Massachusetts Medical Society: PPRC Talks: Crucial Conversations in an Era of Transition

PPRC Talks: Crucial Conversations in an Era of Transition



PPRC Talks: Crucial Conversations in an Era of Transition

Join us for this free, livestreamed event. Our two moderated panels will answer these questions:

  • How can you empower physicians at the practice management and care delivery levels? And how can patients become more active and engaged participants in the care process? Our presenters include Sarika Aggarwal, MD, CMO at Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization, and Adam Licurse, MD, MHS, assistant medical director at Brigham and Women's Physician Organization and associate medical director at Partners Center for Population Health.
  • What are the current and future models of physician compensation? This panel features practice management consultants and compensation law experts.

For the first time, PPRC Talks will be webinar-only, to facilitate your participation. The event will be held on September 29, 2017, 10:00 a.m.–noon; more information and registration.

DOI enforces standard prior authorization forms

The Division of Insurance has issued bulletins making official the implementation of uniform prior authorization forms. The forms apply to hepatitis C medication, non-OB ulttrasounds, and Synagis prescriptions. They were developed by the Massachusetts Collaborative of insurance carriers, provider groups, and the MMS and other provider associations. Insurance carriers are expected to accept the standard forms within 90 days, and may not require the use of any other paper forms for these purposes. Within six months, carriers are expected to adapt their electronic systems to collect the necessary data elements in a way that is consistent with the standardized paper forms for prior authorization. Questions? Contact Tracey McMillan, director of the Bureau of Managed Care, at (617) 521-7347 or

Saturday task: Medical-Aid-in-Dying survey (and free CME)

This Saturday (tomorrow), some MMS members will receive an emailed survey on your opinions regarding medical aid-in-dying, also referred to as physician-assisted suicide. This is the second send—we're hoping to catch you when you have 10 minutes to fill this out. Your views are highly valuable to the Society. If you do not receive the email, please check your spam folder. If you would prefer a paper copy, please contact Survey responses are due by September 20. When you complete this 10–15 minute survey, you will receive free access to one MMS end-of-life focused online CME program. Thank you in advance for your participation.

Network with providers committed to LGBT care or apply for LGBT health grant

At an upcoming fall mixer, Joshua Safer, MD, will receive the MMS 2017 LGBT Health Award recognizing his outstanding contributions to patients' health in the LGBT community. Dr. Safer directs the Endocrinology Fellowship Training Program at Boston Medical Center (he was interviewed in Slate this week on the biological underpinnings of gender identity). The event is sponsored by the MMS Committee on LGBT Matters and will be held at Club Café in Boston on October 26, 2017, at 7:00 p.m.; information and registration. The MMS is currently accepting grant proposals from medical students and residents/fellows whose curriculum development or research addresses health disparities in the LGBT community; the deadline has been extended to October 30, 2017. Download the application form.

Flu vaccine recommendations and resources from MDPH

The Massachusetts Department of Health has issued its recommendations and resources for controlling influenza and pneumococcal disease, 2017–18. The resources include the latest recommendations for use of PCV13 followed by PPSV23 in people aged 65+, and (in response to questions from providers) address the correct dose of FluLaval Quadrivalent (IIV4) in children aged 6–35 months. The live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) is not recommended for the 2017–2018 season.

Measuring Value in Healthcare: Boston Medical Library memorial lecture

At the Boston Medical Library’s 42nd Garland Memorial Lecture, Peter J. Neumann, ScD, will address the promises and pitfalls of using formal cost-effectiveness analysis to help the US achieve better value in health spending. Dr. Neumann is director of the Center for the Evaluation of Value and Risk in Health at Tufts Medical Center. The event will be held on October 17 at 5:30 p.m., at the Ampitheater/ Armenise Building, Harvard Medical School, 210 Longwood Avenue, Boston. RSVP to Kerry O’Connor at 617-432-5169 or

Appointments, awards, publications? Share your news with MMS members

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 November 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 September 25, 2017.

What's up at the State House

Balancing benzodiazepine abuse concerns and patient care

The MMS provided testimony in opposition to a bill seeking further regulations on benzodiazepine prescribing, on the basis that appropriate tools already exist to guide providers. The Medical Society indicated its strong support for the careful prescribing of benzodiazepines, and many of the CME courses that the MMS provides free to all prescribers include modules on improving benzodiazepine prescribing. Testimony highlighted that the MMS recognizes, too, that benzodiazepines are essential for the well-being of many patients, including those in recovery from alcoholism, and that provisions of this bill could impede those patients’ care.

Reminders: Stuff you should click on

Women in Medicine Month: Share your stories and career insights

Women In MedicineIn celebration and support of women's contribution to medicine, the MMS is sharing the stories and insights of women across Massachusetts—from medical students to established trailblazers. To join that conversation, please check out our video clips, quotes, and photos throughout September on Facebook and Twitter. The September issue of Vital Signs is dedicated to the voices of women in medicine, with additional content on our website. This coverage is based in interviews with 20 medical students and physicians, whose themes include career strategies and mentorship, work-life tensions, avoiding burnout, the value of MMS, and more. 

2018 Annual Awards: Help MMS recognize physicians' achievements

Do you have a colleague who deserves to be nominated for their outstanding work or service to the community? Do you know a medical student or resident who is worthy of recognition for innovative IT solutions for medicine? The MMS recognizes excellence in multiple categories, including: medical service or public health; contributions to medical education, men’s health, women’s health, women’s physician leadership, or reducing health disparities; service to the MMS; and more. The MMS and its Committee on Recognition Awards are currently seeking nominations for the 2018 Annual Award Program; additional information and applications.

MMS makes $25K donation to rebuild Texas medical practices after Hurricane Harvey and will match members’ donations up to $75K

The Massachusetts Medical Society has donated $25,000 to the Texas Medical Association’s Disaster Relief Fund to help re-establish medical practices in federally-designated disaster areas. In an effort to encourage and maximize giving, MMS has committed to match the first $75,000 in member and district medical society contributions made to organizations providing hurricane relief. To participate, please email Jennifer Day at with the amount and date of your donation, and the organization receiving it. More information on the match and links to organizations involved in relief efforts may be found here. The MMS and MDPH recommend that you consider volunteer opportunities with the Massachusetts Medical Reserves Corp and Citizen Corps organizations.

MMS fall forum on free health care programs and community resources

Beyond healthcare, the critical areas that influence the health of communities include housing, transportation, food security, and language competency. Learn and discuss with experts and others on the front line about best practices, innovations, and community-based resources. This free forum will be held on October 25, 2017, at the MMS headquarters in Waltham, and is hosted by the Committee on Senior Volunteer Physicians. Current and potential volunteers and staff at free health care programs are welcome; learn more and register.

Free personalized assistance with MACRA QPP prep

Join us for light refreshments and personalized assistance in developing your strategy for successful MACRA Quality Payment Program (QPP) implementation in your practice. The program includes Mapping Out MIPS: Keys to Success in 2017, which outlines reporting requirements and timelines. It is designed for providers who are MIPS eligible and required to report for 2017 (check here for your MIPS participation status. Space is limited. Two sessions will be held—October 23 or November 8, 2017, 5:30–8:00 p.m.—at MMS Headquarters, Waltham (participants need attend only one session); register here. Your registration should include at least one clinician and one colleague/team member responsible for reporting.

Get set up to access PQRS reports this fall

Prepare now to access the 2016 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) feedback reports and 2016 Annual Quality and Resource Use Reports (QRURs), available in early fall. The PQRS feedback reports depict your program year 2016 PQRS reporting results, including payment adjustment assessment for calendar year 2018. The 2016 Annual QRURs show how groups and solo practitioners performed in 2016 on the quality and cost measures used to calculate the 2018 Value-Based Payment Modifier. Prepare now by either signing up for an Enterprise Identity Management (EIDM) account or ensuring that your existing account is active. To register for an EIDM account, visit the CMS Enterprise Portal and click “New User Registration” under “Login to CMS Secure Portal.” Additional resources are available here.

Symposium: Climate change and the risk of nuclear war

Please join us for a timely and urgent symposium on Climate Change and the Growing Risk of Nuclear War: An Agenda for Change, organized by Physicians for Social Responsibility and sponsored by the MMS and the Mass. Chapter of the American College of Physicians (among others). The event features local and national activists and thinkers on these existential issues and how they intersect. We will address the perils we face and how to overcome them. The event will be held on Saturday, September 23, 2017, at Hadley Farms Meeting House (41 Russell St, Hadley, MA), 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Breakfast and lunch will be served. Students attend free; everyone else can register here. Registration costs $35 but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Learn more at the event website and Facebook page.

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. 

14th Annual Public Health Forum – The Promise and Pitfalls of Transforming Health through Technology and Information
Thursday, October 26, 2017, 1:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

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

Featured online CME courses – Risk Management   

Comprehensive Cannabis Curriculum (16 Modules) 

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.

How UMass Medical School's admissions changes could help the physician pool 

Dr. Henry Dorkin, president of the MMS, said he's encouraged by the work UMMS has done to increase class size. As a school with a strong focus on primary care, he said it will likely be an effective tool in bolstering the availability of primary care and other doctors here.

Massachusetts leading the way in opioid education

All four medical schools in Massachusetts now require students to pass core courses on opiate therapy and pain management as part of their graduation requirements. Massachusetts is the first state in the nation to accomplish this.

Federal report on Jewish nursing home show 2 patients trapped in bed rails; 1 died 

The cases are detailed in a 32-page statement of deficiencies regarding the facility, obtained by The Republican. The report was produced by the US Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an agency dedicated to assuring the quality of care paid for by the federal entitlement programs. 

Identical twins give birth just hours apart at Massachusetts hospital 

Identical twins from Massachusetts recently shared a remarkable life experience at Cambridge's Mount Auburn Hospital, giving birth just hours apart.

Massachusetts slows growth in health care spending 

Total spending on health care in the state grew by 2.8 percent between 2015 and 2016, according to a report released by the Center for Health Information and Analysis. The state's health policy commission had set a goal of limiting growth to 3.6 percent. 

UMass Memorial Health Care invests $700 million in a new Epic records system

To best service the 3 million unique patients at UMass, they needed to compile data from past visits to streamline the process in the future. With Epic, all those separate files will become a single integrated health record

Mass. Eye and Ear breakthrough could inhibit eyesight loss 

Local researchers may have found a way to identify one of the leading causes of blindness with a simple blood test, opening doors to better treatments for a condition that is incurable and often undetectable in early stages, according to a new study from Mass. Eye and Ear. 

Tufts doc saves professor's life

As Professor Jill Brown taught the last seminar of a leadership ethics summer course at Bentley University, she was brushing of some mysterious aches and pains aside by blaming them on a recent foot surgery. 

Hallmark Health CEO to step down a year after Wellforce acquisition

Hallmark Health CEO Alan Macdonald will retire from the hospital a year after the state finalized a deal for the hospital to be acquired by the parent company of Tufts Medical Center.  

Will Hurricane Jose hit Massachusetts? 

Jose, the Category 2 hurricane following behind Irma, now poses a more significant opportunity of bringing inclement weather to New England, according to some models, but it's still too early to say anything definite, meteorologists caution.

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