August 13, 2012

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Maine Medical Center-Tufts University School of Medicine Welcome Class of 2016

On last Monday, August 6th, the Maine Track students of the Tufts University School of Medicine Class of 2016 were welcomed at a reception at the Dana Center which followed the 4th Annual McKusick Lecture presented by Jerome P. Kassirer, MD, editor emeritus of the New England Journal of Medicine.  Thirty six students make up the class with approximately two-thirds of the students being from Maine.

Dr. Kassirer spoke on the subject of financial conflicts of interest and how such conflicts are endangering the profession of medicine.  He is currently Distinguished Professor and Senior Assistant to the Dean at Tufts University School of Medicine.  His latest book, on financial conflicts of interest in medicine, entitled, "On the Take:  How Medicine's Complicity With Big Business Can Endanger Your Health" was published by Oxford University in 2004.  Dr. Kassirer has also published extensively on nephrology, medical decision making, and the diagnostic process among other topics.  

 Following the lecture, the incoming class was introduced by Peter Bates, M.D., Senior Vice President, Medical & Academic Affairs and Academic Dean of the Medical School Program.  He was assisted by Henry Klapholz, M.D., Dean for Clinical Affairs, TUSM,, Robert Bing-You, M.D., Vice President, Medical Education, Maine Medical Center, and Jo E. Linder, M.D., Director of Student Affairs, Medical Education, Maine Medical Center.  Dr. Linder is immediate past president of MMA.  Closing remarks were provided by MMC President and CEO Richard W. Petersen, FACHE.

 The thirty-six students and their hometowns follow (in alphabetical order).  MMA offers a hearty congratulations to them all and wish them well as they embark on a career in medicine.  Many of the students are recipients of loans from the Maine Medical Education Foundation, operated by MMA.

  1. Clayton Barnes, St. George, Maine
  2. Justin Barton Caplin, North Yarmouth, Maine
  3. Kelly Brooks, Rangeley, Maine
  4. Molly Curtis, Turner, Maine
  5. Lindsay Dale, Boise, Idaho
  6. Olga Diomede, Portland, Maine 
  7. Sam Dow, Hampden, Maine
  8. Louis Eubank, Portland, Maine
  9. Brian Fulmer, East Boothbay, Maine
  10. Danial Gerges, Yarmouth, Maine
  11. Hillary Glick, Portland, Maine
  12. Preston "Alex" Graham, Burlington, VT
  13. Colman Hatton, Cape Elizabeth, Maine
  14. Michael Henry, Brunswick, Maine
  15. Laura Horton, Falmouth, Maine
  16. Ashley Jean, Sanford, Maine
  17. Nathaniel "Nate" Johnson, New Gloucester, Maine
  18. William LaPlant, Waterville, Maine
  19. Benjamin Levin, Wellesley, MA
  20. Emily Libby, South Portland, Maine
  21. Joseph Mack, Portland, Maine
  22. Janice Malay, Scarborough, Maine
  23. Bradie Manion, Old Town, Maine
  24. Lila Martin, Falmouth, Maine
  25. Eric Maughan, Burnt Hills, NY
  26. Megan McBurnie, Holden, ME
  27. Raina Milne, Clarksburg, MA
  28. Kathleen Minor, West Linn, OR
  29. Timothy Ouelette, Lewiston, Maine
  30. Daniel Pitts, Lansdale PA
  31. Stephen Ranney, Thomaston, Maine
  32. Andrew Rogers, Windham, Maine
  33. Nathan Rogers, Bath, Maine
  34. Teresa Scontras, Saco, Maine
  35. Clinton Weiss, Mariaville, Maine

The students are spending a few days in rural practice sites in Maine before heading back to the Maine Medical Center the middle of this week and then on to Boston.







Register NOW for MMA's 159th Annual Meeting in Bar Harbor, Sept. 7-9

Registration materials for the Association's 159th Annual Meeting were recently mailed to all members.  The meeting will be held in Bar Harbor again this year, at the Harboside Hotel and Marina, September 7-9th.  The Friday afternoon educational program will be held at the Jackson Laboratory.  

As noted in last week's update, the room block at the Harborside Hotel and Marina expired on August 10th.  However, rooms may still be available and The MMA does maintain a list of alternative accommodations in the Bar Harbor area and members and guests are asked to contact Diane McMahon at MMA for the list ( or call 622-3374 ext. 216.)

The theme of this year's CME program is Caring for Our Elders and the keynote speaker is well-known author and geriatrician Dennis McCullough, M.D.  Dr. McCullough is the author of the best-selling book entitled, My Mother, Your Mother, Embracing Slow Medicine (2008). He is also the co-author of The Little Black Book of Pediatrics.  Dr. McCullough is associated with Dartmouth Medical School and resides in Norwich, Vermont.

On Saturday evening, MMA President Nancy M. Cummings, M.D. will  present the Presidential gavel and medallion to in-coming President Dieter Kreckel, M.D.  Dr. Kreckel is a family physician practicing in Rumford. He is a former President of the Maine Academy of Family Physicians.

Interested members may also register now on the Association's website.

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Maine Community Health Options and CMS to Announce Details of Maine's CO-OP on Thursday

Representatives of Maine Community Health Options and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will announce details of the federal award and the Health Plan on Thursday, August 16th at a news conference at 10:30 a.m. at the offices of the Plan in Lewiston.  As noted in a previous edition of the Weekly Update, the new nonprofit health plan will receive up to $62.1 million in financing from the federal government to help it start offering new health insurance options to individuals and small businesses in 2014 as part of the health insurance exchange that will be set up by either the state or federal government.

Of the $62.1 million available, $7.1 million is to develop a subscriber-run plan and $55 million is to meet the plan's reserve requirements under Maine law.  The new health plan must be operated by a board of consumers and meet the requirements of the ACA which included a provision for such plans.  While it was originally hoped that each state would have a CO-OP (consumer owned and operated plan),  only a few states have active CO-OPs being developed currently.

Coverage will be available through the Plan in 2014 and it hopes to have 50,000 subscribers within the few first years.  The application for the plan was put together by the Maine Primary Care Association and some of its members with financial assistance from the Maine Health Access Foundation.  The former Executive Director of the Association, Kevin Lewis, has left the association to be the CEO of the health plan.

The plan currently has a formation board with four members but will ultimately have a full board controlled by subscribers to the plan.  The development loan must be paid back to the federal government within five years with the reserve loan to be repaid in fifteen years.  The plan will be licensed by the Maine Bureau of Insurance and in many ways will look like any other insurance plan operating in the state, except that the control of the plan will be solely in the hands of the subscribers themselves.

While MMA has not been involved with the developed of the CO-OP, representatives have been attending meetings of the Advisory Committee to the Plan and the association has offered to conduct a focus group to help determine what physicians would like to see in a new health plan.  That focus group may be conducted as part of the Association's Annual Meeting in Bar Harbor, Sept. 7-9, 2012.





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AMA Summary of 2013 CMS Physician Fee Schedule Now Available

The American Medical Association has prepared a summary of the CMS physician fee schedule proposed rule for 2013.  The summary addresses key provisions of the proposed rule including the 27% Sustainable Growth Rate cut, changes to the Physician Quality Reporting System, the Value-Based Payment Modifier, Physician Compare, the e-Rx Prescribing Incentive Program, and many others.  The summary is posted here on the Maine Medical Association website. 

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CBO Updates Medicare Physician Payment Scoring (SCR)

On July 31st, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released new scoring estimates for various options for addressing projected Medicare physician payment cuts under the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula.  Of note, CBO is projecting that it would now cost $273.3 billion over 10 years for a simple repeal of the SGR (which would equate to freezing Medicare payments to physicians from 2013 through 2022).  CBO also projects that replacing the pending 2013 cut of 27% with a freeze for one year would cost $23.4 billion using the "cliff financing" mechanism that Congress employed in recent years. [return to top]

AMA Policy Series on Payment Reform Helps Physicians Advocate for Insurance Market Reforms

The American Medical Association has developed a series of documents, "Improving the Health Insurance Marketplace," which highlight ways to promote a strong health insurance marketplace that benefits patients and their physicians.  Based on AMA policy, each topic specifies actions that can strengthen the impact of health insurance market reforms in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).  As the ACA continues to be implemented on the state and federal levels, the series can serve as a resource to physicians in their advocacy efforts on the following issues:  health insurance subsidies, health insurance exchanges, individual responsibility, guaranteed issue and renewability, modified community rating, high-risk pools, essential health benefits, medical loss ratio, and patient navigators.  The documents are available for download at[return to top]

LePage Administration Names Members of MaineCare Redesign Task Force

Members of the MaineCare Redesign Task Force, as mandated by PL 2011, Chapter 657, Part T (one of three supplemental budgets passed during the last session of the legislature), have been selected, and the group will hold its initial meeting on August 28th, from 1 to 3 p.m. in Room 209 of the Cross Office Building.

As noted in the law, the committee will work to “provide detailed information that will maintain high quality, cost effective services to populations in need of health coverage, comply with requirements of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 for the state Medicaid programs and realize General Fund savings in fiscal year 2012-13 of $5,250,000.”  The specific charges in the statute can be found at  They include eligibility reform, benefit reform, consumer engagement, fiscal sustainability, management and administrative strategies, cost -effective strategies employed in other states and the achievement of a $5.25 million dollar savings target for SFY ’12 and ’13.

The members of the task force include:

  • ·Mary Mayhew, Commissioner, DHHS
  • Ana Hicks, Maine Equal Justice Partners (Member of the MaineCare Advisory Committee who represents MaineCare members.)

  • Rose Strout, MaineCare Member (Member of the MaineCare Advisory Committee who represents MaineCare members.)

  • Mary Lou Dyer, Maine Association for Community Service Providers (Member of the MaineCare Advisory Committee who represents providers of MaineCare services)

  • David Winslow, Maine Hospital Association (Member of the MaineCare Advisory Committee who represents providers of MaineCare services)

  • Scott E. Kemmerer, MD, Department of Emergency at MaineGeneral Medical Center (Member of the public who has expertise in public health care policy)

  • Frank Johnson, Former Executive Director of the Office of Employee Health and Benefits, State of Maine (Member of the public who has expertise in public health care financing)

  • Jim Clair (Member of the public who has expertise in state fiscal policy)

  • Ryan Low, Executive Director of Governmental and External Affairs for UMS (Member of the public who has an expertise in economic policy)

After the initial meeting, the group will move to a bi-weekly schedule. Meetings will be open to the public and time will be set aside for public comment. Agendas, minutes and other information will be available at  

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Join MMA in Phasing out BPA from Baby and Toddler Food Packaging

The Maine Medical Association is working with other health professional associations in Maine and the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine to support a proposed rule to phase out BPA from baby and toddler food packaging sold in Maine.  Maine designated BPA as a priority chemical in 2010, and banned the sale of baby bottles, sippy cups, and other reusable plastic bottles with BPA.  This next step seeks to ban the use of BPA in infant and toddler food or beverage packaging in Maine. A summary of the proposed rule and a science update on BPA by Dr. Laura Vandenberg of Tufts University are linked here.

Please CLICK HERE to join fellow health professionals from around the state in a sign-on letter that will be delivered to the Maine Board of Environmental Protection at a public hearing in September. (The letter is included in the link.  Please email Emma Halas-O’Connor to sign on if you have any trouble with the link:

The sign-on deadline is September 4, and it only takes a minute! If you have any questions, please contact [either yourself/someone from your org or Emma Halas-O’Connor at the Environmental Health Strategy Center ( or 207-699-5799).

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Effective Date of MaineCare Opiate Limits to be Delayed

Kevin Flanigan, MD, Medical Director of MaineCare Services, last week convened the second meeting of an advisory committee to provide input on how the State should implement changes to MaineCare opioid coverage and other pain management issues contained in the supplemental budget that passed the legislature in May. 

MaineCare has not yet released the details of their plan to implement these changes, but Dr. Flanigan did share at the meeting last week that the limits for patients and prior authorization requirements will not be put into effect until the advisory group settles on criteria for a prior authorization process and the changes go through the rulemaking process.  A realisticdate for any limits or prior authorizations being in place for patients is January 1, 2013.  The State is planning to begin generating reports comparing clinicians' opioid prescribing to peers sooner, ideally by the August 30th effective date of the budget.  

The group meeting this morning morning included MMA EVP Gordon Smith, Dr. Steven Hull, Dr. Noah Nesin and Noel Genova, PA-C.   The group next meets on August 27th at 9:30 am at the DHHS Building on Union Street in Augusta.  Any MMA member wishing to participate or comment should contact Mr. Smith at 207-622-3374 x 212 or

As a reminder, a summary of the provisions in the budget can be found on the MMA website, here, and include limits on prescriptions of opioid medication for acute pain, requirements for patients to participate in alternative interventions before receiving prescriptions for chronic pain, prior authorizations before patients with certain diagnoses can receive opioid medications, and generating reports for prescribers showing how their prescribing patterns compare to their peers.  [return to top]

Governor Patrick Signs Massachusetts Cost Containment/Payment Reform Bill

On August 6th, Governor Deval Patrick (D) signed a bill having been developed in the legislature over three years (S. 2400) intended to slow the increase in health care costs in Massachusetts.  Many observers consider the new law to be the next step in the Commonwealth's health care reform efforts that began with the 2006 universal coverage law signed by Governor Mitt Romney (R).  The law would target the increase in health care costs to the gross state product (GSP) - health care costs would be tied to the GSP from 2013 to 2017 and at 0.5% less than GSP for the next 5 years.  The law also establishes alternative payment methods to traditional fee-for-service.  The bill passed on votes of 38 - 0 in the Senate and 133 - 20 in the House.  The 349-page measure includes numerous health policy changes, including:

  • a medical malpractice reform provision that would require a 6-month waiting period before filing a malpractice lawsuit;

  • a 25% tax credit, up to $10,000 per employer and $15 million a year in total, for companies that establish wellness programs;

  • establishment of an independent health policy commission empowered to investigate providers that fail to meet the cost benchmarks and to require that such providers follow a "performance improvement plan" to improve efficiency and reduce cost;

  • $20 million in targeted Medicaid rate increases for providers that transition significantly to alternative payment methods;

  • a certification process for accountable care organizations, which would receive a contracting preference in state health programs;

  • $30 million in aid to providers to accelerate ongoing adoption of electronic health records;

  • an increase from 10 to 20 employees in the threshold for subjecting employers to "fair share contributions" if they do not provide health insurance;

  • expansion of the role of physician assistants to act as primary care providers;

  • establishment of more consumer health information that discloses out-of-pocket costs for health care services;

  • increased premium savings under "tiered" health plans; and

  • a ban on the use of mandatory overtime for nurses except in emergencies.

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Follow MMA on Twitter

For even more late-breaking updates on health policy, health news and MMA events and activities, follow the Maine Medical Association on Twitter.  Search for us at @MaineMedAssn.   For information about how to join and use Twitter, click here

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Upcoming Events & Conferences

3rd Annual Maine Telehealth Conference 

August 14, 2012

Colby College, Waterville

The conference will feature talks on new and emerging clinical telemedicicne programs, Legal and Regulatory issues related to Tele-healthcare programs, IT and Management, Telehealth options for primary care, Updates on Reimbursement for Telehealth Services. 

For more information, or to register, click here


Rewiring the Brain

August 20, 2012

Samoset Resort, Rockport 

This seminar will examine the use of brain-based interventions to enhance outcomes with a variety of client populations.  Keynote presenter John Arden, PhD. 

More information will be posted here as the date approaches. 


2012 New England Clinical Symposium & Workforce Summit 

August 23, 2012 

Holiday Inn By the Bay, Portland

Maine Primary Care Association and the Maine Office of Rural Health and Primary Care will host their first Summit  featuring two prominent keynote addresses, an 'Ask the Expert' Roundtable/World Café, a clinical track on caring for aging New England and a workforce development track. Target audience includes the clinicians and administrators of New England's critical access hospitals, community health centers, rural clinics and tribal health centers.

For more information or to register, click here


3rd Annual Patient Safety Academy

September 7, 2012

USM Portland Campus, Abromson Center 

Join colleagues and other health care professionals this September in an engaging and thought-provoking day of presentations, workshops, and skill-building activities designed to advance patient safety throughout the state and region.

For more information or to register, click here


17th Annual Northern New England Conference on Child Maltreatment 

September 13 & 14, 2012

University of New England Campus Center, Biddeford, ME 

The goal of this conference is to provide multi-disciplinary training to increase professional skills and knowledge of professionals who are involved in child abuse prevention, recognition, evaluation, reporting, investigation, treatment and all forms of child maltreatment. 

For more information, email or call 207-321-6080 x 3311. 


First Annual Let's Go 5210 Childhood Obesity Conference 

September 27 & 28, 2012

Maine Health Conference Center, 110 Free Street, Portland 

For anyone who works 1:1 with patients and families.  Learn how to build capacity in your practice, in your community and for your patients. 

For more information, click here.


11th Annual Downeast Ophthalmology Symposium

September 28-30, 2012

Harborside Hotel & Marina, Bar Harbor, Maine

The Maine Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons will host the 11th Annual Downeast Ophthalmology Symposium in beautiful Bar Harbor, Maine once again this year.  Offering 15.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits to ophthalmologists across the country.  

For more information and registration information, click here


Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Fundraising Walk 

October 14, 2012

Monument Square, Portland 

The annual American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer® three-mile fundraising walk will unite the community to honor and celebrate breast cancer survivors, educate women about the importance of early detection, raise funds for the fight to end breast cancer, and commemorate two decades of making a difference in the fight to end breast cancer. 

For more information or to register, click here.


Maine Public Health Association 2012 Annual Conference 

Community Connections: Building Creative Partnerships for the Health of All Mainers

October 17, 2012

Civic Center, Augusta 

Join us at Maine's premier Professional Public Health event, the 28th MPHA Annual Meeting. We will be partnering with many organizations across the State to bring the highest quality of education, innovation and inspiration to those that work in and around the field of public health.

For for information or to register, click here


Maine CDC Infectious Disease Conference 

November 13, 12012

Augusta Civic Center, Augusta, Maine

Presenting a review of emerging issues in the field of infectious diseases, particularly as they impact the Maine medical community. 

For more information or to register, click here[return to top]

Job Openings

Medical Director/Family Practice Physician

Katahdin Valley Health Center, established in 1974, is a high performing FQHC with a continuous track record of growth and stability.   KVHC seeks a Medical Director/Family Practice Physician to join our team and pursue our mission to provide community accessible, quality healthcare with compassion and dignity.   The Medical Director at KVHC will begin by providing patient primary care 3 days per week and performing administrative Medical Director Duties the other 2 days of the week.  This position will progressively move to a Full Time Medical Director Administrative role.  KVHC offers state of the art facilities and technology, electronic medical records, as well as a competitive salary and benefits package which include sign on bonus, generous amounts of paid time off, health insurance, life and disability insurance as well as Federal Torts Claims Act (FTCA) malpractice coverage. No nights, no weekends, either limited or no inpatient care and limited call coverage.  

KVHC has site locations in Houlton, Island Falls, Patten and Millinocket.  The Medical Director will work between the Houlton and Patten site, or the Millinocket and Patten Site.  Interested applicants should contact Michelle LeFay at or visit our website at  KVHC is an equal opportunity employer.


Family Practice Physicians - Millinocket & Houlton, Maine Locations

Katahdin Valley Health Center is recruiting dedicated Family Practice Physicians that are committed to providing quality health care services to the people in Central/Northern Maine.  Join our practice in one of the newly expanded facilities.  We are seeking physicians for our Millinocket and Houlton locations.  KVHC is a fully electronic medical record site and offers a competitive salary and benefits package which includes sign on bonus, generous amounts of paid time off, health insurance, life and disability insurance as well as Federal Torts Claims Act (FTCA) malpractice coverage.  No nights, no weekends, either limited or no inpatient care and limited call coverage.  Physicians who join KVHC are eligible to apply for NHSC Loan Repayment.

Physicians that join KVHC will be providing quality care in a dynamic, cutting edge environment, within a patient focused team of 11 Providers and 90 Staff Members.  As one of New England’s highest performing Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), KVHC has a mission to provide community accessible, quality healthcare with compassion and dignity. 

To learn more about KVHC and Practitioner Opportunities, please contact Michelle LeFay at or visit our website at  KVHC is an equal opportunity employer.


Exceptional Internal Medicine Opportunity in Kennebunk, Maine 

SMMC PrimeCare Internal Medicine Kennebunk is seeking a BC/BE internal medicine physician for their busy outpatient office located in downtown Kennebunk on the beautiful southern coast of Maine.  This well-established, highly desirable practice has current providers leaving clinical practice and is a unique opportunity for a motivated and creative individual interested in ensuring the healthcare needs of patients is delivered with highest level of quality.  For more information, please contact Katie Wechter at (207)294-8404.


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