April 16, 2012

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Political Pulse: Legislature Breaks, to Return in May

The Legislature has adjourned until May following enactment of the second Supplemental Budget.  However, it is not yet known whether they will be called back into session this coming week to act on the Governor's line item veto of two parts of the Supplemental Budget, neither of the vetoes dealing specifically with healthcare.  The Appropriations Committee is off for a few days but will begin working soon on the third, and hopefully the last, Supplemental Budget of the 125th Legislature.  This last Supplemental will contain all of the remaining HHS and MaineCare items.

The Legislature was extremely busy last week, finalizing votes on a number of important bills on the floor before ending their work on Friday for the next several weeks.  Of particular note to the health care community, the Legislature took action on the following issues: 


The Legislature voted overwhelmingly to support the Appropriations Committee's solution for the Second Supplemental Budget, dealing largely with non-Department of Health and Human Services issues for 2012 and 2013.  In the end, the compromise budget package did include staff layoffs at Dorthea Dix Hospital, changes in financing to Riverview Psychiatric Hospital and some minor reductions in the General Assistance program.   No cuts to the Fund for Healthy Maine were made.  The Governor released a statement expressing disappointment that the cuts did not go further and he later line-item vetoed two provisions, the first dealing with general assistance and the second with the forensic patient costs at Riverview. It is not yet known whether the legislative leadership will choose to call the House and Senate back in to deal with the vetoes or whether they will just let them stand.

Many big decisions, including over significant proposed cuts in MaineCare coverage and the Fund for a Healthy Maine are expected when the Appropriations Committee takes up work on the 2013 DHHS budget in May.  The Committee is waiting for updated information regarding the financial impact of DHHS providing MaineCare services to over 20,000 ineligible individuals as well as an updated revenue forecast. 


Following passionate statements both for and against, the Legislature did not proceed with establishing a state-based health insurance exchange, as authorized under the Affordable Care Act.   A majority in the Senate and House rejected LD 1498, the Democrat-supported bill to create an exchange.  LD 1497, an exchange bill initially supported by Republicans, was ultimately amended to only regulate "navigators" - individuals who will help consumers and small businesses understand and access the plans sold through an exchange, if one is established.  If the state has not made further progress on establishing an exchange by January 1, 2013, the federal government will then step in to create an exchange in Maine. 


An after deadline bill, LD 1912, An Act to Encourage Responsible Teen Driving, received a hearing and work session in the Transportation Committee last week and proceeded to the House and Senate floor.   Among other things, the bill increases the fines for young drivers who violate the terms of their provisional licenses, increases how long they can lose their license, and increases the fine for anyone cited for texting while driving from $100 to a minimum of $250. The bill grew out of an initiative by Secretary of State Charlie Summers to reduce teen driving deaths.  

MMA Legislative Committee Not Meeting This Week

The MMA's Legislative Committee has held very successful weekly conference calls on Tuesday evenings at 8 pm so far this session.  They have been well attended and we appreciate the individuals and specialty societies that have taken the time to participate in the call and share their feedback on pending legislative proposals.  Because the legislature has largely wrapped up their work until they take up the 2013 Department of Health and Human Services budget next month, the Legislative Committee is not holding a weekly call this Tuesday.  Please watch the Weekly Update for an announcement about whether the Committee will be meeting next Tuesday, April 24th.

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


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Home Study Course in Pain Management Is Updated and Available on MMA Website

The Home Study Course on the Management of Pain has recently been updated and is available on the MMA website.  Many thanks to primary author Noel Genova, PA-C and a physician advisory committee that reviewed and edited several drafts of this important material.  It can be taken, at no cost, for 90 minutes of CME if the pre-test and post-test questions are taken and the evaluation form completed. Thank you also to the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine which has funded this work and the consultations that Noel has performed out in the practices.

The link to the course follows:


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Join Your Colleagues April 30 as the Hanley Center Honors Dr. McAfee and Launches PELI Course

Register today for a special evening honoring leadership that's transforming health and healthcare in Maine. A highlight of the evening will be the presentation of the Daniel Hanley Leadership Award to Dr. Robert McAfee for his lifetime of extraordinary leadership in Maine and throughout the nation.

In honor of Dr. McAfee, the Center will name the physician leaders selected for the Physician Executive Leadership Institute Advanced Course as McAfee Fellows.

Hanley Leadership Award Dinner

Monday, April 30, 2012 from 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM

Reception: 5:30 - 6:15

Dinner & Program: 6:15 - 9:00

Portland Marriott at Sable Oaks, South Portland, Maine

Our keynote speaker will be the distinguished physician executive and author, Dr. Tom Lee, CEO of Partners Community Healthcare and Network President for Partners Healthcare System in Boston. 

Dr. Lee wrote "
Turning Doctors Into Leaders," a powerful Harvard Business Review article that builds the case for greater physician leadership in the transformation of the nation's healthcare system.

Registration Deadline: April 23, 2012. 

The cost of the dinner is $75.00 per person.  To register, go to the following link:


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Maine Health Policy Study Group and Maine AllCare Presents May 11 Program on Universal Coverage

The Maine Health Policy Study Group and Maine AllCare Presents, Beyond Patient Care:  Defining the Doctor's Role in Health Care Policy, on Friday morning, May 11, 2012 from 8:30am to 10:30am at the Maine Medical Association in Manchester.  Please join us for a dialogue with physicians about efforts to bring accessible, high quality, affordable health care to all of the people of Maine.

Guest Speaker:  Margaret Flowers, M.D., Congressional Fellow, Physicians for a National Health Program

Reaction Panel will include:

 Jeffrey Barkin, Associate Medical Director, Goold Health Systems, Co-Chair Maine Health Policy Study Group

Linda Sanborn, M.D., State Representative, House District 130

Philip Caper, M.D., Vice-Chairman of Maine AllCare Board and Member of Health Policy Study Group

There is no charge to attend but space is limited and advance registration is requested.  To register, please e-mail Julie Pease, M.D. at jpease@maineallcare.org

Coffee and on-site registration opens at 8:00am and the program will begin at 8:30am.



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Next DEA Medication Collection Day, April 28th

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has scheduled another National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day which will take place on Saturday, April 28, 2012, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  This is a great opportunity for those who missed the previous events, or who have subsequently accumulated unwanted, unused prescription drugs, to safely dispose of those medications.

Americans that participated in the DEA’s third National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on October 29, 2011, turned in more than 377,086 pounds (188.5 tons) of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal at the 5,327 take-back sites that were available in all 50 states and U.S. territories. 

For collection sites in Maine, please visit www.dea.gov 

Collection is for individual households only, not facility disposal.  

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Maine Office of Securities & UNE to Offer Financial Exploitation Prevention CME, April 18th
To combat the growing problem of elder financial exploitation and investment scams targeting older adults, Maine's Office of Securities, in partnership with the University of New England Geriatric Education Center and the UNE Center for Community and Public Health, is bringing to Maine a nationally-recognized continuing medical education (CME) program that that will offer preventative strategies to practitioners. 

The program, "Financial Exploitation of Older Adults - Evidence-Based Screening Tools to Assess for Vulnerability and Resources for Appropriate Referrals-A Clinician's Toolkit," will be presented from 5:00 - 6:30 pm on Thursday, April 18th, at the WCHP Lecture Hall at UNE's Portland Campus. A reception on campus will follow the program.

Presenting the training will be Dr. Robert E. Roush, EdD, MPH, Director of the Texas Consortium Geriatric Education Center, and Judith M. Shaw, JD, Maine Office of Securities Administrator. Administrator Shaw encouraged physicians and others in the medical field who see older adults in a clinical setting to attend this free training---being presented for the first time in Maine. 

This unprecedented effort will provide research-based tools to health professionals on how to identify older patients who may be particularly vulnerable to investment fraud and financial exploitation and then to refer these at-risk patients to state securities regulators and adult services professionals for assistance.

Physicians and other medical professionals are encouraged to obtain more information about the April 18th training by contacting Maine's Office of Securities at 1-877-624-8551 (TTY 1-888-577-6690), or by contacting Marilyn Amoroso at the Maine Geriatric Education Center at 207-221-4460 or mamoroso@une.edu.
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Upcoming Events & Conferences

Immunization Annual Conference: Focus on Maine

Monday, April 23, 2012 

8:00 am - 3:45 pm 

Augusta Civic Center

Sponsored by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention

 Dedicated to a review of emerging and existing issues relating to immunization practice, at the federal, state and local levels.

For more information or to register, click here.


6th Annual Psychiatry Update

Challenging Patients: From Problems to Solutions

Friday, April 27, 2012

8 am - 5 pm

    Marriott at Sable Oaks

 So. Portland, ME

             Presented by Maine Association of Psychiatric Physicians & MAPP Consultation Project

             The educational sessions will provide an update of clinical issues pertaining to the treatment of mental illness at the interface of psychiatry and medical health, and are designed to be of interest to psychiatrists and to primary care practitioners. Physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses and therapists will benefit from attending.

              For more information, please contact Warene Eldridge at warene54@yahoo.com 


11th Annual Obesity Workshop 

Price Matters: Sugar Sweetened Beverages, Taxes & Obesity - The Evidence 

May 3, 2012

8:00 am - 3:00 pm 

Maple Hill Farm, Hallowell

The annual obesity workshop is an event not-to-miss for all people interested in public health and the health of our children.  Three nationally known speakers will present the latest research and information about sugar sweetened beverages, how they impact obesity rates and how purchase price influences our choices.

For more information or to register, click here


The Maine Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons Spring Meeting

May 4, 2012 

12:00pm - 4:45pm

Harraseeket Inn, Freeport

The Spring Meeting will include lunch, educational presentations and a business meeting.  The educational talks include Trexler M. Topping, MD presenting on Lessons Learned from Malpractice Claims and Bradford Shingleton, MD presenting on Pseudoexfoliation:  IOP, Cataract Surgery and Postoperative IOL Issues.

For more information or to register, contact Shirley Goggin at sgoggin@mainemed.com or 207-445-2260.


Back to School: Pediatric and Adolescent Hot Topics and School Based Health

May 5-6, 2012

Harborside Hotel, Bar Harbor 

Approved for 10.5 Hours of Category 1 CME 

For more information or to register, go to www.maineaap.org 


Maine Association Medical Staff Services Biennial Education Conference: The Many Spokes of the Wheel

 May 9-11, 2012

 Residence Inn Hotel and Conference Center

Portland, ME

The conference welcomes physicians and other health professionals with an interest in medical staff activities, including credentialing and quality improvement.  Category I CME is offered for physicians.

An agenda and registration materials are available at www.meamss.org


2012 New England Medical Group Management Association Regional Conference 

Practice Management - A Changing Landscape 

May 15-17, 2012

Samoset Resort

Rockland, ME 

In the face of the changing healthcare landscape, you need to understand the challenges and opportunities your practice is facing. The 2012 New England MGMA Regional Conference features a wide range of speakers who will provide you with the insight and tools you need to help your practice thrive.

For more information or registration, visit: http://newenglandmgma.com/

Members of the Maine Chapter MGMA now receive a $50 registration reimbursement. 


22nd Annual Maine GERIATRICS Conference - Save the Date

June 7-8, 2012 

Harborside Hotel & Marina

Bar Harbor, ME

Registration Open.  CME Available. 

 For more information or to register visit http://www.une.edu/com/cme/


Save the Date: 

Emergency Ultrasound Course

October 25-26, 2012

MaineGeneral Medical Center

Waterville, ME 

Primarily geared to emergency and intensivist physicians and mid-levels.  Expected 14 Category 1 CME Credits.  Course Director: John Joseph, MD, FACEP 

To reserve your spot: 626-1303 or sharon.judkins@mainegeneral.org

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Portland Gastroenterology Center Seeking Nurse Practitioner

Are you looking to maximize your professional career? Portland Gastroenterology Center is one of the leading providers of G.I. health care in Maine and Northern New England and we are looking for a dedicated Nurse Practitioner to join our team!

Our Nurse Practitioners are an integral part of our practice; performing patient follow up and consultative clinical evaluation, conducting physical exams, preparing treatment plans, and providing patients with health and disease prevention information.

Candidates should have advanced knowledge and skills in conducting physical examinations and treating patients in an expanded practice model with minimal direction. An advanced knowledge of nursing theory and practice, and additional specialized training acquired through completion of a concentrated study and clinical internship leading to a Master’s Degree. Applicants should have or be eligible to obtain a current license and registration to practice as a certified Advanced Practice Nurse in the State of Maine.

We offer a competitive salary and benefits packet.

If you have always wanted to live in a vibrant city that offers affordable housing, excellent schools, and an energetic arts community, then Portland, Maine is for you!

Resumes should be sent to: TABERA@mmc.org


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Office of MaineCare Services Holding Value-Based Purchasing Forums

The main objective of these forums is to gather suggestions and feedback from interested parties to help the Department finalize the MaineCare Accountable Communities model for the Request for Proposal the Department plans to issue later this year.

The Department held the first forum at the Dorothea Dix facility last week.  The remaining three forums will be:

  • 9 a.m. to noon, Tuesday, April 17, at the Ramada Inn, 490 Pleasant St., Lewiston
  • 9 a.m. to noon, Thursday, April 19, Italian Heritage Center, 40 Western Ave., Portland
  • 1 to 4 p.m., Wednesday, April 25, Maine Department of Transportation, Main Conference Room, Child Street

You can find more information about the Department's Value-Based Purchasing initiative on the web at:  http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/oms/vbp/index.html.

You can Register online  now for the remaining three forums. 

The presentation from the April 4th forum in Bangor is posted online on the MaineCare VBP webpage.

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CMS Proposed Rule Would Move ICD-10 Compliance Deadline to 2014

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced on April 9th a proposed rule that would delay the compliance date for the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) code set from October 1, 2013, until October 1, 2014.


The proposed rule (CMS-0040-P) also included a requirement for health plans to adopt a unique health plan identifier for all Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) transactions. Health plans currently use several different identifiers that vary in format.


The ICD-10 delay was influenced in part by concerns from providers over their ability to meet the 2013 compliance date, according to the proposed rule, which will be published in the April 17 Federal Register. Comments will be due May 17th.


The ICD-10 delay originally was announced February 16 by Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who said the department was committed to working with the provider community to come up with a new compliance date.  In a release, CMS said that ICD-10 “will include new procedures and diagnoses and improve the quality of information available for quality improvement and payment purposes.”

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