September 4, 2012

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Caring for Our Elders the Theme of MMA's 159th Annual Session this Weekend in Bar Harbor

It is not too late to register for the MMA's Annual Meeting this weekend in Bar Harbor.  The meeting begins with a keynote talk at Jackson Laboratory at 1:00 p.m., followed by tours of the Laboratory at 3:00 p.m.  Members or guests interested in attending can register on-line at or by calling the office at 622-3374 (press 0).   While the Harborside is sold out except for Thursday night, many other accommodations are available and reasonably priced.  We hope to see many of you in Bar Harbor!

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

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 Geriatrics.  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 on the Association's website.


Donations Needed for Silent Auction at MMA Annual Session

At the Annual Session this coming weekend in Bar Harbor, MMA will hold its 3rd Annual Silent Auction with the proceeds split between the Medical Professionals Health Program and the association's Long Term Development Fund.  The items donated will be displayed at the Bar Harbor Club on Saturday, September 8th from morning registration through the evening reception.  

Previous donations have included use of a vacation home, gift certificates to a favorite restaurant, tickets to a concert, theater, or sporting event, or artwork.  All contributions are welcome.  Please note, however, that a contribution to either of the funds above is not tax deductible.

For inclusion in the donor program guide, please make arrangements to deliver your item by Wednesday, August 29th (although items will be accepted until Saturday).  If you have any questions, please contact Dee deHaas, MMA Development Director at 207-622-3374, ext. 215.

Thank you in advance for your generosity and your support of MMA and its programs!

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Handling Patient Complaints Opens Fall First Fridays Educational Programs, this Friday, Sept 7

The presentation this coming Friday will address the importance of an office practice system for the management of patient complaints.  The following topics will be discussed:  patient complaint triggers and subsequent outcomes related to the manner in which the patient complaints are addressed, approaches and considerations for dealing with the patient who is outwardly distressed or angry, the use of preemptive methods to avoid potential escalation and risk management strategies designed to lead to a positive outcome.  The program will also offer tips for dealing with the particular problem of dealing with patients seeking opiate medication.

Faculty for the program includes Nancy Brandow, Senior Risk Manager with Medical Mutual Insurance Company of Maine (MMIC) and Stacey P. Doten, RN, CPHQ, also a Senior Risk Manager for MMIC.

The September program is the first of four First Friday programs scheduled for the Fall.  A fee of $65 is charged for each program and registration is available on the MMA website.

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Community Paramedicine Comes to Maine

Legislation presented early this year and later enacted authorized the Emergency Medical Services' Board to develop and evaluate a community paramedicine pilot program following the same process established by the board in rule for pilot projects used to evaluate the inclusion of an emergency medical treatment technique or  type of equipment into any licensure level.  The new law is limited to twelve (12) projects, a number that was requested by MMA as the original draft of the bill contained no limits on the number of projects.  As there are more than 250 EMS systems in the state, the association felt strongly that there needed to be a limit to the number of projects that could be approved.  Each project would have a duration of three years.  The legislation took effect on August 30th and by coincidence, the advisory committee making recommendations on individual applications to the board met on that same day.  Members attending including Steve Diaz, M.D., Matt Scholl, M.D.,  Tim Pieh, M.D., and Amy Madden, M.D.  MMA EVP Gordon Smith also attended to represent MMA. 

As defined in the statute, "community paramedicine" means the practice by an emergency medical services provider primarily in an out-of-hospital setting of providing episodic patient evaluation, advice, and treatment directed at preventing or improving a particular medical condition, within the scope of practice of the emergency medical services provider as specifically requested or directed by a physician.  

Under the law authorizing the pilot projects, an EMS provider working within a project must work with an identified primary care medical director, must have an emergency medical services medical director, and must collect and submit data and written reports to the board.  Each year, the EMS Board will submit a written report to the legislature that summarizes the work and progress during the previous calendar year of each pilot project.  

Essentially, the purpose of community paramedicine is to use idle EMS personnel to address unmet medical needs in the community.  Ideally, it may also enhance EMS response resources in the community.  EMS providers may not practice outside their existing scope of practice.  Training, medical direction, quality improvement, and data collection will be specific to the community health needs being addressed.  


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Last Chance to Sign On to BPA Phase Out

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 today, September 4th, and it only takes a minute!  If you have any questions, please contact Jessa Barnard at the MMA ( or 207-622-3374) or Emma Halas-O’Connor at the Environmental Health Strategy Center ( or 207-699-5799).

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CMS Taking More Time to Weigh in on MaineCare Cuts, State Files Suit

Last Friday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) responded to the LePage Administration's State Plan Amendment that would reduce MaineCare eligibility by saying that they need more time to consider the changes.  The cuts, passed by the 125th Legislature, would end MaineCare eligibility for 19 and 20 year olds, parents under 200% of the federal poverty level, and some Drugs for the Elderly beneficiaries.  The cuts would save approximately $20 million of state dollars and end coverage for more than 30,000 Mainers. 

DHHS submitted the Amendment on August 1st and requested a response from CMS by September 1st but CMS stated that they are allowed by law to take 90 days to consider such requests and that they need additional time in order to make a decision.  The State planned to begin implementing the cuts by October 1st. 

Just announced this afternoon, Maine Attorney General William Schneider stated that he would be filing a Petition for Review of CMS's failure to act upon the State Plan Amendment and also a motion asking the court to either require that CMS approve the Amendment or pay Maine's share of the cost of covering individuals after October 1st. 

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MaineCare Ends Coverage for Nicotine Replacement Therapy as of 9/1

As of September 1st, MaineCare beneficiaries are no longer able to receive MaineCare coverage for nicotine replacement therapy or prescriptions drugs to help quit smoking, such as Chantix.   Pregnant women will remain eligible and smokers can still contact the Maine Tobacco Helpline (800-207-1230) for some assistance with affording NRT, though not Chantix.  Physicians can continue to bill for counseling services. The cuts were passed as part of the supplemental budget process by the 125th Legislature.  

 A recent Bangor Daily News article cited Ed Miller, vice president of health promotion and public policy for the American Lung Association in Maine, as saying that the Helpline and state CDC’s programs are no substitute because they cannot absorb the extra demand.  “There’s no question that the absence of the medications is going to reduce the number of people who make attempts to quit, and it’s going to reduce the number of people who are successful in quitting,” he said.

It is a priority of anti-smoking advocates to restore this funding when the new legislature is seated in January 2013.

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Oct. 5 First Friday Program on Physician Compensation, Recruitment and Retention Moved to Oct. 19.

Because of a change in attorney Michael Duddy's schedule, the October 5th program has been moved to Friday morning, October 19th.  The faculty will still consist of Mr. Duddy and Gordon Smith, Esq., Executive Vice President of MMA.  

Members or staff already registered for October 5th who cannot join us on the19th will be offered credit for another First Friday program or will receive a refund.

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Seeking Volunteers for Focus Group on Vaccine Administration, Sept 26th

Physician and Clinical Staff Focus Group - Earn $50 from LL Bean and Share your Perspective on Vaccines Delivered in Alternative Settings

Dr. Christopher Pezzullo, formerly of University Healthcare for Kids, now at Bayview Pediatrics and serving as Medical Director of Population Health at the Maine CDC, received a Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) grant from the American Academy of Pediatrics to create a plan of how vaccinations could be delivered at non-traditional sites in Cumberland County.  He has been meeting with parents, public health professionals, some physicians and others to hear feedback on this idea. 

To make sure he gets the medical community’s input on this idea, he is asking physicians, NPs, PAs, nurses, MAs and office staff working in Cumberland County to give their perspective and expertise at a focus group on September 26 from 5-6:30 at the Harraseeket Inn. 

To thank you for your time, you will be treated to a wonderful meal and receive a $50 LL Bean gift card. 

Please contact Cassandra Grantham at for more information or to sign up for this group.

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MaineCare Redesign Task Force Convenes

The MaineCare Redesign Task Force met for the first time on Tuesday, August 28th.  Established by Part T of L.D. 1746 (P.L. 2011, Chapter 657), one of three supplemental budgets from the last session, the Task Force is charged with undertaking a "comprehensive review of the MaineCare program" and to recommend changes to the program to achieve General Fund savings of $5.25 million during FY 2012-2013 and annually thereafter.  DHHS has established a page on its web site for Task Force materials and you can find the agenda for the first meeting, including the Task Force membership and charge, on the web at  DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew chairs the Task Force.  MaineGeneral Medical Center emergency physician and Maine Chapter ACEP past President Scott E. Kemmerer, M.D. serves on the Task Force as a member of the public who has expertise in public health care policy.

During the first meeting, the group reviewed the charge and the time frame for its work and received briefings on the MaineCare program generally and the Department's value-based purchasing initiative more specifically.  Near the close of the meeting, Commissioner Mayhew led a discussion of possible principles to guide the work of the Task Force.  

The Task Force must report back to the Appropriations and HHS Committees by November 15, 2012 and January 1, 2013 on different aspects of the charge, and monthly thereafter during the State's review and implementation of, or challenge to, the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

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Upcoming Events & Conferences

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


The Lung Cancer Free Alliance Save Your Breath Walk

November 3, 2012

Buker School, 21 Armory Street, Augusta

For more 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. 

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Job Openings

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.


MD/DO Position Available in Dexter, Maine

Sebasticook Family Doctors is accepting applications for a MD/DO at our busy Dexter location.  Ideal candidate will have two or more years experience in a busy community health outpatient setting delivering high quality care.  Exceptional clinical, interpersonal and EMR skills are required.   SFD offers  excellent compensation, benefits and working environment.   Join our growing team!  

Interested applicants should send resume and cover letter to:  Melanie Knowles, Human Resources, Sebasticook Family Doctors, 18 Moosehead Trail, Suite 5, Newport, ME 04953 or at


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