Massachusetts Medical Society: MMS Provides Comment on Opioid Formulary

MMS Provides Comment on Opioid Formulary


MMS News and Announcements

MMS Provides Comment on Opioid Formulary

MMS provided comment to the Department of Public Health regarding the Drug Formulary Commission’s new proposed regulations which include a formulary for automatic substitution of certain opioids. The formulary, mandated by the legislature, was tasked with identifying therapeutically equivalent abuse deterrent opioids as alternatives to opioids that are deemed to pose a heightened public health risk. The Medical Society strongly objected to the resulting formulary, which includes proposed substitution of brand name drugs for many commonly prescribed generics.

Voluntary Non-Opioid Directive Guidance

The Department of Public Health (DPH) released this week guidance regarding the implementation of the “Voluntary Non-Opioid Directive” (VNOD), a form that can be voluntarily filled out by a patient to indicate their desire to not be offered or administered opioid medication. The VNOD—a provision from Gov. Baker’s comprehensive opioid bill from 2106—outlines the prescriber’s responsibility to check the patient’s medical record to determine if they have previously completed this directive. Patients may orally revoke the directive. MMS is currently engaged with DPH to learn more details of the process.

Advocating for Physician Wellness

Healthcare professionals have always been at high risk for occupational stress. Did you know that the endemic of physician burnout has become especially pervasive in recent years? To help combat the rising tide of burnout, the MMS’ Physician Practice Resource Center (PPRC) has created a dedicated website focused on physician wellness. Click here for more information.

MMS Committee Application Deadline is March 3

If you would like to become more involved in the MMS, consider participating on a committee or the Member Interest Network Executive Council. Committee appointments are for specific terms, usually three year renewable commitments. We have put in place resources for distance participation including conference calls and online meetings. Click here for details and application forms.

MMS Committee on Nominations Currently Seeking Candidates:
MMS Officer and New AMA Delegate/Alternate Delegate

The MMS Committee on Nominations is currently considering candidates for nomination for the following offices: President-elect, Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer, Assistant Secretary-Treasurer, Speaker, and Vice Speaker. Please click here to learn more and submit your application online.

In addition, due to an increase in AMA membership, the MMS has now earned three additional AMA Delegate and three additional AMA Alternate Delegate positions in the AMA House of Delegates. For more information and to apply, click here. The deadline for submission of all nomination applications is Monday, February 6 at 4 p.m.

Interviews for both officer positions and the new AMA Delegate and Alternate Delegate positions will be held at MMS Headquarters in Waltham on Thursday, March 2, 2017 between 4:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Applicants should plan to be available on this date. If you have questions, contact Linda Healy at (800) 322-2303, ext. 7008 or

Renew MMS Membership in 2017

Thank you to our many members who have renewed their membership with the MMS for 2017. We look forward to another year bringing you practice management support, continuing medical education, professional networking and advocacy. If you have yet to renew, make sure you continue to receive your subscription to the New England Journal of Medicine and maintain access to the many other membership benefits the Society has to offer. Renew online today at or call 800-322-2303, ext. 7495 with questions.

Do you know an immunization hero?

The Massachusetts Adult Immunization Coalition is seeking nominations for its Adult Immunization Champion Award. Nominees should be individuals or organizations (including physician practices) that have demonstrated particular leadership, initiative, innovation, collaboration and/or advocacy in promoting adult immunization. Nominations are due on February 10, 2016. Awards will be presented at the Massachusetts Adult Immunization Conference on April 2. Click here for more information.

Volunteer Physician Opportunity with Medical Students

Boston University School of Medicine’s Integrated Problems course depends on volunteer physicians to facilitate small group problem-based learning sessions for second-year medical students. Share your valuable medical experience and expertise in developing the students’ clinical reasoning skills. The course runs between January and March 2017. Click here for more information.

Benefit Buzz: Special Member Discount and Resources for PQRS Deadline

The deadline for submitting your Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) measures to CMS is February 28, 2017. There is up to a 6% penalty at risk for non-compliance with PQRS. MMS has arranged for a 33% discount using PQRSwizard from CECity for physicians and group practices to rapidly collect, validate, report, and submit data on the quality of care to Medicare with 99.5% success rate and avoid payment adjustments. Click here for more information.

Mindful Practice in Medicine Workshop Planned

A Mindful Practice in Medicine workshop is planned for March 18 and 19 at MMS Headquarters, followed by 4 consecutive Wednesday webinars. The workshop focuses on developing a capacity for self-awareness in stressful and demanding situations and building resilience in community. Click here for information; click here to register.

Save the Date: Women’s Health Forum April 21

MMS Committee on Women in Medicine will present the Women’s Health Forum on April 21. This year’s program, “Hormones: Do They Define Us?,” features a lecture and panel discussion on transgender health, a session on the effect of hormones on metabolism and weight regulation, and a discussion on the evolution of breast surgery by faculty from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Also planned are networking opportunities and an awards luncheon. The Women’s Health Award will be presented to Barbara L. Smith, M.D., and the Women’s Health Research Award will be presented to Robert H. Young, M.D., both from MGH. For more information contact Erin Tally at

Education Programs & Events
Live CME Activities

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

Women’s Health Forum – Hormones: Do They Define Us?
Friday, April 21, 2017, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 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

For additional risk management online CME activities, visit

This Week in Health Care

Partners Healthcare to Acquire Mass. Eye and Ear

Partners Healthcare, the state’s largest health system, is planning to acquire Massachusetts Eye and Ear, the specialty hospital with which it shares a deep affiliation.

Legislators to Study Gov. Baker’s Health Plan

State legislators said they will need to study the health care market reforms proposed in Gov. Charlie Baker’s fiscal 2018 budget as they decide how to respond.

Four Mass. Medical Schools Receive NIH Awards

Four top medical schools in Massachusetts received a combined $478 million in awards from the National Institutes of Health in fiscal 2016.

Cape Cod Police Undertake Mental Health Training

Cape Cod police spent a week training to increase their understanding of mental health issues and to learn de-escalation techniques when responding to crisis calls.

Legislators Curb Marijuana Law

State Legislator Jason Lewis has introduced key aspects of the marijuana law 1.8 million voters put on the books on Nov. 8, stating, "It's in everybody's best interest, including the advocates that we do this right in Massachusetts and we do this in a way that is safe and that protects public health and safety."

Methuen’s Rep. Campbell Seeks Further Pot Limits

State Rep. Linda Dean Campbell (D-Methuen) wants to limit the marijuana industry's influence in crafting laws regulating the drug's legal use. She is proposing legislation which would add six members to the state's new Cannabis Advisory Board.

Dr. David Roberts Named President of Salem Hospital

Cardiologist Dr. David Roberts has been named president of North Shore Medical Center, which includes Salem Hospital and Union Hospital in Lynn. He is assuming leadership at a time when the organization reported losing $36 million in 2015, more than any hospital in Massachusetts.

As Flu Cases Rise, Vaccinations are Encouraged

A surge in positive flu tests has Bay State doctors urging unvaccinated residents to get their shots during a winter season that has seen more than eight times more confirmed cases than last year at this time.

State Legislature Grapples with Drug Prices

Four bills have been filed in the Legislature that are aimed at controlling the price of prescription medicines by requiring drug makers to disclose the cost of their research, marketing, and manufacturing.

Expanding Dental Care to Underserved Populations Debated

Massachusetts Dental Society agreed on the need to provide more dental care to underserved populations, announcing its support for a bill creating a new class of provider known as a public health dental practitioner.

Gov. Baker Seeks $37m for Bridgewater State Hospital

Gov. Charlie Baker will use his State of the Commonwealth address to request $37 million in additional spending to cement a deal with a Nashville firm to provide security and clinical services for men suffering from serious mental health disorders who have become involved in the criminal justice system.

Atrius Health Expands in Plymouth

Atrius Health, a Newton-based physician group, is expanding in Plymouth with a new deal to hire 20 doctors, following a previous expansion of its physician staff last year, bringing its total to about 875, up from about 750 a year earlier.

Gov. Baker Proposes Slashing Opioid, HIV, and Elder Care Programs

Gov. Charlie Baker has proposed series of budget cuts proposed by the Baker administration may put some Massachusetts health organizations—including some of the state's hallmark programs—in peril.

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