First Woman Chief of Surgery at a Major Boston Hospital

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MMS NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

First woman chief of surgery arrives at a major Boston hospital

Jennifer F. Tseng, MD, MPH, has been appointed Chief of Surgery at Boston Medical Center and Chair of the Department of Surgery at Boston University School of Medicine. In assuming this role, Dr. Tseng becomes the first female chief of surgery at a major Boston hospital. Previously, Dr. Tseng was chief of surgical oncology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and a professor at Harvard Medical School. If you have professional news to share with MMS members, email  vitalsigns@mms.org.

It's time to determine your MIPS reporting period

The Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), a payment track under the new CMS Quality Payment Program (QPP), requires eligible clinicians to submit data on quality measures, EHR utilization, and improvement activity. This can help providers avoid a 4 percent negative payment adjustment and potentially earn up to 4 percent in a positive payment adjustment on allowable Medicare Part B claims. With less than 6 months remaining in the MIPS 2017 transition year, eligible clinicians should determine the reporting period they will use for data submission; a single instance (test out the program), consecutive 90-day period, or full calendar year. Eligible clinicians considering a consecutive 90-day reporting period, to maximize their potential payment adjustment, have until October 2, 2017, to begin that 90-day period. Eligible clinicians are not required to notify CMS of their reporting period selection prior to data submission in 2018 (January 1 – March 31, 2018).

  • Unsure if you are an eligible clinician required to report to MIPS in 2017? Check your status with the CMS NPI participation status lookup tool.
  • Need additional, personalized assistance with MIPS preparation and reporting? Contact the New England Quality Innovation Network – Quality Improvement Organization ( QIN-QIO) to schedule a no-cost MIPS assistance appointment.

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). “On behalf of the CWIM, I strongly encourage you to honor us with your presence,” says Helen Cajigas, MD, FCAP, Chair of the Committee on Women in Medicine. 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  etally@mms.org or (781) 434-7413.


What's up at the State House

Welcoming the compromise marijuana legislation
The MMS welcomed the compromise legislation on marijuana that has emerged at the State House. Dr. Henry Dorkin, president of MMS, said in a statement, “We’re pleased that many facets of the bill are consistent with the advocacy efforts put forth by our membership. From a public health perspective, this compromise bill represents a significant step forward." Dr. Dorkin commended the inclusion of public health experts within the Cannabis Control Commission structure, funding earmarked for public and behavioral health initiatives, labeling and packaging requirements, and restrictions on marketing and advertising designed to reduce youth consumption.

Supporting transparency in prescription drug pricing
The MMS provided testimony in strong support of bills to promote transparency in prescription drug prices. The bills would require that manufacturers of 15 “high-cost” prescription drugs provide the Attorney General’s office with an explanation of those costs, and that manufacturers planning to increase the price of a drug more than 10 percent, or to introduce a new high-cost drug, submit an explanation to the Health Policy Commission (HPC). The bills would also require manufacturers to participate in the HPC’s annual cost trend hearings and provide testimony on price hikes. Research demonstrates that the complexity and lack of transparency of the prescription drug distribution system contributes to high prices and makes our healthcare system less efficient.

Advocating for parity in reimbursement for telemedicine services
The MMS provided input on several bills related to telemedicine services. Telemedicine technology has an opportunity to address some of the greatest challenges facing the health care system in Massachusetts, including access, quality, and cost of care. The Society believes that the single most important step that the legislature can take in facilitating telemedicine is to require appropriate insurance coverage and to ensure proper reimbursement for telemedicine services. The MMS strongly supports a bill that seeks to provide coverage for appropriate services provided by telemedicine and reimbursement at a rate no less than the rates for the same services provided for in-person care. The Society also supports additional bills that would help make telemedicine accessible.


Reminders! Legal advice, MassHealth, AMA, & substance use treatment

Benefit Buzz: Safeguard your medical license
When faced with a Board of Registration in Medicine (BORIM) investigation, having attorney representation that is experienced in BRM regulations and proceedings is essential for a successful outcome. The MMS Legal Advisory Plan (LAP) Counsel can assist you in avoiding legal pitfalls and common mistakes when responding to a BORIM issue. 

The LAP is a members-only, affordable legal service plan, designed to offer expert advice from plan attorneys on BORIM matters. Enroll or renew for $70 a year* — a fraction of standard legal fees. *Additional enrollment discounts are available for groups of five or more.  Learn more. Questions? Email  lap@massmed.org, or call (781) 434-7311.

New midlevel provider requirements for MassHealth reimbursements
From August 1, 2017, MassHealth requires the following providers to enroll in MassHealth to receive payment for services: Physician Assistants, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, Clinical Nurse Specialties, and Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialists. Nurse Practitioners are already required to fully enroll if they practice as independent certified nurse practitioners or as part of a group practice. Points to note:

  • These providers will no longer be able to bill for services under the supervising physicians’ NPI.
  • If these providers are in your practice but do not provide services to MassHealth members, they are required to enroll as nonbilling providers.
  • Practices without a physician member cannot bill for PA services.
  • PAs and NPs wishing to become a PCP within a PCC group practice must fully enroll with MassHealth; contact Provider Support (below) for required actions.
  • Certain claim modifiers will be deactivated or changed.

For more information, and revised enrollment application and checklists, email providersupport@mahealth.net or call (1-800) 841 2900. Get more information on the ordering, referring, and prescribing requirements. Register for an upcoming training webinar.

Join our AMA delegation: The MMS Committee on Nominations is seeking candidates
The MMS Committee on Nominations is currently considering candidates for nomination as AMA Delegate and Alternate Delegate to the Massachusetts AMA Delegation. The deadline for submission of nomination applications is Thursday, August 17, 4:00 p.m. Visit www.massmed.org/amanoms to learn more about the qualifications and submit your application. Interviews with the Committee on Nominations will be held at MMS Headquarters, Waltham, on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 4:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. Applicants should plan to be available on this date. Questions? Please contact Linda Healy (800) 322-2303, ext. 7008 or lhealy@mms.org, or Karen Harrison at ext. 7463 or kharrison@mms.org.

Waiver training: Provide medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorder
This free training is for MDs, NPs, and PAs seeking a waiver to prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorder in their office. The curriculum includes the science of addiction as a brain disorder, the pharmacology of buprenorphine, and the regulatory requirements around prescribing this medication. Attendees will learn to screen patients for treatment with buprenorphine, and to manage the medication along with the patient's other medical needs in an office setting such as a primary care clinic. The training will be held in West Barnstable on July 28, 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; more info on content and accreditation, and registration.


Educational programs and events

Unless otherwise noted, all events are held at the MMS Headquarters, 860 Winter St., Waltham, MA. 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 new online CME activities – Risk Management credit

Comprehensive Cannabis Curriculum (Modules 1–5 now available)

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

See our full listing of risk management online CME activities.


This week in health care

Sign up for daily roundups of health news affecting Massachusetts.

MA lawmakers approve protections for pregnant workers

Massachusetts lawmakers have given final approval to a bill offering protections for pregnant women in the workplace. The measure sent to Republican Gov. Charlie Baker requires employers to offer "reasonable accommodations" to pregnant workers, and makes it illegal to fire or refuse to hire a female worker because of a pregnancy. 

MA providers leading hospital merger and acquisition surge 

So far in 2017, there have been 58 transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, among U.S. hospitals. That's compared to 52 this time last year. Thirty-one of those transactions occurred in the second quarter, compared to 27 a year earlier. Two of the biggest deals involved Massachusetts-based systems.

Dr. Dorkin: Pot compromise bill 'significant step forward'

Both branches of the state Legislature signed off on a compromise bill overhauling the marijuana legalization ballot law. "From a public health perspective, this compromise bill represents a significant step forward," said Dr. Henry Dorkin, president of the MMS.

'She bled out 3 times and almost died:' Husband of assaulted nurse advocates at State House 

An emotional Clifton Wilson said his wife, who has been a nurse for 45 years, had 11 stab wounds after an angry patient repeatedly knifed her and severed an artery on June 14. The young man allegedly sat in the parking lot sharpening his knife for 20 minutes before entering the emergency room, Clifton Wilson told lawmakers.

Caution, not relief, in MA after health care bill falls

For some, the upshot — that Senate Republicans do not have the votes to repeal or replace Obamacare — spells relief for children, grandparents and residents across Massachusetts who have a disability and depend on Medicaid. But few are celebrating

FBI conducts raid of Island Counseling Center in Worcester 

The FBI conducted a raid of a counseling center on Grove Street in Worcester on Tuesday, going in and out of the building with evidence. A black SUV was parked outside the Island Counseling Center at 108 Grove St., No. 2, and two Worcester police cruisers were parked on the other side of the street. 

Legislative limbo could be 'policy malpractice'

A legislative limbo could be an imminent threat to the $600 million that is part of a Medicaid waiver slated for Massachusetts under the Obama administration, said Wendy Parmet, director of Northeastern University's Center for Health Policy and Law. "Instead of rolling back Medicaid expansion, it could just be drop dead," Parmet said. "It would be adding uncertainty for policy workers, hospital administrators, insurance companies. It could have economic impacts on the state that go far beyond health care. 

Budget: Baker vetoes $320 million, returns assessments with MassHealth Reforms 

The governor also returned to the Legislature a new assessment on employers that he initially proposed to help pay for growing MassHealth expenses, calling on lawmakers to act quickly to package the $200 million in new employer fees with MassHealth reforms that lawmakers laid aside during budget deliberations. 

ODs could skyrocket with carfentanil here, doc says 

Carfentanil was confirmed in Massachusetts for the first time in June. It is 100 times more potent than the deadly synthetic fentanyl. Authorities feared it had popped up again in Lawrence yesterday, but state police said last night the drugs recovered at the scene of a double-fatal overdose were a "mixture of cocaine and fentanyl." 

Should MA open clinics where drug users could inject under supervision? 

A supervised injection facility is a clean, safe space where opiod users can administer drugs that are already in their possession. Should they require emergency support — for example, a dosage of ant-overdose lifesaver naloxone — trained health professionals would be there to aid them.  

Opioid addiction: A 'soup to nuts' recovery campus 

On these campuses, patients would find everything they need to manage their addiction, including detox to get them through withdrawal, all varieties of 12-step programs, all types of medication treatment, inpatient facilities, outpatient care and mental health services. The campus would offer transitional housing, maybe a sober home, assistance finding a more permanent residence, career counseling and job placement.  

Why Brigham doctors performed heart exam on a gorilla 

The 24-year-old, 5-foot tall western lowland gorilla may be a different species than the one doctors at the Brigham are used to treating, but gorilla hearts look nearly identical to human ones, the hospital said. The gorilla exam is only the latest the Brigham has helped with since 2015. Little Joe was put under anesthesia, given the cardiac exam and had blood work done. 

As Lyme Disease spreads, prevention efforts limited to 'shoestring'

A WBUR analysis of state Department of Public Health data finds that Lyme risk remains highest on the Cape and Islands, but all of eastern Massachusetts is now at high risk and the disease has spread westward as well. While local rates fluctuate slightly due to droughts and other factors, over time the overall trend goes in one direction: up.

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