Maine Medicine Weekly Update - November 12, 2019
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MMA Board of Directors Elects Paul Cain, M.D. and Erik Steele, D.O. to Executive Committee

The MMA Board of Directors held its last regular business meeting of 2019 at the Frank O. Stred building in Manchester last Wednesday. 


The MMA Board of Directors held its last regular business meeting of the year at the Association's headquarters in Manchester on Wednesday, November 6th.  In recent years, the Board has held an "organizational meeting" to elect three at-large members of the volunteer leadership team that is the Executive Committee at the first business meeting after the Annual Session.  Board members re-elected R. Scott Hanson, M.D. to a second term on the Committee and elected new members Paul Cain, M.D. and Erik Steele, D.O.  Dr. Hanson is an internist practicing primarily at the VA.  Dr. Cain practices orthopaedics with Spectrum Health Care Partners and Dr. Steele is a family medicine practitioner and physician executive with Martin's Point Health Care.  The three at-large members of the Executive Committee serve with the officers of the Association, including President Amy Madden, M.D.; Immediate Past President Robert Schlager, M.D.; President-elect Karen Saylor, M.D.; and Treasurer Michael Parker, M.D. 

The Board considered several other important items of business, including the MMA's advocacy work with Maine Families for Vaccines in opposition to the "People's Veto" campaign regarding L.D. 798 and follow up to the strategic planning work conducted during the annual President's Retreat in late October.  The Board created ad hoc committees to oversee the MMA's work on both of these initiatives.  The MMA's investment advisory team led by James L. Jackson at RBC Wealth Management also presented its annual investment report to the Board.

The Board of Directors will meet next in mid-January 2020.




New NAM Report Reinforces AMA Work on Physician Burnout and Burden Reduction

The AMA and most state medical societies, including MMA, are focusing on physician health and wellness.  This topic has been a priority of MMA's Immediate Past President Robert Schlager, M.D. and current President Amy Madden, M.D.

The National Academies of Medicine released a new report titled "Taking Action on Clinician Burnout" which highlights six goals/recommendations that the AMA is currently moving the needle on.

  • Create positive work environments. Health care executives should commit to, and be accountable for, creating a work environment that promotes high-quality care, job satisfaction and social support. Health care organizations should create and maintain an executive leadership role dedicated to clinician well-being. Health care organizations should also assess how business and management decisions — for example, whether to deploy new technologies — may affect clinicians' job demands and levels of burnout, as well as patient care quality and safety. They should continuously monitor and evaluate the extent of burnout in their organization, using validated tools, and report on this at least annually to leaders, managers and clinicians within the organization.

  • Address burnout in training and at the early career stage. Clinicians often experience burnout early in their professional career. The report recommends that schools of health professions alleviate major sources of stress by monitoring workload (including preparation for licensure examinations and required training activities), implementing pass-fail grading, improving access to scholarships and affordable loans and building new loan repayment systems.

  • Reduce tasks that do not improve patient care. Federal agencies, state legislatures and other standard-setting entities should identify and address the sources of clinician burnout related to laws, regulations and policies, eliminating those that contribute little or no value to patient care. They should specifically evaluate regulations and standards related to payment, health information technology, quality measurement and reporting, and professional and legal requirements for licensure.

  • Improve usability and relevance of health IT. Health information technology (IT), including electronic health records, should be as user-friendly and easy to operate as possible to reduce burnout, the report says. Health IT vendors and health care organizations should deploy technologies to reduce documentation demands and automate non-essential tasks. In addition, federal policymakers and private sector health IT companies should collaborate to develop the infrastructure and processes that enable shared decision-making between clinicians and patients.

  • Reduce stigma and improve burnout recovery services. Many clinicians do not report burnout because they fear the potential consequences, including loss of licensure. In order to eliminate the stigma of getting help and to promote recovery and well-being, the report recommends that state legislative bodies facilitate access to employee assistance programs, peer support programs, and mental health providers without the information being admissible in malpractice litigation. Applications for medical licensure or renewal should focus only on current impairment due to any health condition, rather than past diagnoses for a mental health condition.

  • Create a national research agenda on clinician well-being. By the end of 2020, federal agencies — including the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the Health Resources and Services Administration and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs — should develop a coordinated research agenda on clinician burnout, says the report. Research priorities should include identifying the drivers of burnout across career and life stages for different types of clinicians; burnout's implications for the workforce as well as patient safety outcomes; and potential systems-level interventions to improve clinician and learner well-being.

To see what resources AMA has on combating physician burnout check out STEPS Forward, Institutional Assessments and

Maine CDC to Host Webinar on E-cigarettes and Lung Injury November 19th

To provide the most up-to-date information on the outbreak of lung injury cases related to e-cigarette use nationally, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention will host its second informational webinar on the topic on Tuesday, November 19, 2019, at 11 A.M.


To provide the most up-to-date information on the outbreak of lung injury cases related to e-cigarette use nationally, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention will host its second informational webinar on the topic on Tuesday, November 19, 2019, at 11 A.M.

Dr. Siiri Bennett, Maine State Epidemiologist, will lead the presentation.  Emily Moores, Acting Manager of the Chronic Disease Prevention Program, will also present. The webinar will update information provided during a previous presentation on Oct. 9, 2019, including an overview of e-cigarette products associated with cases nationally and in Maine, common clinical findings, and recommendations for clinicians. The webinar will be recorded, and a link for later viewing will be posted on the Maine CDC website.

As of November 6, 2019, Maine has reported five cases of vaping-related lung injury to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. These patients exhibited symptoms similar to those cited in almost 1,900 cases nationally. Maine’s reported cases to date involve four adults and one youth. None of the cases in Maine has been fatal, and there have been 37 deaths nationally. 

Pulmonary disease associated with e-cigarette use has been added to the list of Notifiable Conditions that are required to be reported to Maine CDC. The webinar will provide guidance to clinicians on how to conform with the new reporting requirement and information on how the U.S. CDC defines probable and confirmed cases. 

We encourage you to participate. To join the Zoom Meeting presentation, click here:

Meeting ID: 338 120 942

Password: 763570

To participate by phone, dial:

        +1 646 558 8656

Meeting ID: 338 120 942

Nirav D. Shah

Director, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention