Maine Medicine Weekly Update - 03/18/2019  (Plain Text Version)

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In this issue:
•  Great Attendance at Physicians' Day at the Legislature
•  MMA Board of Directors Meets with US DHHS Region I Administrator John McGough
•  Case of Mumps Confirmed at York High School
•  Boards Seek Comments on Proposed Rule for Office-based Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder
•  Egg Consumption Associated With Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
•  MMA Legislative Call Tuesday, March 19th
•  State House Highlights of the Week: Immunization Bills Draw Hundreds, Prior Authorization is Among Issues Before HCIFS Committee
•  Upcoming Specialty Society Meetings
•  Maine Society of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting March 23, 2019
•  Identifying Substance Use Early Saves Lives! - SBIRT with Motivational Interviewing Training - 1-day Sessions Offered on April 6 and June 8
•  NAMI Maine’s Beyond the Basics in Suicide Prevention Conference - Friday, April 12, 2019
•  Family Medicine Opportunity in Beautiful Western Maine
•  PCHC in need of Pediatrician for Brand New Pediatric Center!
•  Medical Director - Maine Mobile Health Program
•  Board Certified Family Physician - Newport, RI
•  Internal Medicine Outpatient Physician
•  BC/BE Family Medicine Physician
•  Part-time Physician for Academic Year Contract Position
•  Psychiatric Mental Health NP - Leeds
•  Outpatient Internal Medicine Physician – Bangor, Maine
•  Opportunities at the VA for Volunteer Physicians
•  Volunteer Opportunity with Partners for World Health


State House Highlights of the Week: Immunization Bills Draw Hundreds, Prior Authorization is Among Issues Before HCIFS Committee

Click through for news on the past week's developments in the Legislature and from the Governor's office.


Hundreds of people gathered at the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee last Wednesday to testify on two bills relating to the school, daycare, and healthcare workplace immunization requirements. LD 798, supported by the Maine Medical Association, would repeal the philosophical and religious exemptions to the requirement, while LD 987, opposed by the MMA, would broaden the medical exemption rules to allow nurses and others to issue them. The hearing began at 1:00 p.m. and ran without a break until 2:15 a.m. A work session on the bill will be scheduled at some time in the future.

Physician legislators Senators Geoff Gratwick and Linda Sanborn and Representative Patricia Hymanson all testified in favor of eliminating the non-medical exemptions, as did representatives of the Maine CDC, the Maine Department of Education, the Maine School Management Association, and the Maine School Nurses’ Association.

The MMA thanks the following 20 physicians who testified in person, and several not listed here who submitted written testimony, in favor of repeal:

Laura Blaisdell, MD

John Bancroft, MD

Sydney Sewall, MD

Stanley Chaleff, MD

Tom Reynolds, MD

Sam Zager, MD

Rebecca Hemphill, MD

Norma Dreyfus, MD

John Vogt, MD

Don Burgess, MD

Deborah Hagler, MD

Patricia Nobel, MD

Jack Nobel, MD

Emily Keller, MD

Adrienne Carmack, MD

Laura Kelly, MD

Tin Ha-Ngoc, MD

Larry Losey, MD

Sarah Hoffman, MD

Andrea Loeffler, MD

Testimony in opposition was submitted by the following physicians:

Zach Mazzone, DO

Meryl Nass, MD

Christiane Northrup, MD

Dustin Sulak, DO

In addition to the physicians who testified, many parents testified on both sides of the issue, along with nurses, chiropractors, naturopaths, attorneys, and others.

It is still not too late for physicians to make your views known to your state senator and state representative. The MMA can assist if you have trouble finding how to contact them.


The Health Coverage, Insurance & Financial Services Committee held a public hearing on three bills addressing certain practices by health insurance carriers:  LD 249, LD 705, and LD 1009.  LDs 249 and 705 addressed issues included in LD 1032 from the 128th Legislature.  That bill would have required the health insurance carriers to move towards "real time" electronic PA.  It passed the legislature, but was vetoed by Gov. LePage.  LD 705 brings that same language before the legislature again and it also would shorten the time frame for response to PA requests by the carriers and would exempt MAT from PA.  LD 249 amends the definition of a "clinical peer" in the utilization review statute and requires the carriers to use a clinical peer for all utilization review decisions.  Finally, LD 1009 would put some boundaries on health insurance carriers' "step therapy" protocols.  MMA testified in favor of all three bills.  The MMA thanks Sen. Geoffrey Gratwick, M.D. for his leadership in sponsoring both LD 249 and LD 705 and we also appreciate David Thanhauser, M.D. for coming to testify in favor of LD 705, even though he felt the bill did not go far enough.  The period between the public hearing and the work session is a critical time for you to reach out to members of the HCIFS Committee, so if you are concerned about these issues, please reach out to Committee members whom you may know or are from a district in which you practice or live.  You can find the members and their contact information here:

 You can find recent coverage of the AMA's national efforts on PA reform here:

In other HCIFS action, the Committee voted out LD 555, a bill to update the national guidelines in the colon cancer screening mandated benefit.