Massachusetts Medical Society: How to Care for Patients with Intellectual or Developmental disabilities

How to Care for Patients with Intellectual or Developmental disabilities



Free live webinar: Caring for patients with developmental or intellectual disabilities

People with developmental disabilities or intellectual disabilities have worse health outcomes than the general population, reflecting systemic barriers to care. Most people with ID/DD live in the community and are expected to receive primary medical care at community-based facilities. Barriers include inaccessible clinical settings, translation and/or interpretation challenges, and lack of staff training. These issues are heightened as adults with DD or ID transition out of pediatric care.

This live 1-hour risk management webinar, Medical Care of Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Webinar, presents an overview of associated syndromes, disorders, and relevant co-morbidities. It helps clinicians develop communication strategies to appropriately diagnose, treat, and manage adult patients with DD or ID. Legal and ethical considerations will also be addressed. The featured speaker will be I. Leslie Rubin, MD, research associate professor at the Morehouse School of Medicine, Georgia, and director of the interdisciplinary autism, cerebral palsy, and developmental clinics at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Hughes Spalding. Dr. Rubin has developed residency and fellowship programs in developmental pediatrics and clinical programs in disabilities. He founded the Institute for the Study of Disadvantage and Disability, and co-edited Delivery of Medical Care for Children and Adults with Developmental Disabilities and Safe and Healthy School Environments; full bio.

The webinar will be held on June 16, 2017, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.; register here. It is free to MMS members.

Free personalized assistance for practice QPP strategies

Join us for dinner and personalized assistance in developing your strategy for MACRA Quality Payment Program (QPP) implementation in your practice. The program includes Mapping out MIPS: Keys to Success in 2017, which outlines reporting requirements. It is designed for providers who are MIPS eligible and required to report for 2017 (check MIPS reporting requirements; October 2 is the last day to begin a 90-day reporting period); space is limited. The session will be led by Yael Miller, MBA, Director of Practice Solutions & Medical Economics at MMS, and Leila Volinsky, MHA, MSN, RN, Program Administrator at Healthcentric Advisors. 

Two sessions will be held—July 11 or July 27, 2017, 5:30-8:00 p.m.—at MMS Headquarters, Waltham (participants need attend only one session); register here. Your registration should include at least one clinician and one colleague/team member responsible for reporting. Questions? Please email Justin Sacramone at or Yael Miller at

Women physicians: We want to tell your story

In the September issue of Vital Signs, the MMS print and online newsletter, we’re honoring Women in Medicine Month. We’ll be featuring several women physicians at different stages of their careers, and will touch on themes like these: the challenges and barriers you’ve faced; how gender does or doesn’t influence your career experiences and choices; and what has helped you make your mark professionally. If you’re interested in being featured, please email us: In a few lines, give us a sense of your story or key theme, and where you’re at now in your career. If you know someone who might be a good fit for this, please forward this email to her.

Q&A guide to Supervised Injection Facilities and MMS opioids policy

A brief question-and-answer guide to Supervised Injection Facilities, and the MMS support for a pilot SIF program as a potential means of addressing the opioids crisis, is available on the MMS website. Please share this with your networks, including patients.

Testimony Updates

Promoting public health via the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund

The MMS provided testimony to the Committee on Public Health in strong support of bills that seek to continue investing in the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund (PWTF). This successful initiative, administered by the Department of Public Health, has promoted evidence-based community interventions that keep residents healthy and safe. The Society argued that the PWTF has increased access to preventive services for nearly 1 million people, with promising results on health impacts, cost effectiveness, potential for cost savings, and systems innovation. The MMS considers the PWTF an essential partner in bringing about successful health care transformation, providing crucial lessons for MassHealth and Accountable Care Organizations.

Protecting minors from conversion therapy

The MMS provided testimony to the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities in support of a bill relating to abusive practices aimed at changing sexual orientation and gender identity in minors. The Medical Society has longstanding policy opposing the use of “reparative” or “conversion” therapy that is based upon the assumption that homosexuality is a mental disorder or that patients should change their homosexual orientation. The Medical Society “believes that the physician’s nonjudgmental recognition of sexual orientation, behavior, and gender identity enhances the ability to render optimal patient care in health as well as in illness,” and that this bill could help protect patients from harmful practices.

Testimony opposing additional bills

  • Several bills relating to the Health Policy Commission, addressing the PIP process, material changes for above benchmark providers, market impact review, and the community hospital reinvestment trust fund
  • An investigation and study by a government commission on robotic surgery with a view to establishing best medical practices

Testimony supporting additional bills

Reminders! Stuff You Should Click On

Last chance! Do you treat male patients? In half a day, get set up for their future

How does men’s age or marijuana use affect their reproductive potential? Does steroid use affect cardiac health long-term? What’s the best way to broach the topic of gun safety? The 2017 Men’s Health Symposium will set you up to answer your patients’ questions and confidently discuss sensitive topics. At The Many Facets of Men’s Health: Clinical Conversations Impacting Your Patients, our speakers will update you on research advances and legislative policy shifts affecting four key health issues: male fertility, marijuana use, gun violence and safety, and nutrition and physical conditioning. Check out the full agenda and our speakers’ bios. The symposium takes place at MMS Headquarters, Waltham, on June 15, 2017; registration and CME designation. Watch Theodore Macnow, MD, pediatric emergency medicine physician, outline what this symposium can do for you (video).

Last chance! Share your expertise with medical students—but first, join us for lunch

The Boston University School of Medicine Integrated Problems (IP) course depends on volunteer physicians to facilitate the small group problem-based learning sessions for second-year medical students. Your medical experience and expertise will be invaluable in developing the students’ clinical reasoning skills. The course runs between September and November, 2017. Join us for lunch to learn more on June 15, 2017; information and registration. If you can only call-in for the presentation, email

Integrate behavioral health and primary care with the Health Policy Commission: PCMH PRIME webinar

Get introduced to the PCMH PRIME certification program in this upcoming webinar. PCMH PRIME was developed by the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC) in collaboration with NCQA. PCMH PRIME identifies criteria that are key to integrating behavioral health care into primary care, and certifies NCQA PCMH-recognized practices that meet a majority of these criteria. In this webinar, NCQA faculty will review the program criteria, documentation requirements, and certification process for practices applying for PCMH PRIME Certification before September 30, 2017 (more information on key dates). This webinar is open to health care professionals, decision makers, and consultants in Massachusetts. It will be held June 20, 2017, 9:00-10:30 a.m.; registration. Registration entitles registrants to one computer and one telephone connection. (Future webinars will address the program standards and application process for practices applying to PCMH PRIME after September 30, 2017; more information.)

Find out how to address your patients’ social needs—and help Health Leads help you do it better

This upcoming event combines a workshop and a focus group. Do you worry about the social factors affecting your patients' health? Do you or your staff feel overwhelmed with patient concerns related to food insecurity, transportation, housing, and prescription assistance? Providers know that much of health is driven by life outside medical care. We also know that unmet social needs contribute to high health care costs and high utilization rates. At this Physician Practices Workshop and Focus Group, experts from Health Leads, a nonprofit organization developing interventions that link patients to community-based resources, will cover how to screen patients for social needs, integrate those needs into your existing clinical workflow, enable practice staff to provide resource support, and create an inventory of resources. They will ask for your input on relevant content and tools. The event will be held at 6:00-8:00 p.m., June 28, 2017, at the MMS headquarters in Waltham. All participants will receive dinner and a $100 gift card, as well as resources including a social needs screening toolkit. Please contact Rich Porcelli at for more information and to secure your spot.

MMS Membership Benefits  

Graduating medical students: Continue your free MMS membership

  • If you are staying in Massachusetts, talk with your residents-fellows residency program director about free MMS membership. Alternatively, ask your program coordinator to submit a 2017 program roster to activate the MMS benefits for you and your colleagues.

  • Beginning your training out of state? Maintain your membership through December 2018 at no cost. Watch your email inbox for more information.

  • Questions? Email or call (800) 322-2303, ext.7748.

Residents & fellows completing training in June 2017: Access your free MMS membership

  • The MMS offers free membership for your first year in practice. Maintain benefits like your New England Journal of Medicine subscription whether or not you’re staying in MA. For more information, contact or 800-322-2303 ext. 7495.
  • Supplementing training with a fellowship? Your new program coordinator can submit a 2017–18 roster to provide membership for you and your program colleagues. Watch your email inbox for details.
  • For more information, contact or 800-322-2303 ext. 7748.

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. 

15th Annual Symposium on Men’s Health – The Many Facets of Men’s Health: Clinical Conversations Impacting Your Patients
Thursday, June 15, 2017, 8:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. 

Medical Care of Adults with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities – Live Webinar

Friday, June 16, 2017, 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m. 

Norfolk County Safe Prescribing and Dispensing Conferences
Thursday, September 14, 2017, 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

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

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.

State taps 18 provider groups for MassHealth overhaul
Governor Charlie Baker's administration has chosen 18 networks of health care providers and insurers, from Boston to the Berkshires, to launch the biggest redesign of the state Medicaid program in more than two decades. They include the state's largest hospital systems: Partners HealthCare, Steward Health Care System, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Lahey Health, and UMass Memorial Health Care and others.

County official says tick-borne Powassan virus killed two men
There have been "at least three fatalities" from Powassan virus in Massachusetts, Dr. Catherine Brown, deputy state epidemiologist and state public health veterinarian, wrote in an emailed response to questions.

One word blocks a pregnant workers’ protection bill
The agreed-upon bill language had originally stated that employers could not legally "refuse to hire a person who is pregnant because of the pregnancy or because of a condition related to the pregnancy." 

A deadly first: Carfentanil, an especially potent opioid, traced in Mass.
This opioid, roughly 100 times more powerful than fentanyl, was never meant to be consumed by humans. Carfentanil is used to tranquilize large animals. Even then, you don't need much of it. 

Whistle-blower files suit over alleged double-booked surgeries
Wollman said she witnessed surgeons performing simultaneous operations repeatedly from 2010 to 2015, when she left MGH for New England Baptist Hospital. She said hospital policy gave the doctors financial incentives to do more procedures, and they never told patients they would be going back and forth between operating rooms 

Mass. Eye and Ear gets largest donation in history to study hearing
The funding will be used to fund new faculty chairs and recruit additional hearing researchers to the lab, as well as help researchers pursue treatments for hearing loss, hearing impairments and balance disorders. 

Operating losses double for Southcoast Health as federal reimbursements drop
While the hospital system will get better working on Epic over time, there's little the hospital can do about federal reimbursements. To mitigate the changes, the hospital was expanding its clinical services to increase revenue. 

Gov. Baker’s quiet approach to the mental health crisis draws criticism
Critics say his proposals fall far short of the sweeping changes that are needed to address years of cuts and neglect that have severely hampered the mental health care system. Baker's 2018 budget calls for only a 1.6 percent funding increase for the Department of Mental Health. 

Are supervised injections a good tool in the fight against the opioids epidemic?
In Massachusetts, nearly 2,000 people fatally overdose on opioid drugs last year. That's why in April, the Massachusetts Medical Society came out in support of Supervised Injection Sites, where addicts can use drugs using clean needles alongside doctors who are ready to administer overdose drugs if necessary. 

Battles over who decides what’s necessary in mental health
Groups representing insurance plans and behavioral health service providers scrapped over a bill that would give clinicians a greater say in determining medical necessity for mental-health services, a decision typically made by the insurer. 

Tufts Medical CEO says hospital plans to spend $30M on nurses’ contract
The hospital has been negotiating a new contract with 1,200 union nurses since April 2016. The sides are still at odds over wages, staffing and retirement benefits, and will meet again on June 12 with a federal moderator. 

Patients wait hours or days for ER psych beds as demand rises
A study of Massachusetts hospitals showed that mentally ill patients wait hours, sometimes days, for treatment. It also found that the poorest patients — those on public insurance or without insurance — waited the longest.

Mass. doctor can proceed with lawsuit seeking right to die, judge rules
A retired Falmouth doctor who has metastatic prostate cancer can continue pursuing a lawsuit seeking the right to obtain a lethal dose of medication from his doctor and choose when he dies, a Suffolk Superior Court judge ruled.  

Health officials warn of mumps outbreak in Mass.
The Department of Public Health on Friday says 12 cases of mumps have been reported since the end of March. 

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