Massachusetts Medical Society: MMS Testifies at Price Variation Commission

MMS Testifies at Price Variation Commission


MMS News and Announcements

MMS Testifies at Price Variation Commission

MMS provided testimony Tuesday at a hearing of the Special Commission to Review Variation in Prices among Providers, a multi-stakeholder group comprised of government, hospital, and payer representatives tasked with evaluating the issue of variation in prices negotiated by providers. MMS, joined by Dr. Alex Hanneberg from the Massachusetts Society of Anesthesiologists, testified to highlight physician perspectives on many of the conversations of the commission over the past several months, including concerns about discussions of tiered network insurance plans and out-of-network, or "surprise" bills. MMS will follow-up with written testimony to be posted on

Last Chance!
Register for CME Webinar on Combatting Physician Burnout

Leave stress behind in 2016. You can make 2017 a year to learn strategies for combatting burnout by participating in the upcoming CME webinar, “Running on Empty,” on Jan. 25, 2017. Click here to register.

BORIM Regulations Out for Public Comment

The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine (BORIM) has released proposed amendments to its regulations that detail the adjudicatory process as well as the Patient Care Assessment Program. The regulations include changes to several definitions and processes that could expand the reach of the Board. New provisions regarding the informed consent process for surgery, with particular attention to concurrent surgeries, are also included. MMS plans to submit extensive written comment, and will testify at the hearing on March 1st. The Public Comment period will end at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 3, 2017.

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 network 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: Resources Available for PQRS Deadline and Live Webinar

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. For an overview of the PQRS 2016 registry requirements, tune in to a live webcast on Friday, January 20, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. Click here to register.

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.

Running on Empty? Physicians' Path to Enjoying Life and Medicine More
Wednesday, January 25, 2017, 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. - LIVE WEBINAR

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

Health Connector Safe from ACA Repeal

Health Connector – the Massachusetts affordable health care marketplace -- might lose federal subsidies during the Affordable Care Act repeal looming in Washington, but state officials say the Massachusetts citizens will still have access to affordable health insurance.

Ambulatory Surgery Centers Allowed to Expand Under New Regulations

Under new medical regulations approved Jan. 11, existing freestanding ambulatory surgery centers will be allowed to apply for permission to expand or offer new lines of patient service without being affiliated with an acute care hospital.

Renewed Call for Gun Safety Policy

Researchers are issuing an urgent call to action against gun violence for fellow academics and community leaders, warning that lives will continue to be lost under a new administration that is unlikely to enact gun safety policy.

Walgreens to Pay Settlement for Opioid Rx Lapses

Walgreens pharmacies has agreed to pay a $200k settlement following an investigation by Attorney General Maura Healey that found that the company failed to monitor patients' drug use patterns and didn't use sound professional judgment when dispensing opioids and other controlled substances.

Patients Give Doctors High Marks in Survey

Massachusetts patients gave their doctors high marks for communication in a statewide survey, though many said they have not talked with their physicians about overall health goals and challenges.

Gov. Baker Seeks to Curb Medical Spending

Gov. Charlie Baker, seeking to rein in the continued rise in medical spending, is proposing to penalize employers $2,000 per worker if they do not provide health insurance, and to also place new limits on hospital prices.

Legislators Debate Changes in Marijuana Law

Massachusetts Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg has raised the prospect of lawmakers sharply increasing the marijuana tax rate , lowering the 12-plant-per-household limit on home growing pot, and even raising the legal age for purchase, possession, and use up from 21.

MassHealth Expands Coverage for Addiction Care

MassHealth, which administers Medicaid in Massachusetts, will expand benefits to include the entire spectrum of 24-hour addiction care thanks to the federal government who has agreed to contribute $150 million over five years.

Mass. Smokers Top Nation in Tobacco Spending

Smokers in Massachusetts burn an average of $43,000 every year to support their habit — more money than in nearly any other region in the U.S., according to a study on the costs of tobacco addiction.

Spaulding Cape Cod Completes Renovation Project

Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital has completed a renovation project intended to prepare for up to double the number of elderly residents it expects to help near its Cape location in coming years.

Bay State Mulls Benchmarks in Wake of Rising Health Costs

As Bay State healthcare spending continues to outpace the Massachusetts economy, state officials will now decide whether to keep or raise a lower growth target for next year.

New Program Targets Children of Opioid Addicts

Early intervention program targeting children of opioid addicted parents is the first such program in the state, according to health officials.

Health Insurers Press to Close Gap in Hospital Price Disparities

Massachusetts health insurers and employers are lobbying to narrow the wide variation in prices charged by hospitals for the same services, arguing that the disparities here are bigger than in other parts of the country.

Berkshire County Group Tackles Opioid Crisis

The Central County Work Group in Berkshire County will address issues and share information about the addiction crisis in collaboration with Berkshire Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative, established in 2013 to help intervene with the countywide problem of opioid abuse.

Gov. Charlie Baker Urges Congress to Retain ACA

Gov. Charlie Barker is calling for federal lawmakers to maintain several key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, specifically for pre-existing medical conditions and allowing Massachusetts to keep its first-in-the-nation mandate that all its residents have health insurance.

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