Massachusetts Medical Society: DPH clarifies vaccination policy; Aid-in-Dying Survey Coming

DPH clarifies vaccination policy; Aid-in-Dying Survey Coming



DPH Clarifies Medical Assistant Vaccination Policy

The Department of Public Health  released a Circular Letter this week clarifying its interpretation of a law passed last year authorizing certain medical assistants to administer vaccinations under the supervision of a primary care provider (PCP). The original interpretation by the Department required medical assistants seeking this authority to vaccinate to have a medical assistant "certification." Addressing concern raised by the Medical Society and others, the Circular Letter now outlines a second method for medical assistants to gain such authorization - via authorization by the PCP that the medical assistant fulfills the "professional experience" as outlined in the letter. PCPs seeking to authorize non-certified medical assistants should read the Circular Letter carefully to ensure compliance with the letter, including the one-time documentation requirement. 

Coming Next Month: MMS Survey On Medical Aid-In-Dying

In September, MMS members will receive an important survey on their opinions regarding medical aid-in-dying, also referred to as physician-assisted suicide. Watch your email, or contact if you prefer a paper copy. When you complete this 15–20 minute survey, you will receive free access to one MMS end-of-life-focused online continuing medical education program, which can be applied toward the two CME credits in end-of-life care required of Massachusetts physicians in each licensing cycle. These credits may also be used toward meeting risk management survey requirements. Thank you in advance for your participation. 

Reminders/Events: Women's Leadership Forum, Preparing For Retirement, Co-Payment Claim Help, And More

Save the date: 2017 Women’s Leadership Forum

The Women’s Leadership Forum on Friday, September 15, 2017, will focus on building communication skills for professional and personal advancement. The event—Confident Communication Toward Socially Intelligent Leadership—features interactive sessions, experiential work, discussion of workplace applications, panels, and networking opportunities. Participants will learn skills for effective, compassionate, assertive leadership. The Forum is hosted by MMS and its Committee on Women in Medicine (CWIM). This program welcomes individuals from all genders and backgrounds, and includes an awards luncheon with a keynote address. It will take place at MMS Headquarters in Waltham. For more information, contact Erin Tally at or (781) 434-7413.

Leadership Forum Offering: Achieving Socially Intelligent Leadership 

At the MMS Women’s Leadership Forum, check out "Confident Communication: Achieving Socially Intelligent leadership," during which you'll learn skills for effective, compassionate and assertive leadership for professional and personal advancement. Network and engage with educators, entrepreneurs and experienced physician leaders. The forum is sponsored by the Committee on Women in Medicine. Learn more and register for the event.

Smooth Transitions: Preparing For And Enjoying Retirement

Retiring from a life of medical practice is a major change, where proper planning will facilitate a smooth, less stressful experience. This event, hosted by the Committee on Senior Physicians, will help you look forward to a rewarding retirement. Join us for this free event on September 20 at the MMS headquarters in Waltham. Spouses and partners are welcome. Learn more and register here.

Benefit Buzz: Need Help With Collecting Claim Co-Payments?

IC System is an MMS-preferred vendor that helps physician practices with effective collection management while assuring that client accounts are safeguarded by strict regulatory compliance and data security. MMS members receive a discount. Visit For questions, please contact Bryan Campbell at (800) 279-3511 or

Check out this webinar recording by IC System to learn actionable tips for improving your patient contact procedures to help collect any unpaid balances down the road. 

4th Annual PPRC Talks: Crucial Conversation In An Era Of Transition

Join us on September 29, 2017 from 10 am to noon for this FREE live- streamed event, where you will hear two moderated panels with experts who will explore:

  • How can you truly engage physicians and patients? (Panel 1)

  • What are the current and future models of compensation? (Panel 2)

For more details and registration, visit

Educational programs and 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.

Norfolk County Safe Prescribing and Dispensing Conferences

Thursday, September 14, 2017, 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Randolph, MA

Open to all Norfolk County Registered Prescribers and Pharmacists

The above activity has been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit

Featured Online CME Courses – 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

Sign up for daily roundups of health news affecting Massachusetts.

Baystate doctor Michael Plevyak killed while vacationing in Canada

Baystate Health obstetrician Dr. Michael P. Plevyak was killed Sunday when he and members of his family were struck by a charter bus in the busiest tourist area of Vancouver, British Columbia.
Local doctor saves woman overdosing on plane
Dr. Anil Punjabi, a cardiology fellow at Boston Medical Center,  was about to fall asleep on his flight from Boston to Minneapolis Friday, until he heard the Spirit Airlines attendant shouting for a doctor. Other passengers alerted the crew when a woman a few rows back had been in the bathroom for a long time. When she got back to her seat she began to turn grey and then slumped over. Passengers noticed she didn't have a pulse.
Violence in the E.R.: Bill aims to protect health care workers
Eighty-six percent of nurses statewide reported experiencing some form of violence in the past two years, according to a 2016 survey by the Massachusetts Nurses Association. This trend has prompted many nurses like Nakagawa to speak out against hospital workplace violence, and it's led to the filing of legislation like Elise's Law, a bill before the state House of Representatives that would create more protections for medical professionals.
Wounded veteran's journey to Harvard Medical School
He endured over 50 surgeries, hundreds of hours of physical therapy, and numerous months as a hospital in-patient. But the traumatic experience and new limitations did not diminish Galeazzi's dream of becoming a doctor. "Not only did I still want to practice medicine, but it strengthened my resolve to do it," explained Galeazzi.
Charges against physician 'fraudulent' or 'grossly incompetent'
A lawyer for Dr. Rita Luthra on called criminal charges against his client a product of "fraudulence or gross incompetence" by federal prosecutors.
New state report on opioid crisis in Massachusetts: 8 takeaways
Opioid addiction is taking an increasingly crushing toll on Massachusetts residents, with some of the most vulnerable citizens among those who are most at risk: people who are mentally ill, homeless or formerly incarcerated. Those are among the findings of a 100-page report released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
UMass Med School specialist helps doctors learn about marijuana's risks, benefits
It's not a topic most doctors feel comfortable discussing, according to Dr. Alan Ehrlich, clinical associate professor of family medicine and community health at University of Massachusetts Medical School and executive editor for DynaMed, an online clinical reference tool. "There's a lot of data out there, much of it murky," Dr. Ehrlich said. "Doctors are picking it up on the fly."

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