Massachusetts Medical Society: How to get involved in Hurricane Harvey relief

How to get involved in Hurricane Harvey relief



How to volunteer in the hurricane relief effort (and locally)

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) Office of Preparedness and Emergency Management has advised that some licensed medical professionals have asked how they might provide their services to the Houston region following Hurricane Harvey. Volunteering during disasters is safer and most effective when individuals are deployed through a coordinated effort. Well-meaning individuals who spontaneously present to disaster sites are often unable to be assigned because they have not enrolled with or been vetted by a recognized volunteer organization previously. Vetted disaster relief organizations coordinate with emergency managers and can connect volunteers with food, water, and safe places to sleep, all of which may be difficult for people acting on their own. 

DPH is advising people wishing to volunteer their time to contact the Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (Texas VOAD) through the  National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD). NVOAD’s main webpage currently is dedicated to Hurricane Harvey and includes information on how to volunteer and how to make corporate and individual donations.

While many feel compelled to help when others are in need, volunteering year round is a wonderful way to support your community and potentially be a resource for other communities in times of need. If you are interested in volunteering locally, consider looking at the Massachusetts  Medical Reserve Corps and  Citizen Corps sites for opportunities.

2017–2018 Flu season vaccine recommendations

CDC has published an MMWR containing influenza vaccine recommendations for the 2017–2018 season. This report updates the 2016–17 recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) regarding the use of seasonal influenza vaccines. Routine annual influenza vaccination is recommended for all persons aged 6 months or older who do not have contraindications. A licensed, recommended, and age-appropriate vaccine should be used.

Free personalized assistance with MACRA QPP prep

Join us for light refreshments and personalized assistance in developing your strategy for successful MACRA Quality Payment Program (QPP) implementation in your practice. The program includes Mapping Out MIPS: Keys to Success in 2017, which outlines reporting requirements and timelines. It is designed for providers who are MIPS eligible and required to report for 2017 ( check here for your MIPS participation status. 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, Senior Program Administrator at Healthcentric Advisors. Two sessions will be held—October 23 or November 8, 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.

What's up at the State House

DPH clarifies medical assistant vaccination policy

Reminder: The Department of Public Health  released a Circular Letter in August 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.

Reminders: Stuff you should click on

Coming soon: 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 CME 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.

PPRC Talks: Crucial Conversations in an Era of Transition

Join us for this free, livestreamed event. Our two moderated panels will answer these questions:

  • How can you truly engage physicians as part of the health care delivery team? How can you empower physicians at the practice management and care delivery levels? And how can patients become more active and engaged participants in the care process, promoting shared decision-making and improved outcomes?
  • What are the current and future models of physician compensation? What's the role and nature of negotiating, performance incentives, and other emerging compensation mechanisms? This panel features practice management consultants and compensation law experts.

For the first time, PPRC Talks will be webinar-only, to facilitate your participation. The event will be held on September 29, 2017, 10:00 a.m.–noon; more information and registration.

Students and residents with IT projects: Can you use an extra $3,000? 

Each year, the MMS Committee on Information Technology recognizes a medical student and a member of a hospital house staff or training program for information technology solutions in medicine. The two Medical Information Technology Awards are presented annually for functioning projects, substantially completed in the past year, that use technology to assist physicians in the practice of medicine, the teaching of medicine, or the pursuit of clinical research; more info and application.

New communication strategies at the MMS Women’s Leadership Forum

Successful physician leaders use social intelligence to influence stakeholders and build highly motivated teams. These skills also enable leaders to confidently manage difficult conversations. Join us on Friday, September 15,, 2017, at the forum for Confident Communication: Achieving Socially Intelligent Leadership. Experienced physician leaders and educators will share practical tools for strategic communication. The forum is at the MMS headquarters in Waltham, sponsored by the Committee on Women in Medicine. Learn more and register for the event.

Make a difference: Apply for a LGBT health disparities grant today

In order to address health disparities in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community, the MMS Committee on LGBT is offering grants to study issues around the delivery of care. The grant is for curriculum development or research, available to MMS medical students and residents/fellows at Massachusetts institutions. The proposal deadline is October 2, 2017.  Download the application form.

Smooth transitions from a life of medical practice (NEW DATE)

The best way to have a smooth, less stressful transition to retirement is to plan ahead. Learn, network and engage with retired member physicians and MMS experts to discover the key considerations. Join us on October 4, 2017, at the MMS headquarters in Waltham. Spouses and partners are welcome. This free event is hosted by the Committee on Senior Physicians. Learn more and register here.

Apppintments, awards, publications? Share your news with MMS members

Vital Signs, the monthly print and online newsletter of the MMS, is now listing your professional news — such as joining a new hospital, opening a practice, or a recent promotion — and your other achievements: board appointments, awards, or speaking engagements. We are currently seeking submissions for the October issue of Vital Signs. Please include your full name and title, medical school with graduation year, residency institution, hospital affiliation, recent update, and a high-resolution headshot. Send submissions to by September 8, 2017.

Educational programs and events

Unless otherwise noted, all events are held at MMS headquarters, 860 Winter St., Waltham, MA. View our  full calendar of upcoming live CME activities. 

Norfolk County Safe Prescribing and Dispensing Conferences

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 – topics in public health 

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

Find additional risk management  online CME activities.

This week in health care

Sign up for daily roundups of health news affecting Massachusetts.  

Hospital profitability in Massachusetts drops slightly in 201

According to a report released Thursday by the state Center for Health Information and Analysis, the median total margin — the amount of revenues over expenses — for acute care hospitals in Massachusetts was 3.1 percent in 2016, a drop of 0.7 percentage points from the previous fiscal year. 

Harvard/Mass. General researchers sound obesity alarm on fundraiser

Bay State schools are participating in a fundraising program that ­rewards students for purchasing sugar-laden foods and makes children brand ambassadors for products that contribute to childhood obesity, according to researchers from Harvard and MassGeneral Hospital for Children.

Westwood hospital closed due to sexual assault investigation

The state has shut down a psychiatric hospital in Westwood amid allegations of sexual assault. The Department of Mental Health said they closed the Westwood Lodge due to issues concerning patient safety and quality of care. 

High school goes 'overkill' to fight highly contagious skin infection

More than 20 football and soccer players contracted impetigo, a skin rash the American Academy of Dermatology characterizes as extremely contagious. Fortunately, however, it's not considered extremely dangerous.

Bridgewater State launches first-of-its-kind overdose prevention program 

A new reality at Bridgewater State University just in time for the beginning of a new school year: Police officers are placing the overdose reversing drug Narcan at 60 locations across the campus including the 11 residence halls. 

State opioid addiction agencies can't find enough personnel

Addiction treatment agencies in Massachusetts are struggling to hire and train enough people to care for their patients, and to find services such as transport and housing that are essential to sustained recovery. 

Gov. Baker: Massachusetts should be model for opioid fight

Gov. Charlie Baker, who sits on the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, says he believes some of what Massachusetts has done to combat opioids should become the national model.

Addiction treatment center's admissions shut down by Mass. over safety concerns 

The Department of Public Health took the step after the death a week earlier of a patient who was being treated at the facility in the town of Danvers, north of Boston. 

White House anti-drug office asks Mass. for medical marijuana data

Dale Quigley, deputy coordinator of the National Marijuana Initiative, or NMI, has asked Massachusetts health officials for data on the age, gender, and medical condition of the state's approximately 40,000 registered medical marijuana patients. Quigley is a former police officer in Colorado with a long history of speaking out against legalization.

Casket outside Worcester City Hall a drug overdose warning 

The old funeral director – best known as being the man who buried Marathon Bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev – tires of picking young bodies off the city streets. So he figures a blunt visual might help save a life – he did a similar display a few years ago, though the oversized syringe is a new addition.

Many seek care at Boston 'Tick-Borne Impairment' clinic

Based at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, the Dean Center sees patients who complain of long-term symptoms linked to Lyme disease as needing rehabilitation, much as patients with concussions do.

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