Maine Medicine Weekly Update - 11/25/2020  (Plain Text Version)

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In this issue:
•  Temperatures Drop & Independent Practices Again Left Out In The Cold
•  Happy Thanksgiving from the MMA!
•  MMA & Maine COVID-19 Vaccine Planning
•  Maine CDC Rule Mandating Flu Vaccine for Health Care Workers
•  Climate Action Briefing for Maine Physicians
•  Feds to Allocate COVID-19 Vaccines Based On Population Not Risk
•  COVID ‘Long Haulers’ & Potential COVID Vaccine Side Effects
•  Interoperability and Patient Access Learning Event — December 9
•  CMS Issues Final Revised Rules for Stark Law
•  JAMA: Resident Physician Experiences With and Responses to Biased Patients
•  Volunteers Needed for the Medical Professionals Health Program
•  A Message from Maine Responds - Volunteer Opportunity
•  Maine Medical Association Enduring Education Opportunity
•  MICIS: Opioid Prescribing Presentation & Individual Academic Detailing Sessions
•  Baystate Financial – Fiscal Fitness for Life
MAINE LEGISLATURE
•  ELECTION UPDATE: State Legislature
UPCOMING EVENTS
•  Upcoming Specialty Society Meetings
•  MOA VIRTUAL Midwinter Symposium - Feb 12-14, 2021
•  Maine CDC Annual Prevention Professionals Conference - March 2-3, 2021
HEALTHCARE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
•  Nursing Director
•  Family Medicine Physician at Greater Portland Health
•  Behavioral Health Clinician

 

Temperatures Drop & Independent Practices Again Left Out In The Cold

As you may recall, Governor Mills convened an Economic Recovery Committee in May, “charged with developing recommendations to mitigate the damage to Maine’s economy caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and to jumpstart a long-term economic recovery.” The Committee released final recommendations yesterday.

 

As you may recall, Governor Mills convened an Economic Recovery Committee in May, “charged with developing recommendations to mitigate the damage to Maine’s economy caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and to jumpstart a long-term economic recovery.” The Committee released final recommendations yesterday.

It was encouraging that a focus to ensure Maine has a robust public health and health care infrastructure for access to preventive care and high quality services and appropriate internet access for telehealth. However, as outlined in a summer Maine Medicine Weekly Update, we were very disappointed that not a single reference to health providers (hospitals or physician practices) was included in its initial recommendations for direct financial assistance. Needless to say, it’s a disappointment to us that independent physician practices were again not included in the final report, although it did include a priority mention to, “Support hospitals and long term care facilities that have experienced losses in revenue as a result of the pandemic.” They also include a need for dental care, community health centers, and transportation services for health care.

Despite a joint letter with the Maine Hospital Association in July to Governor Mills, a subsequent joint MHA-MMA Zoom meeting with state budget staff and representatives from the Governor’s office and DHHS, and separate meetings between MMNA CEO Andy MacLean and Director of Communications and Government Affairs, Dan Morin with EAC committee members in the health care industry, it is certainly discouraging the final report seemingly ignored feedback concerning the business impact experienced by independent practices.

While we understand the final report from the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee are technically recommendations for the pandemic and a future economic plan for the state, there’s no doubt that such extensive and formal worked convened by Governor Mills will be used as a primary source of policy formulation now and in the future by the Governor’s office and the Maine Legislature, as well as a major point of reference for many other entities and organizations. While we appreciated the efforts of the state in recently providing grants for businesses and non-profit organizations for lost revenues or expenses related to the disruption of business operations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the experiences of many Maine practices with frequently changing guidelines and administrative nightmare of the federal Paycheck Protection Program may have deterred many practices from applying.

Since the first documented case in Maine on March 12th, nearly every independent physician practice in Maine continue to seek their first mask, swab, and dollar of direct assistance from the state for independent physicians. The first! While we continue to stand alongside the Hospital Association seeking help, it’s important to note that $10 million in state funding was directly provided in April to Maine hospitals. Albeit an obvious drop in the relative bucket for our hospital partners, as they need much more, our independent practices haven’t received a penny through direct appropriation despite the clear intention for the state to receive and distribute $145.8 million for hospitals and “other health care providers” in CARES Act funds.

We will continue reaching out to the Governor’s office and legislative leaders to advocate for all physicians. We also strongly encourage independent members, leaders, and staff to reach out to Director of Communications and Government Affairs, Dan Morin at dmorin@mainemed.com or by text/call at (207) 838-8613 for contact information for your respective state legislators in order to relay your concerns as the Maine Legislature plans to reconvene in 2021 to address many appropriations issues, including the Governor’s proposed budget.