Massachusetts Medical Society: New requirement for all licensed physicians

New requirement for all licensed physicians



Take note: New requirement for all licensed physicians 

MassHealth is implementing a new requirement that all licensed physicians in Massachusetts must enroll in MassHealth — either as billing or nonbilling providers — in order to maintain their licensure. The requirement goes into effect today.

Please note: This does not mean that physicians must accept MassHealth patients. If you don’t, you are required to fill out a brief form enrolling as a nonbilling provider, so that your National Provider Identifier (NPI) can be included as relevant on claims submitted by billing providers. This derives from a requirement of the ACA that the state is now implementing. 

More information is available in this MassHealth letter to providers. The Health and Human Services website provides more information and links to forms, and the full, updated regulations.

MDPH guidance on Zika in people from hurricane zones

Due to recent weather events devastating Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, families from these areas are moving temporarily or permanently into Massachusetts. These regions were substantially affected by the Zika epidemic. Health care providers may work with pregnant women who need to be tested for Zika virus infection and infants who may have been impacted by congenital Zika virus infection. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is asking providers to work with them to ensure appropriate testing, support services, and enrollment in the US Zika Pregnancy Registry.

  • For testing requests, questions, and reporting, contact the MDPH’s Division of Epidemiology and Immunization 24/7 on (617) 983-6800;
  • Families with congenitally affected infants can be referred to the MDPH Community Support Line toll-free at (800) 882-1435 for information and resources;
  • See the updated CDC recommendations on clinical evaluation of infants born to women with Zika virus infection or possible exposure during pregnancy.

2017 Interim Meeting spotlight: Annual Oration

The MMS is pleased to welcome Alvaro Pascual-Leone, MD, PhD, as the 2017 Orator. Dr. Pascual-Leone is a professor of neurology and Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research, Harvard Medical School; Chief of the Division of Cognitive Neurology and Director of the Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; and director of the Football Players Health Study at Harvard University.   

The 2017 Annual Oration will focus on traumatic brain injury and concussions, and how the findings of the Football Players Health Study (FPHS) at Harvard University shed important light on this broad public health issue.  

Register for the Annual Oration and other Interim Meeting events. The MMS Annual Oration dates back to 1804, when Dr. Isaac Rand delivered his dissertation, On Phthisis Pulmonalis and the Use of the Warm Bath. For more than 200 years, MMS orators have addressed a wide spectrum of topics germane to the evolving practice of medicine.

Dates to note:

Special Commission requests your input on switching medications

A commission was established by the Massachusetts legislature to study the practice by health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers of switching individuals with complex or chronic diseases from safe and effective prescription medications to other medications for non-medical reasons. The commission is soliciting input from the health care community. Please take this brief questionnaire for physicians/prescribers; the results will inform the report to the legislature. You can choose to remain anonymous. The survey deadline is November 27, 2017.

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.

Final rules on Quality Payment Program and Physician Fee Schedule 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released the final rules for both the 2018 Quality Payment Program and the 2018 Physician Fee Schedule. Combined, the regulations are approximately 3,000 pages. AMA staff will review both regulations and develop summaries.

New shingles vaccine is set to change CDC recommendations The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has voted that the new herpes zoster subunit (HZ/su) vaccine be recommended for the prevention of herpes zoster and related complications for immunocompetent adults aged 50+ years and immunocompetent adults who previously received zoster vaccine live. This vaccine is preferred over Zoster Vaccine Live (ZVL) for the prevention of herpes zoster and related complications. Once approved by the CDC, the shingles vaccination recommendations will be published in the MMWR and become official CDC policy.

Reminders: Stuff you should click on

MMS Awards Season is coming up

Members of the Society — You all likely have at least one colleague who deserves to be nominated for outstanding work or service to the community. Who's yours? The MMS recognizes excellence in multiple categories, including senior volunteer physician initiatives, medical service, public health, medical education, and more. The MMS Committee on Recognition Awards is currently seeking nominations for the 2018 Annual Award Program; information and applications. These deadlines are fast approaching:

  • Reducing Health Disparities Award (Nov 3: TODAY)
  • 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)
  • Medical Information Technology Award (Nov 26)

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.

Free personalized assistance with QPP prep

Maximize your reimbursement and avoid penalties: Join us for light refreshments and personalized assistance to help you develop your strategy for successful MACRA Quality Payment Program (QPP) implementation in your practice. The program includes Managing the Madness of MIPS, which outlines reporting requirements and timelines. It is designed for providers who are MIPS-eligible and required to report for 2017 (check your MIPS participation status). 

The session will be led by Yael Miller, MBA, director of Practice Solutions & Medical Economics at MMS, and Leila Volinsky, MHA, MSN, RN, senior program administrator at Healthcentric Advisors. It will be held on November 8, 2017, 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at MMS Headquarters, Waltham. Your registration should include at least one clinician and one colleague/team member responsible for reporting. Space is limited; registration.

TV opportunity for real-life physicians

Physician Focus is the MMS TV health show for a lay audience, co-produced with HCAM-TV and broadcast on 200 public access TV stations in Massachusetts. The show addresses a different topic in each episode (recently: Concussion, Lyme Disease, Colds & Flu, and Winter Health Hazards). Each episode features a physician host (sometimes an old hand, sometimes a fresh face), and two physician guests who have expertise in the topic. If you’re interested in participating, email and let us know your areas of interest. When our topics align, we’ll let you know what this would involve. We can’t promise you intergalactic stardom, but it’s a good experience; our featured physicians usually seem ready for more.

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. 

UMass Memorial hopes for women and minority candidates in search to replace retiring president

Hospital officials are seeking female and minority candidates in the nationwide search for the next president of UMass Memorial Medical Center, as current president Patrick Muldoon plans to retire in January. 

White House's opioid task force adopts some Mass. strategies

Some of the recommendations, according to Baker, include a revamp of the federal prescription monitoring program to reduce opioid prescription and developing core curriculum for medical students in pain management and addiction prevention. Both strategies have been pursued in Massachusetts. 

These hospitals received the worst safety scores in the state

More than half of Massachusetts hospitals may have earned an A for safety, according to new data from health care rating agency LeapFrog — but more hospitals this year received barely passing grades compared with previous years. 

Colon surgery to sideline Bruins player

Bruins team internist Dr. David Finn said David Backes' colon surgery took priority: "It was determined that attempting to delay the surgery until after the season was an unacceptable risk to his health." 

Children waiting too long for mental health services

Children in the Bay State struggling with mental health are often forced to wait several months before seeing a psychiatrist, facing risks of problems in school and potentially requiring more costly treatments down the line, according to a new report from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation. 

EMTs & paramedics may not know personal information is online

A state database reveals personal information about some health care workers, who say they're worried about potential violence following them home. Bob St. Martin is a paramedic who made a troubling discovery earlier this month when he found a link to download his personal information online. 

Many Health Connector users face higher insurance premiums

The open-enrollment period begins during a particularly tumultuous time. The White House recently decided to ax critical monthly payments to insurance companies that help subsidize coverage for lower-income Americans, a decision condemned by many Democrats and Republicans. To make up for the loss of the federal payments, officials at the Connector set unusually high premiums for the most popular mid-level coverage plans. 

Driver who struck, killed MetroWest nurse sought

Lisa Germain, 54, was struck and killed Sunday at 6 p.m. as she crossed Route 9. Germain was a neonatal intensive care nurse who worked at MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham. 

10 percent revived by Narcan in Mass. died within year, study says

One in 10 Massachusetts residents who were revived from an overdose by a fast-acting antidote went on to die within a year, according to new research providing stark evidence that merely reversing overdoses will not end the opioid crisis. 

CTE ravaging former Patriots players

In East Walpole, Dr. Bill Lenkaitis, once a bruising Patriots lineman who doubled as the National Football League's only practicing dentist, was slowed by depression and early dementia.

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