April 15, 2020

In This Issue
Maine Medical Association Zoom Meeting for Providers During COVID-19 Pandemic
Federal Enforcement Against COVID-19 Fraud, Hoarding and Price Gouging
HHS has Modified Emergency Fund Grant Language to Make its Meaning More Clear
WHO COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Update
Obtaining Unaffordable Medicines: A Challenge for Many Patients
Retirement Planning - Topics To Consider During Your Retirement Transition Years
MMA Joins the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health
A Message from Maine Responds
Nominations for the MMA 2020 Mary Cushman Award for Humanitarian Service
Information about the 2020 Census
New Law Takes Effect Concerning Physician Assistant Scope of Practice
Upcoming Specialty Society Meetings
FREE WEBINAR - Risk Management & Ethics: COVID-19 Rationing - Thursday, April16th - 2-3pm
Webinar tomorrow April 16th at 6pm: Managing Student Debt
Webinar April 20 12:30pm: Tele-Tech 101-Lay Of the Land
April 29 webinar: MAT in a Time of Public Health Emergency & Social Distancing
Successful Opiate Recovery Strategies - June 3 at 2pm, Augusta Civic Center
Maine Suicide Prevention Program Training for Clinicians
Family Medicine Outpatient Physician
Medical Director, Primary Care Physician
Physician - Nasson Health Care
Nurse Practitioner - Nasson Health Care
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner - Nasson Health Care
Family Medicine Opportunity in Beautiful Western Maine
Orthopedic Surgeon Opportunity in Beautiful New England
Opportunities at the VA for Volunteer Physicians
Volunteer Opportunity with Partners for World Health - Portland, ME

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Obtaining Unaffordable Medicines: A Challenge for Many Patients
By Martha Morrison, MedHelp Maine, 207-793-4462 or medhelpmaine@gmail.com

While attention is currently focused on infectious disease and social isolation, please also remember the enhanced risks to your financially vulnerable patients who need ongoing access to medications for management of their chronic diseases.

Even in the best of times, 30% of prescriptions are never filled, and 50% of medications prescribed for chronic disease are not taken as prescribed.  Medication non-adherence in the U.S. is estimated to result in 10% of all hospitalizations and 125,000 deaths each year, far more than from liver and kidney disease, influenza or pneumonia, diabetes, or opioid drug overdose.

So that medication non-adherence does not contribute to their increased risk of coronavirus infection, please continue to help your vulnerable patients maintain access to the drugs you prescribe.  With many social service organizations short-staffed or overwhelmed, you might even consider asking your prescription assistance personnel to reach out to these patients to help facilitate any needed referrals for housing, food, heat, transportation, or other needs that impact heath.

Responses from those physicians who participated in the survey about unaffordable medications distributed by the Maine Medical Association this past summer showed that:     

  • 57% estimated that more than 25% of their patients do not take their medications as prescribed because of cost;
  • 70% have had patients hospitalized because their medications were unaffordable;
  • 0% said hospital discharge instructions include prescription assistance information;
  • 0% said their hospitals’ prescription assistance programs provide them with utilization reports;
  • Not all practitioners know about their own hospitals’ medication access programs.

To remove the burden of time-consuming medication access work from individual practices, 15 Maine hospitals (including all MaineHealth facilities) have now established efficient and cost-effective centralized prescription assistance programs to which area clinicians can refer patients who cannot afford their medications.  Do you know about and take advantage of this medical staff benefit? 

Non-profit MedHelp Maine (medhelpmaine@gmail.com or (207) 793-4462) has helped develop seven hospital-based prescription assistance programs.  It is available to provide free start-up guidance to those Maine hospitals still without such resources, or to offer suggestions to practitioners who still prefer to do this work themselves.

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