Massachusetts Medical Society: MMS Submits Comments about MassHealth Reform

MMS Submits Comments about MassHealth Reform


MMS News and Announcements

MMS Submits Comments about MassHealth Reform
MMS submitted extensive comments to the MassHealth program regarding its proposal to the federal government outlining large-scale health care delivery and payment reform. The proposal pushes the $15 billion Medicaid program towards accountable care models with greater integration of behavioral health and long-term care. MMS applauded the administration for its expanded substance use disorder coverage and funding for organizations seeking to transition towards alternative payment methodologies. MMS expressed concern about cuts to the fee-for-service plan, and about a 12-month enrollment lock-in period for enrollees. Read MMS testimony here.

New Rx Monitoring Program to Begin August 22
The Department of Public Health has announced the new Massachusetts prescription monitoring program known as MassPAT (Massachusetts Prescription Awareness Tool) will go live for full patient search functionality on August 22nd. On that date, the existing program will no longer be functional. All prescribers in Massachusetts must create a new account using this new system. Enrollment for prescribers is now open at: and clicking “Create an Account.” For more information, please go to or to

Scam Alert on Board Certifications
Some cardiologists in the region have received letters asking for money to register with the American Board of Cardiology. Physicians are advised that this solicitation may be bogus. Physicians receiving such letters should examine them carefully and check with their specialty association if there’s any doubt. The cardiology board had previously reported on a similar scam.

MMS President: Capability of Partial-Fill Rx Can Address Drug Diversion
In a new commentary, MMS President James S. Gessner, M.D. says the provision to allow partial-fill prescriptions of opioids, advocated by MMS and passed by Congress last week as part of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), should help to reduce one of the main drivers of prescription drug abuse: diversion. Read The President’s Podium here.

MMS Committee on Nominations Seeks Candidates for AMA
The MMS Committee on Nominations is considering candidates for nomination as AMA Delegate and Alternate Delegate on the Massachusetts AMA Delegation. Deadline is August 22. Visit to learn more. Interviews will be held at MMS Headquarters in Waltham on Thursday, September 15, 2016 between 4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Contact Linda Healy (800) 322-2303, ext. 7008 or or Karen Harrison at ext. 7463 or

Summit Planned on Opioid Epidemic
“Opioid Epidemic: Challenge Summit & Hack-a-thon,” will bring together health experts, law enforcement, patient advocates and others to share insights and action plans to combat the opioid crisis in a public forum. It is co-sponsored by the Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech), the GE Foundation and MGH Global Medicine. It will be held at District Hall, Boston, on September 9-11. For registration and information, visit their website.

Benefit Buzz: Open Enrollment for Legal Advisory Plan
There is still time to renew or enroll in the Legal Advisory Plan for July 2016 through July 2017. This valuable benefit provides enrolled members with legal assistance in the event of a Board of Registration in Medicine complaint or investigation. This is a service developed exclusively for MMS members. Don't miss your opportunity to take advantage of it. Learn more here.

Educational Programs and Events

Live CME Activities
Unless otherwise noted, all events are held at MMS headquarters, 860 Winter St., Waltham, MA

Evolutionary Biology in Clinical Medicine – Live Webinar
Monday, September 19, 2016, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Women’s Leadership Forum: Building Leadership Skills: What’s in Your Toolbox?
Friday, September 30, 2016, 10:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Managing Workplace Conflict: Improving Leadership & Personal Effectiveness
Thursday, November 3, 8:00 am- 6:00 pm & Friday, November 4, 2016, 8:00 am-4:30 pm

2016 Annual Oration – Zika Virus: Consequences for Massachusetts
Friday, December 2, 2016

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

Hallmark Doctors to Leave Partners, Join Tufts
The decision by the Hallmark Health System physician group, reported in The Boston Globe , follows the announcement last month that Hallmark would pursue a merger with Tufts’s parent company.

South Shore Hospital Plans Expansion
The Boston Globe reported that South Shore Hospital is trying to reinforce its place in the market with more than $200 million in facilities and software upgrades. The 370-bed Weymouth hospital has received $137 million in bond financing from the state's economic development agency and plans to raise money from donations to help cover the remainder of the costs.

State Commission Urges Lawmakers to Tackle Hospital Pricing
In a report issued by the state's health care watchdog, The Health Policy Commission, cited in a Boston Business Journal report, members said the disparity in prices charged by the most expensive and least expensive providers in the state had only worsened in recent years.

Funds Slashed at Agency Studying Ways to Contain Health Costs
The Center for Health Information and Analysis, or CHIA, was blindsided when its budget was slashed by more than a third as part of a deal to avert a potentially nasty fight over hospital funding, according to a Boston Globe report.

Brigham and Women's Nurses Approve 3-year Contract
The Boston Globe reported unionized nurses at Brigham and Women's Hospital voted Wednesday to approve a new three-year contract, formally ending a bitter labor dispute with one of the state's largest hospitals.

State: Naloxone Seen as Essential to Opioid Problem
Naloxone, which is sold under the brand Narcan, gives people addicted to opioids a chance at recovery, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said in a State News Service report, and Bay State officials "believe in having it as accessible as possible."

Half of Mass. Voters Oppose Legalized Marijuana Question
The survey, according to The Boston Globe’s report, which weighed public opinion on a range of ballot questions and state politics, found that 51 percent plan to vote against the marijuana legalization question, while 41 percent said they would support it. Nine percent were undecided.

UMass Medical Researcher Explores Mass. Uninsured Population
A study coauthored by UMass Medical School researcher Dr. Michael Chin and cited in a Worcester Business Journal report found that single, young, low-income males in Massachusetts are more likely to go without health insurance for two consecutive years, in a state with the lowest rate of uninsured persons nationwide.

Holyoke Medical Center's Stroke Care Facilities Honored
The 911-call about a possible stroke sparks a response to prepare care even before the ambulance screams to a stop at the parking spaces reserved at the emergency room door, according to a report in The Republican.

Drug Outreach Program Goes Door to Door in Peabody
The teams — made up of one firefighter and one clinician from Healthy Streets, both trained in overdose prevention and treatment options — began knocking on doors in Peabody on July 11 to offer help, according to a Salem News report.

Plymouth, Weymouth Hospitals Take New Approach to Addiction Treatment
The two largest hospitals in the region have changed the way they treat the steady stream of patients who arrive in their emergency rooms overdosing on drugs, usually heroin, often for the second, third or fourth time, according to a report in The Patriot Ledger.

Berkshire County Sees Rise of Urgent Care Centers
A Berkshire Eagle report quoted Dr. Ronald Hayden, Berkshire Medical Center's director of medicine, that the recent influx of urgent care centers in Pittsfield and elsewhere is due to the national shortage of primary care physicians available to treat patients.

Worcester Health Initiative to Serve African Immigrants
Last week, some 60 members of the Worcester’s African immigrant, medical and civic communities celebrated the launch of a nonprofit designed to bridge that gap, called the Diaspora Nurses Health Initiative, according to a Telegram & Gazette report.

Valley Doctors' Embrace of Medical Marijuana Remains Iffy
Western Massachusetts' top medical marijuana gatekeeper has stopped accepting new patients, the Daily Hampshire Gazette reported, narrowing the already small field of physicians ready to provide access to the drug as demand for it is expected to increase.

Time Ticking on Legislation on Lyme Disease
The Cape Cod Times reported now that state legislators have rejected an amendment by Gov. Charlie Baker that would have weakened a mandate for long-term antibiotic treatment of Lyme disease, advocates for people with the tick-borne disease hope to have the original language restored — and made law — by the end of the month.

State Won't Fault Morton Hospital on Patient Release
The Boston Globe reported that a state investigation into Morton Hospital's release of Arthur J. DaRosa, a seemingly suicidal man who went on to kill two people, found that staff who evaluated him were "thorough and comprehensive'' and followed appropriate procedures.

Newton-Wellesley Taps MGH Executive as New President
A Boston Business Journal report said Dr. Michael Jaff, most recently the medical director of the Fireman Vascular Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, will take over the care provider's top executive post this fall.

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