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Maine Medicine Weekly Update: 12/06/2021

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Omicron Variant: What You Need to Know

The Omicron variant has now been found in 17 states (US CDC).

National public health experts say it is still too soon to say whether omicron is to be feared for its potency, its transmissibility

Despite the increased attention of Omicron, Delta continues to be the main variant circulating in the United States.

The Maine CDC said it's taking steps to contain spread of Omicron.


Maine CDC – Formulation & Transportation Guidance for 5 through 11-year-old Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccinations

The Maine CDC has released guidance for transporting and formulation of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for the 5 through 11-year-old formulation. Read More

FDA Expands Authorization of Two Monoclonal Antibodies for Treatment and Post-Exposure Prevention of COVID-19 to Younger Pediatric Patients, Including Newborns

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration revised the emergency use authorization (EUA) of bamlanivimab and etesevimab (previously authorized for pediatric patients 12 years of age and older Read More

CMS Requiring States to Cover COVID Vaccine Counseling for Kids’ Vaccinations

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is now requiring states to cover COVID-19 vaccine counseling visits in which healthcare providers talk to families about the importance of kids’ vaccination. Read More

New COVID Articles from JAMA

New Journal of the American Medical Association articles and updates on guidance, diagnosis and treatment between November 29 and December 3.

You can also browse the entire JAMA Network COVID-19 collection. Read More

Federal Government Announces Winter COVID-19 Plan; Free Tests at Home? Maybe Not.

President Biden announced the administration’s winter strategy late last week to respond to COVID-19 and the Omicron variant:

  • Getting more people vaccinated
  • Administering more booster doses
  • Extend to March a mask requirement on all public forms of transit
  • Initiate insurance-paid COVID-19 rapid testing beginning in January, and
  • New U.S. travel restrictions beginning this week requiring a negative test from all travelers originating abroad within 24 hours before their trips

The new strategy seems to combine a strong vaccination effort with a priority on testing. Read More


MMA Members Hearing Patient Rx Delay Concerns; State Board of Pharmacy Looking into Walgreen’s Operating Hours

The Maine Medical Association has been made aware of member concerns through patient reports that several Walgreen’s locations are taking between several days, and in some cases up to a week to fill prescriptions. In some cases, patients have reported closed Walgreen's pharmacies.

Patients have also mentioned Hannaford prescription delays.

Later this week the Maine Board of Pharmacy will review reports that 13 Walgreens locations around the state have deviated from usual operating hours. Read More


Request Removal of The X Number Assigned to The Provider’s DEA Registration

Pursuant to 28 CFR 50.26 and 50.27, newly approved guidance has been posted to the Guidance Document Portal and Question & Answers sections on the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Diversion Control Division website.  The guidance is also accessible on the Department of Justice Guidance Portal. Links to the specific documents are included below for your convenience.  Read More


Maine Seeks Healthcare Providers to Expand Innovative Mental Health Program

Maine Pediatric & Behavioral Health Partnership is Maine’s Pediatric Mental Health Care Access (PMHCA) Program. This partnership provides timely training and support to child and adolescent Primary Care Clinicians (PCCs) and other clinicians related to the detection, assessment, treatment, and referral of behavioral health conditions within their practice. Read More


Maine Pediatricians Promoting COVID-19 Vaccination; Maine Vaccinating Kids 2x National Rate

U.S. PIRG, the United States Public Interest Research Group, a citizen-funded advocacy group that promotes the public interest recently produced an educational video with Maine pediatricians to promote COVID-19 vaccine uptake.

Looks like it’s working!

Thank you:

  • Dr. Sydney Sewall
  • Dr. Gretchen Pianka
  • Dr. Allen Browne
  • Dr. Laura Blaisdell
  • Dr. Joe Anderson
Read More

MMA President, Jeffrey Barkin, MD Appears on WGAN Radio

MMA President, Jeffrey Barkin joined A Healthy Conversation With Steve Woods on WGAN Radio over the weekend. Read More

President of MaineHealth Medical Group, Aileen Mickey, MD, MHA, Podcast Interview

Aileen Mickey, MD, has been president of the MaineHealth Medical Group since July 2021.

Dr. Mickey joined MaineHealth’s BACON podcast to discuss her vision for the group and priorities for the year to come. Read More

Retired MMA Executive Director, Gordon Smith Tops Age Group in Millinocket Half Marathon

 Although not a Maine physician,retired MMA Executive Director Gordon Smith topped his age group in the half marathon this past Sunday. The race began under balmy 16 degree weather.

Read More


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


Mississippi Abortion Law Before the U.S. Supreme Court

The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments last week in the Mississippi case that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks. The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, could derail Roe v. Wade. Read More


Federal Budget Bill Includes Medicare Cuts for 2022

The year-end government spending bill passed last week by Congress includes scheduled Medicare cuts opposed by U.S. hospitals and physician groups.

The Medicare cuts, scheduled to be implemented December 31, will reduce Medicare pay by 6 percent for hospitals and 10 percent for physicians. 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

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


Maryland Department of Health Cyberattack & US DHHS Unveils Cybersecurity & Patient Safety Website

Healthcare continues to be a lucrative target for hackers through many actions such as ransomware, misconfigured cloud storage buckets, phishing emails, etc.

Threats will continue and cybercriminals are getting more creative despite better awareness among healthcare organizations at the executive level for the funding needed to protect themselves.

State health departments are not immune. Maryland authorities are investigating a cyberattack that took the state Department of Health offline this past weekend.

  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


Provider Requirements Under the No Surprises Act Special ODF (December 8)

Wednesday, December 8 from 2 – 3 pm ET

CMS will host a Special Open Door Forum (SODF) to explain provider requirements under the No Surprises Act. Starting January 1, 2022, consumers will have new billing protections when getting emergency care, non-emergency care from out-of-network providers at in-network facilities, and air ambulance services from out-of-network providers. These requirements generally apply to items and services provided to people enrolled in group health plans, group or individual health insurance coverage, Federal Employees Health Benefits plans, and the uninsured. 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

Suicide Assessment & Management for Clinical Staff (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 13 and 20, from 3-5pm. Read More

Maine Bureau of Insurance: Notice of Public Meeting on Clear Choice Standardized Plan Designs (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 3rd virtual meeting on Monday, December 20th at 1:00 pm. We hope you will be able to join. 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


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

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) - Greater Portland Health

The Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) at Greater Portland Health provides high quality, team based psychiatric care services to patients of all ages.
Read More

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