside Hotel.

The theme of this year's educational program is INNOVATION and 8 hours of CME category 1 credits are being offered.  The educational program begins at 1:00 p.m. Friday, September 9th with a keynote presentation by Carol Bult, PhD.  Dr. Bult is a Principal Investigator in the Mouse Genome Informatics database consortium at the Jackson Laboratory.   Tours of the Lab will again be available at 3:00 p.m. following the two lectures.  The Friday evening reception will be held at the Laboratory as has been the case the last two years.

Saturday's events will be held back at the Bar Harbor Club with the Annual Meeting in the morning, featuring the presentation of 50 year pins at 10:30 a.m.  At noontime, J. Randy Darby, M.D. of Spectrum Medical Group will keynote the afternoon educational session with a presentation entitled, Innovations in Medical Education and Team Building.  Dr. Darby's presentation will be followed by a panel on clinical technology innovation and a presentation on nanotechnology. 

Saturday evening will feature the annual President's Reception and Annual Awards Banquet at which time President Jo Linder, M.D. will pass the President's gavel to President-elect Nancy Cummings, M.D. 

Sunday morning will begin bright and early at 6:30 a.m. with the 31st running of the Edmund Hardy Road Race, again sponsored by Medical Mutual Insurance Company of Maine.  Following brunch at 8:00 a.m., a panel focusing on Innovations in Physician Wellness, moderated by Dr. Cummings, will inform attendees on how to incorporate mindfulness, wellness and balance into busy lives.

DONATIONS NEEDED!  We will once again be conducting a silent auction to benefit one or more programs falling under the Maine Medical Education Trust (MMET).  If you have something you'd be willing to donate as a silent auction item, please contact Dee DeHaas at ddehaas@mainemed.com.

We look forward to seeing you in Bar Harbor! [return to top]

Dora Anne Mills, M.D., M.P.H. Named Vice President for Clinical Affairs at UNE

The University of New England this past week named Dora Anne Mills, M.D., M.P.H. as its Vice President for Clinical Affairs.  She will begin the position on September 1, 2011.

Dr. Mills served as Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention for nearly fifteen years resigning last Fall before being appointed as medical director of MaineCare for a short stint until February. 

"Dr. Mills' outstanding record of public health service and collaboration makes her the ideal choice to lead UNE's inter-professional health care education efforts and expand our public health and clinical outreach programs in Maine," UNE president Danielle Ripich, stated Thursday in announcing the appointment.

In addition to the Osteopathic Medical School, UNE through its College of Health Professions operates a P.A. school, a nursing school, and a new school of Pharmacy.  A dental school is also in the planning stages.

Dr. Mills is a native of Farmington and a graduate of Bowdoin College.  She received her M.D. degree from the University of Vermont College of Medicine and her Master of Public Health degree from Harvard University.  She is a pediatrician and practiced in the Farmington area prior to her work at the Maine CDCP. [return to top]

Next MMA First Fridays on June 3rd Features Risk Management

The next MMA First Fridays program is scheduled for Friday, June 3rd at the MMA office in Manchester and via Webex.  The program is entitled, Physician Practice Risk Management.  The faculty for the program are three experts in risk management from Medical Mutual Insurance Company of Maine (MMICOM):  Cheryl Peaslee, V.P. of Risk Management; Nancy Brandow, Sr. Risk Manager; and Sue Boisvert, Sr. Risk Manager.  The topics are:

  • Performing a Comprehensive Medical Record Review for Patient Safety;

  • "You want me to do what?"  Health literacy and your patients; and

  • "Tweet me?!"  Social networking considerations.

You may register for the program on the MMA web site at:  http://www.mainemed.com/calendar/details.php?IDMeet=1103.  For more information, contact Maureen Elwell at 622-3374, ext. 219 or melwell@mainemed.com.

 

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AMA Urges Innovation Center to Help Small Practices

AMA President Cecil Wilson, M.D. recently met with the Acting Director of the new Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, Dr. Richard Gilfillan, urging him to quickly establish programs to help small physician practices become involved in payment and delivery reforms.  Dr. Wilson discussed several specific initiatives that the AMA thinks merit the Innovation Center's consideration:

  • A mentoring approach to help physicians translate research into practice by assisting practices that are working with others to gain new capabilities;

  • Transitional payment reform models such as partial capitation, which is a form of an accountable care organization (ACO) that receives a capitation payment for a portion but not all Medicare services;

  • Loan and loan guarantee programs to help small practices with the start-up costs;

  • Work with the AMA in its creation of a Standardized Physician Data Reporting Format to move toward a more uniform system of providing actionable data for physicians from multiple sources; and

  • Support registries and more robust quality measurement development and testing.

The AMA will be continuing to follow up with the Innovation Center leadership on these programs.

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State CDC Announces First Case of Hantavirus in Maine

Maine CDC officials announced this past week the first case of hantavirus in Maine.  The potentially fatal respiratory condition spread by the common house mouse had not been previously identified in the state.  The case reported was in Somerset county and involved a male in his 70's.  The man is recovering from the illness.

State epidemiologist Stephen Sears, M.D., M.P.H. noted that the hantavirus pulmonary syndrome comes on quickly and there is no effective vaccine or cure.  The fatality rate for the virus is 30 to 40 percent.

Dr. Sears noted that the best way to prevent the spread of the illness is to clean up areas where mice and other rodents reside.  The most common form of transmission is airborne particles and persons cleaning up such areas should wet them down before cleaning.

 

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AMA Convenes ACO Rule Discussions

The AMA has convened several recent forums to allow specialty and state medical society staff to ask questions of, and interact with, key Administration officials involved in the Medicare Shared Savings Programs regulations. Questions and concerns were raised about the proposed rule for ACOs that the AMA will be addressing in its comments.  Some of the key issues raised include the following:

  • Objections to the requirement that ACOs repay a share of "losses" in addition to receiving a share of savings they generate for Medicare;

  • Concerns about the requirement that all ACOs report on the same 65 quality measures;

  • Questions about the inclusion of hospital-acquired conditions in these quality measures and whether that establishes a de facto requirement for an ACO to include a hospital;

  • Concerns about the beneficiary assignment process, including both the retrospective assignment procedure and how to account for non-primary care specialists who provide primary care services to some of their patients;

  • Issues involving the structure for paying ACOs, including the uncertainty of recouping initial investments and whether partial capitation and other models may be authorized; and

  • Questions about the antitrust safe harbors for ACOs, including the use of "primary service areas" and the thresholds for the safety zones.

The AMA is developing comments on the proposed rule for the June 6th comment deadline.

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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

Locations:
 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.


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BNN Learning Center & MMA Offer Upcoming Coding Certification Course at USM

The Learning Center at Baker Newman Noyes in conjunction with the Maine Medical Association is offering a AAPC Approved Coding Certification course.

´  Thursdays, June 9, 2011 to September 22, 2011

´  4:00pm – 8:00pm

´  University of Southern Maine in Portland (#1 Payson Smith Room)

Click Here for the link to the Learning Center’s website for additional details and a Registration form.

Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact either the Learning Center or Hayat Freeman-Lutes, CPC, CEMC at 207-791-7126 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            207-791-7126      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. [return to top]

Legislative Committee Conference Call This Tuesday

The MMA's Legislative Committee will hold its next weekly conference call this Tuesday, May 24th 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.

There are no new bills for review this week.  The MMA staff will provide an update on the most recent activities at the State House.

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POLITICAL PULSE: Legislative Highlights of the Week

APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE RESUMES BIENNIAL BUDGET WORK SESSIONS THIS WEEK

The Appropriations Committee will work to get past the partisan acrimony over the health insurance reform bill (L.D. 1333) and will work towards the 2/3 majority vote on the FY 2012-2013 biennial budget (L.D. 1043) that is necessary to have a budget in place by the end of the current fiscal year on June 30th.

You can find the Appropriations Committee materials, including the change package update of May 11th, on the web at:  http://www.maine.gov/legis/ofpr/appropriations_committee/materials/index.htm.

LCRED COMMITTEE ISSUES UNANIMOUS REPORT ON WORKERS' COMPENSATION FEE SCHEDULE BILL

Several weeks of negotiation among business, labor, and health care organizations on L.D. 1244, An Act to Clarify Usual and Customary Charges under the Workers' Compensation Laws resulted Friday in a negotiated committee amendment that won the unanimous support of the Labor, Commerce, Research & Economic Development Committee.  The MMA, Maine Hospital Association, MaineHealth, Central Maine Orthopaedics, and OA Centers for Orthopaedics all were involved in drafting the proposal that achieved the compromise.  The health care organizations see this bill as fixing a long-standing problem with the medical reimbursement section (Section 209) of the Maine Workers' Compensation Act and will permit the Workers' Compensation Board to proceed with its rule to establish a facility fee schedule.

LEGISLATIVE SCHEDULE/WORKLOAD

As mentioned in last week's Political Pulse, most of the committee work of the session has been completed (other than the budget) and there should be a bit of a lull in the action this week as committee analysts complete their drafts of committee amendments to bills and as the Office of the Revisor of Statutes puts those bills in final format for printing and debate on the floor.  The legislature is scheduled to adjourn by June 15th.

 

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