February 12, 2021

In This Issue
MMA Weekly State Vaccination Plan Update
MMA Leadership & Staff Share Condolences on Passing of George Smith
Maine PMP to Stay with Appriss System
Next Maine CDC COVID-19 Update for Clinicians with Stephen Sears, MD scheduled for Feb 25
Federal Government Finalizes Purchase of 200M COVID-19 Vaccines Doses
US CDC: Fully Vaccinated Meeting Criteria No Longer Required to Quarantine After Exposure
AMA President: Physicians & Medical Societies Can Play Vital Role Advocating for Strong Public Health
NEJM: The FDA’s Experience with Covid-19 Antibody Tests
NEJM: Efficacy and Safety of the mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine
Monoclonal Antibody Authorization from the FDA (Updated 02/09/21) & MaineCare Reimbursement
Guidance for Industry: Investigational COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (Updated 02/11/20)
Maine Legislative Leadership COVID-19 Bill Set for Public Hearing Tuesday
Next MMA Legislative Call Will Be Wednesday, February 17th
Daniel Hanley Center for Health Leadership’s Renowned Physician Executive Leadership Institute – The Advanced Course Enrollment is OPEN
PPE Available Through the MMA & ActionPPE
A Message from Maine Responds: Volunteer Opportunity
Maine Legislature Week 5 Update
Upcoming Public Hearings & Work Sessions; New Bills Introduced
Upcoming Specialty Society Meetings
Maine CDC Physicians To Host Regular Clinician COVID Vaccine Info Sessions
Suicide Prevention and Management in Healthcare Practice Settings: A Comprehensive Evidence-Based Approach
MOA VIRTUAL Midwinter Symposium - February 12th-14th
Maine CDC Annual Prevention Professionals Conference - March 2nd-3rd
AAP EQIPP Course: Immunizations - Strategies for Success (for RURAL Health Providers)
Physician (BC/BE in Family Medicine)
Nursing Director
Medical Director - Bucksport Regional Health Center
Rangeley Family Medicine seeks Physician

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Maine Legislature Week 5 Update

Health and Human Services Committee: 

Six different bills of interest to MMA were heard this week. 

The committee held a number of those hearings on Tuesday. Two that take aim at the class of chemicals known as PFAS took place this week. LD 129, a bill from the Governor’s offices sponsored by state Senator, Trey Stewart (R-Presque Isle) would require schools, daycares and community water systems serving at least 15 customers to begin testing drinking water for various types of PFAS by Dec. 31, 2022. 

The second, LD 164 would create an upper limit of 20 parts per trillion for six types of PFAS. Special thanks are to Lani Graham, MD, for testifying. Dr Graham is former director of the Maine Bureau of Health (which became Maine CDC in 2005). She is widely recognized for her environmental health activism. Nobody works harder as a physician and patient advocate. Dr. Graham’s comments were included in a Portland Press Herald article covering the hearings (Health groups, affected families urge lawmakers to toughen Maine standards on ‘forever chemicals”). 

From the article: 

“Maine people have been confused and frightened to find their drinking water contaminated by PFAS at levels considered unacceptable in neighboring states,” said Dr. Lani Graham. A physician testifying on behalf of the Maine Medical Association, Graham also served on the state’s PFAS Task Force that examined the issues for much of 2019. 

Mary Tedesco-Schneck, a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and an Assistant Professor at the University of Maine in the School of Nursing offered a potential amendment on behalf of Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

Also heard Tuesday, LD 206 regarded reviewing the lead testing in school drinking water. The bill proposed one-time testing of all schools in the state, after flushing the system and holding the water for 8-18 hours. The level of lead for the state of Maine was set at 15 ppb. Three were in support of the bill, however, they were in support because it would further efforts to test school drinking water but noted the need for stricter measures. 

Mary Tedesco-Schneck, again testified in support on behalf of Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Four were in opposition and two were neither for nor against. A work session for LD 206 is not yet scheduled. 

LD 47, An Act to Fund the State’s Free Health Clinics was heard on Wednesday. Twenty-four pieces of testimony were received by the committee, all in support of providing $500,000 in one-time funding to six free health clinics in the State. The strongest oral support came from three free clinics, Portland Community Free Clinic, Oasis Free Clinics Brunswick Maine, and Knox Clinic, as they give needed services to those who do not qualify for State insurance. President of the Board of the Friends of the Portland Community Free Clinic (FPCFC), Caroline Teschke, MD, provided vocal testimony in support and deftly answered numerous information and data questions from committee members. The MMA also testified in support of the bill. A work session for this bill is scheduled for Thursday, February 18th, at 10:00. 

The last bill heard was LD 118, An Act to Address Maine’s Shortage of Behavioral Health Services for Minors. The Maine Hospital Association priority bill proposes gathering data on the number of children in hospitals for long-term behavioral health stays. Eight were in support, most commonly noting the limited services available for children with behavioral health needs and the lack of resources. One in opposition, of the Office of Child and Family Services, was concerned about the workload this would put on caseworkers who could otherwise provide direct services to those in need. They also noted the need for more services in addition to more data. 

Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, President Deborah Hagler, MD, FAAP and MAAP Board Member, Jennifer Jewell, MD, MS, FAAP provided joint testimony in support. 

Jeff Austin from the Maine Hospital Association commented the committee in charge should be the Children’s Alliance rather than the legislative committee, for their expertise and experience on the issue. 

Education and Cultural Affairs: 

One bill was heard, LD 104, An Act To Protect the Health of Student Athletes by Requiring the Establishment of Procedures To Report Concussions. This bill would require schools to gather data on sports-related concussions and submit this data to a statewide database. The committee was most concerned with current data tracking in the State such as the Head Injury Tracking App (HIT) and how this could be utilized. They were also concerned with the potential privacy issues and the narrowness of the bill. 

Two were in support, explaining the need to understand concussions for potential health risks. One was in opposition, they were concerned with who would be tracking the data, as many schools do not have full-time trainers and thus data tracking would fall on coaches or school nurses. The large question of this bill is why it only includes sports-related concussions. The answer provided during the hearing was that gathering all the data would be a large step from having no aggregated data.  The work session scheduled for Wednesday, February 17th, at 10:00 am. 

Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services: 

The Committee, on Tuesday, held public hearings on LD 46 and LD 60; MMA testified neither for nor against both bills.  LD 46, which makes some changes to Maine’s surprise billing law, was supported by three and had no opposition. MMA recommended a documented and clearly identified process for selection of an alternate medical claims database, should MHDO data be insufficient. 

LD 60, requiring pharmacists to dispense at least a 30-day supply of insulin in emergency situations, was met with mixed support. On behalf of MMA, Dan Morin recommended an amendment to limit emergency dispensation to once a year and for committee members to strongly consider appropriate notice to primary care medical practices when emergency dispensations are given to their patients by pharmacists. 

On Thursday, the Committee held a public hearing on LD 167 and LD 367, both of which prohibit a health care provider from billing a patient, or giving a patient notice of a bill, once six months have passed since the date of service.  MMA’s Dan Morin, along with several other organizations, testified in opposition to both bills, noting several occasions where adjudication takes more than six months. Mr. Morin also noted the likeliness of increased confusion for patients, increased calls to customer service and billing departments, and increased administrative costs. Finally, Thursday also saw a hearing on LD 178, An Act to Reduce Waste of Prescription Medications. For several reasons, as outlined in the testimony itself, MMA opposed the bill. 

The Maine Legislature Week Five Update was drafted by MMA Legislative Session Interns, MiKenzie Dwyer (UNE Senior) and Matt Fortin (Maine Law 2L) 

Please contact MMA Director of Communications and Government Affairs, Dan Morin at dmorin@mainemed.com or by phone at 207-480-4199 for a copy of the amended bill, or more information on the bill, and potential comments and suggestions you may wish us to include with our public comments in support of the bill.




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