Maine Medicine Weekly Update - 09/04/2018  (Plain Text Version)

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In this issue:
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
•  George J. Mitchell and Michael Botticelli to Keynote MMA's 165th Annual Session this Weekend in Bar Harbor
•  CMS Moves to Allow Step Therapy in Medicare Advantage Plans
•  Maine Legislature Acts on Several Child Protective Bills
•  Fewer Uninsured Hospitalizations Linked to Insurance Access Under ACA, Research Indicates
•  12/31/18 Deadline for All MDs Who Do NOT Prescribe Opioids
•  Maine Prescription Drug Monitoring Program User Survey: Extended Deadline Friday September 7
•  Diabetes and Gun Violence Resolutions Among Business at 165th MMA Annual Session, Sept. 7-9 in Bar Harbor
128th MAINE LEGISLATURE
•  MMA Presentation on Healthcare Issues Considered by 128th Legislature Now Available
UPCOMING EVENTS
•  Upcoming Specialty Society Meetings
•  Hanley Center Offers New PELI Course Beginning in October - Enrollment Deadline: September 10
•  CMS National Training Program Workshop in Chicopee, MA - September 11
•  MICIS 3-hour Opioid CME Presentations - registration open for September 12 in Auburn
•  Hanley Center Offers Next Level Leadership Seminar Series and Advanced Practice Provider Leadership Institute - Enrollment Deadline: September 12
•  Recognizing & Responding to Opioid Overdoses - Training September 12
•  CMS National Training Program Workshop in New Hampshire - September 20-21
•  17th Annual Downeast Ophthalmology Symposium - September 21-23
•  MaineGeneral Offers X-waiver Training in Augusta - September 22
•  Maine Concussion Management Initiative has its final training program for 2018 on October 16
•  Children and Environmental Toxins: What Everyone Needs to Know - Friday, October 19
•  Maine AAP Sponsors SBIRT Training Sessions - Oct 20, Dec 8, Feb 2, Mar 2, Apr 6
•  Northern New England Society of Addiction Medicine 2018 Annual Conference & Meeting - Nov 2-3
•  Division of Disease Surveillance Annual Infectious Disease Conference - November 14
HEALTHCARE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
•  Family Nurse Practitioner - Ellsworth
•  Clinical Cardiology Opportunity
•  Internal Medicine Outpatient Physician
•  Nurse Practitioner - Nasson Health Care
•  Medical Director/Family Practice Physician - Relocate to Beautiful Southwestern Maine
•  Outpatient Internal Medicine Physician Bangor, Maine
•  Maine's Largest FQHC in need of Physician for Geriatric Program
•  Multiple Family Med Opportunities in Beloved Community Health Centers
•  Opportunities at the VA for Volunteer Physicians

 

CMS Moves to Allow Step Therapy in Medicare Advantage Plans

CMS proposes to allow step therapy protocols in Medicare Advantage Plans beginning in January 2019.

 

On Aug. 7, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma announced that the agency would rescind previous CMS policy prohibiting the use of step-therapy protocols by Medicare Advantage plans. Starting in January 2019, Medicare Advantage plans will be allowed to use step therapy for all physician-administered drugs covered under Medicare Part B. The administration's new policy would also allow step-therapy protocols that span both Parts B and D, meaning a Medicare Advantage plan could require a patient to first try a drug covered under Part D before providing coverage for a Part B drug. According to the agency's announcement, this change in policy was made as part of the administration's plans to lower drug prices. 

The AMA has serious concerns about the agency's change of policy given its potential for significant impact on patient access to critical therapeutics and increased administrative burdens on physician practices. The AMA is working closely with physician specialty organizations and state medical societies to limit the potential negative impacts of this policy shift.