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Maine Medicine Weekly Update: 11/28/2021

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WHO Classifies New Variant as 'Highly Transmissible' Virus (Omnicron)

An advisory panel of the World Health Organization classified a new COVID-19 variant first detected in South Africa as a highly transmissible virus of concern and named it ``Omicron'' under its naming protocols system.

The WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution met to review what is known about the COVID19 variant B.1.1.529. They advised WHO that it should be designated a Variant of Concern.

The announcement Friday marks the first time in months that WHO has classified a COVID-19 variant as such. The Delta variant, which has become the world's most prevalent, is in the same category.

However, many medical experts, including the World Health Organization, warned against any overreaction before the variant that originated in southern Africa was better understood. Read More


Provider Relief Fund Reporting Deadline: November 30, 2021

If you got 1 or more Provider Relief Fund (PRF) payments totaling more than $10,000 during the first Payment Received Period, you must report by November 30, 2021 at 11:59 pm ET to avoid further enforcement actions like repayment or other debt collection activities. The original deadline to report on how you used the funds was September 30, 2021, but HHS observed a 60-day grace period to help providers who didn’t meet the Reporting Period 1 deadline. Read More


Maine Bureau of Insurance: Notice of Public Meeting on Clear Choice Standardized Plan Designs (Dec 1 & Dec 20)

The Bureau of Insurance conducts an annual review of the Clear Choice plan designs in consultation with stakeholders, pursuant to 24-A M.R.S. § 2793(2) and Bureau of Insurance Rule Chapter 851, §5(1)(A).


The Bureau will hold its 2nd virtual meeting on Wednesday, December 1st, at 10:00 am, and its 3rd virtual meeting on Monday, December 20th at 1:00 pm. We hope you will be able to join. Read More

SUPPORT For ME Training and Technical Assistance Webinar (Dec 1)

Register now for webinar on Wednesday, December 1st from 12:00-1:00pm. Read More

AMA: Payor Contracting 101 Virtual Bootcamp (Dec 1)

Wednesday, Dec. 1, 5:00 - 6:30 pm CST

Attorneys from Polsinelli Law Firm will provide a 1.5-hour virtual presentation and Q&A session focused on payor contracting for physicians in private practice. Content covered will include basic contract provisions and legal rules, commonly negotiated provisions, common disputes (subject matter and process), and innovative/non-traditional opportunities.
Read More

The Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Minority Health Policy at Harvard University (Dec 1 deadline)

Applications are now open for this one-year, full-time, degree-granting program designed to prepare physician-leaders to improve health care access for minority, disadvantaged and vulnerable populations. Apply by December 1.
Read More

Maine DHHS Clinician Call: COVID-19 Oral Anti-Viral Therapies, Preview & Distribution (Dec 2nd)

Please join Maine DHHS on Thursday, December 2 at 7:30 AM for a preview of the upcoming/anticipated COVID-19 oral anti-viral therapies (e.g. molnupiravir) & a discussion of initial thoughts about the state of Maine’s plans for distribution of what we anticipate will (at least initially) be an extremely constrained supply of these therapies.  Read More

Governor’s Opioid Response Seminar Webinar Series (Dec 3)

The Governor’s Opioid Response Seminar Webinar Series continues on Friday, December 3, 2021 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with “Staying connected from a distance: How to build and maintain therapeutic relationships using telehealth”

Discussion to include the role of authentic virtual engagement when working with patients with substance use disorders, how to adapt communication styles to engage with a treatment team, and how to effectively connect with patients, teams and families using a virtual medium. Read More

Suicide Assessment & Management for Clinical Staff (Dec 6, 13 & 20 3-5pm)

NAMI Maine's Suicide Assessment and Management training is a 3-part virtual workshop designed to prepare a new or seasoned healthcare or mental health clinician to understand the risk of suicide, how to approach and complete an effective suicide risk assessment. This 3-part workshop is scheduled on 3 consecutive Mondays, December 6, 13 and 20,  from 3-5pm. Read More

AMA: Telehealth Immersion Program Mini-Bootcamp: What’s Next for Telehealth? (Dec 7)

December 7 at 4 PM CT

This interactive session will provide participants with a recap of the 2021 Telehealth Immersion Program, highlight physician, and practice wins, and provide an overview of the telehealth landscape for the future, including key policy changes for 2022. Register now Read More

AMA: Physician Peer Support: Secret Weapon to Combat Physician Burnout (Dec 9)

Thursday, Dec. 9, 12:00 - 1:00 pm CST

Angela Chaudhari, MD, a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist and one of the original Scholars of Wellness fellows at Northwestern Medicine, created a pilot peer support program for the OB-GYN department that was eventually implemented hospital-wide. Learn how you too can successfully start a peer support program at your organization in this AMA STEPS Forward™ webinar.REGISTER HERE. Read More

Upcoming Specialty Society Meetings

Below you will find an on-going list of Upcoming Specialty Society Meetings. Any questions should be referred to the contact person listed for each specialty.

  Read More


Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
Dee Kerry, Executive Director, Maine AAP

The Maine AAP, thanks to funding from the Bingham Foundation, has been working with COUNT ME IN for over two years to improve the health and wellbeing of students by increasing communications among families, schools and providers pertaining to chronic absenteeism stemming from physical and mental health challenges. Pediatricians and family physicians report success in streamlining protocols and meeting regionally to discuss best ways to connect. We have conducted focus groups with students and families and offered provider education. Read More


Maine Board of Licensure of Medicine & Board of Osteopathic Medicine Proposed Rules

The following draft rules were posted this week on the Maine Secretary of State’s website.

CHAPTER NUMBER AND TITLE: Ch. 11, Joint Rule Regarding Telehealth Standards of Practice

PUBLIC HEARING: None planned.

COMMENT DEADLINE: Friday, December 10, 2021 by 4:30 p.m.


CHAPTER NUMBER AND TITLE: Ch. 12, Joint Rule Regarding Office Based Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder

PUBLIC HEARING: None planned.

COMMENT DEADLINE: Friday, December 10, 2021 by 4:30 p.m. Read More

Maine Independent Clinical Information Service: MICIS presentations & Academic Detailing

Schedule a 1-hour presentation at your medical practice or hospital, or request an individual Academic Detailing session. Read More

CY 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) & Quality Payment Program (QPP) Final Rule Summary

On November 3, 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the Medicare Program; CY 2022 Payment Policies under the Physician Fee Schedule and Other Changes to Part B Payment Policies; Medicare Shared Savings Program Requirements; Provider Enrollment Regulation Updates; and Provider and Supplier Prepayment and Post-payment Medical Review Requirements final rule (scheduled to publish in the Federal Register on November 19, 2021 – Document number 2021-23972).

Read More

CMS Releases Final 2022 Physician Fee Schedule & Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System Final Rules.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) last week. It includes changes to the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and alternative payment model (APM) participation options and requirements for 2022.

CMS also released the 2022 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System final rule. This rule finalizes CY 2022 OPPS and ASC payment rates and policies, including updates to improve transparency and quality reporting. Read More


Stop Medicare Cuts – Contact Senators Collins & King, Reps Pingree & Golden

***Grassroots Update from the AMA***

As Congress continues to fight over reconciliation, infrastructure and raising the debt ceiling there is a looming Medicare payment crisis that, if not addressed, could have devastating consequences for Medicare patients and our health care system.

On January 1, 2022 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will drastically reduce payments for certain health care providers. If Congress does not act to stop these cuts, it will further strain practices that are still struggling to keep their doors open during the ongoing pandemic. Read More


Something to Consider: What About Sharpened Pencils?

Wonder Bread, the first commercial manufacturer of pre-wrapped, pre-sliced bread may have developed the common phrase, "the best thing since sliced bread," as advertising hype in the 1930s but shouldn’t the pencil sharpener be considered? Read More


Physician (BC/BE in Family Medicine) - Mt. Abram Regional Health Center, (Kingfield, Maine)

Mt. Abram Regional Health Center, (Kingfield, Maine) seeks aPhysician (BC/BE in Family Medicine) with outstanding clinical and interpersonal skills to provide primary care to patients of all ages in a family practice with integrated behavioral health services.
Read More

Physician (BC/BE in Family Medicine) - Bingham Area Health Center

Bingham Area Health Center seeks a Physician (BC/BE in Family Medicine) with outstanding clinical and interpersonal skills to provide primary care to patients of all ages in a family practice with integrated behavioral health services. Read More

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