September 23, 2013

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Maine Health Exchange Advisory Committee Meets Today, Marketplaces Open Oct. 1

The Maine Health Exchange Advisory Committee established by the Legislature is holding its first meeting today.  As Maine's Marketplace (exchange) opens on Oct. 1, the Committee will advise the Legislature regarding the interests of individuals and employers relative to the Marketplace and serve as a liaison between the Marketplace and individuals and small businesses enrolled in Marketplace plans. The Committee will also evaluate the implementation and operation of the Marketplace with respect to a number of factors set out in the Joint Study Order establishing the Committee.

The first meeting of the Health Exchange Advisory Committee is being held today, Monday, Sept. 23, 2013 from 10:00am to 5:00pm in Room 228 of the State House. The Committee is charged with advising the Legislature regarding the interests of individuals and employers with respect to the federally-facilitated health benefit marketplace which becomes operational on Oct. 1.  Further meetings have been set for Oct. 21, Nov. 18 and Dec. 2.

The meetings are open to the public and the audio of the meeting today will be streamed over the Internet via the Legislative Activities Calendar:

For more information about the Advisory Committee, please visit the website at: The website will be updated with additional links and materials as the Advisory Committee meeting moves forward.

For more information about the Marketplace that will be operating in Maine, visit or   At both sites you can learn more about how the Marketplace will operate, how to prepare for open enrollment beginning Oct. 1, and where to find in-person assistance with enrollment.  You can also contact Jessa Barnard at the MMA at for copies of patient-friendly materials about the Marketplace or to schedule an on-site training for your staff.  See also the article below for a webinar MMA is hosting this Wednesday, Sept 25.


Medical Students Added to Annual Session Presentation by Peter Bates, M.D.

As the Association's 160th Annual Session quickly approaches, MMA is pleased to announce the participants in the medical school panel presenting on Friday afternoon, Oct. 4 as part of the keynote address.  Peter Bates, M.D. is presenting the talk, entitled The Changing Face of Medical Education. Two Maine Medical Center-Tufts University School of Medicine students in the class of 2014 will participate in the discussion, including Michael Neilson of South Paris and Rebecca Wood of Eagle Lake.  The program begins at 2:30pm on Friday, Oct. 4th following a keynote presentation by Jackson Lab President Edison Liu, M.D. The Friday afternoon session is approved for category one CME and takes place at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland.

Dr. Bates serves as Maine Medical Center's Vice President, Medical and Academic Affairs, Chief Medical Officer and Academic Dean for the Maine Medical Center-Tufts University School of Medicine.

Registration for any of the Annual Session programs is available on the MMA website.

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Policy Resolutions Announced for Member Consideration at Annual Membership Meeting, Oct 5

MMA is pleased to announce the release of a number of proposed policy resolutions, to be presented and discussed at the Maine Medical Association General Membership Session taking place on Saturday, October 5th.  The meeting will occur from 7:30-10:30 a.m.  at the Holiday Inn by the Bay State of Maine Grand Ball Room in Portland.   The Membership Session takes place as part of the MMA Annual Session and any MMA member is welcome to attend (and does not need to register for the full meeting).  

The proposals include: 

Resolution RE: Prohibiting Tobacco Sales in Health Care Settings
Submitted by the MMA Public Health Committee

Resolution RE: Supporting an Evidence-Basis for Public Health Policy
Submitted by the MMA Public Health Committee 

Resolution RE: Bicycle Safety & Funding
Submitted by MMA Public Health Committee 

Resolution RE: Updating MMA Poll on Physicians’ Opinions about Healthcare Reform
Submitted by Jim Maier, MD, Julie Pease, MD & Janis Petzel, MD 

Resolution RE: Proposed Tar Sands Pipeline
Submitted by the MMA Public Health Committee 

Resolution RE: Endorsement of Choosing Wisely Initiative
Submitted by Lisa Letourneau, MD & A. Jan Berlin, MD

If adopted by the MMA membership, resolutions are advisory to the MMA Board and the Board has to adopt the resolutions as MMA Policy or request more information at the Board meeting immediately following Annual Session.

You can view the full text of the resolutions on the MMA Annual Session Webpage.  Contact Jessa Barnard at with questions.  [return to top]

New Laws Impacting Your Practice: LD 272, Reminder that Practices do Not Need to Post Licenses

While MMA ran this topic several months ago, due to the number of questions we have received over the past two weeks, we are repeating the article and reminding practices that they do not need to comply with the requirement that all licensees post their licenses in a visible location. 

Central to MMA's advocacy agenda this session was supporting LD 727, An Act Establishing Health Care Practitioner Transparency Requirements.  Based on a model act prepared by the American Medical Association, the intent of the bill was to ensure that patients are accurately informed about the type of practitioner who is caring for them. 

Since enactment of the legislation several questions have arisen regarding the requirement for a licensee to display a copy of their professional license.  Upon review, MMA has determined that simply removing this section (3. A) from the law is the best way to deal with the concerns raised. The original sponsor of the legislation, Sen. Geoffrey Gratwick, M.D. of Bangor, has graciously agreed to sponsor corrective legislation this coming session to remove the posting requiring from the law.  In addition, the Commissioner of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, Anne L. Head, J.D. has agreed to communicate with the various health-related boards to ask that this particular section of the law not be enforced until the corrective bill is considered during the Second Regular Session.

As a reminder, the bill contains three requirements: 

  1. A health care practitioner who advertises health care services must disclose in an advertisement the health care practitioner's name, the type of license the practitioner holds and the common term for the practitioner's profession.  The advertising cannot be deceptive or misleading (defined as including, but not limited to, use of an advertisement that misstates, falsely describes, falsely holds out or falsely details the health care practitioner's professional skills, training, expertise, education, board certification or licensure). Advertising means any communication, whether printed, electronic or oral, that names a health care practitioner and the practice, profession or institution in which the practitioner is employed, volunteers or otherwise provides health care services, and includes business cards, letterhead, patient brochures, e-mail, Internet, audio and video communications and any other communication used in the course of business.
  2. A health care practitioner seeing patients on a face-to-face basis must wear a name badge or some other form of identification that clearly discloses: (1) The health care practitioner's name; (2) The type of license, registration or certification the health care practitioner holds, including the common term for the health care practitioner's profession; and (3) The health care practitioner's medical staff position, if applicable.
  3. A health care practitioner who has direct patient care must display a copy of the practitioner's licensein a prominent place in an office area visible to current and prospective patients. If the health care practitioner sees patients in a setting outside of a licensed health care facility, the copy must be of sufficient size to be visible and apparent to patients, except that a copy no smaller than the original license is deemed to be sufficient.

A health care practitioner who violates the law is subject to disciplinary action by a licensing board for unprofessional conduct. 

This new law (with the exception for postponing enforcement of the license display provision) goes into effect on October 9th, 2013.  You can find the full text of the law here

With questions or for more information contact the MMA at or

Each week MMA is running weekly articles highlighting new laws passed by the 126th Legislature that impact the practice of medicine in Maine.  We are also happy to present an overview of new laws to your medical staff, practice or specialty society and have posted a summary of laws and explanatory slide presentation on the MMA website.  [return to top]

Volunteers Sought for MMA Payment Reform Committee

The MMA is seeking volunteers for a new ad hoc Payment Reform Committee. This committee will build on the work of the former Payer Liaison Committee with a special focus on monitoring and providing physician feedback on ongoing payment reform initiatives. It is an opportunity for physicians to educate themselves on payment reform and to make their voices heard.  Committee members will hear from public and private payers, employers and others who will keep them informed on developments at the state and national level and may also be asked to advise the MMA on the development of educational programming and other resources on payment reform for Maine’s physician population. 

Supported by funding from a Maine Health Access Foundation “Advancing Payment Reform” grant, the committee will meet no more than four times a year on a flexible schedule through 2014 and will allow for phone or video participation. The first meeting will in November.  If you are an MMA member with an interest in payment reform, please consider serving on this committee.  If you have questions, please contact EVP Gordon Smith, Esq., at  To volunteer, please contact Project Manager Jennifer Reck, MA at

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MMA Webinars: The Affordable Care Act Marketplace Update, Sept 25

The Affordable Care Act: Marketplace Update (and more)

September 25th, 12-1:30 pm 

(Note, this is a repeat of a September 11th Webinar) 

Presented by CarePartners - MaineHealth, Consumers for Affordable Health Care, Maine Medical Association/Maine Medical Education Trust, and the Maine Primary Care Association.  

Topics will include: 

  • The ACA Overview: What has happened so far
  • Details on coverage, enrollment and subsidies for the new health insurance marketplace opening Oct 1 
  • Where to send patients for assistance in enrollment and how practices and health systems can help with enrolling the uninsured
  • Implications for practices and health care systems

Free and open to any hospital or medical practice staff, administrators or clinicians. To register, contact Jill Barkley at   Log in information will be emailed after registration.   

Supported with funding from the Maine Health Access Foundation.  

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One Hundred Ophthalmologists Attend 12th Annual Downeast Ophthalmology Symposium

Congratulations to the Maine Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons and Course Director Sam Solish, M.D. and his planning committee for another very successful Downeast Ophthalmology Symposium held this past weekend.  For the 12th year, over a hundred ophthalmologists from Maine and around the country (23 states were represented this year) attended the meeting held in Bar Harbor.  The Symposium has become one of the most significant educational opportunities for eye physicians and surgeons in the nation by presenting nationally known speakers in the very desirable setting of Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island.  

The topics are selected annually by a very involved planning committee consisting of ophthalmologists throughout Maine.  Ophthalmologists wishing to participate on the planning committee should contact Shirley Goggin who manages the conference for MSEPS through an arrangement with the Maine Medical Association. She can be reached at 445-2260 or via e-mail to

Next year's program is already being planned and the date for the conference is Sept. 19-21, 2014, again at the Harborside Hotel and Marina in Bar Harbor.

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Medicare Doc Payment Fix Tops List Of Health Agenda Items as Congress Returns

As lawmakers returned to the Capitol mid-September to begin their fall legislative session, provider group lobbyists and congressional aides said they are optimistic that a new Medicare provider reimbursement system may be in place by year-end.

In part because of lower cost estimates for a Medicare payment fix, lawmakers and provider groups alike see this year as a “make or break” opportunity to push through a plan to repeal and replace the current provider reimbursement system, according to stakeholders and congressional aides from both parties.

In late July, just before Congress adjourned for a five-week recess, the House Energy and Commerce Committee—with bipartisan support—released a 70-page draft bill that would replace Medicare's problematic physician payment system.

The Energy and Commerce proposal would eliminate Medicare's sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, which each year mandates cuts in physician payment rates that are regularly canceled by Congress with a legislative “doc fix.”

Replacing the current Medicare fee-for-service payment structure would be a new system that bases physician Medicare reimbursements on how well providers meet new quality guidelines.

The guidelines would be worked out over the next several years by the Department of Health and Human Services, provider groups, and independent medical standards-setting organizations.

During a five-year phase-in period beginning in 2014, the new system would provide physicians with modest annual reimbursement rate increases of 0.5 percent before the system was fully implemented in 2019.

Physicians also may opt to participate in demonstration programs featuring alternative payment models aimed at coordinating care and improving quality for patients, according to the Energy and Commerce proposal.

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American Medical News Ceases Publication After 55-year run

Unsustainable financial losses forced the move despite the newspaper's editorial quality, the AMA's senior management says. The Association's other news operations will be enhanced.

A dramatic drop in medical-publishing revenues has resulted in the closure of American Medical News, effective with the September 9th edition of the newspaper.

Published for more than five decades, AMNews was hit hard by industrywide trends. The newspaper's revenue fell by two-thirds during the last decade, said Thomas J. Easley, senior vice president and publisher of periodic publications at the American Medical Association.

“Over a 10-year period of time, we were not able to generate an operating surplus for AMNews,” Easley said. “For some of those years, we were closer to break-even, and in others, we were further away. The last three years saw us get further and further from reaching break-even.”

In 2009, the tabloid newspaper's print run was cut in half, from 48 times a year to 24, while new stories were published each weekday at the AMNews website, But that change was not enough to turn the tide because of steeply declining ad dollars, Easley said.

American Medical News' closure comes despite widespread recognition of its editorial excellence. During the last decade that saw so many financial struggles, the newspaper won more than 60 journalism awards. 

This newspaper was first published as The AMA News on Sept. 22, 1958, when the average annual medical school tuition was $773. In 1969, the publication was renamed American Medical News, reflecting a mandate to further broaden its coverage of events and trends in medicine.

The editorial that announced the name change now reads as prescient: “With this issue we close an old friend who has served well.”

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Choosing Wisely in Maine Survey & Provider Pilot Opportunity

Maine Quality Counts (QC) is asking individuals and health care providers across the state to share their thoughts and opinions through a brief web-based survey as we launch “Choosing Wisely in Maine," an important effort to help patients, consumers, doctors, and other health care providers make wise choices about their use of health care. 

As we get started, we’re asking for help to complete this brief web-based survey to gather information that will be used to guide our efforts here in Maine. The survey consists of 20 questions, and is expected to take no more than 10 minutes to complete. Individuals who complete the full survey by Friday, September 20 have an opportunity to enter a drawing to receive a free iPad

We need to hear from as many Maine individuals and providers as possible so that we can make Choosing Wisely in Maine a success, and encourage you to share the survey link with your friends, family and coworkers! We appreciate your help, and thank you in advance for your participation. 

Click here to complete the survey now 

For questions about the survey, please contact Andrea Gerstenberger at; for more questions about the Choosing Wisely in Maine initiative, please contact Kellie Slate Vitcavage (formerly Kellie Slate Miller) at Thank you! (and best of luck in the iPad drawing!)

Maine Quality Counts is also inviting interested provider groups and organizations to apply for participation as a “Choosing Wisely Provider Pilot”.

 Choosing Wisely® is an initiative of the ABIM Foundation to help physicians, other health care providers, and patients engage in conversations about the overuse of tests and procedures, and support physician/health care provider efforts to help patients make smart and effective care choices.  Recognizing the importance of physicians/health care providers and patients working together, leading medical specialty societies, along with Consumer Reports, have joined Choosing Wisely to help improve the quality and safety of health care in America.    As part of Choosing Wisely,  participating medical specialty societies have created lists of “Five Things Physicians/Health Care Providers and Patients Should Question” that provide specific, evidence-based recommendations providers and patients should discuss to help make wise decisions about the most appropriate care based on their individual situation.

 Maine Quality Counts (QC) is leading a multi-stakeholder “Choosing Wisely in Maine” initiative by building general public awareness, and engaging providers and consumers.  As part of that effort, QC will select and sponsor up to three Choosing Wisely “Provider Pilots" that will receive technical support and mini-grants to implement Choosing Wisely (CW) in a more in-depth, multi-faceted manner.  These provider Pilot Sites may represent health systems, hospitals, or larger multi-site physician group practices across the state that have the capacity to implement a broader set of strategies to support and incent providers to use CW tools.  The QC project team will work with each pilot site to identify current strengths, opportunities and potential barriers to implementing CW through a range of interventions that reflect and leverage multiple drivers of change.

 For more information about the Choosing Wisely Provider Pilot opportunity, please see the QC website at  Interested and eligible applicant organizations should complete the online application at Choosing Wisely in Maine Pilot Site application by 5PM on Friday, September 27, 2013. 

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Job Openings

Physician Assistant or Family Nurse Practitioner (Walk-In Care)

Health Access Network, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) is seeking a full time Physician Assistant or Family Nurse Practitioner to join our community health center team.  Successful candidate will provide walk-in care in our new state of the art facility in Lincoln, Maine.

Experience is preferred.  Providers utilize a fully integrated electronic medical records system and are supported by a medical assistant / nursing assistant.

  • Sign-on bonus
  • Moving allowance
  • Possible NHSC loan repayment
  • 100% paid health insurance
  • 401K
  • Generous paid time off
  • $2,500 annual CME allowance
  • Federal malpractice insurance

We are a multi-disciplinary community health center with sites in Lee, Lincoln, Medway, Millinocket, and W. Enfield serving patients in Northern Penobscot Maine.  Interested candidates may forward a resume and cover letter to Sonia Maxwell, HR Director/Compliance Officer, P.O. Box 99, Lincoln, Maine 04457, 207-794-6700, smaxwell@hanfqhc.orgEqual opportunity employer & program.


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 and Houlton locations.  KVHC is a fully electronic medical record site and offers a competitive salary ($170,000 to $190,000 annual) and benefit package which includes: a 10% of first year salary sign on bonus, generous amounts of paid time off, $2500 annually toward CME as well as a completely outpatient site.  The call schedule is 1 in 8 with additional coverage from the Open Access Clinic.  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 10 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.


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Upcoming Events

Maine Health Management Coalition’s 20th Anniversary Symposium

Getting Health Care Right: Past Successes and Future Imperatives

October 10, 2013

8:30 am – 3:30 pm

 Abromson Center (USM) in Portland

The Coalition’s annual symposium brings together employers, providers, payors and patients from across Maine’s health care market to hear from nationally recognized speakers about current trends in health care payment and delivery.  This year’s keynote is world famous geneticist, author, and professor Dr. William Haseltine.

For more information or to register, click here.  Maine Medical Association members are eligible for discounted tickets.


The Dirigo-Maine Geriatric Society (DGS) Fall Events

Open to people of all disciplines interested in the care of older adults.

October 16, 6 pm

Hickory Room at the Crow’s Nest Restaurant and Event Center

Presque Isle. This will begin at 6 PM 

Will include networking, open discussion about geriatric issues and light refreshments.

October 17, 5:30 - 8:30

Maple Hill Farm, Hallowell 

This will include an opportunity to discuss DGS, a presentation on the Choosing Wisely Campaign in Maine with a subsequent Panel and Open Discussion. Includes dinner. Register here:

Please join interested colleagues to discuss ways to improve the care of our older patients. This is an exciting time to be engaged in this work.


Maine Dental Access Coalition Fall Conference

Friday, October 18, 2013

8:00 am - 4:00 pm

Morgan Hill Event Center, Hermon, Maine

 All One Body:  Creating Optimal Health Outcomes A Symposium for Medical and Dental Health Providers

Keynote: Medical Dental Collaboration:  Why it Matters and How It Works by Dr. John R. Luther, DDS, Senior Vice President of Dental Management and Chief Dental Officer at DentaQuest

Registration information to follow.  Visit


Maine Public Health Association 29th Annual Meeting 

October 22, 2013 

8:30 am - 4 pm 

Augusta Civic Center 

For more information, click here


2013 Maine Primary Care Association Annual Conference

October 23 - October 24, 2013

Bar Harbor Club, Bar Harbor, Maine

This year's conference, "Health Care Reform: Putting the Promise into Practice" will highlight emerging trends and opportunities in the face of health reform—with specific emphasis on how Maine’s health centers can play a pivotal role in delivering on the promise of health care reform. 

For more information, or to register, click here


 Attend Commercial Driver Medical Examiner Training

The Maine Academy of Family Physicians is pleased to announce more opportunities to complete the newly Federally required “Commercial Driver Medical Examiner (ME)” training here in Maine.

Oct. 26th in Bangor. 

This day-long program will be eligible for AMA Cat I CME credits (as well as AAFP Prescribed credits)

For more information or to register, click here.


Maine Cardiovascular Health Council's 2013 Cardiovascular Summit

Stroke - The First 3 Hours: Bridging the Health System and the Community

   Thursday, November 7, 2013

8:00 am - 4:00 pm

Samoset Resort, Rockport, Maine

In this one day event, we are combining scientific sessions with population health.  As we move into a more collaborative healthcare environment, this is the ideal conference to learn about the newest information regarding stroke care, along with resources available through our state and local programs.

For more information or to register, click here


2013 Division of Infectious Disease Annual Conference

November 13, 2013 

Augusta Civic Center

 Sponsored by the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention

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. Presentation topics will focus on a range of infectious diseases and immunizations. This year’s conference includes aspects from the Division of Infectious Disease’s Epidemiology, Immunization, HIV, STD and Viral Hepatitis Programs. 

For more information or to register, click here


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