October 17, 2011

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Prescription Drug Disposal: Next Drug "Take Back Day" is Saturday, Oct. 29

The DEA has announced that another National Prescription Drug Take Back Day will occur on Saturday, October 29th from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. You can help by informing your patients of the opportunity to dispose of their unused and outdated medication.  There will be dozens of sites around the state available.  To find a take-back site near you, call your local police department or go to www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback.

Misuse and diversion of prescription drugs continues to be a major topic in the news, with the Maine Sunday Telegram yesterday featuring the start of a week-long series on the subject by feature writer John Richardson.  The articles will also be available online at www.pressherald.com.  The online resource also includes video interviews with the people profiled in the series.

The task force currently working on the issue as a result of Resolve 1501 passed by the Legislature this year will meet again this Friday morning from 9:00am to noon at the Office of Substance Abuse in Augusta.  The group was charged with presenting a report to the legislature by December 1st, although it has asked the Legislative Council for a two-week extension.

The work of the 1501 Task Force will continue to be reported in the Weekly Update following each meeting.

Final 2011 First Friday Programs (Nov. 4, Dec. 2) Focus on Minors and Supervising Mid-level Providers

MMA concludes its 2011 educational programs with two popular topics.  On Friday morning, November 4th, health lawyers and practicing pediatricians will present a three-hour CME program on medical legal issues in a pediatric practice.  The program will be of particular interest to pediatric practices and family physicians.  The program will run from 9:00am to noon and will be available live in Manchester or via webex.  The cost is $65 per person. 

On Friday morning, December 2nd, health lawyers, regulators and practicing physicians and physician assistants will discuss the requirements of supervising mid-level providers.  Standards of practice will be addressed from the point of view of risk management, state regulations and payor considerations.  This three hour program will also be available live and via webex.  The cost is $65 per person and the program will run from 9:00am to noon.

Watch your e-mail later this month for a flyer with a full agenda and faculty for each program.

Any questions about these two programs should be addressed to Gail Begin at MMA.  Gail can be reached at 622-3374 ext. 210 or via e-mail to gbegin@mainemed.com.  
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Free Medicare Wellness Visit Billing & Coding Webinar, Oct. 21

The MMA is pleased to announce a series of free webinars covering health care reform updates. 

The Medicare Wellness Visit

What practices need to know about billing and coding for the new Medicare Wellness visit.  Make sure your office is taking advantage of the opportunity to bill for this new service. 

October 21st, 12-1 pm 


December 16th, 12-1 pm 

Speaker: Laurie A. Desjardins, CPC, PCS

Laurie joined Baker Newman Noyes in 2006. She is a Senior Manager in the Healthcare Management Consulting Division specializing in revenue management including physician coding, provider based implementation, chargemaster analysis, fee schedule analysis, chart review, and coding and billing education.


The Affordable Care Act and Maine's New Health Insurance Law (Chapter 90) 

Hear from MMA staff attorneys about important updates impacting Maine patients and physician practices from the national Affordable Care Act and Chapter 90, Maine's new health insurance law. 

November 1st, 12-1 pm 


November 18th, 12-1 pm 

For more information or to register for any of the sessions, contact Jessa Barnard, MMA Associate General Counsel, at jbarnard@mainemed.com or  207-622-3374 x 211 

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Jessa Barnard, J.D. Named Associate General Counsel at MMA

In a press release issued today, Jessa Barnard, J.D. of Durham was named Associate General Counsel of the  Maine Medical Association, effective immediately.  Jessa has served as Director of Public Health Policy at MMA since August of 2010 and she will continue to oversee the Association's activities in the public health area.  She will also be responsible for administering several Association grants and the Academic Detailing contract with MaineCare.

Jessa will work closely with General Counsel (Deputy EVP and COO) Andrew MacLean in all matters requiring legal expertise and will be one of MMA's three registered lobbyists.  "Jessa has been a terrific addition to the MMA staff and we are grateful that she is willing to take on this additional responsibility", noted Gordon Smith, Esq., MMA's Executive Vice President.

Jessa is a native of Vermont and a graduate of Dartmouth College and  Stanford Law School.  Between college and law school, she worked at the Vermont Medical Society where she was responsible for a variety of legislative and public health initiatives. She was recently named to the Board of the Environmental Health Strategy Center.  She resides in Durham with her husband Justin, an assistant Attorney General, and their new son Skyler. [return to top]

Kennebec Medical Consultants Open House, Oct. 20
Jerald E. Hurdle, DO - Kennebec Medical Consultants located at 13 Railroad Square, Waterville, Maine, would like to invite colleagues to an open house on October 20, 2011 from 5:30 - 7:30 PM.  Dr. Hurdle is accepting new patients and his scope of medicine includes but is not limited to; Dermatological Disease, Acne, Skin Cancer, Psoriasis, Eczema, Atypical Moles, Hair Disease, Nail Disease, Blu-u Therapy, Botox, Colorectal Disease, IBD, IBS and Colonoscopy.   Dr. Hurdle would enjoy meeting you at his open house. [return to top]

New MaineCare Preferred Drug List Portal

The MaineCare Rx Portal is a new MaineCare web application for providers to electronically search and review drug status on the MaineCare Preferred Drug List (PDL), review MaineCare Prior Authorization (PA) requirements and submit PA's electronically.

Access to the MaineCare Rx Portal requires registration; prescribers, pharmacists, and members will have to self register prior to accessing information.  Once the registration process is complete, depending on role type, the user will have web based access to the MaineCare PDL. The Portal is available at https://www.mainecarerxportal.org.

Providers with questions should contact Goold Health Systems at 1-888-445-0497 or, to request training, contact their MaineCare provider representative. [return to top]

Public Health Committee Reminds Members of MMA Position on Casinos

Led by co-chairs Dr. Lani Graham and Daniel Oppenheim, the MMA Public Health Committee held a successful meeting last Wednesday, addressing topics ranging from reform of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act to Maine's Domestic Violence Response Initiative.  Members also discussed how to move forward the public health-related resolutions passed at the MMA Annual Session in September and MMA President Dr. Nancy Cumming's priority of physician health.  The Committee will devote the majority of its next meeting, December 14th from 4-6 pm, to physician health, including an update from the Medical Professionals Health Program.   

In anticipation of November 8th votes that would allow the development of a cacino and two racinos, the Committee also reminds members that the MMA opposes the development, creation and maintenance of casinos in the State of Maine.  The MMA adopted this policy in 2003 due to the the issue of problem and pathological gambling.  Studies consistently show that problem gambling is associated with other risky behavior such as drug use, juvenile delinquency, family problems, and an increased likelihood of drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. The American Medical Association encourages physicians to advise their patients of the addictive potential of gambling.  

Any member interested in the work of the Committee can contact Jessa Barnard at jbarnard@mainemed.com or 207-622-3374 x 211.  


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Martin's Point Medicare Advantage Plan Receives 5-star Rating

Nine Medicare Advantage plans, including one based in Maine, received top quality ratings for 2012 from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, according to data released October 12th on the agency's website.

The rankings are based on care and service quality measures across five categories, such as preventive screenings, chronic illness management and customer satisfaction. 

The plans that received an overall score of five stars for “excellent performance,” which includes both the plans' Part D drug rating and Part C health care rating, include Portland, Maine based Martin's Point Health Care's Generations Advantage.  Martin's Point plans already serve about 12,500 Mainers.  The other plans are based in Massachusetts, Washington state, Wisconsin and California.  Martin's Point Health Care maintains a group membership in the Maine Medical Association for all of its physicians. 

The five-star plans receive “high performer” or “gold star” icons in their listings on Medicare's Plan Finder and are allowed to market to beneficiaries during the entire year. Medicare beneficiaries may switch to an available five-star plan at any time.

For other plans, the Medicare open enrollment period, in which beneficiaries are allowed to enroll in plans, begins on October 15th and lasts seven weeks to December 7th.

For more information, see www.medicare.gov. 
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Federal Officials Drop CLASS Act

Federal officials on Friday effectively shut down part of the health care reform law that would have helped consumers cover some long-term-care costs, saying they could not find a way to make it work financially.

After looking at a variety of options, the Obama administration determined the CLASS Act program could not simultaneously meet three important criteria: be self-sustaining, financially sound for 75 years and affordable to consumers.

The move does not affect the rest of the health care law, although it does remove more than $70 billion in expected federal budgetary savings over 10 years.  The savings would have come from having policyholders pay premiums for the first few years, but not receive benefits until 2017.

The program – championed by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy – would have allowed working adults to apply for insurance that would provide up to $50 a day in cash benefits if they became disabled. The money could be used to help with in-home assistance or nursing home care.

While acknowledging the need for such long-term-care assistance, the program’s administrator, Kathy Greenlee, said Friday that the numbers just didn’t add up. [return to top]

N.H. Prescribing Data Mining Law Overturned

On October 7th, a federal trial court reinstated an April 2007 decision in which it held that a New Hampshire law banning the sale of prescription drug information identifying doctors violated the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire said it was required to reinstate its earlier decision, which had been overturned by a federal appeals court, based on the U.S. Supreme Court's June 23rd decision in Sorrell v. IMS Health Inc.  In that decision, the high court ruled a Vermont law imposed unconstitutional restrictions on commercial speech. 

As previously reported in the Weekly Update, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit is also reviewing its decision upholding Maine's prescription data law in light of the Sorrell decision. 

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Medicare eRx Payment Adjustment - November 1, 2011 Deadline Approaching

Eligible professionals and group practices should determine if they are subject to the 2012 eRx payment adjustment byreviewing the MLN Article SE1107.   If you believe that you may be subject to the 2012 eRx payment adjustment, you should determine if you meet any of the hardship exemption categories specified by CMS in the 2011 Medicare Electronic Prescribing (eRx) Incentive Program Final Rule. 

Quick Reference Guide is available to help you understand the changes that the eRx Final Rule made to the 2011 Medicare eRx Incentive Program.  As a result of changes to the program, eligible professionals and group practices have until November 1, 2011 to submit  a significant hardship exemption request and rationale.  Individual eligible professionals must submit their hardship exemption requests through the  Quality Communications Support Page and group practices participating under the group practice reporting option (GPRO) must submit hardship exemption requests via a letter to CMS.  

Additional information and resources are available at www.cms.gov/erxincentive

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Upcoming Events & Conferences

Fall is conference season!  Take advantage of the many upcoming learning opportunities, including: 

Maine Public Health Association 27th Annual Conference

Facing Public Health Challenges Today for a Healthier Tomorrow 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011 ~ 8:45 a.m - 3:45 p.m. 

MaineHealth, 110 Free Street, Portland, Maine 

Keynote: Dr. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director, American Public Health Association 

Registration information available here

Northern New England Society of Addition Medicine First Annual Scientific Conference 

Saturday, October 22, 2011 ~ 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. 

Marriott Residence Inn, 145 Fore St., Portland, Maine 

Open to all physicians and health care practitioners seeking up-to-date information about addition issues affecting their patients.  CME topics include maternal addiction treatment, nutrition and recovery, benzodiazepine detoxification, and the role of nurse practitioners and physician assistance in the inpatient and outpatient treatment of additive disorders. 

Register at the door; $40 non-ASAM members, free for ASAM members, students & residents 


Spotlight on Coding and Compliance with National Speaker Margie Vaught!

MaineGeneral Medical Center 2011 Fall Coding & Compliance Conference

Friday, November 4, 2011 ~ 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Augusta Civic Center, North Wing, Augusta/Capital/PIne Tree Room

Starring Margie Scalley Vaught, CPC, CPC-H, CPC-I, CCS-P, MCS-P, ACS-EM, ACS-OR


$125 (includes breakfast, lunch, & breaks); registration deadline is October 24th.

For more information:  Lisa Beeckel, CPC, Physician Liaison; lisa.beeckel@mainegeneral.org; 626-1094.

T.R. Reid - The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care

Monday, November 7, 2011 ~ 7:00 pm 

Jewett Auditorium, University of Maine at Augusta 

UMA invites the community and its leaders to discuss the book The Healing of America with author T. R. Reid, an accomplished speaker and writer.  The event is free. A webcast (for live viewing only) will be broadcast at: http://webcast.uma.edu/healthcareforum. 

For more information: http://www.uma.edu/forumonthefuture


Drugs, HIPAA & Safety Concerns

Wednesday, November 9, 2011 ~ 12:30 p.m - 4:00 p.m. 

Maine Medical Center, Dana Health Education Center, Portland, Maine 

Hospital health care providers and hospital security staff may be faced with issues related to contraband substances brought to the hospital with the patient.  In this session participates will learn about common drugs and the legal responsibilities when caring for the addicted patient. 

$10 registration fee (non MMC staff). CME Credit & Contact Hours available. 

For more information or to register, contact:  Beth Turner at (207) 622-2734 or turneb@mmc.org 


2011 Infectious Disease Conference 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 ~ 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. 

Augusta Civic Center, Augusta, Maine 

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.

For more information, or to register, click here

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