Massachusetts Medical Society: MMS Testifies at BORIM Regulation Hearing

MMS Testifies at BORIM Regulation Hearing



MMS Testifies at BORIM Regulation Hearing
MMS testified this week at a hearing at the Board of Registration in Medicine (BORIM) offering strong concern about many of the proposed changes to BORIM regulations.
In addition to extensive written testimony from MMS, McKinley Glover, M.D., a neuroradiology resident at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Debra Boyer, M.D., a pediatric pulmonologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, joined MMS staff to outline the priority issues of concern, and to convey the implications of the proposed changes to medical training and clinical practice in the Commonwealth.
Specifically, the MMS panel expressed concern about adding “adjudication” and “probation” to the list of events considered Disciplinary Actions. Dr. Glover highlighted the importance of encouraging constructive “remediative” conversations in the course of a residency without fear of report to the board. He highlighted the range of actions that could be considered probation -- many of which should in no way be considered discipline.
Dr. Boyer also stressed these points from her perspective as a fellowship director and Graduate Medical Education faculty leader. Additionally, she discussed the concerning “informed consent” proposals that would broadly require written informed consent for therapeutic and diagnostic interventions. Dr. Boyer further highlighted the incompatibility of the specific provisions of the informed consent proposals- including the requirement that the attending physician name all members of the surgical team at the point of informed consent--into clinical practice and into medical training processes. MMS will provide updates upon promulgation of final rules.

DPH Sends Opioid Prescribing Reports
The Department of Public Health on Wednesday sent Prescriber Trend Notifications via password protected email to all prescribers of Schedule II and III opioids. The reports compare each prescriber’s frequency and volume of prescribing versus the mean and median of all other prescribers in the physician’s specialty in the state. If you have questions about your report, would like to change your specialty designation, or if you did not receive the email, contact MassPAT at or 617-753-7310. While individual data is held as private communication between DPH and prescriber, an updated FAQ on the notifications is available at:

MMS Goes to Washington, D.C. for 2017 National Advocacy Conference
MMS members and officers met with Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Feb. 28 in Washington, D.C.

MMS members and officers met with Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Feb. 28 in Washington, D.C.

A group of MMS members and officers attended the National Advocacy Conference (NAC) in Washington, D.C. from February 27-March 1. The MMS contingent met with members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, including U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, U.S. Reps. James McGovern and Bill Keating, and others. The NAC, a yearly event sponsored by the American Medical Association, also provides participants with opportunities to learn how to better advocate for patients, the medical profession, and the future of health care. A report on MMS members attending NAC will appear in a future issue of Vital Signs

Free Web Event: Aligning Incentives for Sharing
Clinical Trial Data on April 3-4  

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) is hosting a free web event on sharing clinical trial data on April 3-4. Gain insights into data sharing issues from leading experts representing those most involved in data sharing – researchers, patients, and funders. Participate online in real time through moderated online sessions and working groups. Click here to register.

2017 Annual Meeting: Hotel Deadline Reminder and Website Launch
This year's Annual Meeting is scheduled to take place April 27-29, 2017 at the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center in Boston.  The MMS hotel deadline of Friday, March 17 is fast approaching.  Please visit to make your reservations today. 
The Annual Meeting Website is live at and includes online registration, hotel room information, and a complete schedule of events. The upcoming 2017 Annual Meeting is sure to be an exciting event and we hope you can join us.

Mindful Practice in Medicine Workshop Planned
A Mindful Practice in Medicine workshop is planned for March 18 and 19 at MMS Headquarters, followed by four 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.

Benefit Buzz: PQRS Reporting Deadline Extended and Special Member Discount
The deadline for submitting your Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) measures to CMS is March 10, 2017. MMS members receive a 33 percent discount using PQRSwizard to rapidly collect, validate, report, and submit data on the quality of care to Medicare with 99.5 percent success rate and avoid payment adjustments. Check out the Resource Center to access PQRS-related archieved webcasts and educational resources.  Click here for more information.

A Reminder to Renew for 2017
Renew your MMS membership for 2017 before March 15th to make sure you continue to receive valuable benefits, like your subscription to the New England Journal of Medicine, and up to 50 percent off CME, including the Women’s Health Forum on April 21st. Click here to renew online today or call 800-322-2303, ext. 7495 with questions.

Get Prepared for MACRA
Learn how to report for the Merit Based Incentive Payment System with a one hour webinar, “An introduction to the AMA Payment Model Evaluator," that instructs how to report the new Medicare Quality Payment Program already underway. Now more than ever physicians need resources and support to succeed in the QPP. Click here to register.

Benefit Buzz: Legal Advice with Board of Registration in Medicine Issues
Retaining an attorney to respond to a Board of Registration in Medicine (BRM) matter can cost thousands of dollars, and additional legal assistance could raise the cost even higher. The Legal Advisory Plan (LAP) is a member-only, low-cost legal service, designed to effectively respond to BRM issues at a fraction of the cost of hiring an attorney. safeguard your license in the event of a Board of Registration (BRM) investigation. Enrollment for 2017-2018 plan year is available. Click here to learn more. Questions? Email, or call (781) 434-7311.

Women's Health Forum to Present Awards April 21
At the Women’s Health Forum on April 21, Robert H. Young, M.D., will be presented with the 2016 Women’s Health Research Award; Barbara L. Smith, M.D., will receive the 2016 Women’s Health Award; Fatima Cody Stanford, M.D., will receive the 2017 Women’s Health Award, and JoAnn E. Manson, M.D., will receive the 2017 Women’s Health Research Award.
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, 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, features a lecture and panel 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 the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).
For registration, visit , or contact Erin Tally at

Educational Programs and Events

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.
Norfolk District Attorney’s Office – Safe Prescribing & Dispensing Conference
Tuesday, March 14, 2017, 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Randolph, MA
Open to subscribers of controlled substances who practice in Norfolk County.
13th Annual Public Health Leadership Forum: Social Determinants of Health - Improving Population Health through Prevention Based Care
Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Women’s Health Forum – Hormones: Do They Define Us?
Friday, April 21, 2017, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Annual Education Program – The Winding Road of Addiction: Hope on the Horizon
Friday, April 28, 2017, 8:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m., or via live webinar.
MMS Annual Meeting, Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center, Boston, MA
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
Directors of Medical Education Conference – Advancing Collaboration and Compliance
Thursday, May 18, 2017, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
The above activities have been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™

Featured Online CME Activities – Risk Management Credit
Helping Patients with COPD Breathe Easier - NEW
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

North Shore Medical Plans Lay Offs, Budget Cuts 
North Shore Medical Center is planning to lay off workers and cut its budget by $45 million in an effort to deal with "unsustainable" financial losses, according to a letter from its interim president to employees....The Feb. 15 letter from Dr. Gregg Meyer said the cuts represent 10 percent of the organization's operating budget and will affect all departments.

CDC Ranks Bay State in Top 10 for Overdose Deaths
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
ranks the Bay State's drug overdose rate of 25.7 per 100,000 seventh in the nation, behind New Hampshire at No. 2, Rhode Island at No. 5, and Connecticut at No. 11.
Franklin County's Opioid Task Force Takes Stock
Franklin County’s opioid task force took stock of the group's two-year existence, reflecting on the broad swath of society working to combat the epidemic: educators, law enforcement officers, health care providers, municipal leaders, recovery coaches and needle exchange workers, among others.
Cape Cod Healthcare Receives Grant for Tick Testing Cape Cod Healthcare has received a $30,000 grant that allows local residents to continue receiving a subsidized rate for a tick testing program that has been expanded to include testing for the potentially fatal Powassan virus.
Health Plans Post Losses for 2016 
Harvard Pilgrim, Tufts Health, and Fallon -- three of the state's four largest nonprofit health insurers -- suffered operating losses last year, which they blamed on the growing costs of medical care and prescription drugs.
Bay State Trumpeted as a “Best State” for Education, Health Care
U.S. News and World Report lists Massachusetts as one of the “best states” because of its vibrant academic environment, innovative and supportive health care policies, and modernizing economy.
Nursing Staff at Odds with Berkshire Health
Berkshire Health and their nursing staff are at odds over staffing issues. Nurses insist their workload is overwhelming and they have repeatedly requested additional staff. Hospital officials said their staffing guidelines are appropriate. 
Affordable Care Act Supporters Rally at State House 
Affordable Care Act supporters -- doctors, health care executives, and others -- gathered in front of the State House to condemn President Trump's vow to dismantle the nation's landmark health care law. 

DPH Reports Rise in Suicides in Massachusetts

Department of Public Health reports that the number of suicide deaths has been increasing slightly every year for more than a decade. In 2014, there were 608 suicides in Massachusetts — more than auto crashes and homicides combined, representing a 3.1 percent rise from the previous year.
Bay State Seniors Struggle to Get By 
Senior citizens living in Massachusetts represent the second-largest population of elderly residents who are scraping to get by, second only to Mississippi, according to the 2016 Elder Economic Security Standard Index, compiled by UMass Boston professor Jan Mutchler.
Lynn Faces Cutback as Opioid Deaths Rise
Gov. Charlie Baker slashed $150,000 that goes to pay for a clinician and a case manager in Lynn who reach out to hundreds who overdose on opioids annually and help them get treatment, police said.

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