Maine Medicine Weekly Update - 01/22/2018  (Plain Text Version)

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In this issue:
•  Changing of the Guard at MMA Board Meeting: A New President Takes Over
•  Senior Section Luncheon January 24 Features Speakers on Precision Medicine
•  2017-18 Flu Season a Bad One
•  5 tips to help your patients make their new year a healthy one
•  US DHHS Proposes New Conscience and Religious Freedom Rules for Health Care
•  Administration Extends Opioid Emergency Declaration
•  Lyme Disease Continues to Rise in Maine
•  Important Update on MaineCare Provider Enrollment Applications: New Application Fee Amount for 2018
•  Claims-Based Quality Reporting for MIPS: Submitting MIPS Quality Codes on CMS-1500 Claims
•  Community Health Options Sues Federal Government for $5.7 Million
•  Legislative Call This Tuesday, January 23rd
•  Legislative Report: Hospital Program Closures, School-based Health Centers
•  Healthcare Suicide Prevention Protocol Development Training - half day workshop - March 2
•  28th Annual Winter Conference - Contemporary Topics in Orthopedics - March 16-18
•  QC2018: Building Communities of Practice through Innovation - Wednesday, April 4, 2018
•  New Free CME on Alzheimer's Risk, Detection, and Management
•  Online Learning Opportunities Offering CME Credits - from the Northern New England Practice Transformation Network
•  MD/DO
•  Chief Executive Officer CEO at Greater Portland Health
•  Outpatient Internal Medicine Physician Bangor, Maine
•  Relocate to Beautiful Southwestern Maine - Medical Director/Family Practice Physician
•  Chief Executive Officer - Pines Health Services
•  Clinical Cardiology Opportunity
•  Outpatient Only - Internal Medicine with Loan Repayment & Sign-on Bonus
•  Opportunities at the VA for Volunteer Physicians


US DHHS Proposes New Conscience and Religious Freedom Rules for Health Care

The Trump administration last week announced new regulations and a new federal office in the Department of Health and Human Services, the “Conscience and Religious Freedom Division,” related to complaints from health care workers who refuse to perform certain medical procedures on the grounds that they violate their religious or moral beliefs.


Conservative groups hailed the initiative as being a recognition of religious objections to abortion, sterilization, physician assisted suicide, and gender surgery and hormone treatments. Critics warned that the change could lead to sex, orientation, and gender identity discrimination.

The introductory information in the proposed regulation refers to abortion, sterilization, assisted suicide, and the ACA’s individual mandate, “and other matters of conscience.” It also refers to “conscience protections” for objections to counseling, advance directives, compulsory health care in areas such as vaccination, occupational illness testing, hearing screening and mental health treatment, and to “protections for religious nonmedical health care.” The rulemaking document also cites, as an example for the need for the rule, the following:

“In 2016, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) reaffirmed a prior ethics opinion that recommended, “[i]n an emergency in which referral is not possible or might negatively affect a patient’s physical or mental health, providers have an obligation to provide medically  indicated and requested care regardless of the provider’s personal moral objections.”

The publication date for the proposed rule will be January 26, 2018, which will mark the beginning of the period for public comment.