September 6, 2011

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MMA's 158th Annual Session Opens Friday, September 9th in Bar Harbor: JOIN US

The Maine Medical Association has held an Annual Meeting each and every year since 1853.  The first Annual Session was held at the Tontine Hotel in Brunswick.  This year, Maine physicians and their guests will meet at the Harborside Hotel, the Bar Harbor Club, and Jackson Laboratory on this coming Friday, September 9th.  Eight hours of category one CME are included and feature the theme of INNOVATION.  And best of all, it is not too late to register!  So, come for a day or for the entire weekend, but by all means, join your professional colleagues for an early Fall weekend in one of Maine's premier destinations.

If you would like to attend and haven't yet registered, you may call the office at 622-3374 or register via the MMA website at  Although there no rooms left at the Harborside (unless there are cancellations), there are many excellent accommodations nearby and the MMA staff has a list of suitable alternative accommodations. 

MMA and OSA Offer Free CME on Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse in Lewiston and Manchester

Through funding provided by the State Office of Substance Abuse, the Maine Medical Association is presenting two CME programs in  Lewiston and Manchester on September 14th and October 7th, respectively, focusing on the very serious problem of prescription drug addiction and diversion.

The September 14th program will be held at St. Mary's General Hospital,  from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. with dinner provided.  On the 14th, the clinical presentation will be made by Mark Publicker, M.D., Director of the Recovery Center at Mercy Hospital.  The October 7th program will be held as part of MMA's popular First Fridays educational series from 9:00 a.m. to noon and will also be offered as a webinar.presentation.  The clinical presentation in Manchester will given by Tamas Peredy, M.D. Dr. Peredy is an attending emergency physician at the Maine Medical Center and is the Medical Director of the Northern New England Poison Control Center. There is no cost for these programs.

The format for each program is identical, although the faculty varies.  Each program will begin with a review of the problem by a local DEA agent, followed by presentations by program staff for the prescription monitoring program, legal staff for MMA, and a clinical talk by a physician experienced in addiction and diversion.

You may reserve a seat now by registering with Gail Begin at MMA through e-mail to or call the MMA office at 622-3374 and press 0 for the attendant.  Registration is also available on the MMA website at [return to top]

Congress Returns; Joint Special Committee on Deficit Reduction Announces Schedule

As Congress returns to Washington this week, the real attention is focused on the newly appointed Joint Special Committee on Deficit Reduction.  The Committee is charged with cutting $1.5 trillion from federal spending over 10 years to be agreed upon by Congress this December (or automatic cuts of equal size will kick in for 2012 and 2013).  The American Medical Association, joined by virtually all the state and national medical and physician organizations, is working to add elimination of the SGR Medicare payment formula to the agenda of the Committee.  If that were to succeed, the Committee would have to identify cuts that are $300 billion higher, or at least $1.8 trillion to offset the SGR accumulated shortfall.  Without a fix, physician payment under Medicare will be reduced by 29.5% on January 1, 2012.

The chairs of the Committee announced this past week the dates of the first organizational meeting and hearing for the Committee.  The meeting will be held this coming Thursday, September 8, 2011 to consider proposed committee rules.  A hearing will be held on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 to hear testimony on "The History and Drivers of our Nation's Debt and its Threats," by Douglas Elmendorf, Director, Congressional Budget Office.  Both the meeting and the hearing will be available on C-Span.

The clock will be ticking for the special committee, which has until November 23rd to sign off on $1.5 trillion ($1.8 trillion if the SGR fix is included) in cuts, and Congress would need to approve the plan by December 23rd.  In the event that panel members or Congress fail to agree on a large enough measure, the debt act automatically would impose up to $1.2 trillion worth of deficit cuts.  Medicare could be included in these cuts, but not Social Security or Medicaid.  While the reductions in Medicare spending could not exceed 2%, benefits for enrollees could not be altered which means the providers would likely bear the full impact of the 2% reduction.



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"What Value is Your Peer Review Program," CME Program Offered Free at Noon on Oct. 6

The Peer Review Advisory Committee of MMA is presenting a webinar on peer review on Thursday, October 6, 2011 as part of its mission to advance and improve peer review in the state, and more specifically to improve and enhance the Association's external peer review program.  The objectives of the one hour program are to:

  • Delineate the factors accounting for the impact of clinical peer review on quality and safety 
  • Understand the role of healthcare and physician leaders in catalyzing clinical peer review improvement

Facilitating the program is Marc T. Edwards, M.D., MBA, who brings more than 20 years of broad-based healthcare management and consulting experience to management research on important but frequently neglected topics such as the clinical peer review process.  Dr. Edwards has conducted two national studies and published five scientific manuscripts on this subject.   He was able to characterize and elaborate an evidence-based approach for conducting clinical peer review within a quality improvement framework - the QI MODEL.  Dr. Edwards is currently organizing an "Ideal Clinical Peer Review Practices Collaborative" and a "Normative Peer Review Database Project" to further advance this work.

Dr. Edwards is a graduate of the University of Washington and received his medical degree from the University of Colorado.  He completed training in family medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and later completed an Executive MBA program at he University of Connecticut.  He maintains board certification in Family Medicine, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a member of the American College of Physician Executives.

Anyone interested in registering for the program, which is offered without charge, should contact Peggy Pinkham at

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Maine Law Court Recognizes Doctrine Expanding Period of Exposure for Professional Liability
In a unanimous opinion written by Associate Justice Jon Levy in Baker v. Farrand, et al., 2011 ME 91, handed down on August 18th, Maine's Law Court has recognized a "continuing negligent treatment doctrine," permitting a plaintiff to maintain an action for professional negligence against a physician for acts or omissions outside the usual 3-year limitations period.  The allegations in the matter are failure to diagnose and refer on the part of a primary care physician.  The plaintiff patient underwent PSA tests annually from 2001 through 2006 at which time the defendant physician referred the patient to a urologist who diagnosed a form of prostate cancer.  The plaintiff's 2007 action alleges the referral should have been made sooner and that he would have had more or better treatment options if a specialist referral had been made sooner.  The matter came before the Law Court as an interlocutory appeal of the application of the statute of limitations, so no decision has yet been made about the merits of the allegations.  The matter is now before a pre-litigation screening panel.  

You can find the Law Court's decision on the web at:
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NNEPC Bath Salts Webinar Available

The Northern New England Poison Center (NNEPC) is offering recorded webinar presentations regarding the new synthetic drugs known as “bath salts.”

The webinar is a slide and audio presentation recroded by Dr. Karen Simone, NNEPC Director, and Dr. Tamas Peredy, NNEPC Medical Director.  The presentation is available for viewing at any time.  It can be accessed through our website,, or directly at  

The presentation is given in two parts.  The first is a general overview of bath salts appropriate for all audiences.  The second is aimed at health care professionals and gives information related to treating bath salts patients.

NNEPC is currently able to offer continuing education credits for Maine and New Hampshire EMS personnel for the bath salts recorded webinar.  They expect to be able to offer other types of continuing education credits in the near future.

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MeCDC Influenza Update

Maine CDC has already distributed more than 36,000 doses of state-supplied influenza vaccine to registered providers for the 2011-2012 season.

 An online toolkit for those participating in school-located vaccine clinics (SLVC) with registration forms, guidance documents, and sample materials has been posted at

 US CDC has updated the following fact sheets for clinicians:

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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Notifiable Condition Reminder

The MeCDC has issued a public health alert reminding health care facilities that carbon monoxide poisoning is a notifiable condition. 

As of August 30th, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention had received reports of three incidents resulting in six carbon monoxide poisoning cases. Along with Maine, there have been several reports of carbon monoxide poisonings across the East Coast. All of these poisonings were caused by improper use of generators as alternate power supplies during power outages associated with Hurricane Irene. In two incidents in Maine, generators were operated outside, but within a few feet of open windows, allowing carbon monoxide to enter the house and poison occupants. In the other incident, the generator was placed in an attached garage. 

Carbon monoxide poisoning shares many of the same symptoms of the flu, but without the fever.  

In a study of the 1998 outbreak of CO poisoning in Maine, the most common presenting symptoms were headache (69% of cases), nausea (51%), dizziness (48%), fatigue (31%), vomiting (21%), chestpain (9%), shortness of breath (6%), and loss of consciousness (8%).  These symptoms were associated with blood carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) levels ranging from 2 % to 50 %, with a median of 14 %.  Some individuals with elevated COHb levels were asymptomatic, and were identified because another household member had symptoms.  Background COHb levels in nonsmokers is typically under 2% and for smokers is under 9%.   

With the extensive power outages associated with Hurricane Irene and several more weeks of hurricane season left, the Maine CDC is reminding hospital emergency departments to report all cases with clinical signs, symptoms, or known exposure  consistent with diagnosis of carbon monoxide poisoning, and/or a carboxyhemoglobin level equal to or above 5%. 

Carbon monoxide poisoning was made a notifiable condition in April 2008.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a Category II notifiable condition, and thus should be reported within 48 hours.   

Use the same disease reporting lines as used for all notifiable conditions: 1-800-821-5821 (phone); 1-800-293-7534 (fax).  

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Upcoming HIV, Infectious Disease Conferences

HIV, STD, and Viral Hepatitis Integrated Conference – October 17, 2011 at the Augusta Civic Center

The Maine HIV, STD, and Viral Hepatitis Program is pleased to host an integrated prevention, care, and treatment conference this fall. The 2011 conference theme of “Integration and Change” will highlight local and national best practices, innovations, and examples of effective integration of HIV, STD, and Viral Hepatitis programs and services. We invite all health care, sexual health, mental health providers as well as consumers to attend this exciting learning opportunity.

Infectious Disease Annual Conference – November 15, 2011 at the Augusta Civic Center

Since 1983, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Health and Human Services has organized an annual infectious disease conference targeting public health issues of emerging concern to medical practitioners throughout the State.

This year’s meeting will continue this tradition, and is dedicated to a review of emerging issues in the field of infectious diseases, particularly as they impact the Maine medical community. Issues presented will include challenges in controlling infectious diseases, information on responding to new disease threats, and clinical updates and approaches.

How To Register:

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Register Now for Maine Medical Directors Association Annual Conference, Oct 14th

AMDA Maine Chapter Annual Conference

October 14, 2011

Location: DiMillo’s Floating Restaurant

25 Long Warf

Portland, ME

Topics include:  Medical Billing & coding in Nursing Homes, Practical Approach to Geriatric Polypharmacy, Palliative Care in Nursing Home Setting and Use of Medicinal Marijuana in Nursing Homes

To register online visit or call Tammy at 207-878-6564.

Register before Friday, Sept. 30 and pay only $50.00 for 2 people. Includes parking, lunch & snacks.

Register after Friday, Sept. 30 and you pay $75.00 for 2 people. Includes parking, lunch & snacks.

        Registration fee: Members “free” 

       Non members: Physicians $100.00

       Non members:  Nurses, Administrators & others $50.00


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Announcing Care About Your Care Initiative and Event in Bangor on 9/15

Announcing Care About Your Care

An Effort to Increase Awareness about What Consumers Can Do to Identify and Receive Better Health Care

Convened by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), U.S. health agencies, other national and state organizations, and TV's Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Care About Your Care initiative will galvanize attention about the state of health care quality and spark conversation about the steps Americans can take to improve their care.  Learn more about the month-long national initiative by visiting

The Care About Your Care initiative will feature key components:  A newly launched web site, listed above, filled with resources to help people better understand what quality care is, how they can find out more about the care provided by doctors and hospitals in their community, and how they can become more engaged patients.  

A live noontime broadcast with Dr. Oz on September 15th in conjunction with a local event at the Spectacular Event Center on Griffin Road in Bangor from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on September 15th.  The broadcast will mark the progress and momentum of the quality movement, and provide real examples of transformative change among patients and physicians.

IN addition, the Care About Your Care initiative and live broadcast with Dr. Oz will spotlight local efforts to improve the quality of care that are gaining momentum across the country.  

Registration for the September 15th event is available on the web site listed above.  The event schedule is:

  • 10:00 a.m.:  Health fair
  • Noon:  Live broadcast with Dr. Oz followed by lunch (provided)
  • 1 p.m.:  Panel discussion; the panel discussion will continue to spotlight local efforts to improve the quality of care by featuring health care stakeholders directly involved in improving care in Maine.
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For more information or to contact us directly, please visit l ©2003, Maine Medical Association