December 14, 2015

 
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Legislative Leaders Announce Bipartisan $4.8 Million Plan to Fight Drug Crisis

Legislative leaders this past Wednesday (Dec. 9) announced a $4.8 million plan to fight the opioid/heroin  problem in Maine. The plan includes prevention, treatment and law enforcement efforts, including providing the funds requested by Governor LePage to hire 10 new DEA agents.

The package of legislation was announced one day prior to the Dec. 10 deadline the Governor had set for calling out the National Guard if the leadership of the legislature did not act.  But in addition to providing funds for the hiring of the agents, the plan invests $2.4 million in treatment efforts over 18 months, including $1 million in funding for a new 10-bed detox unit in Bangor.  Also funded are increases to inpatient and outpatient treatment for the uninsured and to peer to peer support recovery centers across the state. The funding for the peer support programs will double the number of such programs that currently exist.

The package also includes $10,000 to establish new Project Hope programs in five new communities across the state.  At the press conference, Office John Gill of the Scarborough Police Department, site of Operation Hope, also spoke in support of the package.  Operation Hope (the Heroin-Opiate Prevention Effort) consists of specialized law enforcement training, public education and outreach, and treatment and assistance among other services.  The program served over 50 people in its first 50 days.

Details of the prevention and treatment portion of the package are as follows:

  • Fund a new 10 bed Detox unit.  Estimated cost is $1 million.

  • Increase access to residential treatment for uninsured.  Estimated cost is $600,000.

  • Increase access to Outpatient Services for the uninsured.  Estimated cost is $200,000.

  • At least double the number of peer support recovery centers throughout the state to ensure that people avoid relapse.  This effort will include funding for a coordinator housed at a statewide organization.  This position will coordinate the efforts of law enforcement, treatment, education and recovery programs to successfully replicate programs like the Hope Project in other parts of the state.   Estimated cost is $600,000.

  • Encourage effective prevention and education programming in schools.  Estimated cost:  minimal cost to incorporate existing programming in more schools across the state.

House Speaker Mark Eves closed the press conference by stating:

"Maine can and must do better by our families and communities.  We stand with law enforcement, treatment providers, and parents in saying enough is enough.  Over the next legislative session, we will work to implement these and other efforts to help keep our families and communities health and safe."

The plan announced Wednesday joins five bills approved by the Legislative Council last month that are also focused on addressing the drug crisis.

 

 
 

Community Health Options Stops Enrollment in Individual Market

The state's newest entry into the health insurance field announced this past week that it will stop accepting applications from new members for individual coverage after Dec. 26, more than a month in advance of the ACA open enrollment period for plans sold on the marketplace exchange. The announcement does not impact enrollments in the small group market.

The decision was made in response to higher than expected expenses in 2015. CHO, the state's only co-op formed under the provisions of the ACA, lost $17 million in the first three quarters of the year. In media interviews, CEO Kevin Lewis said the co-op's reserves can cover all current and new members but the company had to respond to the higher than anticipated claims and its rapid growth. CHI currently insures over 60,000 Mainers, representing 80% of the marketplace enrollment for individual plans. Lewis also noted that the higher than expected claims costs were caused primarily by the increase in specialty drug costs.

MMA senior staff talked with Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa this past week about the situation and came away from the conversation believing that the difficulty of setting premiums well in advance of the year led to the establishment of premiums that were insufficient to cover the cost of enrollee's care.  

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Maine Quality Counts Seeks Award Nominations

Know an organization or individual that deserves recognition for outstanding quality improvement or consumer engagement work? If you or your employer is a member of Maine Quality Counts, you may nominate them to receive the QC Patient Partnership Award or the QC Quality Improvement Leadership Award. Winners will be celebrated at the QC 2016 conference on April 6th. Nomination deadline is December 31st. Click for the easy-to-fill-out online nomination form.

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Opioid/Heroin Task Forces to Meet Thursday, Dec. 17

All three of the Task Forces of the Anti-Opiate/Heroin Initiative have now met at least three times and are scheduled to meet again.   The Prevention/Harm Reduction Task Force will meet again from 1:00pm to 3:00pm on Dec.17 and the Treatment Task Force will meet from 9:00am to 11:00am  the same day.  Both meetings will be held at the Maine Medical Association.  Following those meetings, the Prevention/Harm Reduction Task Force will meet on Thursdays from 1:00 to 3:00pm on Jan. 7, 21 and Feb. 4. These meetings will also be held at the offices of the Maine Medical Association in Manchester, Maine.  

The meetings are all open to the public and the notices, agendas and minutes will be posted on the U.S. Attorney's Website.

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David L. Adams, M.D. 1936-2015

MMA was sorry to learn this week of the death, at age 79, of David L. Adams, M.D. of Yarmouth.  Dr. Adams was one of the original four founding members of Maine Cardiology where he practiced for thirty years until his retirement in 1999.  Dr. Adams was devoted to his patients and supportive of his staff which led to his popularity with both.  

Born in Bangor to Vina and Asa Adams, M.D., David and his brother Marvin Adams, M.D., grew up in Orono in a prominent medical family, their dad Asa having served as President of MMA in 1968-69.  Marvin also practiced in the Portland area and died in 2009.

In addition to being an exceptional physician and mentor, David was a passionate and dedicated volunteer to many local and statewide causes.  In 2002, and again in 2010 he was honored by Physicians for Social Responsibility.

David is survived by his wife of 58 years, Pamelia Brockway Adams, two daughters and two sons.  Daughter Phyllis is married to MMA member Neil Korsen, M.D. of Yarmouth.  David was very devoted to his family which included his wife and children as well as several grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.  The MMA family expresses condolences to all of David's family.  He will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure to know him. [return to top]

PQRS Errors at CMS Yield Unreliable Data

The AMA Wire reports that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has moved ahead with releasing new performance scores on its Physician Compare website in spite of calculation errors in the quality data (PQRS). Those errors give an unreliable and potentially misleading picture of physicians’ quality performance to patients, which in turn may affect their health care choices.

Information was posted for only about 40,000 physicians. Thousands were excluded due to data submission and CMS calculation errors leading which yielded inaccurate performance assessments.

“The data inaccuracies and difficulties with CMS' processes grew over the last couple of months and, while CMS has acknowledged these problems, it has failed to address the underlying issues,” said AMA President Steven J. Stack, MD. “The AMA is a strong supporter of transparency, but today's action goes in the opposite direction—offering the public information that will lead consumers to draw faulty inferences about the quality of care that an individual physician or group provides.”

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MHMC, MMA and AMA Offer Free Webinar on Dec. 16 (noon) on Physician Satisfaction

The Maine Health Management Coalition and MMA collaborate again in December, along with the AMA, with a free noontime webinar, PROVIDER SATISFACTION;  THE KEY TO ACHIEVING THE QUADRUPLE AIM.   Presenters will be Ellie Rajcevich, MPA, Practice Development Advisor, American Medical Association and Michael Tutty, PhD, MHA, Vice President of Professional Satisfaction and Practice Sustainability, American Medical Association.

Provider satisfaction is a powerful driver of the Triple Aim outcomes - better care, better health and lower cost.  Yet nearly half of all U.S. physicians exhibit at least one sign of burnout, which contributes to professional dissatisfaction and increases the likelihood of mistakes, patient and team dissatisfaction and physician intent to leave the practice.

The Quadruple Aim prioritizes provider satisfaction with the Triple Aim outcomes.  Improvements in clinical workflows, teamwork and communication are among the most potent antidotes to burnout that can enhance professional satisfaction and achieve the Quadruple Aim.  This session will provide an overview of the AMA's work in professional satisfaction and tangible solutions that can be implemented in the practice setting.

There is no cost to join the webinar but you must register at www.mehmc.org under News and Events.

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File by Dec. 16 to avoid Medicare pay cut of 2-4 percent

From the AMA:

Practices that may have thought they were safe from Medicare payment penalties next year could be in for an unpleasant surprise if they don’t take action now.

Problems with how the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has been collecting and analyzing data related to the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and the value-based payment modifier are leading to inappropriate penalties of 2-4 percent of Medicare payments for thousands of physicians.

How to avoid the penalty: File an informal review request with CMS before midnight Eastern time Dec. 16. CMS has said it will verify incentive eligibility and payment adjustment determinations for practices that file such a request.

Additional information about the process and contact information for questions is available in CMS’ informal review fact sheet.

Think it shouldn’t be this way? We agree. That’s why the AMA is pressing CMS to rectify the impossible situation in which it has placed physicians.

A letter (log in) sent Tuesday to CMS calls on the agency to not impose 2016 PQRS penalties or negative value-based payment modifier adjustments on physicians who attempted to comply with PQRS requirements during the 2014 reporting period.
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A No-Cost Resource for Supporting Maine Physician Practices: Introducing the Northern New England Practice Transformation Network

Maine Quality Counts and regional partners have created the Northern New England Practice Transformation Network (NNE-PTN), a federally-funded set of resources and learning available to practices at no cost.  The NNE-PTN is a collaborative effort of trusted organizations that is offering support to primary care, specialist, and behavioral health clinicians to improve the health of patients, improve the health and vitality of clinicians and practice teams, and strengthen the financial health of practices. 

Interested practices can register for participation in the NNE-PTN online at www.surveymonkey.com/r/NNEPTN

For more information, visit the Maine Quality Counts website at www.mainequalitycounts.org/nneptn, or contact Lesley Myska at tel. 207.620.8526, ext. 1007 or ptn@mainequalitycounts.org.  

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CMS Proposes Flexible Collaborative Practice Rule

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have proposed a rule that includes the second phase of regulations implementing the Affordable Care Act’s patient safety requirements.

According to the ACA, a qualified health plan may contract with a hospital that has over than 50 beds only if that hospital uses a patient safety evaluation system as described in the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005.  “Reasonable exceptions” to the PSES requirement are allowed.

The first phase of implementation for this section of the ACA, effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2015, is based on compliance with the Medicare Hospital Conditions of Participation for quality assessment and performance improvement and discharge planning.  Hospitals must provide qualified health plans with their CMS Certification Numbers to demonstrate that they meet the conditions.

The proposed regulations for phase two, which would apply to plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2017, would require hospitals to continue to demonstrate compliance with the Conditions AND either:

·       Have an agreement with a patient safety organization and a mechanism for comprehensive person-centered hospital discharge; or

·       Implement other evidence-based initiatives to reduce harm and improve quality.

If a hospital chooses to have an agreement with a patient safety organization, the rule would require plan issuers to verify that the hospital uses a patient safety evaluation system as defined in the current regulations.

The plan issuer would also be required to verify that the hospital has a mechanism for comprehensive person-centered hospital discharge to improve care coordination and quality for each patient.

For hospitals choosing not to have such an agreement, CMS would allow them to implement other “evidence-based initiatives to reduce all cause preventable harm, prevent hospital readmission, improve care coordination and improve health care quality through the collection, management and analysis of patient safety events.” 

To demonstrate compliance, CMS proposes that a QHP issuer collect information from contracted hospitals, such as a copy of the current agreement to partner with a PSO or QIO.  The documentation would need to reflect the implementation of PSO and discharge planning activities or other patient safety initiatives.

The deadline for comments on the proposed regulations is December 21, 2015.

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Health Insurance Marketplace Update: Open Enrollment for 2016

Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment for 2016 goes through January 31, 2016. 

For coverage to begin on January 1, 2016, the deadline to enroll is December 15, 2015.

Consumers can get more information and apply online at HealthCare.Gov. Patients who currently have a 2015 health insurance plan through the Marketplace should review their plans and either renew coverage or select another plan for 2016 by December 15 to avoid any break in coverage. 5 Steps to Staying Covered Through The Marketplace

For more information or resources for your patients, contact ACA Outreach Coordinator Sue Kring at skring@mainemed.com or 662-2364.  More information and links to Marketplace resources are available at the Maine Medical Association website.


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Job Openings

Family Medicine Physician

Growing Direct Primary Care practice in Rockport, Maine is looking for the right family medicine physician to join our practice. 

Includes pediatric and adult outpatient care without OB, but skills that add value for patients are highly desired, such as: Office orthopedics, procedures, occupational medicine, DOT & USCG exams, ultrasound and buprenorphine waiver, etc.

Emergency room or hospitalist credentials may be helpful during the start up phase. 

For more information, please email Practice Manager, Jennifer Overlock, at answers@megunticookfamilymedicine, or call 207-390-8570.

1/4/16

Family Medicine/ Outpatient Internal Medicine Physician

As a result of our continuous growth, Katahdin Valley Health Center is recruiting a Family Medicine/ Outpatient Internal Medicine Physician that is committed to providing quality health care services to the people in Brownville/Millinocket Maine.   Join our practice in a newly renovated facility.  KVHC is a fully electronic medical record site and offers a four day work week with a competitive salary and benefit package which includes: a 10% of first year salary sign on bonus, generous amounts of paid time off and $2500 annually toward CME. Physicians who join KVHC are eligible to apply for NHSC Loan Repayment.  

To learn more about KVHC and Practitioner Opportunities, please contact Michelle LeFay at mlefay@kvhc.org or visit our website at www.kvhc.org.  KVHC is an equal opportunity employer.

2/22/16

Maine Judicial Branch Seeks Civil Involuntary Commitment and Treatment Examination Services

A copy of the RFP can be obtained from the MJB’s RFP Coordinator: Laura O’Hanlon, Esq., Chief of Court Management at: DRMJB@courts.maine.gov, or mailing address:  Administrative Office of the Courts, P.O. Box 4820, Portland, ME 04112-4820. All communication about the RFP must be in writing.  The MJB encourages all interested vendors to obtain a copy of the RFP and submit a competitive proposal.

Proposals must be submitted to the State of Maine Division of Purchases, located at the Burton M. Cross Office Building, 111 Sewall Street, 4th Floor, 9 State House Station, Augusta, Maine, 04333-0009 by 2:00 pm, local time, on December 28, 2015.

The State of Maine Judicial Branch (MJB) seeks Examiners for mental health services statewide to provide examinations of individuals subject to involuntary commitment and involuntary treatment proceedings under Title 34-B of the Maine Revised Statutes.  In accordance with State procurement practices, the MJB has announced the publication of Request for Proposals (RFP) # 201510191 for the purchase of those services.

12/28/15

Full Circle Family Medicine Seeks Family Practitioner

An opportunity awaits you in the heart of Mid-Coast Maine - you are able to live, play and work in one of Maine’s beautiful coastal villages.  Our Medical Practice is in Damariscotta, just an hour northeast of Portland, Maine’s largest city, and three hours from Boston.

Full Circle Family Medicine, is in search of a Family Practitioner to wanting join our NCQA recognized Patient Centered Medical Home practice.  We are proud to be a physician owned, independent practice which includes three MDs and three PA’s.

Job Details and Requirements:

  • Provide a full range of care including: newborn and pediatric care, adult medicine, gynecology, geriatric and nursing home care
  • Telephone Call Coverage
  • Electronic Medical Records

Benefits of practicing at Full Circle Family Medicine include:

  • Competitive salary
  • Generous earned time program
  • Health Benefits
  • CME time and dollars
  • Retirement plans with employer match
  • Malpractice Coverage

For more information contact Wendy Williams, Practice Manager at wwilliams@fullcirclefamilymedicine.com or (207) 563-6623 option 7.  

12/14/15

Family Practice Physician – Bucksport Regional Health Center                                                                

The Bucksport Regional Health Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center, has a unique opportunity for an experienced Family Practice Physician to work at a small, independent, community-based primary care facility that offers great quality indicators, a team atmosphere, and excellent working conditions.  Responsibilities will include the diagnosis, treatment, coordination of care, preventive care and provision of health maintenance services to patients of all life cycles. 

Candidates must have graduated from an accredited medical school and completed a residency in Family Practice or Med/Peds, have a current State of Maine Medical License and D.E.A Certificate, and at least five years of experience in the practice of family or internal medicine. The successful candidate will be offered a generous compensation package, including a competitive salary and excellent benefits. 

The Bucksport Regional Health Center has been offering easy access to quality, affordable care for persons of all ages since 1974.  Interested applicants should apply with a resume and cover letter to Carol Carew, Executive Director, 110 Broadway, Bucksport, ME 04416 or via email at ccarew@brhc.info (or call 207-469-7371).

1/4/16

FAMILY PRACTICE PHYSICIAN Sought In Oakland Maine!

Inland Hospital Family Practice is seeking a full time Family Medicine Physician without OB to join the employed practice in Oakland.

The practice has been serving the greater Waterville/Oakland area for many years. The practice provides care for infants, pediatrics through geriatric care. A competitive salary with incentives, plus full benefits is offered along with assistance with medical education debt, paid time off, paid CME, and relocation allowance. Qualifications: Board Certified/Eligible in Family Practice. This site is not eligible to sponsor a J-1 waiver.

Inland Hospital is a dynamic healthcare organization that believes in putting the patient first in every way. We are a 48-bed community hospital in Waterville; Lakewood, a 105-bed continuing care center on the hospital campus; 18 primary and specialty care physician offices in Waterville and five surrounding communities. Inland has been a proud member of EMHS since 1998. Inland patients have seamless access to a higher level of care when needed.

For further information, please contact:

Sherry Tardy, Director Business Development/Provider Recruitment, Inland Hospital by email at: stardy@emh.org or by phone at: 207-487-4085.

1/25/16

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.

12/14/15

Surgeon

As a General Surgeon in the Air Guard, you’ll adapt the skills and knowledge you’ve gained in your civilian career to the military environment.  You’ll provide urgent treatment to Air Guard personnel sick or wounded during duty, and regular healthcare to personnel training in your unit.

Benefits

The Air Guard gives you the opportunity to serve your community and country with pride, and help people in a whole new way. If you still have student loans, you may be eligible for the Student Loan Repayment Program, or you can potentially get money for college that transfers to your dependents through the Montgomery G.I. Bill.

Besides a monthly paycheck, as a member of the Air Guard you’ll receive low-cost life insurance, a military retirement plan, and eligibility for VA home loans. With more than 140 Air Guard bases in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands you’ll be able to serve where you live, without interrupting your civilian medical practice. And as an Air Guard member you’ll have access to Base Exchange and Commissary shopping as well as free available air travel.

Learn More Today

Go to GoANG.com/HP or call 1-800-To-Go-ANG to find out how you can become an important member of America’s homeland defense in the Air Guard.

1/18/16

Orthopedic Surgeon

The Air Guard Orthopedic Surgeon examines, diagnoses, and treats diseases and injuries of musculoskeletal system by surgical and conservative means. In this role, you’ll manage orthopedic surgery services as well as oversee the administration of anesthetics and provide diet recommendations in addition to performing surgical procedures.

Benefits

The Air Guard gives you the opportunity to serve your community and country with pride, and help people in a whole new way. If you still have student loans, you may be eligible for the Student Loan Repayment Program, or you can potentially get money for college that transfers to your dependents through the Montgomery G.I. Bill.

 Besides a monthly paycheck, as a member of the Air Guard you’ll receive low-cost life insurance, a military retirement plan, and eligibility for VA home loans. With more than 140 Air Guard bases in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands you’ll be able to serve where you live, without interrupting your civilian medical practice. And as an Air Guard member you’ll have access to Base Exchange and Commissary shopping as well as free available air travel.

Learn More Today

Go to GoANG.com/HP or call 1-800-To-Go-ANG to find out how you can become an important member of America’s homeland defense in the Air Guard.

1/18/16

 

 

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