November 7, 2016

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Please VOTE on Election Day

Tuesday's election will likely determine the future of healthcare in our nation for the next few years. Please take time to vote and encourage other members of your family to do so, too. Your vote matters!

In addition to the presidential election, Maine's two congressional districts will elect or re-elect our Representatives to the United State House of Representatives and all 186 seats in the Maine Legislature are up for grabs.  

The MMA Legislative Committee will meet on Dec. 5 at MMA with dinner being available at 5:30pm and the meeting beginning at 6:00pm. The meeting will include an opportunity for specialty societies to report on any legislative initiatives they are planning or to express concern about any legislation they plan to oppose. The Legislative Committee this year is co-chaired by Katherine Pope, M.D. and Steve Meister, M.D. 

MMA Board of Directors Retreats to Portland for Weekend Planning Session

The twenty seven member MMA Board of Directors met this past weekend in Portland in a retreat format to prioritize internal and external issues for the next year. Led by President Charles Pattavina, M.D., the Board gave priority to the Association's current work in staffing the Maine Opiate Collaborative and in educating prescribers about Chapter 488 and the rules being drafted by the Board of Licensure in Medicine and the Department of Health and Human services to address the continuing opioid/heroin epidemic. Other priorities included working on high drug prices and health plan hassles including prior authorization requirements.  

On internal issues, board members expressed concern about the health of our members and stated that the highest MMA priority should be to support our members in providing high quality care to their patients. Doing so will likely involve addressing such issues as burnout, EMRs and workforce supply. 

On Sunday morning Dr. Pattavina facilitated a discussion of professionalism which is expected to be an important theme throughout the year. Board members expressed concern about a loss of collegiality and the declining ability of the profession to police itself.  

Using the priorities established by the Board, the staff will now develop an action plan for each prioritized item and present them to the Board for consideration at the December Board meeting.

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Maine Quality Counts Taps Erik Steele, DO, as Interim Executive Director

Maine Quality Counts announced on Thursday the hiring of Erik Steele, DO, as interim executive Director. Dr. Steele's hiring comes after the announcement earlier this year that Lisa Letourneau, M.D., MPH, the founding Executive Director of Maine Quality Counts, would be leaving her position with the organization at the end of the year.

Dr. Steele has practiced medicine and filled leadership roles in a variety of settings in Maine health care. After completing his family practice residency at Eastern Maine Medical Center in 1991, he practiced emergency medicine at small and large hospitals around Maine. His most prominent roles have been as Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of EMHS (Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems) and as interim President and CEO of Blue Hill Memorial Hospital, a member of EMHS. Most recently he served for three  years as the Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Summa Health System in Akron, Ohio.

Dr. Steele will begin to serve as interim executive director starting Nov. 30, 2016. The QC Board of Directors will continue to work with a national search firm, Non-Profit Professionals Advisory Group, to complete the search for a permanent Executive Director. Interested candidates are invited to contact Non-Profit Professionals at 

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Bureau of Insurance Convenes Stakeholder Meeting on Chapter 488, Sec. 38 Study

The Maine Bureau of Insurance on Oct. 31 convened a group of stakeholders to discuss the language in Chapter 488 requiring the Bureau to evaluate the effect of the limits on prescriptions for opioid medication on the claims paid by health insurers and the out-of-pocket costs, including co-payments, coinsurance and deductibles, paid by individual and group health insurance policyholders. In enacting this provision, legislators this spring were particularly concerned about consumers having to pay multiple co-payments for the same amount of medication they are receiving now, once the durational limits on opioid scripts are in effect (Jan. 1, 2017).

Section 38 of the law requires the Bureau to submit a report by Jan. 1, 2018 on the evaluation, along with any recommended policy and regulatory options that will ensure costs for patients are not increased as a result of the new prescribing limits. The report is to be provided to the legislative committees having jurisdiction over health and human services matters and over insurance and financial services matters.

MMA staff attended the stakeholders meeting along with Lisa Letourneau, M.D., MPH, Executive Director of Quality Counts. Several health plans were present along with Bureau staff and advocates from the American Cancer Society-Cancer Action Network and Consumers for Affordable Healthcare. David Sorensen, the Governor's senior policy adviser and a principle architect of the new law, was also present. Karenlee Harrington, Executive Director of the Maine Health Data Organization was present by phone and presented the options around data review that MHDO could provide. The balance of the 90 minute meeting was spent thinking about how baseline data from some period could be compared to data after the law takes effect. Because of the aggressive deadline for the study (only 14 months for it to be completed, with recommendations), several challenges were discussed and the possibility of asking the legislature to extend the period of the study was considered.  

The meeting concluded with Ms. Harrington agreeing to furnish to the Bureau an outline of options with those options then being shared with the stakeholders group for comment. Another meeting of the group is also anticipated once the comments have been reviewed by Bureau staff.

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ACA Open Enrollment Begins

The 4th ACA open enrollment kicked off last Tuesday, Nov. 1, and the federal Department of Health and Human Services noted high demand with more than 150,000 individuals submitting an application on the first day. This was a significant increase over last year.

In many parts of the country, premiums are up dramatically from 2016 while insurer participation in the marketplace is down. But in every part of the country, consumers still have a choice of a number of plans, more than many Americans who have insurance through their employment and who only have one plan available. And most people who purchase their coverage through the marketplaces are eligible for financial assistance.

Open enrollment ends on January 31, 2017. Susan Kring, the outreach director at MMA can put medical practices in touch with enrollment experts or provide materials to share with patients who may be eligible to purchase through the marketplace exchange. You canreach her at

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MMA Welcomes the Employed Physicians at Houlton Regional Hospital as Group Members

The Maine Medical Association is pleased to welcome to MMA membership the employed physicians at Houlton Regional Hospital as the latest addition to MMA's group membership program. These twenty-four physicians will now all receive the benefits of MMA membership at a discounted membership rate paid for by the hospital. A special thanks to Thomas Moakler, CEO of the Hospital and Brian Griffin, M.D., Director of Medical Affairs, for their support of the group membership. The new group now joins the following groups already in the program.

Spectrum Medical Group and Specialty Solutions


Martin's Point Health Care

New England Cancer Specialists

Employed physicians at the following hospitals:  

Northern Maine Medical Center, Cary Medical Center, Calais Regional Hospital, Downeast Community Hospital, Inland Hospital, Maine Coast Memorial Hospital, Mayo Regional Hospital, Mount Desert Island Hospital, Blue Hill Memorial Hospital, MaineGeneral Medical Center, Central Maine Healthcare (all campuses), MidCoast Hospital, Maine Medical Center (Maine Medical Partners), Southern Maine Medical Center.  

If you are interested in discussing the possibility of a group membership for your group of five or more physicians, contact EVP Gordon Smith at 622-3374 ext. 212 or via e-mail to

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"Joining Forces" offers 2016 Wellness Week Webinars for Health Professionals

In honor of Veterans Day, the Joining Forces initiative is hosting its 2016 Wellness Week on Nov. 7 – 11. The AMA was an early supporter of efforts to engage physicians to improve the health of service members, veterans and their families. This will take the form of daily webinars aimed at health professionals during Wellness Week.

Each webinar is worth one continuing medical education credit and will be held from noon to 1 p.m. EDT daily:

  • Nov. 7 — Joining Forces to address suicide in the military and veterans

  • Nov. 8 — Caring for caregivers

  • Nov. 9 — Pain management: Nuances for the military and veteran patient population

  • Nov. 10 — The deployment life cycle of the military family: Implications for healthcare providers

  • Nov. 11 — What veterans want their healthcare providers to know and how academic medical centers can contribute

The AMA continues to work with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that veterans receive timely access to high-quality care through the Veterans Choice Program. Read more about the AMA's efforts to support veterans' health.

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AMA's TruthinRX Campaign Addresses Drug Pricing

It's clear – something needs to be done about prescription drug pricing. We believe increasing transparency would be a critical step forward. We're excited to share with you a new campaign by the American Medical Association to educate the public and lawmakers on this important issue. 

The TruthinRX campaign sheds light on the side effects of drug price secrecy, like unpredictable price swings and murky price agreements between benefit managers, health plans, and drug makers. We believe patients have a right to know why their medication costs what it does, and we need your help to ensure that they aren't taken advantage of. 

Do you want to help us uncover the truth behind prescription drug pricing? Visit the TruthinRx website to learn more.

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Don't Ignore Those Letters!

At a recent meeting of the American Association of Medical Society Counsel, MMA attorneys Andy MacLean and Peter Michaud learned of a significant problem facing physicians around the country. A medical laboratory called Health Diagnostic Laboratory, Inc., a Virginia lab, recently entered bankruptcy proceedings after defaulting on a $50 million settlement related to certain allegedly illegal conduct on its part. Now the bankruptcy trustee is looking to physicians to recoup some of that money.

The trustee is seeking to set aside all payments made by HDL to certain physician groups. Demand letters have gone out from the trustee to approximately 3,000 small and midsize physician groups in various parts of the country, and attorneys familiar with the situation say it would not be surprising if that number grows.

These demand letters are serious matters. Bankruptcy trustees have extensive powers that are not limited by state boundaries. If any Maine physicians have received one of these letters, they should contact their business attorneys immediately. The MMA would appreciate also being notified so that we can track the scope of the problem and assess its impact on our members and our state. If you have received one of these letters or have any information about them, please contact Peter Michaud at
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Job Openings

BC/BE Family Medicine Physician - FLOAT 

HealthReach Community Health Centers seeks an experienced full-time, part-time or per diem BC/BE Family Medicine Physician to join our team of float providers. The selected candidate will travel to health centers in Central and Western Maine and provide acute, chronic and preventive services to patients of all ages. 

HealthReach has been providing healthcare in rural and medically underserved communities for 41 years. Annually, 28,000 Maine residents access medical, dental and behavioral health services at our facilities, which are located in Albion, Bingham, Belgrade, Bethel, Coopers Mills, Kingfield, Livermore Falls, Madison, Rangeley, Richmond and Strong. 

We offer competitive compensation including a generous float differential and malpractice coverage. Contact Recruiter, HRCHC, 10 Water Street, Suite 305, Waterville, ME  04901. (207) 660-9913 ~ Fax: (207) 660-9901 ~



The Maine Public Employees Retirement System (MainePERS or Retirement System) administers a disability retirement program for eligible members of the Retirement System.   The Board of Trustees engages physicians as independent contractors to serve on a Medical Board.  That Board evaluates medical records and provides written consultations to MainePERS and its hearing officers regarding the existence of diagnosable conditions and the presence and permanency of functional limitations in disability cases.

MainePERS seeks to engage additional physicians for the Medical Board.  Physicians of the Medical Board must hold a Maine Physician’s license in good standing and be Board Certified in their area of practice.  Preferred candidates will have experience in one of the following disciplines: Psychiatry, Neurology, Internal Medicine, Physiatry, Occupational Medicine, and case review.  Medical Board physicians work under contract in an advisory capacity on an hourly fee basis.  Typical time commitment is 10-25 hours per month with flexibility of scheduling.  Some case file review and discussion can be done via videoconferencing.    This is a contract position and not eligible for benefits.

To apply, please forward your Curriculum Vitae and introductory letter to or via mail to:

Maine Public Employees Retirement System

Human Resources Department

P.O. Box 349

Augusta, Maine  04333-0349



Mid Coast Medical Group is seeking a full time General Surgeon. This is a community hospital oriented job with needed skills in all core aspects of general surgery.  The surgeon will be part of a long standing 4-5 provider general surgery group. The office is conveniently located adjacent to Mid Coast Hospital. New graduates and experienced candidates are encouraged to apply.

Part of the Mid Coast–Parkview health family of services, Mid Coast Hospital offers competitive benefits and compensation package, along with an excellent work environment. Please send CV to Melanie Crowe, Physician Recruiter, at or call (207) 406-7872, for more information.


PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN - Eastern Maine Medical Center

Eastern Maine Medical Center seeks a primary care physician, board-certified/board-eligible in internal medicine, to join our well-established, quality-driven, outpatient practice. Husson Internal Medicine is one of seven primary care practices operated by Eastern Maine Medical Center. Our practice was the second in the nation to achieve “Patient-Centered Medical Home” status with NCQA. All physicians are NCQA-certified in diabetes and cardiac care. Our primary care network, largest in our area, has adopted a new practice model to include teams of one physician, one nurse practitioner, two registered nurses, and two medical assistants.  
Eastern Maine Medical Center is a 411-bed, regional, tertiary care and level II trauma center serving the more than 500,000 residents living in central, eastern, and northern Maine We offer a collegial atmosphere, cutting-edge EMR, generous vacation and CME benefit, flexible work schedule, and reasonable call schedule. No hospital call required. Candidates in need of J-1 visa waivers welcome to apply. 
For confidential consideration, please contact: Amanda Klausing at Eastern Maine Medical Center Phone: 207-973-5358


INTERNAL MEDICINE PHYSICIAN - Maine Medical Partners Internal Medical Clinic

Maine Medical Partners is seeking a PT BC/BE internal medicine physician for their Internal Medicine Outpatient Clinic at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine. 

The Clinic is the primary outpatient teaching site for Maine Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Residency Program and is the medical home for a culturally diverse population.  The ideal candidate will have an interest in residency education and international/immigrant patient care.  The clinical portion of the position involves a mix of direct patient care and the precepting of Internal Medicine Residents. 

Maine Medical Center has 637 licensed beds and is the state’s leading tertiary care hospital, with a full complement of residencies and fellowships and an integral part of Tufts University Medical School. 

For more information please contact Alison C. Nathanson, Director, MaineHealth Physician Recruitment Center at (207) 661-7383 or



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