Massachusetts Medical Society: Health Policy Commission Lowers Cost Benchmark

Health Policy Commission Lowers Cost Benchmark


Health Policy Commission Lowers Cost Benchmark
The Health Policy Commission voted Wednesday to lower the health care cost benchmark, a statewide target for the rate of growth of total health care expenditures, from 3.6 percent to 3.1percent. The Medical Society offered testimony expressing concern over lowering the benchmark at this time, citing uncertainty with Medicaid funding and the Affordable Care Act as necessitating flexibility for the health care community. In spite of the opposition to the change, MMS provided this comment following the vote: “The Massachusetts Medical Society recognizes the importance of cost containment in the health care system. We will continue to work with the Health Policy Commission to identify policies that will help all providers in Massachusetts meet the benchmark, whether it is 3.6 percent or 3.1percent. As always, we continue to emphasize the importance of an ongoing commitment to quality care.”

MACMRI Holds 5th Annual Forum April 13
Massachusetts Alliance for Communication and Resolution following Medical Injury (MACRMI), is holding its 5th Annual Forum at MMS headquarters on April 13. The first session, which begins at 11 a.m., will explore basic principles of CARe and its history. The general session, which begins at 1 p.m., will include discussion of the MACRMI pilot study. The free program is designated for CME and nursing credit. Click here to register.

Mindful Physician Leadership Program (MPLP) Holds Trainings
The Mindful Physician Leadership Program in the UMass Department of Psychiatry is holding a 10-month program at no tuition cost. Registration is now open for the program beginning in May. For more information, contact

Senior Physician Luncheon: Experiencing Retirement - Before, During and After
The Committee on Senior Physicians invites MMS members who are retired or considering retirement to discuss various aspects of retirement. A panel of MMS member physicians will be sharing their experiences. The free luncheon will take place on Tuesday, May 23rd from Noon – 2:00 p.m. at the MMS headquarters, Waltham. Significant others are welcome. Learn more and register for the event here.

AMA Code of Ethics Available
In 1847, physicians representing 22 states and the District of Columbia came together to establish America’s first national professional association for physicians, the American Medical Association (AMA). As one of its first acts, the AMA created the first national codification of ethics for any profession anywhere in the world. Ethics guidance is regularly added or amended in the AMA Code to reflect changes in medical science and societal expectations. As with any “living” document that is authored by different individuals over many decades, the AMA Code became fragmented and unwieldy.

To address these issues, the AMA embarked on a multi-year “modernization” project to comprehensively review and update the AMA Code. After much deliberation and debate, the AMA House of Delegates adopted the modernized AMA Code last June. A commemorative, leather-bound edition of the modernized AMA Code is available here.

MMS Annual Meeting Event Spotlight: MMS Awards Luncheon

Massachusetts physicians make valuable contributions to their patients and communities, whether as medical students preparing for a career in medicine or as practicing/retired physicians. Join us for the MMS Annual Awards Luncheon acknowledging and honoring physicians and community advocates for their outstanding achievements. Awards acknowledged at this luncheon include: The Henry Ingersoll Bowditch Award for Excellence in Public Health, The Grant V. Rodkey, MD Award for Outstanding Contributions to Medical Education, The Special Award for Excellence in Medical Service, and the MMS Committee Chair Service Awards. Please visit for this and all annual meeting events.

The MMS has a robust and expansive awards program with varied offerings for medical students, residents, practicing and volunteer/retired physicians.  To read more about the MMS Awards please visit and consider nominating your colleague for one of these awards in the future.


Educational Trip to Cuba Planned
The Connecticut State Medical Society has extended an invitation to MMS members to participate in an educational experience in Cuba, May 20 – 24, 2017. Deadline for reservations is May 1, 2017 For more information, click here

Free Web Event: Aligning Incentives for Sharing Clinical Trial Data on April 3-4
The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) is hosting a free web event on sharing clinical trial data. Gain insights into data sharing issues from leading experts representing those most involved in data sharing – researchers, patients, and funders. Participate online in real time through moderated online sessions and working groups. Register today at

Your Membership Counts – Renew Today!
The MMS is a proactive advocate representing the voice of physicians and their patients. The Society will propose no less than twenty pieces of state legislation on Beacon Hill this year, and has recently testified before the Board of Registration in Medicine against proposed regulatory changes ranging from expanding the grounds for filing complaints leading to disciplinary action, to more onerous credentialing requirements, and additions to informed consent provisions. Please renew your MMS membership for 2017 and support the Society in its mission to ensure the perspective and expertise of physicians is reflected in regulatory proposals.

Leading Experts to Speak at Women’s Health Forum April 21
Are you up-to-date on how certain hormonal changes can worsen – or improve – a woman’s well-being? At the Women’s Health Forum on April 21, leading experts will explore how hormones can affect the women you treat from puberty to pregnancy and through postmenopause. It will also feature a lecture and panel on transgender health, a session on the effect of hormones on metabolism and weight regulation, and a discussion on the evolution of breast surgery by faculty from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

JoAnn Manson, M.D. will deliver the morning keynote address. Dr. Manson is a physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Michael and Lee Bell Professor of Women's Health at Harvard Medical School. Barbara L. Smith, M.D. will deliver the afternoon keynote speech. Dr. Smith is director of the breast program at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

The Women's Health Forum is provided by the Massachusetts Medical Society and its Committee on Women in Medicine in collaboration with the Brigham and Women's Hospital Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender Biology. It will be held at MMS headquarters in Waltham.


For registration, visit, or contact Erin Tally at

Introducing NEJM Knowledge+ Pediatrics Board Review
Following the successes of NEJM Knowledge+ Internal Medicine Board Review and Family Medicine Board Review, NEJM Group announces the addition of NEJM Knowledge+ Pediatrics Board Review.  NEJM Knowledge+ Pediatrics Board Review includes the same adaptive learning technology to increase learning efficiency and knowledge retention clinicians have come to expect from NEJM Knowledge+.  This new product, however, is designed expressly for pediatricians and pediatrics residents. Reflecting the ABP exam blueprint, NEJM Knowledge+ Pediatrics Board Review is packed with clinically relevant, rigorously edited, case-based content, helping primary care clinicians refresh and retain the broad body of medical knowledge needed to deliver the best patient care.  Learn more here.

Education Programs & Events
Live CME Activities

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.


13th Annual Public Health Leadership Forum: Social Determinants of Health - Improving Population Health through Prevention Based Care
Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Women’s Health Forum – Hormones: Do They Define Us?
Friday, April 21, 2017, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. 

Ethics Forum
Thursday, April 27, 2017, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. 

Annual Education Program – The Winding Road of Addiction: Hope on the Horizon
Friday, April 28, 2017, 8:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
MMS Annual Meeting, Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center, Boston, MA or Via Live Webinar

Shattuck Lecture and Luncheon – Personalize Medicine or Precision Medicine
Friday, April 28, 2017, 12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
MMS Annual Meeting, Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center, Boston, MA

Directors of Medical Education Conference – Advancing Collaboration and Compliance
Thursday, May 18, 2017, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

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



The Many Facets of Men’s Health: Clinical Conversations Impacting Your Patients
Thursday, June 15, 2017


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

Bay State Towns Plan to Ban Pot Sales
Massachusetts Municipal Association reports nearly two dozen communities have either enacted moratoriums through bylaws or begun the process to bring the matter before their spring town meeting or municipal election banning pot sales in their towns.

Trump’s Proposed NIH Cuts Could be Dire for Mass.
The NIH annual funding is important in Massachusetts, which receives the highest amount per capita of NIH funding annually. The proposed cut comes after a year of record funding for the Bay State, with Massachusetts organizations collecting $2.57 billion.

Neighborhood Health Plan Announces Layoffs
Neighborhood Health Plan announced layoffs after a difficult first quarter and several challenging years for the insurer and a $17 million operating loss in the first quarter ending Dec. 31.

Doctors, Lawmakers Urge Opioid Alternatives
A proposal with bipartisan support seeks to get commercial insurers to expand coverage for alternative treatments for pain, which supporters say will prod providers and prescribers to rely less on opioids.

Partners, GE Joins Forces to Fight Opioid Epidemic
Partners HealthCare and General Electric are joining forces to fight the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts.

Rate of infants born on opioids soaring
The state counted 1,197 cases of neonatal abstinence syndrome in 2015, a 27 percent spike from just four years earlier, according to a 100-page report state health officials quietly filed with lawmakers last week.

Teen Birth Rate Hits New Low
The teen birth rate in Massachusetts declined to its lowest recorded level — 9.4 births per every 1,000 women ages 15 through 19, according to DPH. In 2011 the teen birth rate was 15.4, and the 2015 data represents a 39% decline in teen births between 2011 and 2015.


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