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May 28, 2021

In This Issue
Congratulations 2021 UNE College of Osteopathic Medicine & Maine Track Program Graduates
Maine Congressman Jared Golden Part of Group Spearheading Medicare Expansion
Maine Health Alert Network Advisory: Myocarditis and Pericarditis following COVID Vaccination
ME DHHS Updates Pop-Up Clinic Eligibility & Application
Associated Press: COVID Fueled Eating Disorder Surge in Teens, Adults
U.S. CDC ACIP: Vaccine Recommendation Updates - 5/25/2021
American Academy of Physician Assistants Votes to Change Title: Physician Associate
Primary Care 2.0 Webinar Opportunities
Working with Children & Adolescents? Maine Pediatric & Behavioral Health Partnership (MPBHP) Webinar Series
Maine Community Action Partnership: CALL TO ACTION!
MMA Mary Cushman, MD Award for Humanitarian Service
A Message from Maine Responds: Volunteer Opportunity
MAINE LEGISLATURE
Maine Medical Association Legislative Advocacy Update
MMA Legislative Calls Finished for the Session
UPCOMING EVENTS
Upcoming Specialty Society Meetings
AAP EQIPP Course: Immunizations - Strategies for Success (for RURAL Health Providers)
SUPPORT for ME Training and Technical Assistance Initiative
Maine AAP Educational Webinar Series - Last Session is June 1
A Trusted Source: Expanding COVID Vaccination in Maine Physician Practices
NAMI Maine June Workshop: Suicide Assessment & Management for Clinical Staff - June 8, 15, & 22
The Maine Concussion Management Initiative will be offering Free Level 1 and Level 2 training on June 18, 2021, via Zoom.
HEALTHCARE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Medical Director
Pediatrician

 
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MAINE LEGISLATURE

Maine Medical Association Legislative Advocacy Update

Leaders of the Maine Legislature recently voted to reopen the State Capitol to the public as its previously scheduled date of adjournment (June 16th) swiftly approaches. The full Maine House of Representatives and Maine Senate has planned 10 meeting days, starting Wednesday, June 2nd

Legislative policy committees rushed to finish up their work this week by reviewing hundreds of bills, bill amendments, and voting on nearly all of them. Each committee also reserved bills for further consideration (tabled and carried over) when the Legislature returns in January 2022. 

The following is an update on pieces of legislation relevant to the Maine Medical Association’s 2021 Legislative Priorities Platform. 

TELEHEALTH 

LD 333—An Act Regarding Telehealth: The MMA worked directly with Representative Patty Hymanson (York; retired neurologist) on introducing LD 333 with the goal of maintaining advances, and potentially expanding access, to telehealth services resulting from the COVID-19. While the bill was voted Ought Not to Pass in committee this week, the general content was folded into LD 791, An Act Regarding Telehealth Regulations. LD 791 was used as a vehicle for nearly a dozen other telehealth related bills before the Legislature. 

MMA goals contained in LD 333 were to:

Authorized audio-only telehealth.

Clarify that reimbursement must be made on the same basis and same rate as in person care.

No separate deductible limits can be applied by insurance carriers that are not applied in aggregate with other services.

Prohibit more restrictive prescription requirements by insurance carriers for prescriptions written through virtual care.

A majority of committee legislators voted LD 791 Ought to Pass as Amended. It will first be scheduled for debate and vote in the coming weeks before the Maine Senate.

MMA Testimony

MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS HEALTH PROGRAM FUNDING

LD 1576Resolve, To Establish and Fund a Medical Professionals Health Program from Health Care Provider License Fees: The Maine Medical Association asked the bill sponsor, Senator Stacy Brenner (Scarborough, Gorham), to withdraw the bill after the MMA met with various licensing boards within the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation. Stakeholders agreed to meet after the legislative session to discuss the Program, operations, and ongoing funding challenges.

PRIMARY CARE INVESTMENT

LD 1196 An Act Regarding Targets for Health Plan Investments in Primary Care and Behavioral Health: This bill was designed with a goal of improving health outcomes and lowering costs through better Primary Care and Behavioral Health systems in Maine. Bill sponsor, and physician, Representative Sam Zager (Portland) requested the bill to be carried over to 2022 and a legislative committee agreed to direct stakeholders, convened by the Maine Medical Association, to meet and attempt to produce a consensus proposal to the committee focused on better directing Maine’s health care model more toward prevention, chronic disease management, access and equity, and treatment for behavioral/mental health conditions such as substance use disorder.

MMA Testimony

DRUG SENTENCING & SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER TREATMENT FOR INCARCERATED PEOPLE

LD 967—An Act To Make Possession of Scheduled Drugs for Personal Use a Civil Penalty: The bill would make possession of a scheduled drug (W, X, Y or Z  drugs) a civil violation instead of a crime or allows the court to refer the person to a provider for an evidence-based health assessment for proposed treatment for substance use disorder. A majority of the committee voted to approve the bill with amendments, however, the majority was split in the construct of amendments.

It will first be scheduled for debate and vote in the coming weeks before the Maine House of Representatives.

MMA Testimony

LD 663—An Act To Make Comprehensive Substance Use Disorder Treatment Available to Maine's Incarcerated Population: The legislation would place in law create a directive for the Maine Department of Corrections to providing medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorders and additional substance use disorder treatment for incarcerated persons, including screening, evaluation, and treatment.

The committee was divided on two different versions of amended language to the bill with disagreements over how broad the language should be for access to FDA approved medications and corresponding cost considerations. The bill will be up for debate and potential votes in the coming weeks, first before the Maine House of Representatives.

MMA Testimony

TOBACCO TAX INCREASE

LD 1423—An Act To Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use by Ensuring Adequate Funding for Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Programs and by Raising the Tax on Tobacco Products and To Provide Funding To Reduce Disparities in Health Outcomes Based on Certain Factors: The bill increases the cigarette tax by $2.00/pack. Passing the bill into law is expected to generate nearly $48 million in new annual state revenue, decrease youth smoking by nearly 20%, and generate $3.4 million in state savings to the Medicaid program over the next five years. Maine law ties all tobacco taxes together so the increase will be made to all tobacco products.

MMA Testimony

TOBACCO FLAVORS BAN

LD 1550—An Act To End the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products: The bill would prohibit the sale and distribution of flavored tobacco products, including flavored cigars and electronic smoking devices. The bill language was also included in the Governor’s Supplemental State Budget (LD 221).

LD 1550 was voted Ought to Pass as Amended by a majority of the committee and will be voted on in the coming weeks by the Maine House of Representatives while theAppropriations & Financial Affairs Committee will continue work on the Governor’s Supplemental Budget before voting.

MMA Testimony – LD 1550

MMA Testimony – Governor’s budget

1,731 bills have been printed as of Friday, May 28, 2021

The MMA is tracking over 320 bills.

The MMA is closely monitoring over 111 bills.

MMA staff and members have directly provided written and/or oral testimony on approximately 70 separate bills.

Maine’s specialty societies and public health committee have also provided testimony on numerous bills before the Maine Legislature.

Any questions, comments, concerns, or background information on MMA’s Legislative Priorities Platform, testimony, or Maine legislation under consideration can be directed to MMA’s Director of Communications and Government Affairs, Dan Morin atdmorin@mainemed.com or by phone at (207) 480-4199.

 

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