Massachusetts Medical Society: More info on new licensure requirement for all physicians

More info on new licensure requirement for all physicians



Update: More info on new requirement for all licensed physicians

All physicians who hold an active medical license in Massachusetts must enroll in MassHealth — either as billing or nonbilling providers — in order to maintain their licensure. There are no exceptions to this requirement. Whether you are currently practicing, retired, work in industry or teach, if you hold an active license in Massachusetts you must comply to maintain licensure. 

Your license will be impacted at your next renewal date. The Board of Registration will be updating its online licensing application but has not done so to date.

 The HHS site provides links to the registration forms for nonbilling providers and billing providers.  

This requirement came into effect last week. Although there is no imminent date for denial of MassHealth claims, noncompliance will affect reimbursement for MassHealth billing providers going forward.

This does not mean that physicians must accept MassHealth patients. Nonbilling providers' National Provider Identifier (NPI) may be included as relevant on claims submitted by billing providers. This derives from a requirement of the ACA that the state is now implementing.The HHS website has the full, updated regulations.

2017 Interim Meeting: Resolve to get involved with the MMS House of Delegates!

The 2017 Interim Meeting of the House of Delegates (HOD) will be held Friday, December 1, at MMS Headquarters and Saturday, December 2, at the Westin Hotel, Waltham.  If you are unable to attend in person consider participating online.

Join! Are you a member of the MMS, but not a delegate on the HOD?  Are you curious what the House does at its meetings? Take a look at the current Delegates' Handbook and learn more about the HOD. Nearly every district has open seats for new and interested members interested in becoming delegates.

Testify! If you are unable to attend in person, but feel passionate about a resolution or report consider posting your testimony online and add your voice to the policymaking process.

If you do plan to attend the meeting, please take the time to pre-register.

Help shape MMS policy: How to testify online

Should medical students be trained in use of naloxone?

Would a retraining program for immigrant physicians help address the physician shortage?

Would allowing MA physicians to dispense prescription medicines improve medication adherence?

You can share your thoughts on these and other resolutions that are slated for discussion at this year’s Interim Meeting. Log on to our easy-to-use site to submit online testimony, which will be presented in writing at the meeting on December 1. Learn more about the value of online testimony in the November issue of Vital Signs.

Benefit Buzz: Open Enrollment for Legal Advisory Plan 

This valuable members-only benefit, Legal Advisory Plan (LAP), provides enrolled members with legal assistance in the event of a Board of Registration in Medicine investigation. Don't miss your opportunity to take advantage of it. Renew or enroll in the LAP for January 2018 - January 2019 for $70 a year* — a fraction of standard legal fees. *Additional discount for groups of five or more. Learn more. Questions? Email or call (781) 434-7311.

2017 Massachusetts State Health Assessment

The 2017 Massachusetts State Health Assessment (SHA) is now available on the MDPH website. The Statewide Partnership Advisory, including the MDPH, the MMS, and other organizations, guided and informed this update to the Massachusetts State Health Assessment. A pdf and accessible versions are available. The SHA covers: Population Characteristics; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Environmental Health; Infectious Disease; Injury and Violence Prevention; Addiction; Health Systems & Health Access; and Wellness & Chronic Disease.

Report from the State House  

MMS testifies on Scope of Practice and MOC bills

Dr. Henry Dorkin, President of the Massachusetts Medical Society, testified in opposition to a series of bills before the Joint Committee on Public Health on Tuesday which proposed to grant independent practice to nurse practitioners, and which would expand the scope of practice to optometrists, podiatrists, and athletic trainers. Dr. Dorkin instead promoted a bill that would reinforce physician-led team-based care models, which would continue to grant nurse practitioners flexibility in their clinical practice, but which would ensure that care teams have a physician leader for instances of collaboration or consultation.

The Medical Society also supported a bill that would prohibit the use of maintenance of certification as a condition of licensure, hospital or insurer credentialing. Testimony reflected the value of initial board certification, but expressed concern that changes in maintenance of certification may not make it a suitable criteria for licensing or credentialing. This testimony will be posted on the MMS website next week under Legislative Updates.

Reminders: Stuff you should click on

MMS Awards season: Six deadlines this MONDAY

Members of the Society — Monday, November 13 is the nomination deadline for MMS awards in six categories:

  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, & Queer (LBGTQ) Health Award (Nov 13)
  • Women's Health Award (Nov 13)
  • Men's Health Award (Nov 13)
  • Woman Physician Leadership Award (Nov 13)
  • Women's Health Research Award (Nov 13)
  • Medical Student History Essay Award (Nov 13, Jan 15)

How to apply or nominate a colleague The MMS Committee on Recognition Awards wants to hear from you;  information and applications. The MMS also recognizes excellence in additional categories, including senior volunteer physician initiatives, medical service, public health, medical education, and more.  

How the MMS awards make a difference

“The LGBT Health Award meant the world to me. Like many clinical educators and faculty members, I wear a lot of hats. My LGBT diversity/inclusion hat is all voluntary; that work happens at 3:00 a.m.–5:00 a.m. I’m honored to do this, but it doesn’t come with anything except the personal knowledge that you are helping people who are vulnerable and in great need of advocacy. I share the credit with Aleah Nesteby, our nurse practitioner whose dream was to start a transgender clinic at Baystate High Street Health Center—so we did. We were the dynamic duo; a co-model of care for the community. The award itself gave me the strength to continue to advocate.”   

- Lauren Meade, MD, FACP; director of clinical learning and development at Sound Physicians; associate professor of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine; recipient of the first MMS LGBT Health Award (2014)

CMS performance data preview period extended

On October 18, CMS opened the 30-Day Preview Period for the 2016 performance information targeted to be publicly reported on Physician Compare starting in December 2017. The preview was scheduled to end on November 17. Due to a technical issue with the Provider Quality Information Portal (PQIP), all data were not viewable for the first week of preview. This display issue has now been resolved. CMS is extending preview through Friday, December 1 at 8pm ET.

MDPH publishes new child blood screening regulations

On December 1, 2017, new regulations for child blood lead screening will go into effect. Questions? Call the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at (800) 532-9571.

Final rules on Quality Payment Program and Physician Fee Schedule  

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have released the final rules for both the 2018 Quality Payment Program and the 2018 Physician Fee Schedule (click for summaries). Combined, the regulations are approximately 3,000 pages. The AMA staff is reviewing both regulations and developing summaries.

Awards, accomplishments, promotions? Feature in Member News & Notes

Vital Signs, the monthly print and online newsletter of the MMS, is now listing your professional news — such as joining a new hospital, opening a practice, or a recent promotion — and your other achievements: board appointments, awards, or speaking engagements. We are currently seeking submissions for the February issue of Vital Signs. Please include your full name and title, medical school with graduation year, residency institution, hospital affiliation, recent update, and a high-resolution headshot. Send submissions to by December 5, 2017.

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. 

2017 Annual Oration – Traumatic Brain Injury, Concussion, and American Football
Friday, December 1, 2017, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Ethics Forum – CRISPR and the Ethics of Germline Manipulation

Friday, December 1, 2017, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. 

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

Featured online CME courses – Risk Management credit

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

Find additional risk management online CME activities.

This week in health care

Sign up for daily roundups of health news affecting Massachusetts. 

House approves free contraception bill; Senate to vote
The measure includes a provision requiring health insurers to continue offering coverage — without co-payments — for prescription contraceptives regardless of changes in federal policy or any future repeal of the Affordable Care Act. 

Red Sox prospect Daniel Flores, 17, dies of cancer
Red Sox catching prospect Daniel Flores died Wednesday due to complications from treatment for cancer at the age of 17, the Red Sox announced. He had been hospitalized in Boston receiving treatment. 

Brigham breakthrough will help kids with MS
The medication — fingolimod, its brand name Gilenya — is made by Cambridge-based Novartis and has been found to reduce the annual relapse rate by 67 percent in adults. The recent study found that over a two-year period, it reduced the flare-ups by 82 percent in children ages 10-18. 

MGH team's food allergy detection device could remove danger of dining out
Using technology that was originally developed to detect cancer in blood samples, the Mass. General team has created a device that can also detect a number of different food allergies.

US senator investigating Waltham's Alkermes over opioid addiction drug
Kamala Harris, a Democrat from California, said Monday that she has launched an investigation into Alkermes (Nasdaq: ALKS), which has around 650 employees in Waltham. The probe focuses on the company's practice of marketing Vivitrol directly to judges and corrections officers — rather than to physicians — as a treatment for inmates and parolees with opioid addiction.

CVS plans to launch same-day delivery in Boston
CVS Pharmacy (NYSE: CVS) announced plans to launch free same-day delivery from CVS Pharmacy locations in Boston beginning early next year. The company also announced plans to start same-day pharmacy delivery to other major cities. 

In mayoral race, disagreement over Boston's approach to opioid crisis
Incumbent Marty Walsh said because of his personal experience in recovery, he was well suited to help address the epidemic. But some say his actions have made matters worse.

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