September 10, 2012

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MMA Concludes Successful 159th Annual Meeting

Members and guests of the Maine Medical Association met for the 159th time this past weekend in Bar Harbor. Over 250 people attended some or all of the meeting, which featured CME sessions on aging with the theme Caring for Our Elders.  Keynote Speaker Dennis McCullough, M.D. set a serious tone for the weekend discussions.  At the annual business meeting on Saturday morning, the members passed six resolutions and adopted a balanced budget for 2013.  Dieter Kreckel, M.D., a family physician practicing in Rumford, was installed as President of MMA for the next year, following Nancy M Cummings, M.D.

The six resolutions were passed as presented and can be found on the MMA website at Following are the titles of each of the Resolutions.

  1. Appropriate Use of Antibiotics
  2. Support for our Public Health Infrastructure
  3. Limits on the Possession of Dangerous Weapons
  4. Taxes on Beverages with Added Sweeteners
  5. Operation of Maine's Pre-litigation Screening Panels
  6. Maintenance and Expansion of Health Care Coverage in Maine

Resolution #6 was a late resolution presented by the Board of Directors that calls on the Association to reaffirm its support for universal health care coverage and oppose reductions to MaineCare eligibility enacted by the 125th Maine Legislature, as well as support the expansion of MaineCare to all eligible individuals up to 133% of the federal poverty level in 2014.

Presentations were made at the Saturday morning session by Terrance Sheehan, M.D, President of Medical Mutual Insurance Co. of Maine, Michael Sherman, M.D., MBA, Chief Medical Officer of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and James Harnar, Executive Director of the Hanley Center for Health Leadership.

On Sunday morning, several practicing physicians shared with attendees their experiences in different types of practice models.

Other highlights of the meeting included the presentation of the Annual Award for Distinguished Service to Charles "Tom" McHugh, M.D. of Baileyville.

Three senior physicians attended to be presented with 50 year pins recognizing the 50th anniversary of their graduation from medical schools.  John Serrage, M.D., John Van Pelt, M.D. and Eric Nicholas, Jr., M.D., all made brief remarks expressing their appreciation for having had the opportunity to practice in Maine.

The 2013 Annual Meeting, celebrating the Association's 160th anniversary, will be held in Portland, Maine at the Holiday Inn by the Bay October 4-6th.  We hope to see you there!


Outgoing MMA President, Nancy Cummings, M.D., Presents the Distinguished Service Award to Charles "Tom" McHugh, M.D. of Baileyville.


Members, family and guests prepare to run and walk the 32nd Annual Edmund Hardy Road Race. 

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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Physicians Testify In Support of Expanding BPA Ban

Last Thursday, the Maine Board of Environmental Protection held a hearing on whether to expand Maine's ban on BPA in children’s reusable food and beverage containers (sippy cups and baby bottles) to infant and children’s food packaging (infant formula containers, baby food jars, canned food). 

The hearing was the next step in a rule making process initiated by over 800 Maine citizens who filed a petition in June with the Board to eliminate BPA from children's food packaging.  

Five physicians joined with parents, scientists and public health experts to testify in favor of extending the ban, including Dr. Lani Graham, co-chair of the Maine Medical Association Public Health Committee, Dr. Steven Feder, president of the Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Jim Maier, member of the MMA Public Health Committee and Physicians for Social Responsibility, Dr. Tom Peredy, medical director of the Northern New England Poison Center, and Dr. Tony Owens, emergency physician and board member of the Natural Resources Council of Maine.  In addition, over 100 Maine physicians and other health professionals have signed a letter in support of the ban.  

The Board is accepting comments on the proposal until September 28th.  For more information, contact Jessa Barnard at or visit


Dr. Tom Peredy, testifying before the BEP last Thursday  [return to top]

Transition Issues Prompt Testy Exchanges During Dirigo Health Agency Board Meeting

The Dirigo Health Agency Board of Trustees held a regular meeting at the Agency's headquarters on Water Street in Augusta this morning.  DHA Executive Director Karynlee Harrnington and her staff provided Board members with an overview of the DHA budget, particularly its FY 2013 budget projections and the status of FY 14 given the 125th Legislature's elimination of funding for the Agency.  Ms. Harrington also gave an update on the L.D. 1818 work group and the following Maine Quality Forum (MQF) initiatives:

  • Patient Centered Medical Home Pilot;
  • Patient Experience of Care initiative;
  • Shared Decision Making initiative; 
  • Physician database initiative; and
  • Healthcare Associated Infections initiative.

Jonathan S.R. Beal, a Portland labor lawyer who is a Dirigo Trustee and former Chair of the DHA Board, wrote a memo to the Trustees suggesting that the DHA should have a plan to actively assist current DirigoChoice members with the transition to another plan once funding for Dirigo expires.  He also asked that the executive branch ex officio members (the Commissioners of Professional & Financial Regulation and Administration & Financial Services) present to the Board the LePage Administration's plan for transitioning current members to other types of coverage.  

Board Chair Joe Bruno, R.Ph., a former Republican House Leader and LePage appointee to the Chair position, permitted Beal's memo to be distributed and considered as a matter of new business.  This resulted in a few "testy" exchanges between Beal and Bruno with Beal continuing to advocate an active role for the DHA and Bruno stating that the members should shop the marketplace, through the exchange when established, for coverage like other consumers.  Neither Commissioner attended the meeting to present the LePage Administration's views on the matter.  State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, another ex officio member, was absent from the meeting as well.

The next DHA Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for October 15, 2012.

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MaineCare Physician Advisory Committee Meeting, Sept 13

The Physician Advisory Committee (PAC) is a core group of six MaineCare physicians facilitated by the MaineCare Medical Director.  Presently this group meets on a quarterly basis.  During the first half of the PAC meeting, current MaineCare initiatives are presented.  For the second half of the meeting, MaineCare providers are invited to present issues in the community they would like MaineCare to address.

MaineCare would like to open its Physician Advisory Committee meeting to wider participation.  Any provider interested in MaineCare initiatives may attend the meeting in person or by phone. 

The next meeting will be held on Thursday, September 13, 2012 from 3:00-5:00pm in Conference Room 103B at the Cross State Office Building located at 111 Sewall Street in Augusta, Maine.  The MaineCare topics for this meeting will be governance for the PAC and final recommendations for the PA process of usage of suboxone/methadone beyond the 2-year limit . 

The conference call line is 1-877-455-0244, with passcode 7989253087#.  If planning to attend in person, please reply to Charyl Malik at 207-287-3320 or .   [return to top]

Advocacy Group Releases Report on Maine Insurance Law Chapter 90

Maine's largest consumer health organization, Consumers for Affordable Health Care, released a report last week based on insurance company filings with the Maine Bureau of Insurance. The report, entitled Few Winners, Many Losers: Evaluating the Impact of Key Provisions of Maine's New Health Insurance Law To Date, found that Maine's new health insurance law called Chapter 90, passed by the new Republican majority in the Maine Legislature amid a firestorm of controversy last year, resulted in the following: 

  • higher premiums for the majority (54%) of individual policyholders,
  • higher premiums for the overwhelming majority (90%) of small business policyholders especially those with older workers or in rural areas,
  • worsened product choices in the individual market,
  • higher taxes ($22 million) on all insureds in Maine for a reinsurance program that supported higher profits to the state's largest insurance company for its individual product ($1.8 million),
  • weakened consumer protections including how insurance company rates are reviewed.

The report used filings with Maine's Bureau of Insurance that reflected the new law. Four key provisions of the new law were evaluated:  

  • individual and small group premium rates;
  • closed books of business and new product choices;
  • the new reinsurance tax on all insured Mainers;
  • the new standard for reviewing individual rate filings.

In each category, the insurance company filings and Bureau determinations showed higher premiums, worse product choices, higher profits to Maine's largest individual insurer, and weaker review standards.

To view the complete report, please click here. [return to top]

Medicare Continues Improvements to Online Enrollment System

Thanks to ongoing advocacy by the AMA, CMS has added yet another feature to simplify physician online enrollment/re-enrollment.  CMS recently announced that physicians and other providers will be able to submit supporting documents needed to process their enrollment application through the online PECOS system using their new Digital Document Repository.  Until now, even physicians who submitted their enrollment information online were required to separately submit several paper documents.  Examples include medical licenses/certifications, IRS tax documents, voided checks, and the CMS-460 participation agreement form, among many others.  

More information, including a "how to" guide can be found on the CMS web site here: [return to top]

Health Effects of Climate Change Presentation, Sept 19

Doctor Wendy Ring, a 56 year old family physician and long time member of Physicians for Social Responsibility, is riding a bicycle across the United States to draw attention to global warming as a public health emergency.

Join Physicians for Social Responsibility as they welcome Dr. Ring to Portland for her presentation:

The Health Effects of Climate Change

Wednesday, September 19, 7:00PM

Maine Audubon, Gilsland Farm, Falmouth, ME

For more information, contact Karen A D’Andrea, Executive Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility, ME Chapter,, 207-210-0084

Learn more about Dr. Ring here. [return to top]

New IOM Report Urges Response to "Unmanageable" Complexity in Health Care

On September 6th, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published a new report called, Best Care at Lower Cost:  The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America calling for more urgent reform of the U.S. health care system.  

The IOM's 18-member Committee on the Learning Healthcare System in America wrote the 382-page report that was sponsored by the Blue Shield of California Foundation, the Charina Endowment Fund, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  Mark Smith, President and CEO of the California HealthCare Foundation and chairman of the committee that wrote the report, said that "part of what's new about this report is our attempt to grapple with the issue of complexity - the complexity of health care, both in its biomedical and organizational aspects."  He also said that a theme of the report is that "health care now must be a team sport."  

You can find the new report on the IOM's web site.

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Public Health Association Seeks Award Nominees

The Maine Public Health Association is pleased to announce its fall Call for Award Nominations.  The MPHA will be honoring two esteemed colleagues at its fall conference with the Public Health Program of Excellence award and the Ruth Shaper Memorial award.  

Nomination forms can be found here, are easy to complete and are due Friday, September 21st.  You do not need to be a member of MPHA to submit, or receive, a nomination.   

You can register for our conference, to be held October 17th at the Augusta Civic Center, titled Community Connections: Building Creative Partnerships for the Health of All Mainershere.

Please consider nominating a deserving co-worker or colleague.  

The Program of Excellence Award is to increase the visibility of public health initiatives in Maine, to promote adoption of effective public health programs, and to provide recognition to organizations involved in successful collaborative public health initiatives.  Past award winners are included on the nomination form.

The Ruth S. Shaper Memorial Award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution in the area of public health. The individual will have demonstrated a broad orientation to health promotion and disease prevention that extends beyond his/her specific profession or field of interest. For example, the individual may have made a meaningful impact in health legislation, health education, health policy development, or consumer advocacy at either the community or state level. Professional rank or status in an organization is not an important factor. The nominee need not be a member of the Maine Public Health Association. Past award winners are included on the nomination form.

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Job Openings

Chief Medical Officer

Maine Community Health Options (MCHO) is a non-profit consumer operated and oriented plan (CO-OP) in Maine. The purpose of the CO-OP is to provide affordable healthcare insurance options that are designed to improve health outcomes.

MCHO seeks a Chief Medical Officer (CMO) to provide clinical and administrative leadership for all clinical aspects of MCHO.  As the clinical senior executive leader, the CMO will ensure effective and efficient delivery of quality care consistent with the mission and vision of Maine Community Health Options. 

The CMO will provide strategic direction, strategy execution and implementation of clinical and care management programs.  Specifically, s/he will provide clinical perspective and guidance on provider credentialing as well as direct, develop and provide oversight of medical and behavioral treatment policy, utilization review and management, quality management, disease/care management, and pharmacy initiatives.

The CMO will analyze data from multiple sources to identify and respond to trends and /or emerging issues, design clinical interventions and programs to simultaneously improve overall health outcomes and reduce the costs of care, plan and direct MCHO's clinical approaches in support of the patient- centered health home initiative, oversee management of complex cases and direct management of care coordination with practitioners, oversee and direct MCHO vendor resources in the coordination of patient care, assist with provider network development , chair clinical/quality committee(s) focusing on health care outcomes and service improvements, provide clinical reports to MCHO executive leadership and Board, and serve as a liaison to external parties and institutions.

Competencies:  Leaders within MCHO are expected to lead with integrity, humility, strategic vision, curiosity, and discipline.  They must be highly effective and compassionate communicators, effectively manage work and processes and actively engage in continuous process improvement.


  • MD or DO with unrestricted medical license in Maine
  • Minimum of five years of direct clinical experience
  • Minimum of five years of leadership and involvement in medical staff activities
  • Minimum of five years of management experience within a health care delivery system 
  • Minimum of three years of experience in medical management in a managed care setting or the equivalent
  • Knowledge of applicable National, State and local laws and regulations, JCAHO, NCQA and other regulatory requirements affecting MCHO clinical operations

Preferred Degrees, Licensure, and/or Certification:  Board certification in medical management

This is a unique opportunity to join a new and establishing organization in Maine.  Please send a resume and letter of application to no later than October 11, 2012.


Director of Care Management

Maine Community Health Options (MCHO) is a non-profit consumer operated oriented plan (CO-OP) in Maine. The purpose of the CO-OP is to provide affordable healthcare insurance options that are designed to improve health outcomes.

MCHO seeks a Director of Care Management to serve as the strategist for care management and to ensure that all resources are effectively deployed to effect optimal health outcomes.   The Director will collaborate with the Chief Medical Officer.

The Director of Care management will direct, plan, and supervise activities and priorities within Care Management, ensure compliance with approved standardized guidelines, government mandated regulations and contractual agreements, collaborate to ensure processes are in place to accomplish all defined goals and quality metrics, coordinate personnel to meet medical management operational program needs, foster open communication between MCHO and practitioners by acting as care management liaison, monitor and oversee the reporting of all quality issues and act as a catalyst for change and enhancement of processes.

Directors within MCHO are expected to lead with integrity, humility, strategic vision, curiosity, discipline, highly effective and compassionate communication, effective management of work and processes and active engagement in process improvement.

Required Skills: 

  • Masters of Science in Nursing, or Nurse Practitioner
  • Active Registered Nurse (RN) license in ME
  • Five or more years of care management experience
  • A minimum of five years of management experience
  • Data mining, analytical and reporting skills

Preferred Skills:  CCM certification

This is a unique opportunity to join a new and establishing organization in Maine.  Please send a resume and letter of application to  no later than September 23, 2012.


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


Family Practice Physicians

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, Patten 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.


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.


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Upcoming Events & Conferences

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. 

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

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