August 4, 2014

 
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Harborside Hotel Room Block Closes August 5th for MMA's 161st Annual Session

Members or guests wishing to attend the Association's 161st Annual Meeting in Bar Harbor September 5-7, 2014 and to stay at the Harborside Hotel need to make their room reservations by the end of the day Tuesday, August 5th as the room block expires on that day.  Please consider joining your professional colleagues for some CME, policy discussions, and all the recreation that Mount Desert Island has to offer.

The MMA's 161st Annual Session will take place at the beautiful Harborside Hotel & Marina in Bar Harbor, Maine from September 5-7, 2014.  Our room block at the hotel will close August 5th and we have been advised that there will be no extensions.  You can find information about the meeting, including registration information, the agenda, and hotel reservation information on the MMA web site here.  The code for the MMA room block is "MMA2014."  We encourage you to take a look at the meeting materials because we have made some changes this year in hopes of providing a better experience for physicians and their families.  The changes include:

  • A shorter time commitment.  The meeting will begin with an opening reception on Friday, September 5th and will close mid-morning on Sunday, September 7th;
  • Child care will be available throughout the meeting;
  • The business part of the meeting, the General Membership meeting, has been shortened from a half a day on Saturday to two hours;
  • Free time.  You will have some opportunities to network with your colleagues from other parts of the state and/or to enjoy Mount Desert Island with your family - MMA will make some group dinner reservations at local restaurants for Friday evening and Saturday afternoon is free time;
  • More relaxed.  Rather than the formal Saturday evening banquet, we will have a casual lobster bake at the Bar Harbor Club on Saturday evening;
  • Relevant CME.  The CME agenda for the meeting includes presentations through MMA's Academic Detailing program, by a national expert on health care economics and payment systems, and by professionals focused on physician health and wellness; and
  • Exercise.  You will have a chance to walk or run in the 34th Edmund Hardy, M.D. Road Race on Sunday morning!

Advocates Celebrate Enactment of Oral Chemo Parity Bill Today at Dempsey Center

State Senator Emily Cain (D-Penobscot) headlined a press conference this morning at the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing in Lewiston to celebrate enactment of L.D. 627 (P.L. 2013, Chapter 449).  The oral chemotherapy fairness legislation, which went into effect August 1st, updates Maine insurance coverage by requiring health plans regulated by the State to provide the same coverage for chemotherapy, whether taken in a pill form at home or administered intravenously (IV) at a hospital or clinic if traditional chemotherapies are already covered.  The law applies to all health insurance policies issued or renewed in Maine on or after January 1, 2015.  The legislation received unanimous support from the Insurance & Financial Services Committee and was enacted in the House and Senate without debate.  The bill became law without the Governor's signature.  The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) was the lead advocacy organization in favor of the bill and the Maine Medical Association and the International Myeloma Foundation also supported the bill.  Steve D'Amato, Executive Director of New England Cancer Specialists testified in favor of the bill on behalf of his organization and the MMA at the legislative public hearing.

 The speakers at today's event included:

  • Hilary Schneider, Director of Government Relations, Maine, ACS CAN
  • Senator Cain
  • Nicholette Erickson, M.D., Hematologist/Oncologist at CMMC
  • Donna Brookings, Gorham resident and two-time cancer survivor
  • Aimee Martin, state government affairs representative, International Myeloma Foundation
  • Jim Olson, R.N., New England Cancer Specialists

The MMA thanks New England Cancer Specialists, CMMC, and the Dempsey Center for their efforts to enact this legislation and participating in today's celebration.  Maine Public Radio covered the event, so listen for the story on Maine Things Considered today at 5:30 p.m. [return to top]

Five More Primary Care Volunteers Needed for Jackson Lab Interviews

Cancer Genetic Testing for Primary Care Providers:  Case-based Web Modules

Ongoing advances in genetics and technology are leading the way to personalized approaches in cancer screening, prevention, risk assessment, and targeted therapy.  Primary care providers have a critical role in identifying and managing patients at increased risk, but there are documented knowledge and practice gaps when it comes to understanding and applying genetics concepts.

The barriers to integrating cancer genetics into clinical care are particularly difficult to overcome in rural settings.  In these areas there are few cancer care centers serving large geographic areas, fewer educational opportunities, and limited resources such as ancillary specialists and support services, leading to health disparities with regards to personalized approaches to medicine.

To meet the needs of Maine physicians in integrating cancer genetics into clinical care, the clinical and continuing education program at the Jackson Laboratory (JAX) proposes to develop an online CME program for PCPs on genetic testing for inherited cancer risk.  This program, consisting of 15 minute modules, will be offered at no cost to participants and JAX is partnering with MMA on the needs assessment and to develop a dissemination plan to reach the greatest number of Maine providers possible.

As part of the needs assessment, MMA is seeking another five PCP's to agree to be interviewed for approximately 30 minutes by JAX staff, following review of one of the modules on line.  Five members have already participated but another five are needed to round out the assessment process. Following the interview, which could be done either during the day or evenings, each participate will receive a $200 check for their time.

If you are interested in this topic and willing to be interviewed, please communicate directly with MMA EVP Gordon Smith, Esq. at gsmith@mainemed.com.  If you have questions, call Gordon at 207-215-7461 for more information.

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8 Things You Should Know About Medicare's Proposed Payment Rule

If the policies set forth in the 2015 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule take effect, physicians will be in for a lot of changes—many of them unfavorable—next year.  Here are the top eight things that should be on your radar:

1.  A 21 percent payment cut is scheduled for April 1.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) observed in a fact sheet that current payment rates will apply through March as a result of the temporary payment patch enacted earlier this year and projected that payment rates will be cut by 20.9 percent April 1 unless Congress intervenes.  The agency stated its support for repeal of the flawed sustainable growth rate formula that has triggered such large cuts.

2.  Global surgical packages will be eliminated.  The rule proposes to discontinue all 10-day global surgical packages by 2017 and 90-day packages the following year.  Packages instead would include only preoperative care and care given the day of surgery. Consistent with longstanding AMA policy, the AMA plans to work with the affected medical specialty societies to protest this proposed change.

3.  Payments will be adjusted by the Value-Based Payment Modifier beginning next year.  Despite continued AMA opposition, CMS plans to levy steeper payment adjustments and to continue basing the adjustments on costs and quality data two years before the adjustment is applied.  Physicians in groups of 100 or more will see payment penalties or bonuses next year, determined by their group's cost and quality performance in 2013. Bonuses and penalties based on 2014 performance will be applied to groups of 25-100 starting in 2016. 

All physicians will be subject to the modifier beginning in 2017, at which point the potential penalty will double to 4 percent.  The pool of money available for bonuses depends on how much is collected in penalties, so potential bonuses are not yet known. 

4. Quality reporting requirements will be increased in the face of penalties.  CMS has reiterated a 2 percent payment penalty for physicians who don't meet the 2015 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) requirements and is proposing additional requirements physicians will need to fulfill.  At the same time, the agency is proposing to cut the period physicians have to request an informal review of a PQRS penalty from 90 days to just 30 days.

5.  PQRS data will be publicly reported.  The rule proposes making all 2015 measure data from group practices available in 2016.  The agency also is hoping it will be able to publish later that year individual measures for all physicians on Physician Compare, a website plagued by accuracy and usability problems since it launched in 2010.

6.  Chronic care management services will be covered.  Beginning next year, Medicare will pay $43.67 per patient per month for chronic care management provided by a physician's office and $32.58 for care provided by a facility.  Such services involve non-face-to-face care coordination for patients with multiple serious chronic conditions that are expected to last at least 12 months or until death.

7.  More telehealth services will be covered beginning in 2016.  The proposed changes include greater access for patients in rural locations by expanding the number of rural sites.

8.  A new timeline for changing physician codes and service values would take effect in 2016.  This revised timeline will mean physicians can submit recommendations no later than Jan. 15 for the following year.  The change not only will severely limit recommendations from the Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC) and CPT® Editorial Panel but also will increase the time for a new or revised code to be included in the Medicare fee schedule from 10-20 months to 20-27 months.  The AMA already has suggested timeline revisions to CMS that would provide greater transparency and better alignment between relative value unit recommendations and the regulatory process. 

Comments on the proposed rule are due September 2nd.  The AMA will circulate its draft comments to state and specialty medical associations in advance of the submission deadline.
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Maine Fellows and Jr. Fellows of ACOG Invited to August 12th Meeting to Discuss Home Births

All ACOG Fellows and Jr. Fellows in Maine should have received an invitation to attend a summer meeting on August 12th to discuss the difficult issue of home births and the potential licensing of lay midwives (certified professional midwives, or CPMs).  The organization representing CPMs in the state has announced its intention to seek state licensing in the next legislative session, something it attempted to do unsuccessfully five years ago.

The dinner meeting will be held at 6:00 pm on August 12th at the Portland Harbor Hotel.  

The meeting will feature Kathryn Moore from the national office of ACOG and Gordon Smith, Esq., from MMA.  They will share their expertise on the issue both as it has played out in Maine and nationally.  A group of stakeholders recently completed guidelines for transport in the case of a home birth.  Those guidelines are currently being reviewed by DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew prior to public release and dissemination.

Fellows or Jr. Fellows wishing to attend the dinner should RSVP ASAP to the ACOG section chair for Maine, Peter Manning, M.D.  at petercmanning@gmail.com.

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CMS Issues Final Rule Setting October 1, 2015 as New ICD-10 Compliance Deadline

 As suggested in rulemaking earlier this year, CMS has released a final rule setting October 1, 2015 as the new compliance date for ICD-10, the earliest date possible under The Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (H.R. 4302), the bill extending current Medicare physician payment rates through March 15, 2015.  The original implementation date was October 1, 2013.  DHHS estimates that the 1-year delay will cost the health care industry, particularly hospitals, large provider organizations, health plans, and Medicare, between $1 billion and $6.8 billion.   [return to top]

Nearly 7 Million New Beneficiaries in Medicaid/CHIP Through End of May According to RWJF

In a report released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on July 28th, researchers stated that states enrolled nearly 7 million individuals in the Medicaid and CHIP programs from the beginning of open enrollment through the end of May.  The 6.7 million new enrollees represents 52% of the 12.8 million individuals estimated to enroll in the two programs by 2016.  States that have pursued ACA Medicaid expansion have reached 60% of the projected 2016 enrollment level while states that have not have reached only 26%.   [return to top]

Rental Space available in Manchester, Adjacent to MMA Property

Premier Marketing Group is looking for a tenant to occupy 800 square feet of office space on Pelton Hill Road located just west of the Maine Medical Association property in Manchester.  The specifications follow:

  • Professional, modern, well lit space
  • Approximately 800 square feet
  • First floor, quiet area, just off Rt. 202 in Manchester
  • Handicap accessible entrance
  • Handicap accessible private bathroom
  • Easy access just of route 202
  • Shared onsite conference space available during business hours by appointment
  • Office is partially furnished
  • High speed internet available
  • $850 monthly rent includes all utilities and services

Interested parties should contact Mike Whitman, President and Founder of Premier Marketing Group at 242-6767 or 622-6767.

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Prepare Your Practice for Compliance with New Laws, Effective August 1, 2014

Under the Maine Constitution, most bills enacted by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor take effect 90 days after adjournment of the Legislature.  This year, adjournment was in late May and the effective date of legislation is August 1st.  Not all the new laws are effective on this date as emergency legislation takes effect immediately upon the Governor's signature and some bills include a different and specific effective date.  

Among the laws taking effect next week which are of most significance to physician practices are the following:

  • L.D. 1642 and L.D. 1760 advancing health care pricing transparency; and
  • L.D. 388 and 1840 streamlining enrollment for the Prescription Monitoring Program.

Information on all the newly enacted laws can be found on the legislative and regulatory section of the MMA web site.

 

 

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Protect Against Inaccurate Reporting Under the Sunshine Act

Financial interactions between physicians and manufacturers of drugs and medical devices—including everything from research and ownership interests to reprinted journal articles and meals—soon will be made public under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (also known as the Open Payments Program).  Doctors need to act quickly to make sure they're protected from inaccurate reporting.

The AMA successfully convinced the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that physicians should be able to review and dispute the financial data drug companies have reported about them prior to publication, but the agency has left very little time for physicians to do so.

The MMA would like members to know they have a way to protect themselves and understand the steps to take.

Time is of the essence.  There are three steps physicians must take in order to review and dispute the data reported about them:

  • Step 1: Complete CMS' e-verification process, which opened June 1st and must be finished before physicians can take the next step.
  • Step 2: Register with CMS' Open Payments system, which should be available in a matter of days.
  • Step 3: Review and dispute their data within 45 days.

Disputes that are filed before a yet-to-be-announced August cut-off date will be flagged as such in the initial public release September 30th.  Physicians will have until December 31st to retrospectively file disputes about their data.

Physicians can access the practical information they need to navigate the Sunshine Act data release in a free online toolkit from the AMA. 

Download a package of ready-made communications materials, including sample articles, an infographic and social media postings.  Additional materials will be added as steps 2 and 3 become available.

Possible changes to the continuing medical education (CME) exemption: In the proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for 2015, CMS has proposed revoking the Sunshine Act exemption of financial transfers made to organizations that offer independent CME accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education or when credit is granted by the AMA, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Osteopathic Association or American Dental Association. 

The agency instead is proposing to exempt third-party financial transfers for CME only when an industry donor is unaware of the recipients or beneficiaries before and after the funds are transferred.  This raises concerns because the industry potentially could learn the identities of speakers and participants through brochures, programs and other publications related to a CME event after the funds have been transferred. 

The AMA is concerned that the proposal will have a chilling impact on accredited CME.  The proposed fee schedule rule also includes two other options that address CMS' concerns about the current structure of the CME exemption.  The AMA is evaluating these options and will be in communication with the Federation as it prepares comments.

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Job Openings

FAMILY PRACTICE PHYSICIAN Sought In Central Maine!

A progressive 25-bed critical access hospital in central Maine is seeking a FP to join their employed primary care group.  This is a full time opportunity which consists of 32 patient contact hours per week, allowing time to enjoy what this region of Maine has to offer! 

Sebasticook Valley Health (SVH) in Pittsfield, Maine is an integral member of the communities it serves. SVH takes a proactive approach in helping people in the Sebasticook Valley improve the quality of their lives.  SVH serves an area of approximately 30,000 people and has a wide range of outpatient services, including over 20 specialty services.  SVH is a proud member of the Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems which ensures access to high quality care to Maine residents and visitors.

For Further Information, please contact:

Sherry Tardy, Director Business Development/Provider Recruitment
Sebasticook Valley Hospital
447 North Main Street
Pittsfield, ME  04967

By email at: stardy@emh.org or by phone at: 207-487-4085

8/25/14

Physician Opportunities at Mayo Regional Hospital

Live and work in the beautiful Maine Highlands between Moosehead Lake and Bangor. Mayo Regional Hospital currently has the following physician opportunities:  Family Practice, Outpatient IM, OBGYN, Hospitalist, Emergency Department. Also, Family Practice PA & NP and Psych NP openings. Exceptional schools and a wonderful rural setting with proximity to Bangor and Orono.

Contact Brad Clark, Director of Provider Recruitment bclark@mayohospital.com or 207-564-4342.

9/1/14

Gastroenterologist Jobs in Central Maine!

Challenging, Lucrative, Gastroenterologist jobs in central Maine - honoring and serving Veterans. Gastroenterologists are needed in Augusta. Must-have an unrestricted medical license (from any U.S. state), and current ACLS certification. This is your opportunity to use and develop your skills of diagnosing, treating, and managing patients according to standard, usual, and acceptable methods and techniques.

B/C or B/E specializing in Gastroenterology by the appropriate accrediting agencies required.

This is the opportunity for you to receive a competitive salary, a generous leave package, excellent health & life insurance benefits, and retirement benefits. You'd be eligible to participate in a pension program as well as a matching Thrift Savings Plan which is similar to a 401K. If you are a veteran, you may be able to combine accrued military retirement credit with VA pension benefits.

Your salary will be determined by local Physician/Dentist Compensation Panel (commensurate with education, experience and qualifications). By law, U.S. Citizens will be given 1st preference but non-citizens will be considered in the absence of qualified citizens. A signing bonus may be available.  Equal Opportunity Employer. Disabled persons and/or veterans are encouraged to apply.

https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/PrintPreview/366611500

9/29/14

Department of Psychiatry Faculty Position

The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Department of Psychiatry, in a productive collaboration with the State of Maine, is seeking psychiatrists to join our faculty for inpatient responsibilities at the Riverview Psychiatric Center.

Riverview Psychiatric Center is a 92-bed acute psychiatric facility located in Augusta, ME and is the flagship inpatient treatment center for Maine’s public mental health system.  Psychiatrists with expertise in general inpatient psychiatry or forensic psychiatry are encouraged to apply.

Academic duties can include teaching and supervision of medical students and residents. Research opportunities available and encouraged.

Candidates should be board certified or eligible in Psychiatry. This position will include a faculty appointment at The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth at a rank and salary commensurate with experience. Curriculum vitae and three letters of reference, addressed to Dr. William Torrey, Search Chair, should be e-mailed to psychiatry.jobs@dartmouth.edu.  Please reference search number PS0314D.

Dartmouth College/Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinic/Geisel School of Medicine is an equal opportunity/ affirmative action employer with a strong commitment to diversity. In that spirit, we are particularly interested in receiving applications from a broad spectrum of people, including women, persons of color, persons with disabilities, veterans or any other legally protected group.

9/29/14

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Upcoming Events

5th Annual Patient Safety Academy


Friday, September 5, 2014


 9 am – 4 pm


University of Southern Maine, Portland campus, Abromson Center


Cost: $50, with a discounted rate of $25 for students


Registration is now open. To register, click here or visit the Patient Safety Academy webpage atusm.maine.edu/muskie/psa

 

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Direct Primary Care (DPC) Workshop

with Dr. Brian Forest, Founder, Access Healthcare Direct & AAFP DPC Workgroup Leader

& Maine physicians developing an integrated Maine Direct Care Network for existing practices

 Calling Doctors & Consumers: Come explore the options.

September 26, 1-5pm and September 27, 8:30-12:30pm,  2014

Maine Medical Association, Manchester

For further information email MaineDPCProject@yahoo.com.

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The Maine Public Health Association’s (MPHA) 

30th Annual Fall Conference

October 7, 2014

Augusta Civic Center

Keynote speakers include: Erik N. Steele, D.O., FAAFP, Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, Summa Health System and Paul Kuehnert, DNP, RN Team Director for the Bridging Health and Health Care Portfolio, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more information or to register, click here.

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Maine Concussion Management Initiative Training

October 21, 2014 in Portland in conjunction with the Maine Brain Injury Conference

7:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 

Includes An Introduction to Concussions and Concussion Management & Interpreting Neurocognitive Testing (including using ImPACT)

$100 for Health Care Professionals  (CEUs/CME available); $40 for school personnel and all other attendees

For more information or to register, contact Jan Salis, jsalis@aol.com, (207) 577-2018

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