Massachusetts Medical Society: Join John Auerbach, MA leader turned national figure, at the Public Health Leadership Forum

Join John Auerbach, MA leader turned national figure, at the Public Health Leadership Forum



Public Health Leadership Forum: Transforming Health Through Technology

Join us next week to hear from a leading state figure who has risen to the national stage. John Auerbach, president and CEO of Trust for America's Health, is the keynote speaker at the MMS Annual Public Health Leadership Forum. Auerbach was previously commissioner of Public Health for Massachusetts and executive director of Boston's Public Health Commission. 

Next week's forum convenes policy leaders, researchers, and public health experts to explore technology’s role in improving population health. The event will be held on October 26, 2017, at MMS Headquarters, Waltham; information, including CME credit designation, and registration. For more on how technology is driving health care delivery (and vice versa), see the October issue of Vital Signs.

2017 Interim Meeting Spotlight: Twelfth Annual Research Poster Symposium

The 2017 Interim Meeting of the House of Delegates will be held Friday, December 1, at MMS Headquarters and Saturday, December 2, at the Westin Hotel, Waltham. For more details about all Interim Meeting events, visit 

Join us on Friday, December 1, at 12:30 p.m. for the Twelfth Annual Research Poster Symposium where fellows, residents, and medical students display original scientific research and compete for awards. Members are invited to browse the exhibit hall and meet Poster Symposium participants. A distinguished panel of MMS physician members will judge the posters and abstracts and award cash prizes in four categories: basic research, clinical research, clinical vignettes and health policy/medical education.  

Register for the Poster Symposium and other Interim Meeting events at

Other important dates:

TV opportunity for real-life physicians

Physician Focus is the MMS TV health show for a lay audience, co-produced with HCAM-TV and broadcast on 200 public access TV stations in Massachusetts. The show addresses a different topic in each episode (recently: Concussion, Lyme Disease, Colds & Flu, and Winter Health Hazards). Each episode features a physician host (sometimes an old hand, sometimes a fresh face), and two physician guests who have expertise in the topic. If you’re interested in participating, email and let us know your areas of interest. When our topics align, we’ll let you know what this would involve. We can’t promise you intergalactic stardom, but it’s a good experience; our featured physicians usually seem ready for more.

Physician art exhibit at MMS HQ

Catch this unusual art exhibit in the lobby of MMS Headquarters, Waltham. The vivid hand-painted posters on the theme of ‘Improved and Extended Medicare for All /Single Payer’ are by Pat Downs Berger, MD, of the Norfolk District. The exhibit also includes photographs taken over 65 years on a variety of themes by Hu Caplan, MD, of the Charles River District. The exhibit is sponsored by the MMS Member Interest Network and runs until mid-November.

Reminders: Stuff you should click on

Discover new community resources for patient care

There are continuous challenges to identifying and providing quality screening and community-based resources to the uninsured and underinsured. Learn and discuss with experts and others on the frontline of free health care programs about best practices, innovations, and access to new community resources. Current and potential physician and medical student volunteers and staff at free health care programs are welcome. The free forum is on October 25, 2017, at the MMS Headquarters in Waltham, hosted by the Committee on Senior Volunteer Physicians; information and registration.

LGBTQ health disparities grant proposals: Time is running short

The MMS is currently accepting grant proposals from medical students and residents/fellows whose curriculum development or research addresses health disparities in the LGBTQ community. Grant proposals are due October 30, 2017. Download the application form.

Financial literacy for medical students, residents, and fellows: Free MMS program (live and webcast)

Want to learn to more effectively manage your finances, including ideas for how to save and reduce student debt? Join us for Financial Literacy 101: Basics for Medical Students and Residents/Fellows includes dinner with your peers and practical financial advice from Dr. John Blute, a recently retired orthopedic surgeon. The event will be held on October 30, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m., at the Countway Library, 10 Shattuck Street, Boston, and is free to MMS members. You can alternatively join us via webcast. It is sponsored by the MMS and its Medical Student and Resident and Fellow Sections; information and registration.

Back by popular demand: FREE personalized assistance with QPP prep

Maximize your reimbursement and avoid penalties: Join us for light refreshments and personalized assistance to help you develop your strategy for successful MACRA Quality Payment Program (QPP) implementation in your practice. The program includes Managing the Madness of MIPS, which outlines reporting requirements and timelines. It is designed for providers who are MIPS-eligible and required to report for 2017 (check your MIPS participation status). 

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 (participants need attend only one): October 23, 2017, or November 8, 2017, 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the Massachusetts Medical Society headquarters, Waltham. At the October 23 session, also plan to learn from a practice administrator who is working to implement MACRA and has firsthand stories to share on challenges and successes. Your registration should include at least one clinician and one colleague/team member responsible for reporting. Space is limited; registration.

2018 Annual Awards: Tell us about your colleagues' achievements

All physicians likely have at least one colleague who deserves to be nominated for outstanding work or service to the community. Who's yours? The MMS recognizes excellence in multiple categories, including: medical service or public health; contributions to medical education, men’s health, women’s health, women’s physician leadership, or reducing health disparities; service to the MMS; and more. The MMS and its Committee on Recognition Awards are currently seeking nominations for the 2018 Annual Award Program; information and applications.

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 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. For more on technology and health care delivery, see the October issue of Vital Signs.

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. 

2017 Annual Oration – Traumatic Brain Injury, Concussion, and American Football
Friday, December 1, 2017, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Ethics Forum – CRISPR and the Ethics of Germline Manipulation
Friday, December 1, 2017, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. 

The Heller School's Executive MBA for Physicians (EMBA)
January 2018 – May 2019   Discount for MMS members
Brandeis University, Heller School of Social Policy and Management
415 South Street, Waltham, MA

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

Featured online CME courses – Risk Management credit

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. 

State Health Connector, reacting to cut subsidies, sharply raises 2018 rates

Insurance rates for individuals who buy the most popular plans on the Massachusetts Health Connector will rise 24 percent next year because the Trump administration has promised to pull critical federal payments that subsidize coverage, state officials said. 

Watertown-based Athenahealth Inc. begins layoffs

The reductions come as the company has been looking to cut costs in the face of pressure from an activist investor. The company, which is planning to release its third-quarter earnings Thursday night, did not respond to requests for comment about the measures. 

Opioid prescription check tool being widely utilized by Massachusetts physicians

Roughly 125,000 searches are being conducted every week by nearly 59,000 individuals enrolled in the program — including 96 percent of all the individuals who prescribed an opioid drug between January and March of 2017. 

State Senate's health care bill calls for more scrutiny of drug companies

Massachusetts Senate leaders unveiled sweeping health care legislation that tackles such issues as prescription drug costs and hospital prices, an effort that proponents say will improve the state's health care system and curb medical spending. 

Head of state alcohol testing fired

The 126-page report concludes that the Office of Alcohol Testing, which is overseen by the Massachusetts State Police, "made serious errors in judgment" in responding to requests for documentation sought by defense attorneys on behalf of clients — a process known in legal parlance as "discovery." 

Nurse's aide plays video games while a veteran dies at Bedford VA hospital

The aide, Patricia Waible, eventually admitted that she was playing video games on her computer and didn't check on Nutter at all, according to someone with firsthand knowledge. 

VA whistleblower: Agency is trying to 'scare me away' through retaliatory actions

Since he notified his superiors that fellow employees were selling drugs to patients and engaging in inappropriate behavior, the hospital administration has revoked his access to certain buildings, prohibited him from working with patients, declared him AWOL for not performing his duties, and docked his pay, according to VA records. 

Surgeons reflect on roles in opioid crisis

Surgeons who gathered at the State House said there's a growing focus in their offices and operating rooms on the other paths those prescriptions can lead down, as doctors rethink their procedures in light of the ongoing opioid addiction epidemic. 

Mass. officials blast Trump's decision to end health subsidies

Henry L. Dorkin, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, said in a statement that Trump's decision would put "tens of millions" of Americans at risk and disproportionately affect working-class families. "This is an attack on the very foundation of access to health care for everyone in this country," Dorkin said. 

Randolph killing underscores dilemma for nursing homes 

The case marks the second time in two years that CareOne has faced sharp criticism after a younger resident killed an older one at one of its Massachusetts nursing homes.

Medical marijuana dispensaries begin conversion to retail 

The Department of Public Health has issued guidance for registered marijuana dispensaries interested in converting to for-profit corporate entities, an option afforded to them in the marijuana law the Legislature passed this summer. 

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