Massachusetts Medical Society: Dr. James S. Gessner Cites Challenges in New Year

Dr. James S. Gessner Cites Challenges in New Year


MMS News and Announcements

Dr. James S. Gessner Cites Challenges in New Year

President James S. Gessner, M.D., in a year-end letter to MMS members, encouraged colleagues to renew their commitment to advocacy in 2017, saying that the New Year will “usher in dramatic change, both across the country and here in the Commonwealth.” He outlined areas where members “must remain committed” to being “a leading voice for physicians and for the patients we serve.” Click here to read Dr. Gessner’s 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.

Local Survey Reveals Why Physicians Burnout

In their STAT article, “Why are Doctors Burned Out?” authors Steven A. Adelman, M.D., director of Physician Health Services, and Harris A. Berman, M.D., dean of Tufts University School of Medicine, discuss the results of their survey as to the contributing factors of physician burnout today.

CMS Passes on Medicare Plan B Drug Payment

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will not move forward with the proposed Medicare Part B drug demonstration, according to press reports. The proposal, aimed at reducing the spending on drugs, was intended to test whether an alternative drug payment structure would improve the quality of patient care and the value of Medicare drug spending. A number of stakeholders, including the AMA, expressed concerns about the model. Republican and Democratic members of Congress were also concerned about the design and impact of the demonstration project.

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. - 7:30 p.m. Applicants should plan to be available on this date. Contact Linda Healy at (800) 322-2303, ext. 7008 or

MMS and Alliance Charitable Foundation Grant Deadlines

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. Click here to learn more.

NEJM SPRINT Launches Data Analysis Challenge

The Challenge Round of the SPRINT Data Analysis Challenge, hosted by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), is now open until February 14, 2017. Applicants are challenged to use the SPRINT dataset to inform new findings. The top three entrants are eligible to present their results at the Aligning Incentives for Sharing Clinical Trial Data summit in April.

DPH Requests Help Identifying Varicella Clusters

The Department of Public Health (DPH) is requesting help identifying clusters of varicella (chickenpox) in schools and communities throughout Massachusetts. A cluster consists of 3 or more related cases. Contact DPH at 617-983-6800 if you suspect a varicella cluster has occurred in your community.

DEA Announces Changes in Renewals

Effective January 1, 2017, the DEA is eliminating the informal grace period which the agency has previously allowed for registrants to renew their registrations. Only one renewal notice will be sent to each registrant’s “mail to” address approximately 65 days prior to the expiration date; no other reminders to renew the DEA registration will be provided. The AMA has strongly expressed its concerns to DEA about this change in policy and the problems it could create for both patients and their physicians. Click here for information.

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.

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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

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 Joins Lawsuit Against Drug Companies

Massachusetts and 19 other states filed a federal lawsuit yesterday against six pharmaceutical companies, claiming they illegally conspired to artificially inflate prices and reduce competition for two generic drugs.

Health Commission Drops Review of Steward Health Care

The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission's decision not to proceed with a formal review that allows Steward Health Care to acquire the Worcester-based 200-physician network, which has offices throughout Worcester County and MetroWest.

Massachusetts Ranked Second Healthiest State in U.S.

Massachusetts has been ranked the second healthiest state in the country in the annual America’s Health Rankings report.

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.

Cape Cod Towns Ponder Future of Marijuana Sales

In 11 out of 15 Cape Cod towns, the majority of voters voted “no” to recreational marijuana, but in order to pursue a ban on shops selling weed, it may not be quite so simple as a ballot question.

Marijuana is Now Legal in Massachusetts

Marijuana is now legal in Massachusetts, representing the culmination of a long twilight struggle that was met with dismissal for decades, but increasing acceptance in recent years.

Sen. Lewis Sponsors Omnibus Tobacco Bill

State Sen. Jason Lewis is lead sponsor of an omnibus tobacco bill — the Act to Protect Youth from the Health Risks of Tobacco and Nicotine Addiction – and he is advocating raising the state smoking age from 18 to 21, with more rigid regulations on vaping.

Berkshire County Hepatitis C Rate Twice National Average

More than 1,100 case of hepatitis C have been diagnosed in Berkshire County since 2010, but that number may be closer to 2,000 cases, according to Jennifer Kimball, a health planner with the planning commission.

Haverhill Nurses Win Contract Dispute

Nurses at Holy Family Hospital in Haverhill signed a three-year labor agreement with the hospital, ending a prolonged contract dispute.

Southcoast Treatment Center for Teens Opens

Southcoast Behavioral Health is opening an outpatient treatment center for adolescents aged 13 to 17 in Dartmouth, "to address a chronic lack of mental health services for adolescents in Southeastern Massachusetts."

Urgent Care Clinics Expand on North Shore

AFC Urgent Care reports it has 18 clinics in the Bay State, and treats 250,000 patients a year in Massachusetts, with plans to open another franchise in Swampscott in six months.  

Cape Cod Autism Services Expand

Two nonprofit organizations have opened centers in the Cape Cod area that offer specialized behavioral therapies for children and adults.

'Goods for Guns' Program Nets 260 Weapons in Worcester

Goods for Guns program netted 260 weapons in a single day last week during the 15th annual gun buy-back program held at the Worcester Police headquarters.

MGH Recruits 'Recovery Coaches' to Help Addicts

Massachusetts General Hospital is helping to battle the surge in opioid abuse in the state by turning to former addicts to help counsel addicts.

UMass Medical Receives Research Grant

The $836K grant is for the decades-long work of the Worcester Heart Attack Study, funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute since the mid-1980s.

Partners Posts Largest Operating Loss

Partners HealthCare posted the biggest annual operating loss in its 22-year history, driven by Neighborhood Health Plan, a Medicaid insurer whose finances have deteriorated since Partners acquired it in 2012.

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