Join the AMA Delegation, Get an International Health Grant, Prescribe Buprenorphine

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MMS NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

Join our AMA delegation: The MMS Committee on Nominations is seeking candidates

The MMS Committee on Nominations is currently considering candidates for nomination as AMA Delegate and Alternate Delegate to the Massachusetts AMA Delegation. The deadline for submission of nomination applications is Thursday, August 17, 4:00 p.m. Visit www.massmed.org/amanoms to learn more about the qualifications and submit your application. Interviews with the Committee on Nominations will be held at MMS Headquarters, Waltham, on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 4:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. Applicants should plan to be available on this date. Questions? Please contact Linda Healy (800) 322-2303, ext. 7008 or lhealy@mms.org, or Karen Harrison at ext. 7463 or kharrison@mms.org.

MMS grants for international health studies: Apply this summer

Medical students and resident physician members of the MMS are eligible to apply for grants of up to $2,000 to defray the costs of studying abroad. The primary goal of these International Health Studies (IHS) grants, provided by the Massachusetts Medical Society and Alliance Charitable Foundation, is to encourage international education, particularly focusing on under-served populations. Preference will be given to projects providing health care-related work and/or training of staff, and to applicants planning careers serving underprivileged populations. Research projects that do not involve direct clinical care or teaching will not be considered. Programs must last at least three weeks to receive consideration. Applications are due by September 15, 2017; more information about the grants and application expectations.

Benefit Buzz: Get legal advice on Board of Registration in Medicine (BORIM) issues

Retaining an attorney to respond to a BORIM matter can cost thousands of dollars, and additional legal assistance could raise the cost even higher. The Legal Advisory Plan (LAP) is a MMS member-only, low-cost legal service, designed to effectively respond to BORIM issues. Enrollment is available for the July 2017–July 2018 year. Click here to learn more. Questions? Email lap@massmed.org, or call (781) 434-7311.

Stop the Bleed: New MMS video spreads the message that everyone can be trained in bleeding control

In a traumatic event, onlookers can become lifesavers. This is the message of the Stop the Bleed campaign, which was partially inspired by our community’s response to the Boston Marathon. MMS encourages individuals to be trained in bleeding control, and has released this 1 ½ –minute video outlining the value of that training for everyone. Hear from a local trauma surgeon and a resident physician about how the public can be prepared to save lives. This video is based on a Stop the Bleed training event provided at the MMS Annual Meeting (April, 2017) by the MMS Committee on Preparedness and the Physicians Insurance Agency of Massachusetts, the insurance agency of the MMS; more information on Stop the Bleed.

Waiver training: Provide medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorder

This free training is for MDs, NPs, and PAs seeking a waiver to prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorder in their office. The curriculum includes the science of addiction as a brain disorder, the pharmacology of buprenorphine, and the regulatory requirements around prescribing this medication. Attendees will learn to screen patients for treatment with buprenorphine, and to manage the medication along with the patient's other medical needs in an office setting such as a primary care clinic. The training will be held in West Barnstable on July 28, 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; more info on content and accreditation, and registration.


What's up at the State House

State budget steers clear of problematic health provisions

State Senate and House leaders announced today a compromise $40.2 billion FY 2018 budget. The budget imposes $400 million in cuts—including $150 million from the MassHealth program—to prior proposals, owing to reduced revenue projections. The Medical Society was pleased to see many concerning provisions that had been offered throughout the lengthy budget process omitted from the final budget. The budget negotiators elected not to include proposals that would have altered the scope of practice of nurse practitioners, optometrists, podiatrists, and others, as well as provisions that would have authorized the Health Policy Commission to set rates for out-of-network care. The Medical Society remains committed to addressing many of these issues through the traditional legislative process.


Reminders! MACRA, HDHPs, and more

AMA video shows physicians how to avoid Medicare payment penalties

The AMA and the MMS are looking to help physicians avoid a negative Medicare payment adjustment in 2019—an effort that may be particularly relevant to physicians who have not previously participated in Medicare reporting programs, and/or physicians in smaller practices. The AMA has new materials available on its website, including:

  • A short video: One patient, one measure, no penalty: How to avoid a Medicare payment penalty with basic reporting.
  • A sample CMS-1500 claim form
  • Links to quality measures on the CMS website
  • A link to the CMS MIPS eligibility too!

Free personalized assistance from MMS for practice MACRA/MIPS strategies

Join us for FREE personalized assistance in developing your strategy for MACRA MIPS implementation in your practice. The program includes Mapping out MIPS: Keys to Success in 2017, which outlines measure selection and reporting requirements. It is designed for providers who are MIPS eligible and required to report for 2017 (check MIPS reporting requirements). Space is limited. Dinner is provided. 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. Healthcentric Advisors is a CMS contracted organization and supports practices of all sizes in preparing for MIPS implementation. They have been helping hundreds of clinicians prepare for MACRA, and want to help you.
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 jsacramone@healthcentricadvisors.org or Yael Miller at ymiller@mms.org.  

Join the QPP Open Call sessions for expert guidance

Join the New England QIN-QIO's Quality Payment Program (QPP) team as they review frequently asked questions about participation in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or an Alternative Payment Model (APM). These calls will include time for open discussion and sharing about all things QPP. The calls are open to providers, clinicians, office managers, practice administrators, quality improvement specialists, and anyone else who is involved in quality program reporting. Calls will be offered bimonthly on the following dates, 11:30 a.m.—12:30 p.m.:

  • Wednesday, July 12
  • Wednesday, July 26
  • Wednesday, August 9
  • Wednesday, August 30

Sign up for calls here. An email with instructions will be sent the day before the call. Questions? Contact Leila Volinsky at lvolinsky@healthcentricadvisors.org.

New MMS report on the impact and implications of high-deductible health plans

The MMS has published an informational report on the prevalence and impact of cost-sharing, particularly high-deductible health plans, in Massachusetts. Assessment of the Impact of High-Deductible Health Plans on Patient Health and the Financial Impact on Medical Practices is designed to guide physician policy and advocacy efforts at the state and federal levels. The report outlines policy options that could help protect patients and physicians from further growth in cost-sharing, encourages conversations between physicians and patients about costs, and promotes advocacy for more equitable and durable means of controlling medical spending. The impact of cost sharing on patients and physicians is also explored in the Summer issue of Vital Signs: Patients are Feeling Crushed By Health Care Cost Sharing: How Can Physicians Be Part of the Solution? (Illustration: Chris Twichell, MMS)

Provider and patient resource on drowning prevention and water safety

Summer is here, and people are flocking to the water. More than 3,500 people in the US die in drowning accidents each year, most of them in May–August. In children aged 1–14 years, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death. The MMS has produced a new guide for patients and parents to inform and remind them of the dangers of drowning. This downloadable resource for providers and patients addresses drowing prevention, what to do in an emergency, and where to find further resources and training.

Honors, accolades, appointments, publications? Share your news in Vital Signs

Vital Signs, the monthly print and online newsletter of the MMS, has two new columns—and we need you to fill them. Members on the Move lists your professional news, such as joining a new hospital, opening a practice, or a recent promotion. Honors and Accolades is where we share your other achievements: board appointments, speaking engagements, community outreach, or published works. We are currently seeking submissions for the September 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 vitalsigns@mms.org by July 14, 2017 (for the September issue).


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. 

Norfolk County Safe Prescribing and Dispensing Conferences
Thursday, 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 new online CME activities – Risk Management credit 


Comprehensive Cannabis Curriculum (Modules 1–5 now available)


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.

Gunshot wounds in Boston up 30% over last year, over 75 in one neighborhood
According to Boston police statistics pulled by The Herald, 123 people suffered gunshot injuries in the city as of July 4. By July 4, 2016, in contrast, 28 fewer names made that list. Neighborhoods of concern driving the surge in nonfatal shootings include Dorchester, Mattapan, Roxbury and Jamaica Plain.

Natick school warns of game that encourages suicide in kids
It's called the Blue Whale Challenge, and it has parents and educators concerned about the consequences. The challenge is targeted at teens, who have to download an app, from which they get 50 different assignments. The last one is to kill themselves.

For now, Central Mass. towns reject recreational pot law 
Voters statewide approved a new law legalizing recreational marijuana last November, but cities and towns aren't waiting for the legalization of pot shops to go into effect before taking action to delay or ban indefinitely any such stores.

In Massachusetts, annual health care costs surpassed $10,500 per person
While there was a decrease in excess spending in hospitals, physician and nursing care facilities from 2009 to 2014, there were "disproportionate" spending increases in prescription drugs and home health care spending, according to the commission.

No tropical paradise: Urban 'heat islands' are hotbeds for health problems
Daily temperatures in these spots can be 20 to 50 degrees hotter than in leafy suburbs. For residents of these islands, health risks rise with the heat.

$10 million gift launches joint Harvard, Children's Hospital brain center
The Allen Discovery Center will bring together researchers in neuronal molecular biology, human evolution, genetics, and genomics to figure out what exactly makes humans unique — which genes were involved, when they came into play, and how they were affected by experience and environment. 

Massachusetts looks to reform state health care system
Massachusetts has one of the highest rates of residents with health insurance in the nation, but a recent audit revealed that patients continue to turn to emergency rooms for treatment instead of primary care doctors.

Board can't weed out doc who OK'd pot for mother-to-be
The board argued that issuing the certificate to a pregnant woman made him an "immediate and serious threat" to public safety. As of June 1, 2016, Cushing had issued 4,649 medical marijuana certificates — the third-highest in Massachusetts.

US Rep. Kennedy makes impassioned plea for health care goals
The Massachusetts Democrat made the pitch for his party's health care goals during the weekly House Democratic address.

Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus found in Western Massachusetts
Sixteen cases of WNV infection occurred in Massachusetts last year, according to the DPH, which says people over 50 are at a higher risk for severe disease, though all ages can be affected by most mosquito-borne illnesses. 

Charles River Community Health opens Koutoujian health center
The new facility was made possible in part through the Affordable Care Act Patient Centered Medical Home—Facility Improvements Grant Program, which grants funds to health centers in need of renovation or construction.

Lowell opioid workers hit the streets, saving lives
Every day, the COOP team scours the city to find the people who overdosed the night before, and encourages them to enter treatment and connect with other resources. 

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