Massachusetts Medical Society: Medical Aid-in-Dying Survey and Launch of Cannabis Curriculum

Medical Aid-in-Dying Survey and Launch of Cannabis Curriculum



Please take the MMS survey on medical aid-in-dying

Next month, MMS members will receive an important survey on their opinions regarding medical aid-in-dying, also referred to as physician-assisted suicide. Watch your email, or contact if you prefer a paper copy. Should you choose to complete this 15–20 minute survey, you will receive free access to one MMS end-of-life-focused online continuing medical education program, which can be applied toward the two CME credits in end-of-life care required of Massachusetts physicians in each licensing cycle. These credits may also be used toward meeting risk management survey requirements. Thank you in advance for your participation.

MMS launches Comprehensive Cannabis Curriculum series

The Comprehensive Cannabis Curriculum, available now in 16 modules, is intended to equip doctors and other healthcare providers with a robust training on the medical, legal and social issues around marijuana use. “With legalization of both medical marijuana and recreational marijuana growing in states across the US, it is imperative that physicians be prepared to answer questions about marijuana use and to counsel their patients about any potential impact of cannabis,” said Dr Henry Dorkin, president of the MMS. The Comprehensive Cannabis Curriculum was developed by the MMS together with Dr Stephen B. Corn and Dr Meredith Fisher-Corn of the medical education website The program neither endorses nor seeks to impede the use of cannabinoid medications as a treatment option. The Curriculum has been subject to multiple layers of expert review, and provides the data needed to facilitate informed, balanced, transparent conversations between providers and patients, based upon the research currently available. For reviews by practicing physicians, see the October issue of Vital Signs.

Benefits Buzz: Need help to collect claim co-payments?

IC System is a MMS preferred vendor that helps physician practices with effective collection management while assuring that client accounts are safeguarded by strict regulatory compliance and data security. MMS members receive a discount. Check out the IC System services. Questions? Please contact Bryan Campbell at (800) 279-3511 or

Minuteman Health is in receivership: What you need to know

After its cash reserves fell below state minimums, Minuteman Health, Inc. on Wednesday was effectively placed under state control.

MHI’s latest financial reports show it to be solvent, and the receiver believes that MHI has adequate funds to pay all insurance claims in the normal course of business, and disruption is expected to be minimal.

According to a document issued by the Division of Insurance:

  • MHI’s individual insurance policies will remain in effect through December 31, 2017. Individual members will have the opportunity to select a health insurer for 2018 during the open enrollment period beginning November 1, 2017 for coverage effective beginning January 1, 2018. Small employer and large group coverage will be allowed to continue until the next renewal date.
  • Because health care providers will be paid promptly and without interruption, they are expected to continue to provide care to MHI members, for which they will be paid in full. Members will have continued access to benefits in accordance with their health insurance policies, and payments by members will continue to count toward plan deductibles and out‐of‐pocket limits. 
  • Health care providers and MHI members should continue to contact MHI as they have previously to discuss coverage or claim-related issues. Call or email Kevin Beagan (617-521-7347, 

The DOI has made available a frequently-asked-questions page on its website. MMS members with questions on this news also may contact the Physician Practice Resource Center (PPRC) at 781-434-7702.

No more handwritten Medicare claims: What to do instead

From October 9, 2017, NGS will not accept paper claims from Massachusetts providers that are submitted with handwriting outside a signature field. All handwritten claims will be returned to the provider. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Internet-Only Manual (IOM) Publication 100-04, Medicare Claims Processing Manual, Chapter 26, Section 30, "Printing Standards and Print File Specifications Form CMS-1500" (700 KB) contains the printing specifications for the CMS-1500 claim form. Please use this CMS IOM reference to ensure you are completing paper claims correctly. NGS offers two alternatives to handwritten paper claims that will be of little cost to your practice:

  • NGSConnex, our web-based self-service portal, is free of charge. In addition to claims submission, NGSConnex has other useful functions, such as verifying Medicare entitlement, submitting appeals, and viewing and downloading your remittance advice.
  • The Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) page on the NGS website explains how to enroll and what capabilities your office needs to submit electronic claims. NGS can provide you with no-cost claim submission software, PC-ACE.

Reminders! New Medicare Card, Women's Leadership Forum, and more

New Medicare Card: What you and your patients need to know

CMS is removing Social Security Numbers from Medicare cards to help fight identity theft and safeguard taxpayer dollars. The new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier number will be randomly generated. CMS is referring to this as the New Medicare Card (previously, it was known as the Social Security Number Removal Initiative, or SSNRI). To help you find information quickly, CMS has a new home page linking you to the latest details, including how to talk to your Medicare patients about the New Medicare Card. Please review and bookmark the New Medicare Card home page and Provider web page, so you have the information you need by April 1, 2018, when the new numbering system goes into effect.

Save the date: 2017 Women’s Leadership Forum

The Women’s Leadership Forum on Friday, September 15, 2017, will focus on building communication skills for professional and personal advancement. The event—Confident Communication Toward Socially Intelligent Leadership—features interactive sessions, experiential work, discussion of workplace applications, panels, and networking opportunities. Participants will learn skills for effective, compassionate, assertive leadership. The Forum is hosted by MMS and its Committee on Women in Medicine (CWIM). “On behalf of the CWIM, I strongly encourage you to honor us with your presence,” says Helen Cajigas, MD, FCAP, Chair of the Committee on Women in Medicine. This program welcomes individuals from all genders and backgrounds, and includes an awards luncheon with a keynote address. It will take place at MMS Headquarters in Waltham. For more information, contact Erin Tally at or (781) 434-7413.

Join our AMA delegation: The MMS Committee on Nominations is seeking candidates

The MMS Committee on Nominations is currently considering candidates for nomination as AMA Delegate and Alternate Delegate to the Massachusetts AMA Delegation. The deadline for submission of nomination applications is Thursday, August 17, 4:00 p.m. Visit to learn more about the qualifications and submit your application. Interviews with the Committee on Nominations will be held at MMS Headquarters, Waltham, on Thursday, September 14, 2017, 4:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. Applicants should plan to be available on this date. Questions? Please contact Linda Healy (800) 322-2303, ext. 7008 or, or Karen Harrison at ext. 7463 or

MMS grants for International Health Study; apply this summer

Medical students and resident physician members of the MMS are eligible to apply for grants of up to $2,000 to defray the costs of studying abroad. The primary goal of these International Health Studies (IHS) grants, provided by the Massachusetts Medical Society and Alliance Charitable Foundation, is to encourage international education, particularly focusing on under-served populations. Preference will be given to projects providing health care-related work and/or training of staff, and to applicants planning careers serving underprivileged populations. Research projects that do not involve direct clinical care or teaching will not be considered. Programs must last at least three weeks to receive consideration. Applications are due by September 15, 2017; more information about the grants and application expectations.

Educational programs and events

Unless otherwise noted, all events are held at the MMS Headquarters, 860 Winter St., Waltham, MA. View our full calendar of upcoming live CME activities. 

Norfolk County Safe Prescribing and Dispensing Conferences
Thursday, September 14, 2017, 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Randolph, MA
Open to all Norfolk County registered prescribers and pharmacists

The above activity has been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ 

Featured new online CME activities – Risk Management credit 

Comprehensive Cannabis Curriculum

The above activities have been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit

See our full listing of risk management online CME activities.

This week in health care

Sign up for daily roundups of health news affecting Massachusetts.
Opioid epidemic is affecting these Massachusetts ZIP codes the most
There were 1,411 people from East Brockton's 02301 ZIP code discharged from a Massachusetts hospital (both inpatient and the emergency department) because of an opioid-related emergency in 2015, the most recent year that data is available.   

These five people will help oversee MA recreational marijuana industry
The board will eventually have 25 members, and has been tasked with studying and making recommendations on regulation marijuana within the state. Gov. Charlie Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey will also appoint five members a piece. The remaining members will be ex officio appointees with specific expertise and knowledge.

Baker will agree to new health care fees
Gov. Charlie Baker will sign into law $200 million in new fees and fines on Massachusetts employers to help pay for MassHealth without sought-after reforms to the program, putting his faith in the Legislature to follow through on pledges to work with him this fall to control growth in Medicaid and health care spending.

Warren compares Trump to child, says he should 'get in line' on health care
Days after a bid to push through a "skinny repeal," or partial Obamacare repeal, failed on the Senate floor, Warren was in East Boston as part of her statewide tour of Massachusetts community health centers. "Let's be clear. America does not want millions of people to lose health care coverage."

Brigham and Wome's eyes further cuts
The staff reduction efforts come after the Brigham announced in late April that it would offer voluntary retirement to 1,200 of its 18,000 employees. Only those over the age of 60 who had been with the hospital for more than two years were eligible. Days from the Aug. 4 deadline for the retirement offer, the hospital says that 45 percent of those eligible had applied.

New breast health center opens at Cooley Dickinson
A new feature of the breast center includes the implementation of the Radiology department's new C-View low dose 3D mammography technology. The technology provides greater accuracy while providing improved comfort and reduced X-ray exposure to the patient, according to the hospital.

Fallon pushing for more UMass Medical School geriatric training
Worcester-based Fallon Health announced it is sponsoring a geriatric medicine training program to train resident physicians at the University of Massachusetts Medical School to address a projected shortage in specialists who can treat senior citizens.

Aging population fueling interest in home care regulation
As the state's aging population rises, home care is becoming even more vital to the state's future, Cullinane said. According to the Home Care Association of America, 70 percent of adults over 65 in the U.S. will require care at some point, and nine out of 10 adults say they want to stay in their homes for as long as possible.

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