Massachusetts Medical Society: DPH Offers Guidance on Partial Fill Rxs, Medical Assistants and Vaccines

DPH Offers Guidance on Partial Fill Rxs, Medical Assistants and Vaccines


Editor’s Note: Vital Signs This Week will not be published on December 30, 2016. Publication will resume on January 4, 2017.

MMS News and Announcements

DPH Offers Guidance on Partial Fill Notification, Medical Assistants and Vaccines

The Department of Public Health (DPH) has released guidance regarding the partial fill provision of the Governor’s opioid bill. It requires Schedule II opioid prescriptions to include notice to the patient about their ability to elect to receive a portion of the prescription. DPH has clarified that a simple notation indicating, “Partial fill upon request,” is sufficient. This may be written or typed onto the prescription. In 2017, a second sheet of paper with this statement may be appended to the prescription. The Department also released a Circular Letter regarding a new law passed in 2016 authorizing certified medical assistants to administer vaccinations under the supervision of primary care providers. Definitions of certification for medical assistants, primary care providers, and supervision are all detailed in the letter.

MMS and DPH Launch MassPAT CME Course

MMS and the Department of Public Health (DPH) announce an online CME course, “MassPAT: Incorporating the New PMP into Your Practice,” to address various legal and regulatory requirements and to help prescribers implement use of the Massachusetts Prescription Awareness Tool (MassPAT) into daily clinical workflow. The course also addresses how prescribers can use MassPAT to inform best prescribing habits. Click here for information.

TFAH Ranks Mass. Top State for Health Preparedness; MMS Lauded by NDMS

In a report, Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), a non-partisan health advocacy group, ranks Massachusetts the top state in the nation in its ability to respond to public health emergencies. Concurrently, the National Disaster Medical System, Massachusetts 1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team, in a letter to MMS Public Health and Education, lauds MMS for its “tremendous and ongoing support…MMS help was truly instrumental in our team’s ability to rally our personnel during crisis preparedness trainings,” according to Keith P. Lindsay, commander of the Massachusetts chapter of National Disaster Medical System.

MMS Committee on Nominations Seeking Candidates

The MMS Committee on Nominations is currently considering candidates for nomination for the following offices: President-Elect, Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer, Assistant Secretary-Treasurer, Speaker, and Vice Speaker. The deadline for submission of nomination applications is Monday, February 6 at 4 p.m. To learn more, click here and submit your application online. Interviews with the Committee on Nominations will be held at MMS Headquarters in Waltham on Thursday, March 2, 2017 between 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Applicants should plan to be available on this date. Contact Linda Healy at (800) 322-2303, ext. 7008 or

MMS Members Help Members Reduce Burnout

Are you facing the New Year feeling stressed out or worn down? Fellow MMS members are here to help. In their article, Get Involved with Medical Groups to Reduce Burnout , Terence McAllister, M.D., and Leann McAllister discuss how MMS helps members to reduce stress through teamwork and collective problem solving. Concurrently, in their STAT article, Why are Doctors Burned Out? , MMS authors Steven A. Adelman, M.D., and Harris A. Berman, M.D., share the results of their survey by identifying several contributing factors to physician burnout today. Members seeking additional strategies for combatting burnout should click here to register for the upcoming CME webinar, “Running on Empty,” on Jan. 25, 2017.

DEA Reverses Decision Regarding Registration Renewals

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reversed its decision with regards to current policy over registration renewals. If a renewal application is submitted prior to expiration, the registrant may continue operations, authorized by the registration, beyond the expiration date until final action is taken on the application. DEA allows the reinstatement of an expired registration for one calendar month after the expiration date. If the registration is not renewed within that calendar month, an application for a new DEA registration will be required. Regardless of whether a registration is reinstated within the calendar month after expiration, federal law prohibits the handling of controlled substances or List 1 chemicals for any period of time under an expired registration.

MMS and MIN to Host Member Art Exhibit Auction

MMS and the Member Interest Network (MIN) will host the Nancy N. Caron Annual Member Arts Exhibit and Silent Auction on April 27, 2017 during the Annual Meeting at Boston’s Seaport Hotel. Members, including family members, are invited to exhibit and/or donate their work for the silent auction. All proceeds benefit MMS and Alliance Charitable Foundation. Deadline for registration is January 13, 2017. For more information contact Cathy Salas at

MMS and Alliance Charitable Foundation Grant Deadlines

The MMS and Alliance Charitable Foundation announce a January 15, 2017 deadline to apply for Community Action and Care for the Medically Uninsured/Underserved grant programs. Eligible programs may provide direct care services or target public health issues which impact the health care system and the health of communities.

Volunteer Physician Opportunity with Medical Students

Boston University School of Medicine’s Integrated Problems course depends on volunteer physicians to facilitate small group problem-based learning sessions for second-year medical students. Share your valuable medical experience and expertise in developing the students’ clinical reasoning skills. The course runs between January and March 2017. Click here for more information.

Low-Cost Legal Service Available

Retaining an attorney to respond to a Board of Registration in Medicine inquiry can be costly. The Legal Advisory Plan (LAP), a member-only, low-cost legal service, is designed to effectively respond to Board issues at a fraction of the cost of hiring an attorney. Subscription starts in January 2017. You must be enrolled at the initiation of a BRM-related investigation to avail yourself of plan services. Click here to learn more.

Mindful Practice in Medicine Workshop Planned

A Mindful Practice in Medicine workshop is planned for March 18 and 19 at MMS Headquarters, followed by 4 consecutive Wednesday webinars. The workshop focuses on developing a capacity for self-awareness in stressful and demanding situations and building resilience in community. Click here for information; click here to register.

MMS & Alliance Charitable Foundation Receives $10,000 Grant

Working in collaboration with the MMS Department of Health Policy and Public Health, the MMS and Alliance Charitable Foundation was recently awarded a $10,000 grant from the MetroWest Health Foundation. The grant will support, in part, the translation and dissemination of physician/provider and patient educational tools jointly issued by the MMS and the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association. The patient fact sheet will be translated into Spanish and Portuguese, and distributed with the physician/prescriber check list to physicians, hospitals, and community health centers in the MetroWest Health Foundation’s service area.

Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) Improvement Activity Offering

Inappropriate antibiotic prescribing and use can lead to devastating patient outcomes. In addition to addressing a national priority, implementing an antibiotic stewardship program counts as a medium weight (10 pts) improvement activity under CMS’ new Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), with additional points if you work with a QIO (also an improvement activity). Healthcentric Advisors, the New England QIN-QIO, will be assisting a small group of providers with their antibiotic stewardship efforts. For program details, contact Alyssa DaCunha at 877.904.0057 x3241.

Education Programs & Events

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

Running on Empty? Physicians' Path to Enjoying Life and Medicine More
Wednesday, January 25, 2017, 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. - LIVE WEBINAR

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

Featured Online CME Activities – Risk Management Credit

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

For additional risk management online CME activities, visit

This Week in Health Care

Massachusetts Cannabis Center to be Largest in U.S.

AmeriCann, the Denver-based medical marijuana facility developer, has named Campanelli Construction the general contractor for the first phase of its planned 1 million-square-foot Massachusetts Medical Cannabis Center in Freetown, the largest facility of its kind when fully built out.

Gloucester Police Help Nearly 400 with Drug Addiction

Gloucester Police Department’s Angel Program, working in concert with Boston Medical Center and Boston University's School of Public Health, report 376 addicts sought assistance 429 times from June 2015 to May 2016.

Lowell General in Line for State Payouts

Lowell General Hospital and at least 50 other acute-care facilities across the state will likely qualify for payouts from a state trust fund designed to keep them competitive with larger, academic hospitals, under a new formula being developed by the state.

Federal Law Maintains Ban on Marijuana

Marijuana may be legal in Massachusetts, but federal law prohibits it in certain areas of the state, and the manner and means by which federal agencies plan to keep up their enforcement of federal anti-marijuana laws varies from department to department.

Newly Hired Physicians Appointed in Berkshire County

Berkshire Health Systems appointed five new primary care physicians – to address the shortage of doctors in Berkshire County -- that will be stationed at facilities that cover the northern, central and southern Berkshires.

Price Commission Reviews Tiered Health Plans

A special commission studying how Massachusetts might reduce provider price variation in the health care system will explore ways to maximize the market impact of tiered health insurance plans.

Health Insurance Data: Smaller Insurers Financially Nimble

Smaller health insurers in the Bay State are more efficient by spending less money, according to recent data.

Colorado’s Freedman Eyed for Mass. Pot Regulator Job

Andrew Freedman, an advisor to the State of Colorado on implementing their recreational marijuana law, is being considered to be one of the three regulators who will oversee the recreational marijuana industry in Massachusetts, or who may serve as a paid consultant to that group.

Atrius Health’s At-Home Care Boosts Patient Satisfaction

Atrius Health’s Care in Place program is a favorite among patients for bringing urgent medical assistance to those who can't get to the doctor's office, boosting satisfaction and cutting costs.

Gun Applications on the Rise in Bay State

The Massachusetts Firearms Records Bureau reports applications for active licenses to carry firearms and firearm identification cards has increased 35 percent between January 2011 and January 2016, to 379,744 from 280,534.

Urgent Care Centers Gain Popularity in Massachusetts

Urgent Care Association of America estimates there are 9,300 such clinics nationally, with roughly 1,300 of them opening since 2008. Urgent care centers see an average of four patients per hour, or close to 50 each day.

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