September 30, 2013

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Big Week for ACA's Marketplace and for MMA's Annual Meeting

Open enrollment begins for health plans in the federally operated insurance marketplace on Tuesday, Oct. 1 with coverage beginning on Jan. 1, 2014.  While Congress continues to bicker over the law and the debt ceiling, funding for the marketplace has already been allocated and is not in jeopardy but other federal programs could be disrupted. MMA's 160th Annual Meeting begins in Portland on Friday with Keynote Presentations by Jackson Lab President Edison Liu, M.D. and Peter Bates, M.D opening the weekend meeting.

There are only two plans participating in Maine's insurance marketplace, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and Maine Community Health Options.  Maine is the only state in New England with a federally facilitated exchange or marketplace as other states have taken the opportunity to set up their own exchanges and New Hampshire is following a federal-state partnership model.  On last Monday, HHS Region I Director Christie Hager, J.D., MPH was at the State House to provide the Marketplace Exchange Advisory Committee with an update on what to expect from HHS come Tuesday, Oct. 1.  Ms. Hager also presented to the New England Council of State Medical Societies at its meeting Saturday  and will be back in Portland for an event tomorrow to highlight the opening of the marketplace. 

The Maine Medical Association continues to provide information on the implication of the Affordable Care Act and the insurance marketplace to members and other health provider organizations in the state.  Visit or for more information on the marketplace or contact for patient-friendly materials or staff training opportunities.

MMA's Annual Meeting will focus on the topic of changes in medical education but there is ample opportunity to discuss various aspects of the ACA and health system reform generally, through the presentation of Resolutions on Saturday morning and via presentations from AMA immediate past Board Chair Steven Stack, M.D. and AARP National Policy Council member member Neal Lane.

It is not too late to register for the meeting on MMA's website at  Tickets are also available for the Anniversary Dinner and Gala on Saturday evening.  To reserve a ticket for the Gala event at the Holiday Inn by the Bay, contact Ashley Bernier at MMA at 622-3374 ext. 213  or via e-mail to

MMA Launches MaineRx Card

MMA last Tuesday joined with United Networks of America to launch the MaineRXCard which can be utilized by uninsured patients or others with high deductibles or no prescription coverage to receive better pricing on their medication.  The product is a point of service discount plan and is not an insurance plan. The card is furnished on a no-cost basis and there is no application or other forms to complete.  The card can be used immediately by the recipient and is available to download from the MMA website at or from the mainerxcard  site at  MMA is compensated for each transaction and these funds along with other royalties earned assist in keeping the member dues stable.  

Laminated cards with the MMA logo are also available to distribute to your patients. Contact the MMA office at 622-3374 and a supply of cards will be sent to you. [return to top]

New Laws Impacting Your Practice: LD 727, Provider License Requirements - Clarification

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.  However, please note that practicing physicians already have a requirement to post their license in a visable location.   This requirement is found in 32 MRSA  §3274: "Each physician licensed under this chapter is entitled to receive a license under the seal of the board and signed by the chair and the secretary, which must be publicly displayed at the individual's principal place of practice, as long as this individual continues the practice of medicine." 

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.
  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 license in a prominent place in an office area visible to current and prospective patients.

Since enactment of the legislation several questions have arisen regarding the requirement for a licensee to display a copy of their professional license. Given concerns raised, MMA has agreed to work with the original sponsor of the legislation, Sen. Geoffrey Gratwick, M.D. of Bangor, to sponsor corrective legislation this coming session.  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.  The new language would clarify two aspects:

  • A license only has to be posted if the health care practitioner sees patients outside of a licensed health care facility and
  • If the practitioner practices in certain mental health or behavioral health fields, and believes that the requirement to wear identification may interfere with the therapeutic relationship, the requirement may be waived after the initial visit with the patient.

This new law (with the exception for postponing enforcement of the license display provision) goes into effect on October 9th, 2013.  Though note the current law applicable to physicians is, and will remain, in effect. 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. 

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Maine Health Exchange Advisory Committee Holds First Meeting

The first meeting of the Health Exchange Advisory Committee was held last Monday. 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.

In addition to five legislators (Sen. Craven, Sen. Rodney Whittemore, Rep. Treat, Rep. Linda Sanborn and Rep. Michael McClellan), a number of individuals have been appointed to represent various interested parties, including MMA EVP Gordon Smith, representing health care providers, and Ms. Laurie Kane-Lewis, representing federally-qualified health centers.

The group spent the majority of the first meeting receiving briefings on the operation of Maine's federally-facilitated marketplace including presentations by both Anthem and Maine Community Health Options, the two health insurance carriers selling plans on Maine's marketplace, an update from staff on the role of the advisory committee and state government in a state with a federal marketplace, and an overview of outreach and education to be led by Maine's consumer navigators - Western Maine Community Action and the Maine Lobsterman's Association. 

For more information about the Advisory Committee, please visit the website at: [return to top]

Health Care Cost Transparency Commission Holds Introductory Meeting

The legislatively-created Commission To Study Transparency, Costs and Accountability of Health Care System Financing held its first meeting last week.  The Commission is made of up legislators and they spend their first meeting discussing their charge and purpose, as well as recieving briefings from the Maine Health Data Organization, HealthInfoNet, the Maine Heritage Policy Center and others.  Karynlee Harrington, Acting Executive Director of the Maine Health Data Organization provided the members with a walkthrough of the MHDO Maine Health Cost website,which allows members of the public to enter basic information and compare the estimated charges for common medical procedures, or cost after insurance.  MHDO has applied for a federal grant to allow it to signficiantly revamp the website and make it more consumer friendly.  [return to top]

State Innovations Model Grant Steering Committee Work Proceeds

At its bi-weekly meeting last Wednesday, the State Innovations Model (SIM) Steering Committee discussed the need for more clarity and specificity around the goals of the entire SIM effort.

The federal government awarded the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) a $33 million “implementation” grant for health care reform.  In late August, DHHS submitted its operations plan laying out how it plans to complete the grant work to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for approval.

CMS has not yet approved the plan.  In fact, CMS has asked DHHS for more in the way of concrete deliverables.  October 1 is day one of the three-year SIM implementation grant and CMS expects implementation type activities very quickly.

DHHS is relying on grant partners Maine Quality Counts, HealthInfoNet and Maine Health Managment Coalition to help develop deliverables.  In addition, there will be subcommittees in each content area of Payment Reform, Data Infrastructure and Delivery Reform.  

Dates and locations of the Sub-Committee meetings were not announced.  However, anyone who would like to be an “interested party” for any of the sub-committees may do so by emailing the subcommittee leaders:

·         Payment Reform - Frank Johnson (;

·         Data Infrastructure - Katie Sendze (;

·         Delivery Reform– Lisa Tuttle (

More information can be found on the SIM webpage.
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MMA Seeks Input of Members on Impact of MaineCare Transportation Contracts

MMA has been asked whether its members and their practices have been impacted by the change in contracted transportation services utilized to provide rides to MaineCare patients to medical appointments.  If you have been impacted by more no-shows or late arrivals, please contact Gordon Smith at MMA via e-mail to [return to top]

MMA Announces New Relationship with Baystate Financial Services

In response to the ever present challenges to our member's financial well-being, MMA has entered into a non-exclusive preferred provider agreement with Baystate Financial Services.  Baystate has been a member of the Association's Corporate Affiliate program for a number of years and is one of New England's oldest and largest privately held financial services firms offering comprehensive, individualized financial strategies for clients.  It has over 200 associates throughout New England and has a 10 year presence in Maine. 

Baystate will be assisting MMA in the implementation of a "fiscal fitness" program which will include:

  • Educational seminars, workshops and webinars addressing:
    1. The needs of residents entering practice.
    2. The mid-career physicians' attempts to balance multiple financial priorities.
    3. The concerns of physicians looking toward retirement.
    4. The senior physicians focusing on their estate and charitable interests.
  • Individual financial planning services to assist physicians in focusing their attention on specific situations and financial priorities
  • Providing members access to high quality expertise, services and products necessary to implement their planning objectives.   

Baystate will be exhibiting at the upcoming MMA Annual Meeting in Portland and members are welcome to stop by the exhibit to discuss what is being offered in this new arrangement. [return to top]

Medicare Doc Pay Fix Seen Moving Ahead Despite Fiscal Debates in Congress

With much of Congress consumed by partisan debate over government funding and debt limit issues, progress continues to be made on legislation overhauling Medicare's problematic physician reimbursement system, according to lawmakers, congressional aides and outside stakeholders.

“We're making progress,” Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, told the press last week.

Asked if he expected the Finance Committee to produce its own version of a bill to repeal and replace the current Medicare physician payment system within the next month, Baucus responded, “We're hopeful.”

In late July, the House Energy and Commerce Committee—with bipartisan support—released a 70-page draft bill (H.R. 2810) that would replace Medicare's physician payment system. Subsequently, the bill was passed unanimously by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on July 31.

The Energy and Commerce proposal would eliminate Medicare's so-called 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.

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 could also 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.

Since release of the Energy and Commerce proposal, attention has turned to the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee, both of which must sign off on any SGR replacement plan.
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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.


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