Maine Medicine Weekly Update - 05/29/2018  (Plain Text Version)

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In this issue:
•  Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Community Health Options to Continue Participation in ACA Marketplace
•  Wording Proposed by Secretary of State for Home Health Referendum
•  MMA Past President Dr. Charles Pattavina Testifies to U.S. Senate Committee
•  CMS Releases SIM Report
•  Shaun Alfreds Appointed as Head of HealthInfoNet
•  Update Will Change Buprenorphine MME Display in Most State PMPs
•  Int’l Mediterranean Diet Month: Making the Case for a Healthy Diet as a Tool for Diabetes Prevention
•  New Interactive Online Course Ups Physicians’ Nutrition Knowledge, Supports Patients in Diabetes Prevention
•  Legislative Report: Appropriations Committee Meets May 30th
•  One River, One Ocean: June 2-14, 2018
•  HPV Summit in Brewer June 7th
•  Wednesday, June 13 in Augusta: Next Steps in Addressing Maine's Opioid Crisis
•  X Waiver Course in Waterville June 16th
•  MCMI Training Programs - Level 1 and Level 2 - June 22
•  New Free CME on Alzheimer's Risk, Detection, and Management
•  Peer Navigation Program from Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE)
•  Online Learning Opportunities Offering CME Credits - from the Northern New England Practice Transformation Network
•  Northern New England Society of Addiction Medicine 2018 Annual Conference & Meeting - Nov 2-3
•  Behavioral Health Consultant
•  Internal Medicine Outpatient Physician Opportunity
•  Ob/Gyn Physician Opportunity
•  Outpatient Internal Medicine Physician – Bangor, Maine
•  Family Practice Physician - Bucksport Regional Health Center
•  Relocate to Beautiful Southwestern Maine - Medical Director/Family Practice Physician
•  Psychiatry Faculty, Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
•  Psychiatric Medical Director
•  Maine's Largest FQHC in need of Physician for Geriatric Program
•  Multiple Family Med Opportunities in Beloved Community Health Centers
•  Outpatient Only - Internal Medicine with Loan Repayment & Sign-on Bonus
•  Internal Medicine Outpatient Physician
•  Clinical Cardiology Opportunity
•  Opportunities at the VA for Volunteer Physicians


MMA Past President Dr. Charles Pattavina Testifies to U.S. Senate Committee

At the invitation of U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, Dr. Pattavina testified at a hearing today focused on the continued challenges of identifying opioid misuse among older adults, the efforts to reduce seniors’ dependence on opioids, and the need to expand access to treatment for those battling addiction. 

Dr. Charles Pattavina, MD, FACEP, discussed his experience treating this population, which is often overlooked in the current opioid crisis.

“While the effects of the opioid epidemic on seniors are in large part similar to the effects on the population as a whole, the epidemic does present some unique challenges for older Americans,” said Dr. Pattavina.

Dr. Pattavina explained how increased incidences of comorbidities and acute illnesses and injuries among older Americans make them more susceptible to opioid misuse.  Health care providers play a critical role in ensuring older adults’ pain is managed while reducing the risk for addiction.  Dr. Pattavina noted that education and outreach efforts as well as Maine’s prescription monitoring program help reduce the number of overprescribing outliers. 

To assist those facing addiction, Dr. Pattavina called for removing barriers to inpatient residential treatment and medication assisted therapy, as well as addressing the shortage of psychiatric services.  He also observed that seniors are affected by the opioid epidemic in other ways beyond prescription drug abuse.

“In addition to being at risk for crime such as having their medications stolen and diverted by caretakers, family members, and others, we are seeing many cases in which people who have become dependent on these medications seem to be tapered off them too quickly with little offered in the way of alternative pain management,” Dr. Pattavina continued.

“Many perceive the face of opioid addiction as young.  The epidemic, however, intersects just as much with older adults,” said Senator Collins. “While there is no silver bullet to ending this scourge, Congress and this Committee are fighting back on multiple fronts.  We are making progress, but we must continue to reexamine this issue from every angle, as the opioid crisis continues to tighten its grip not only on older adults, but also on the future generations of America.” 

In 2016, one in three people with Medicare Part D—14.4 million beneficiaries—received an opioid prescription, 500,000 received high amounts of opioids, and 90,000 were at “serious risk” of misuse or overdose according to the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG). The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also reported that opioid misuse doubled between 2002 and 2014 among Americans ages 50 and older.  Last year, the CDC reported that the amount of opioids prescribed in 2015 was enough for every American to be medicated around the clock for three weeks.