Massachusetts Medical Society: MMS Testifies Before Legislature on Marijuana Policy

MMS Testifies Before Legislature on Marijuana Policy



95% of You Plan to Renew Your MMS Membership: It’s Time
Ninety-five percent of MMS members plan to renew their membership, according to our 2016 survey. It’s hard to find a more on-point performance score than that. If you haven’t signed up yet, here’s why our members say it matters: MMS gives you a voice. We’re embedded in state and federal advocacy around issues key to your livelihood and career satisfaction, like the future of the Affordable Care Act and what’s going on with medical decision making. And we’re adept at helping you find your career vision and ways to make it happen. That’s why Massachusetts physicians say they’re committed to MMS: because MMS is committed to them. Membership invoices go out April 14. You can join or renew today.

MMS Testifies Before Legislature on Marijuana Policy
MMS President Dr. James Gessner testified Monday before the Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy, providing support for many bills put forward to increase the public health protections in the new law legalizing marijuana. Dr. Gessner supported several bills that would:

  • Promote public health education, with a particular emphasis on education and marketing policies aimed to prevent marijuana use among youth;
  • Fund, conduct, and publish research on the clinical and public health effects of recreational marijuana;
  • Amend the oversight structure to provide a strong medical and public health voice in the Cannabis Control Commission, which will be tasked with implementing and regulating the industry.

The Committee is expected to finalize a bill to amend the ballot initiative by this summer.

Massachusetts Announces its Immunization Champions
The Massachusetts Adult Immunization Coalition (MAIC) this week announced the awardees for its annual Massachusetts Adult Immunization Champion Award. Worcester physician and MMS member Lloyd Fisher, MD, and the nursing staff of Boston Health Care for the Homeless, will be recognized at the April 25, 2017 MAIC Conference in Marlborough, MA. Dr. Fisher is honored for automating vaccination reminders to patients, resulting in some of the highest vaccination rates in the nation. The nurses are honored for protecting Boston’s homeless population from a meningitis outbreak via round-the-clock clinics. Read about the awardees and the conference.

Physician Facilitator Volunteer Opportunity with Medical Students
The Boston University School of Medicine Integrated Problems (IP) course depends on volunteer physicians to facilitate the 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 is between September and November 2017. Join us for an Orientation Luncheon June 15, 2017; information and registration.

Massachusetts Healthcare Decisions Month
April marks Massachusetts Healthcare Decisions Month, an expansion of National Healthcare Decisions Day, which falls on April 16. This month-long initiative aims to engage physicians and patients in end-of-life conversations. The MMS has joined the Massachusetts Coalition for Serious Illness Care, which is promoting Healthcare Decisions Month. The Coalition’s campaign, Write Your Script, emphasizes healthcare at all life stages that honors the wishes of each individual.

Benefit Buzz: Legal Advice with Board of Registration in Medicine Issues
Safeguard your medical license. Physicians receiving notification from the Board of Registration in Medicine (BRM) of a complaint or investigation can find the experience time-consuming and costly. The Legal Advisory Plan (LAP), a MMS member-only, low-cost legal service, is designed to effectively respond to Board issues. Enrollment for 2017 - 18 is available. Questions? Email, or call (781) 434-7311.

MMS Annual Meeting 2017: New Initiatives
The Annual Meeting will include some new initiatives this year to enhance your meeting experience:

  • Meeting attendees will now scan a custom QR code on their badge to record attendance at HOD and CME meetings. This new tracking system eliminates the need for paper confirmations and tickets.
  • MMS is providing dedicated “family-friendly” space for delegates to bring their children to the meeting to view the proceedings of the House of Delegates. The meeting space will be available on Thursday, April 27, 2017, 7:30 AM–10:30 AM in the World Trade Center–Dartmouth Room, and Saturday, April 29, 2017, 9:00 AM–3:00 PM in the Seaport Hotel–Liberty Room. Pre-registration is required.

MMS Annual Meeting 2017: Additional Free CME Opportunity
We are pleased to announce an additional CME option for Friday, April 28 of the MMS Annual Meeting, rounding out a full day of CME opportunities.  
During many emergencies, bystanders are the first on the scene, before the arrival of EMS responders. In this 45-minute session, attendees will learn hemorrhage control techniques to increase victims’ chances of survival. The Bleeding Control for the Injured/Stop the Bleed Training puts knowledge gained by first responders and the military into the hands of the public to help save lives. Check out the full description and learning objectives. Space is limited; we recommend that you register early.

Physicians are Learning to Build Supportive, Low-Conflict Work Environments
This interactive, experiential two-day program is for residents and physicians in clinical practice, administration, and leadership. Managing Workplace Conflict: Improving Leadership and Personal Effectiveness is designed to help you establish relationships, teams, and work environments in which you and your colleagues can deliver your best care. You will learn to communicate more effectively, apply negotiation and conflict resolution skills with peers and leaders, implement appropriate changes in personal and organizational practices, exhibit appropriate boundaries, and more. The program provides 17 hours of category 1 risk management CME and is co-sponsored by Physician Health Services and the Massachusetts Medical Society. It will be held June 8–9, 2017 at MMS Headquarters, Waltham: information and registration.

Medical Education Goes to Cuba  
At this unique medical conference in Havana, physicians will experience Cuban culture while learning the most current, evidence-based clinical practice for key core competency-based medical topics from professionals in their fields. The conference, organized by the Connecticut State Medical Society, is open to Massachusetts physicians, and takes place May 20–24, 2017. The deadline for signing up is May 1, 2017: information and registration.

Risk Management Course on Addiction Medicine  
A risk management course, Addiction Medicine for All Providers: Pearls for Practice in a Time for Advocacy, is scheduled for May 19–20, 2017 at MMS Headquarters, Waltham; information and registration.

Leading Experts to Speak at Women’s Health Forum April 21  
Are you up to date on how hormonal changes can worsen or improve women's well-being? At the Women’s Health Forum on April 21, 2017, leading experts will explore how hormones can affect the women you treat from puberty to pregnancy and through postmenopause. The forum also addresses transgender health, the effect of hormones on metabolism and weight regulation, and the evolution of breast surgery.

JoAnn Manson, M.D. will deliver the morning keynote address. Dr. Manson is a physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Michael and Lee Bell Professor of Women's Health at Harvard Medical School. Barbara L. Smith, M.D. will deliver the afternoon keynote speech. Dr. Smith is director of the breast program at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

The Women's Health Forum is provided by the Massachusetts Medical Society and its Committee on Women in Medicine, in collaboration with the Brigham and Women's Hospital Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender Biology. It will be held at MMS Headquarters in Waltham; information and registration; or contact Erin Tally at

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.

Women’s Health Forum – Hormones: Do They Define Us?

Friday, April 21, 2017, 8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.  

Ethics Forum

Friday, April 28, 2017, 12:30 p.m.–2:00 p.m.

MMS Annual Meeting, Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center, Boston, MA  

Annual Education Program – The Winding Road of Addiction: Hope on the Horizon
Friday, April 28, 2017, 8:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

MMS Annual Meeting, Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center, Boston, MA or Via Live Webinar  

Shattuck Lecture and Luncheon – Personalize Medicine or Precision Medicine
Friday, April 28, 2017, 12:30 p.m.–2:00 p.m.

MMS Annual Meeting, Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center, Boston, MA  

Bleeding Control for the Injured/Stop the Bleed Training
Friday, April 28, 2017, Session 1: 2:30 p.m.–3:15p.m. OR Session 2: 3:30 p.m.–4:15 p.m.

MMS Annual Meeting, Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center, Boston, MA  

Engaging Physicians and Care Teams to Prevent Diabetes via Live Webinar

Tuesday, May 2, 2017, 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.  

Discussions on Concussions: Clinical Headlines Via Live Webinar
Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m. 

Directors of Medical Education Conference – Advancing Collaboration and Compliance
Thursday, May 18, 2017, 9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. 

15th Annual Symposium on Men’s Health – The Many Facets of Men’s Health: Clinical Conversations Impacting Your Patients
Thursday, June 15, 2017, 8:00 a.m.–12:00 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

Check out our additional online CME activities.  

This Week in Health Care  

House pulls back on Baker’s health care cost proposals
House leaders unveiled a $40.3 billion state budget that significantly tempered two controversial plans by Governor Charlie Baker to tackle the cost of health care. Lawmakers slashed his proposed fee on businesses to fund state medical costs, and rejected a plan to cap the prices charged by hospitals.

Recreational marijuana industry poised for takeoff
In Massachusetts, recreational marijuana is expected to become a $1.17 billion industry by 2020. The decision by voters to legalize recreational marijuana has created an industry that will bring additional tax revenue, job creation, marijuana and accessory sales, and even a new form of tourism.  

AG urged to enforce medical pricing transparency
Attorney General Maura Healey should “assert leadership” on behalf of consumers and motivate health care providers to comply with the state’s price-transparency law, the Pioneer Institute recommended. Their investigation found wildly varying costs for procedures and a reluctance to spell out those prices. 

Massachusetts weighs safe injection site for drug users
The Massachusetts Medical Society will vote late April on whether or not to advocate for a supervised injection facility pilot program , potentially becoming the first statewide physicians group to endorse the concept. Meanwhile, a new syringe exchange program has opened in North Adams, funded by the Massachusetts Department of Health.  

Hep C drugs inflating state’s health care costs
New medicines used to treat Hepatitis C are saving lives but also driving up insurance premiums and state health care expenses. “Hepatitis C therapies have become a poster-child for the high cost of pharmaceutical drugs,” said Brian Rosman of the advocacy group HealthCare for All.  

Psychiatric hospital planned for Worcester 
A for-profit psychiatric hospital is slated for Central Massachusetts and will offer outpatient and inpatient services for adults of all ages­, in a collaboration between UMass Memorial Health Care Inc. and a New York City-based company.  

New compact helps physicians obtain multiple state licenses
The Interstate Medical Licensure compact makes it easier for physicians to get licensed in multiple states and could improve access for patients in rural and under-served communities. The compact involves 18 participating states and their MD and DO licensing boards.  

Doctors say planned ACO will help MassHealth patients
Lowell’s health care providers are preparing for a "once in a lifetime" experiment to transform the way they care for MassHealth recipients. A proposed accountable care organization may help providers address the social determinants of health, potentially bringing down costs.  

Surviving opioids is more difficult in the fentanyl era
The synthetic opioid fentanyl is responsible for the rising drug overdose death count in Massachusetts. Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin, usually mixed with other drugs, and can immediately trigger an overdose reaction including a form of paralysis known as “wooden chest.”  

Surge in cases of sexually transmitted diseases worries health officials
Health officials are alarmed by a steady rise in known cases of sexually transmitted infections. Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis–three of the most common STDs–are becoming more prevalent in the state and nationally, especially among young people and minority groups, health officials say.  

Children and teens are vital allies in suicide prevention
Young people should be included in conversations about suicide and take a proactive role in suicide prevention, the state's annual Suicide Prevention Conference heard last week.  

The award goes to… Sarge the therapy dog
A golden retriever, one of 12 therapy dogs at Boston Medical Center, has been recognized as a dog “who changed the world” because of his preternatural ability to calm and comfort patients.   

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