November 21, 2016

Subscribe to Maine Medicine eNewsletters
Manage Your Subscriptions
Email our Editor...
Maine Medical Association Home Page
. Search back issues
. Plain Text Version
Printer Friendly

Results of Senate and House Caucuses in Maine

Republicans and Democrats have selected their nominees for legislative leadership positions this past week. Sarah Gideon, (D-Freeport) has been nominated as Speaker by House Democrats who control the chamber 77 to 72 with 2 independents. Michael Thibodeau (R-Winterport) has been nominated as Senate President by Senate Republicans who control the Senate 18 to 17. The 128th Legislature will convene on Dec. 7 and the presiding officers and constitutional officers will be elected that day. Cloture, the deadline for bill to be submitted has been tentatively set for Dec. 16. The MMA Legislative Committee will meet on Monday evening, Dec. 5.

Other legislative leaders will include the following:

Senate Republican Leadership:

Garrett Mason (R-Lisbon) Majority Leader

Andre Cushing (R-Newport) Assistant Majority Leader

Senate Democratic Leadership:

Troy Jackson (D-Allagash) Minority Leader

Nate Libby (D-Lewiston)  Assistant Minority Leader

House Democratic Leadership:

Erin Herbig (D-Belfast)  Majority Leader

Jared Golden (D-Lewiston) Assistant Majority Leader

House Republican Leadership:

Ken Fredette (R-Newport)   Minority Leader

Ellie Espling (R-New Gloucester)  Assistant Minority Leader

There is no change in leadership from the 127th Legislature in the case of the Republicans. All the Democratic leaders are new, replacing members who were termed-out, including Speaker Mark Eves and Senate Minority leader Justin Alfond.

One major issue for the session will be the enactment of a two-year state budget which Governor LePage will submit in January. The Governor has expressed a strong interest in lowering income tax rates (partly in response to the passage of Question 2) and replacing some of the revenue with a seasonal increase in the sales tax (in order to impact on summer tourists). 

The narrow margins in each chamber along with divided government through the Democrat controlled House and the Republican controlled Senate (by one vote) demands a bi-partisan approach if a budget is to eventually pass. The same can be said of any other major legislative initiative.

MMA's legislative priorities will be discussed at the Legislative Committee meeting on Dec. 5 which any MMA member is welcome to attend. The Committee is co-chaired this year by Katherine Pope, M.D. and Steve Meister, M.D. The meeting will begin at 6:00pm at the association officers in Manchester. Dinner will be available beginning at 5:30. Please do RSVP to Sarah Lepoff at if you plan to attend so that we can be sure to have enough food and materials. Or just call the office at 622-3374.


MMA Legislative Committee Organizational Meeting December 5th

The MMA Legislative Committee will hold its organizational meeting for the 128th Maine Legislature at the Frank O. Stred Building, 30 Association Drive, Manchester, Maine on Monday, December 5th from 6:00 p.m. to approximately 8:30 p.m.  Dinner will be available at 6:00 p.m.

Members of the Legislative Committee, any interested MMA member, and medical specialty society representatives are strongly encouraged to attend. This meeting is very important because the Committee will be deciding administrative aspects of the MMA’s advocacy work during the next legislature, such as the day and time of the weekly Committee conference calls; reviewing the recent election results and what they mean for our advocacy work; and discussing the advocacy agendas of the MMA, the medical specialty societies, and other health care advocacy organizations with whom MMA frequently collaborates.

We urge you to make every effort to participate in the meeting in person, but the following conference call information will be available for those who cannot travel to Manchester.

Conference call number: 207-480-4790

Participant PIN:  057614#

Please RSVP to Sarah Lepoff at or 622-3374, ext. 213. If you have any question about the meeting, please contact Andrew MacLean, Deputy EVP & General Counsel at or 622-3374, ext. 214.

We look forward to seeing you on December 5th and to your participation in the MMA’s advocacy activities in the 128th Maine Legislature.


Katherine Pope, M.D. Co-chair Legislative Committee

Stephen Meister, M.D. Co-chair Legislative Committee

[return to top]

Federal Court Action Begins Today in Challenge to Proposed Anthem-Cigna Merger

When for-profit health plans merge, they have said that a bigger health insurance company will lower costs and drive down premiums. The casual acceptance of this unproven economic claim over the last two decades fostered an era of health insurance mergers and allowed big insurers to squeeze out rival competition and cement near-monopolies in Maine and across the nation.

The slide toward insurance monopolies hit a brick wall in July when the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and numerous state Attorneys General filed lawsuits to prevent unprecedented merger deals between Anthem and Cigna and Aetna and Humana. MMA commends Maine Attorney General Janet Mills for joining the DOJ lawsuit against the proposed Athem-Cigna merger. Throughout 2016, MMA through its attorneys and numerous physicians has worked with the Justice Department and the Attorney General's office to develop evidence against the proposed Anthem-Cigna merger. Today, Nov. 21, the lawsuit goes to trial.

Allowing Anthem to take over Cigna would be bad for Maine patients and Maine physicians. It is clear that federal and state regulators are no longer buying the claim that a bigger health insurance company is a better one. Peer-reviewed research evidence is now available indicating health insurance consolidation has resulted in higher premiums, instead of promised efficiencies and lower costs. Partially because of the consolidation that has already taken place, Maine has some of the highest health insurance premiums in the country.

The outcome of this lawsuit will have the greatest impact on the patients of Maine and 16 other states, according to a study by the American Medical Association. There is already too little competition among insurers, to the detriment of patients and those who treat them.

[return to top]

Facing Addiction in America. Surgeon General Issues Landmark Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health

Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A. issued a comprehensive report this past week entitled, "The Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health".  As the first ever Surgeon General's Report on this topic, the Report aims to shift the way society thinks about substance misuse and substance use disorders while defining actions we can take to prevent and treat these conditions.

For more information about the report or to download copies of the report or the Executive Summary (17 pages), visit

The concluding chapter of the Report highlights five general messages and their implications for policy and practice:

  • Both substance misuse and substance use disorders harm the health and well-being of individuals and communities. Addressing them requires implementation of effective strategies.

  • Highly effective community-based prevention programs and policies exist and should be widely implemented.

  • Full integration of the continuum of services for substance use disorders with the rest of health care could significantly improve the quality, effectiveness, and safety of all health care.

  • Coordination and implementation of recent health care reform and parity laws will help ensure increased access to services for people with substance use disorders.

  • A large body of research has clarified the biological, psychological, and social underpinnings of substance misuse and related disorders, and described effective prevention, treatment and recovery support services. Future research is needed to guide the new public health approach to substance misuse and substance use disorders.

This report is an important contribution to the work going on in Maine and across the nation to change the way society thinks about, talks about, looks at, and acts toward people with substance use disorders (language taken from the Conclusion of the Executive Summary). The efforts of the Maine Opiate Collaborative, supported by MMA, will continue to address the horrific consequences of substance use disorders in Maine. Earlier this month, the MMA Board at its President's Retreat continued to give this topic a very high priority in the Association's work product in 2017.

[return to top]

Planned Parenthood Provides Patient Information Resources for New MaineCare Family Planning Benefits

Planned Parenthood Announces Patient Information Resources for New MaineCare Family Planning Benefits (by Nicole Clegg, PPNNE)

On October 1st, a new MaineCare benefit became available for thousands of adults and teens. The benefit provides comprehensive coverage for reproductive and sexual health care for those who meet the income guidelines. People who can apply need to be:

·        Maine residents or an approved legal non-citizen

·        Have individual incomes at or below 209% of the Federal Poverty Level ($2,069 monthly)

·        Not pregnant (a separate benefit is available for pregnant adults) 

The covered services in the new benefit include:

·        Annual exams for men and women

·        Breast and Cervical cancer screenings

·        Birth control (pills, implant, IUD)

·        STI testing and treatment,

·        UTI testing and treatment

The launch of this new benefit is incredibly exciting as it provides access to care for countless women and men who otherwise would not be able to afford or qualify for assistance for insurance through the Marketplace. Any health care provider who accepts MaineCare can accept the new benefit for coverage for services. The application is easy to complete and requires basic income information. Individuals can even apply online.

At Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE), we have resources available that explain the new benefit including French and Arabic translated materials. We also have staff able to provide enrollment assistance and answer any technical questions you may have about the new program. To request materials or schedule an appointment with one of our counselors contact: Jessica Milinichik at or call at 207-687-3293.

We are determined to make this as easy as possible for people to access critical care. People can schedule next day, same day appointments at any PPNNE health center and enroll at the same time.

[return to top]

MMA and Quality Counts offer Webinar Tuesday on Healthcare and the Trump Administration

Presenting during the noontime members' webinar will be Susan Dentzer, MMA EVP Gordon Smith and Maine Hospital Association Vice-President Jeff Austin. Quality Counts Executive Director Lisa Letourneau, M.D. will moderate the discussion.  

Registration information is available on the Quality Counts website. [return to top]

In Washington, Senate and House to Convene for Lame-Duck Session

The United States Senate will re-convene on Monday, Nov. 28 and the House of Representatives will convene the next day. A spending bill to extend government funding beyond Dec. 9 is expected to originate in the House where Republicans will introduce a continuing resolution that would run through March, 2017. House members are also finishing up details on a health-care bill that will address medical innovation and mental health. [return to top]

Health Insurance Marketplace 2017 Open Enrollment - November 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017

The Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment period for 2017 began on November 1 and goes through January 31, 2017. If you enroll by December 15, your coverage will begin on January 1. 

Get Ready to Apply for 2017 Coverage

Many people who apply will qualify for some kind of savings. Depending on household income, you may be able to get lower costs on monthly Marketplace health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

Already Have Marketplace Coverage? Anyone who currently has a 2016 health insurance plan through the Marketplace should review their current plan, update their account, and either renew coverage or select another plan for 2017.

Health Insurance Marketplace assistance is available:

  • Call the Consumers for Affordable Health Care HelpLine at 1-800-965-7476
  • Find local help at  Navigators and assisters are available throughout Maine.
  • Call the Health Insurance Marketplace at 1-800-318-2596
  • Medical practices: order patient brochures about the Health Insurance Marketplace at enroll207
[return to top]

MMA Leadership Listening Session on December 6th at Lucerne Inn in Dedham

  • When:  Tuesday, December 6 from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm
  • Where: The Lucerne Inn, 2517 Main Road in Dedham, ME

MMA members and their guests are cordially invited to join MMA officers and executive staff at a Listening Session, in recognition of the election of Charles Pattavina, MD as the 164th President of the Maine Medical Association.

Stop by for an appetizer and beverage on us and share with us your thoughts and opinions.

Please RSVP to Sarah Lepoff or at 622-3374 x213.

[return to top]

Kennebec Medical Society Holiday Dinner Party Dec. 1st

The Kennebec County Medical Society, one of two county medical societies left in Maine, will hold its annual Holiday Dinner Party at the Village Inn in Belgrade Lakes on Thursday, December 1st. The event starts at 6:00 p.m. with dinner at 7:00. Cost is $40 per person.

For more information and to sign up, please contact Lisa Martin at the MMA, or call her at 480-4201. Please respond by November 23rd so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

[return to top]

Upcoming Events

American Medical Association MACRA Webinars November 21st & December 6th

The AMA will host two educational webinars to help physicians prepare for the new Medicare Quality Payment Program created by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act. Both sessions will cover the same material. Registration is open for the first webinar on Nov. 21, at 7 p.m. EDT, and the second webinar on Dec. 6, at 8 p.m. EDT. Physicians and medical society staff are welcome.





Caring for ME Leadership Meeting

Supporting Maine Clinicians in Responding to the Opioid Epidemic

December 14, 2016

8:00 am - 12:00 pm

Maine Medical Association - Manchester, ME


QC is expanding our December Caring for ME Leadership Meeting to hold a half-day strategy session to focus on planning and alignment efforts in support of our Caring for ME initiatives. 

This meeting will give special emphasis to updates on the implementation of PL Chapter 488, including rule-making and exceptions, as well as to fostering a dialogue around Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). Specifically, what is the current MAT landscape in Maine, and how do we improve and expand access to this critically important treatment? 

Registration is encouraged, but not required, for in-person attendance so that we may get an accurate headcount. A light breakfast will be provided.

For anyone that is unable to attend in person, remote attendance is possible. Please email Lizzy White to request the web-conference log in. 

Featured Presentations

This meeting will feature both structured presentations and facilitated group discussions designed to share knowledge and resources, and increase alignment across the programs currently underway around the state.  

Featured presentations and discussions will include:

  • Updates on Implementation of Opioid-Related Laws, Gordon Smith
  • Successes & Challenges of Chapter 488 Implementation, Group Discussion
  • Advancing the Broader Agenda: Caring for ME Goals, Group Discussion
  • A Review of Maine's MAT Landscape, Lisa Letourneau
  • Training Providers in MAT, Alane O'Connor
  • Current Statewide MAT Efforts: Successes & Challenges, Group Discussion


Click here to see the complete agenda.

Event Contact:

Lizzy White

207-620-8526 ext. 1033

Email Lizzy

For Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) services, or if special arrangements are required for an individual to attend this course please call or email us directly.












[return to top]

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 ~



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.


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



[return to top]

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