Massachusetts Medical Society: Is Male Menopause a Thing? Can Marijuana Affect Men's Fertility?

Is Male Menopause a Thing? Can Marijuana Affect Men's Fertility?



Renew your MMS membership by May 31
Every member who renews before May 31 strengthens us for the intense health care debates of the coming year. We’ll have your back on issues key to your career satisfaction and your patients’ well-being (plus, you’ll avoid membership cancellation). If you haven’t renewed yet, here’s why our members say it matters: MMS gives you a voice. We’re strongly opposing the American Health Care Act as it moves to the Senate. In Massachusetts, we’re working for you on provider reimbursement, medical decision making, and other major issues. Ninety-five percent of MMS members plan to renew their membership, according to our 2016 survey—it’s hard to imagine a more on-point performance score than that. Membership invoices were mailed April 28. You can join or renew here, right now.

Is "male menopause" a thing? Can marijuana affect men’s fertility?
Do you treat male patients? The 2017 Men’s Health Symposium will set you up to answer their questions and confidently discuss sensitive topics. Does steroid use affect cardiac health long-term? What’s the best way to talk about gun safety? At The Many Facets of Men’s Health: Clinical Conversations Impacting Your Patients, our speakers will update you on clinical best practices and research advances affecting four key health issues: male fertility, marijuana use (we’ll cover legislative policy shifts), gun violence and safety, and nutrition and physical conditioning. The symposium takes place at MMS Headquarters, Waltham, on June 15, 2017; registration and information, including CME designation. Watch Theodore Macnow, MD, pediatric emergency medicine physician, outline what this symposium can do for you (1-minute video).

MMS Advocacy Updates 

Advocating for fair reimbursement for out-of-network care
This was an intense week at the State House for the MMS Government Relations team. The major issue was out-of-network billing. James Gessner, MD, a past president of the Society, testified to the Joint Committee on Financial Services in opposition to several bills relating to out-of-network payments. Here’s the short version:

  • The Medical Society is committed to a solution that protects patients from receiving unavoidable out-of-network bills, and to working with the legislature, patient advocacy groups, and other stakeholders to address this issue;
  • The Society opposes the proposed payment formula of 100 percent to 110 percent of Medicare rates in each of three bills; such a payment formula would have drastic effects on the sustainability of many physician practices and health care institutions, jeopardizing access to care in underserved areas;
  • The Society favors a default formula for reimbursement based on a percentile of average charges for a given procedure or service, in the same geographic area, as determined by an independent third party; this would promote a sustainable, transparent solution that fairly reimburses physicians for their services;
  • The Society supports the proposed inclusive commission or task force to explore this issue.

Opposing proposed high stakes changes to BORIM requirements
Henry Dorkin, M.D., president of the MMS, testified before the Board of Registration in Medicine on proposed changes to licensing regulations. Dr. Dorkin’s full statement will be posted Friday, May 19, late afternoon. Dr. Dorkin expressed the Society’s opposition to several proposed revisions, including:

Prohibiting the delegation of medical services to non-licensed professionals (for example, medical assistants taking blood), a measure that would disrupt health care delivery and drive up costs;

Extending the medical record retention requirement from seven to ten years, increasing the administrative burden and cost to practices;

Adding new requirements relating to informed consent for cancer patients, introducing an unwarranted level of regulatory prescription and potentially mandating conversations that are not in patients’ best interests;

Additional changes relating to the “good moral character” of physicians; physicians’ access to treatment for substance use disorders; licensing of international medical school graduates; and disclosure of malpractice and criminal histories.

Also up for debate: Claim denials, administrative burdens, medical decision making, and more 
The Society testified at the State House in support of bills addressing the following issues:

The Society testified in opposition to a bill addressing equitable provider reimbursement.

Weighing in on proposed regulatory changes

  • The Society strongly opposes proposed changes to the regulations of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, including the elimination of the HN Modifier, which would prevent physicians from being properly reimbursed for care provided by a supervised PA.
  • The Society shared its concerns regarding proposed changes to the MassHealth Provider Manual Series, specifically the Certified Nurse Practitioner Services and the Physician Assistant billing regulations.

Extra! Run, Don't Walk, to These Events  

Lecture: How did pregnancy and the Pill shape physicians’ thoughts on women’s health?
The Center for the History of Medicine at the Countway Library is hosting Gender and Risk Perception in the Development of Oral Contraceptives, 1940-1968. The 2016-2017 Foundation for the History of Women in Medicine Fellowship Lecture will be delivered by Kate Grauvogel, Foundation for the History of Women in Medicine Fellow and doctoral student in the History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine Department at Indiana University-Bloomington. This lecture will draw on primary sources from the US, France, England, and Germany, and will explore how pathologists thought about dangerous blood clots in women as the result of either pregnancy or the Pill. It will be held Thursday, June 15, 2017 at 5:30pm, with a reception at 5:00 p.m., at the Waterhouse Room, Gordon Hall, Harvard Medical School, 25 Shattuck Street, Boston. The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required (more info at that link), or email

Mark your calendars: The Public Health Leadership Forum is moving to the fall
John Auerbach, MBA, president and CEO of Trust for America’s Health, will be the keynote speaker at the 14th Public Health Leadership Forum. This event (traditionally in spring) will be held October 26, 1:00­-5:00 p.m., at MMS Headquarters in Waltham. The annual forum convenes leaders in public health, medicine, policy, industry, and the community to discuss pressing public health issues and identify ways to work together for positive outcomes. For information, email

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. 

Managing Workplace Conflict: Improving Leadership & Personal Effectiveness
Thursday, June 8, 2017, 8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m., June 9, 2017, 8:00 a.m–12:45 p.m. 

15th Annual Symposium on Men’s Health – The Many Facets of Men’s Health: Clinical Conversations Impacting Your Patients
Thursday, June15, 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. 

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

Steward to acquire 18 hospitals through merger with Tennessee system
The deal with IASIS Healthcare LLC will bring Steward's total hospital count to 36 and mean the system will have projected revenue of almost $8 billion in its first year of merged operations. The hospitals included in the acquisition are located in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Texas, and Utah. 

15 states sue in bid to preserve key aspect of federal health law
Attorney General Maura Healey has joined 15 other attorneys general in a bid to preserve a crucial component of the Affordable Care Act — the subsidies that help people cover their copays and deductibles.

Layoffs at South Shore Hospital meant to contain costs
South Shore Health System has announced that it has let go of 27 management and administrative employees in an effort to contain costs. The hospital said the layoffs were necessary to deal with reductions in payments from insurers, shifts in how patients use the hospital and the increased cost of delivering care. 

Cambridge hospital looks to join Beth Israel-Lahey mega-merger
Mount Auburn Hospital has signed a letter of intent to explore joining the merger, which currently involves Lahey Health, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, New England Baptist and Anna Jaques Hospital of Newburyport. 

Baker talks 'Opioid 2.0' effort to further the fight on Mass. drug epidemic
Baker called his effort "Opioid 2.0." It could include chasing pieces of the 14-month-old opioid law that were rejected by lawmakers, pushing for national adoption of Massachusetts standard for medical students, and updating the state's wiretapping law.

Three health insurers plan double-digit rate hikes for third quarter
Neighborhood Health Plan, the insurance arm of Partners HealthCare, has received a rate increase of 18.9 percent, the highest of any insurer in the state. ConnectiCare received a rate increase of 15.1 percent, and Minuteman Health will boost its rates 14.1 percent. 

These Mass. hospitals had the highest and lowest C-section rates
The data, released annually by Consumer Reports using figures from the Leapfrog Group and the American Hospital Association, looked at C-section rates at 1,300 hospitals nationally, including at 38 hospitals in Massachusetts.

Naturopaths looking forward to licensing in Mass.
Naturopaths are awaiting official word about the new regulations that will govern their operations in Massachusetts, and one member of the field hopes the new rules will offer some flexibility in the area of physical examinations. 

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mass., other insurers see improved financials
The state's top insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, was the only one to report figures in the black. Several of the state's other insurers reported financial results for the first quarter, and have also seen an improvement in operations from last year. 

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