July 3, 2017

In This Issue
State Budget Agreement Reportedly Reached
DHHS Announces 31 Day Grace Period for Enforcement of E-prescribing Penalties
Board of Licensure in Medicine Proposes Changes to Chapter 1 Rules
Vote is Delayed on U.S. Senate "Better Care Reconciliation Act"
Loan and Trust Committee Approves $515.000 in Loans to Medical Students from Maine
AMA Launches Opioid Education Microsite
MMA Annual Benefit Golf Tournament Monday, July 10, 2017
Nominations for the 2017 Mary F. Cushman Award Due By August 1
Legislative Highlights of the Week
Physicians Lose Jury Duty Exemption
Legislature Raises Tobacco Purchase Age to 21
Opioid Prescribing Presentation: Wednesday, July 19 from 5-8:30pm in Auburn
16th Annual Downeast Ophthalmology Symposium - September 15-17
Patient Safety Academy - September 29
Register Now for the MMA and Maine Health Management Coalition 2017 Symposium on October 11
Online Learning Opportunities Offering CME Credits - from the Northern New England Practice Transformation Network
Call-in Program on MIPS and APM
Family Medicine Physician - Pittsfield, ME
Primary Care Physician - Eastern Maine Medical Center
Outpatient Only - Internal Medicine with Loan Repayment & Sign-on Bonus
Part-time Clinical & Part-time Research Position in Central Maine
Family Medicine Physician - Winthrop, ME
DO or MD Physician - Augusta, ME
Family Medicine Physician - Waterville, ME
Family Medicine Physician/Clinician Leader - Portland, ME
Family Medicine - Windham, ME
Family Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant Wanted
Physician - Lubec, ME
Nurse Practitioner - Swift River Family Medicine - Rumford, ME
Physician Assistant/Nurse Practitioner - Bridgton, ME
Hospitalist - Brunswick, ME
Gastroenterologist - Brunswick, ME
Ophthalmologist - Brunswick, ME
Family Nurse Practitioner - Sacopee Valley Health Center
BC/BE Family Medicine Physician Livermore Falls, ME
Internal Medicine Physician - Bangor, ME

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State Budget Agreement Reportedly Reached

At this point on Sunday evening the House and Senate are carrying out necessary parliamentary procedures to get the budget back to the Committee of Conference, which is expected to put the deal into final form for a vote in each chamber. The deal we are hearing involves no 3% surtax on household incomes over $200,000 and no lodging tax increase (which has been part of the discussion for at least a week and is now strongly opposed by the Governor and House Republicans) in exchange for a two-year moratorium on behavioral health reimbursement rate cuts (familiar to many as the “Burns Study cuts”) and $575,000 per year in increased funding for Head Start, the latter two points to be funded by TANF surplus.

Committee of Conference Amendment C to Committee Amendment C, the latest amendment approved by the entire committee of conference, can be found here.


Governor LePage had said on Thursday, "House Republicans have worked very hard to put forth a reasonable proposal. If Democrats join with Republicans to immediately pass this budget, I will put my signature on it.” In contrast, Representative Matthea Daughtry, D-Brunswick, said in her report of Friday's meeting, "If we pass anything other than what [the Governor] wants he will take a full ten days to veto the bill, which will shut down our state. He then stated to our Speaker that he will leave the state and say that the shutdown is our fault."

Things did not improve, and Friday night at midnight the state shutdown began. Lawmakers continued to negotiate on Saturday and Sunday, leading to a 92-54 vote in the House on Monday afternoon, still short of the 101 needed to pass the budget. Negotiations continued late into Monday evening.

The most recent House Republican proposal before that point entirely repealed the 3% surcharge on high-income earners and offered a mixture of one time and on-going spending for education totaling around $125 million. Most concerning to public health advocates is a proposed $10 million cut in the Fund for a Healthy Maine, a program funded by tobacco settlement money that has been earmarked for tobacco and obesity prevention. The Republican proposal would use the Fund to pay for wage increases for direct care workers who care for the elderly. This program is an aspect of MaineCare, Maine's version of Medicaid, and has historically been funded, like other parts of Medicaid, by state and federal taxes.

According to some healthcare advocates, this is a "dangerous and unnecessary move." They pointed out that the House Republican proposal left $29 million "left over" or unallocated which could be used to ensure that those with developmental disabilities have their needs met, and that all workers in direct care receive what they see as "a fair wage for their critical work." 

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