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Maine Medicine Weekly Update: 11/30/2021

 
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OMICRON & OTHER COVID-19 UPDATE(S)

The Latest on the Concerning Omicron COVID-19 Variant

Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strengthened its recommendation for all adults to get COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, citing the risks of the omicron variant.

 

“Everyone ages 18 and older should get a booster shot either when they are 6 months after their initial Pfizer or Moderna series or 2 months after their initial J&J vaccine.”

 

The CDC also updated its online CDC prevention strategies.

 

Federal Court Stops Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Health Workers

The ruling by a Missouri based federal court only applies to health care workers in 10 states that sued to block the rule.

 

President Biden announced the vaccine mandate earlier this month to cover employees working at health care facilities that receive Medicaid or Medicaid funding. It required all employees, volunteers, and contractors to have a first vaccine dose by December 6 and to be fully vaccinated by January 4. Facilities that fail to comply could lose access to Medicare and Medicaid funds.

 

Those states are Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. Read More


Merck Lowers Efficacy Expectations for Oral Antiviral Medicine, Molnupiravir

In a November 26 media release using more current trial data, Merck outlined the pill reduces the risk of hospitalization and death by 30 percent.

 

Merck previously announced molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by nearly half among higher-risk people diagnosed with mild or moderate illness. Read More


FDA & CDC Authorizes Booster Shots for All

Days before Thanksgiving, the U.S. FDA amended the emergency use authorizations (EUA) for both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines authorizing use of a single booster dose for all individuals 18 years of age and older after completion of primary vaccination with any FDA-authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine.

On the same day, the US CDC endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) expanded recommendations for booster shots to include all adults ages 18 years and older who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine at least six months after their second dose. ACIP’s recommends authorizing boosters for Americans over 18 and urges those 50 and older to get an additional shot. Read More


Federal Government Wants OSHA Vaccine Mandate Reinstated

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) filed an Emergency Motion to Dissolve Stay on Tuesday, November 23 with the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit asking the court to dissolve the Fifth Circuit’s stay of OSHA’s vaccine mandate. In announcing the motion, the Biden administration argued that every day of delaying the rule would lead to multiple deaths from the disease.

OSHA also announced it will not enforce the federal government’s vaccine mandate covering employees at large private companies while legal challenges are ongoing. Citing pending litigation, the agency said it will suspend enforcement pending the judicial outcome. The regulation has a January 4 effective date. Read More


Pregnant People With COVID-19 At Increased Risk for Stillbirths, CDC Report Suggests

The Associated Press recently reported that “pregnant women with COVID-19 face increased chances for stillbirths compared with uninfected women, and that risk spiked to four times higher after the Delta variant emerged,” according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report “that examined 1.2 million deliveries in 736 hospitals nationwide from March 2020 through September 2021.” Investigators “found that for women with COVID-19, about 1 in 80 deliveries resulted in stillbirth. Among the uninfected, it was 1 in 155.” Read More


JAMA Updates on COVID-19 Diagnosis & Treatment

Browse the JAMA Network COVID-19 collection, including Q&A's with National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ (NIAID) Dr. Anthony Fauci and other patient information pages, including:

  • COVID-19 Infection Among Women in Iran Exposed vs Unexposed to Children Who Received Attenuated Poliovirus Used in Oral Polio Vaccine
  • Substance Use Disorders and COVID-19 Vaccine Response
  • Daily COVID-19 Tests Compared with Isolation After School Exposure
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Highly Effective Against Adolescent Hospitalizations
  • Analysis of COVID-19 Infection and Mortality Among Patients with Psychiatric Disorders
  • Variation in COVID-19 Mortality in the US by Race and Ethnicity and Educational Attainment
  • Association of Discrimination and Health Care Experiences With Incomplete Infant Vaccination During COVID-19
  • Assessment of Mental Health of High School Students 1 Semester After COVID-19–Associated Remote Schooling Measures Were Lifted in Austria in 2021
Read More


Maine Physician’s License Suspended for Alleged COVID-19 Misinformation

The Maine Board of Osteopathic Licensure has suspended the license of Dr. Paul Gosselin for 30 days, pending possible further action.

 

The notice of suspension outlines the suspension comes as follow up to “provider reports concerned with Dr. Gosselin’s spread of misinformation regarding COVID-19.”

  Read More


HEALTH COVERAGE

Open Enrollment For 2022 Individual Health Plans

The 2022 individual and family health plan open enrollment period is NOW through Jan. 15, 2022.

For health coverage to start Jan. 1, 2022, you must buy a plan before December 16. For coverage to start Feb. 1, 2022, you must buy a plan from December 16, 2021 through January 15, 2022.

Patients can visit CoverME.gov, Maine's new Health Insurance Marketplace, to shop for and select affordable health insurance coverage for 2022 during the Open Enrollment period now under way. Read More


DEADLINES!

Provider Relief Fund Reporting Deadline: November 30, 2021

If you got one 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


STATE & FEDERAL PROPOSED RULES

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


MaineCare Notice of Agency Rule-making - MaineCare Program Integrity Unit

The Department of Health and Human Services, MaineCare Services has released a proposed rule for review and comment.

 

According to the Maine DHHS rule summary, “This proposed rulemaking makes various, complex changes, including changes to comply with federal regulations, make updates to reflect current practices, clarify ambiguous and vague sections of policy, and increase the MaineCare Program Integrity Unit’s ability to safeguard against fraud, waste, and abuse.” 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


AMA CALL TO ACTION

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


EDUCATION

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


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


SURVEY

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


UPCOMING EVENTS

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


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


HEALTHCARE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

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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