Back by popular demand: help with QPP prep

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MMS NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

Back by popular demand: FREE personalized assistance with QPP prep

Maximize your reimbursement and avoid penalties: Join us for light refreshments and personalized assistance to help you develop your strategy for successful MACRA Quality Payment Program (QPP) implementation in your practice. The program includes Managing the Madness of MIPS, which outlines reporting requirements and timelines. It is designed for providers who are MIPS-eligible and required to report for 2017 (check your MIPS participation status). 

The session will be led by Yael Miller, MBA, director of Practice Solutions & Medical Economics at MMS, and Leila Volinsky, MHA, MSN, RN, senior program administrator at Healthcentric Advisors. Two sessions will be held (participants need attend only one): October 23, 2017, or November 8, 2017, 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the Massachusetts Medical Society headquarters, Waltham. At the October 23 session, also plan to learn from a practice administrator who is working to implement MACRA and has firsthand stories to share on challenges and successes. Your registration should include at least one clinician and one colleague/team member responsible for reporting. Space is limited; registration.

Registration is open for the 2017 Interim Meeting

The 2017 Interim Meeting of the House of Delegates will be held Friday, December 1, at MMS Headquarters and Saturday, December 2, at the Westin Hotel, Waltham. Important deadlines:

For more details about all the Interim Meeting events and to register online, please visit www.massmed.org/interim2017.

Interested in global health? Expand your network

The Global Medicine Network was created by the MMS Committee on Global Health to establish contacts among individuals and organizations working in international health and global medicine. Log in with your email address and update your info (contact, skills, interests, education, research, etc.) or create a profile today. Be sure to check out the new mapping platform added to the site which maps our membership’s global health activity in real time. Sign up and add a quick comment on the progress of your global health activities.


What's up at the State House

Health Policy Commission addresses costs and quality

The Health Policy Commission hosted its annual Cost Trends Hearing on Monday and Tuesday. Topics discussed included: strategies to reduce hospital readmissions; the community health impacts of recent hospital acquisitions and affiliations; utilizing alternative payment models to promote high-quality health care; and the Commission’s mandate of achieving the health care cost growth benchmark in Massachusetts in future years. Governor Charlie Baker, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and Attorney General Maura Healey offered their remarks. The MMS continues to monitor these issues, particularly as health care cost in the Commonwealth remains a subject of frequent discussion for legislators and government agencies.

MMS amicus brief referenced in landmark opioid case

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court heard oral arguments on Monday of a case challenging the constitutionality of using "remaining drug free" as a condition of probation of a person with substance use disorder. The Medical Society, along with several other organizations, submitted an amicus brief referenced in the hearing, arguing that there is medical consensus that substance use disorder is a chronic, relapsing disease, and that incarceration is not an appropriate punishment for expressing a symptom of the disease. An opinion is expected in several months. Read this statement from the MMS.


Reminders: Stuff you should click on

Public Health Leadership Forum: Transforming Health Through Technology

Advances in technology have changed the ways we obtain, disseminate, analyze, and apply health information. The MMS Annual Public Health Leadership Forum, The Promise and Pitfalls of Transforming Health through Technology and Information, will convene policy leaders, researchers, and public health experts to explore technology’s role in improving population health. The event will be held on October 26, 2017, at MMS Headquarters, Waltham; information, including CME credit designation, and registration. For more on how technology is driving health care delivery (and vice versa), see the October issue of Vital Signs (due in a mailbox near you any day now).

MMS matching donations for hurricane relief — and exploring ham radio's role

The MMS has extended our $75,000 member donation matching period to October 15. Members donating to hurricane relief efforts should email Jennifer Day at MMS with the amount and date of their donation and the name of the organization receiving it. The MMS website provides more information on charitable and volunteer efforts.

Got ham radio? The disaster in Puerto Rico has highlighted the role of ham radio in disaster preparedness. "The Society would like to know how many licensed amateur radio operators we have," says Henry Dorkin, MD, FAAP, president of the MMS and ham radio aficionado; read his blog post.

Linking community resources with free patient care

There are continuous challenges to providing quality screening and community-based resources to the uninsured and underinsured. Learn and discuss with experts and others on the frontline of free health care programs about best practices, innovations, and access to community resources. The free forum is on October 25, 2017, at the MMS Headquarters in Waltham, hosted by the Committee on Senior Volunteer Physicians. Current and potential physician and medical student volunteers and staff at free health care programs are welcome. Learn more and register here.

MMS LGBT Committee fall event

Plan to join us at Club Café on Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. when Joshua Safer, M.D. will be presented with the MMS 2017 LGBT Health Award for his outstanding contributions to patients’ health in the LGBT community. This event from the MMS Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Matters will be an opportunity to network with providers committed to LGBT care; information and registration.

2018 Annual Awards: Join with MMS in honoring your colleagues' achievements

Do you have a colleague who deserves to be nominated for their outstanding work or service to the community? The MMS recognizes excellence in multiple categories, including: medical service or public health; medical IT solutions; contributions to medical education, men’s health, women’s health, women’s physician leadership, or reducing health disparities; service to the MMS; and more. The MMS and its Committee on Recognition Awards are currently seeking nominations for the 2018 Annual Award Program; information and applications.

RBPO webinar: Learn or brush up your skills

Need to learn or reacquaint yourself with the annual Risk-Bearing Provider Organization (RBPO) process? The Division of Insurance (DOI) is hosting a webinar on October 12, 2017, 2:00–3:00 p.m. The Division has not made any changes to what is expected to be filed in an annual application. This webinar is for RBPOs who are new to the process as well as existing RBPOs who want a refresher or have questions. The risk certificate application is due to the DOI on November 15, 2017, for the certificate period March 1, 2018, to February 28, 2019. 

How to join the RBPO Webinar 2017:

  • Dial (1-877) 820-7831 and enter Participant Code 627192
  • To join from a video system or application, dial 620089856@massdoi.my.webex.com
  • Meeting number 620 089 856; password 3uwTMM9G

Questions? Call Niels Puetthoff at (617) 521-7326.


Educational programs and events

Unless otherwise noted, all events are held at MMS Headquarters, 860 Winter St., Waltham, MA. View our full calendar of upcoming live CME activities. 

14th Annual Public Health Forum – The Promise and Pitfalls of Transforming Health through Technology and Information
Thursday, October 26, 2017, 1:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The Heller School’s Executive MBA for Physicians (EMBA)
January 2018 – May 2019  Discount for MMS members
Brandeis University, Heller School of Social Policy and Management
415 South Street, Waltham, MA

The above activities have been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit

Featured online CME courses – Risk Management  

The above activities have been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ 

Find additional risk management online CME activities.


This week in health care  

Sign up for daily roundups of health news affecting Massachusetts. 

Mass. health insurance price spikes riding on fate of federal subsidies

Some consumers who buy their health insurance through the Massachusetts Health Connector could see their premiums rise by more than 25 percent next year if the federal government makes good on threats to end certain subsidies, or if the fate of those subsidies remains unclear next week. 

Cleaning up 'Methadone Mile' and other drug haven

This is "Methadone Mile," a stretch of Massachusetts Avenue south of downtown where methadone clinics, sober homes and other drug treatment services have grown in the shadow of Boston Medical Center, New England's busiest trauma hospital.

Massachusetts company may make granola with 'love,' but FDA doesn't approve

A recent warning letter sent by the US Food and Drug Administration to the Massachusetts-based Nashoba Brook Bakery reprimanded the company for listing "love" on the ingredient list for granola.

Mass. Medical Society still opposes assisted suicide, study continues 

The Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) stood by its longtime policy of opposing physician-assisted suicide in a statement last week, as a hearing on a bill legalizing the practice for terminally ill took place before the Legislature's Public Health Committee. 

Lahey Health to cut roughly 75 jobs

The cuts come as Lahey Health plans to merge with Boston-based Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Lahey Health spokesman Chris Murphy told The Boston Globe the planned layoffs "[have] nothing to do with the planned affiliation" and that the cuts were driven by a need to "constantly look for opportunities to be more efficient." 

BMC, Tufts get MassHealth contracts worth $1 billion

The Baker-Polito Administration announced that MassHealth has selected and signed contracts with Boston Medical Center Health Plan (BMCHP) and Tufts Health Public Plans (Tufts) to manage primary, behavioral, pharmacy and specialty care for approximately 150,000 to 200,000 members in the MassHealth Managed Care Organization (MCO) program. 

Health care bill due this month 

Weeks after his deadline expired for lawmakers to take action on reforming MassHealth, Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday said valid concerns had been raised about his plan and lawmakers are taking an appropriate amount of time to review it.

Harvard event aims to combat opioid crisis through education

Panelists will include professors and physicians including George Daley, dean of the medical school, and Bertha Madras, a professor who serves on a White House commission on opioids.

Steward closes deal to acquire 18 hospitals in 10 states

While the hospital names won't change at the acquired institutions, Steward will replace the IASIS brand nationally, bringing the Massachusetts brand to another 17 acute care hospitals hospitals and one behavioral health hospital — or nearly 7,500 patient beds. 

Epic day for UMass memorial as $700M EHR goes live
UMass Memorial Health Care launched its new electronic medical records system, a digital milestone the nonprofit health system has been working on for two years at a cost of about $700 million.

MA drug dealer gets stiff sentence for selling fatal overdose

Legal experts called the sentence unusually harsh. Miller was found unresponsive in a shower stall by his brother. He died at the hospital of acute heroin and fentanyl intoxication.

Massachusetts AG launches probe of addiction treatment fraud

Jillian Fennimore, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Maura Healey, confirmed the office is conducting a criminal investigation of addiction treatment scams, which have proliferated amid the national opioid addiction crisis. She would not provide details of the probe, including whether particular entities or individuals were being targeted.

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