Massachusetts Medical Society: Please tell us your thoughts on caring for patients with addiction

Please tell us your thoughts on caring for patients with addiction



What do you need to help you care for patients with opioid use disorder?

We need to hear from you. This survey is designed to assess physicians’ perspectives and needs when caring for patients with opioid use disorder. The Society and Shatterproof, a national advocacy organization addressing the stigma of addiction, are partnering to understand the Commonwealth’s response to the opioid epidemic and to identify opportunities for improvement. Please check your email inbox for the survey: the email subject line is How can we help providers better address opioid use disorder? This effort will be strengthened by your participation. If you did not receive a survey and would like to participate, please email The MMS-Shatterproof partnership is made possible by funding from the GE Foundation and RIZE Massachusetts.

What’s up in advocacy and policy

Please submit comments opposing federal "public charge" proposal (deadline: Dec 10)

The federal government has published a proposed rule that will likely deter immigrants from accessing health care services. The proposal seeks to change the grounds for the public charge, a test that immigrants have to pass when being admitted to the US or seeking lawful permanent residency. Under the proposal, for the first time, an immigrant’s use (or likely use) of benefits, including health care programs  — such as Medicaid, SNAP, Medicare PART D low income subsidy, or CHIP — could be considered as part of the public charge test and used to deny immigration to the US. 

The MMS, AMA, American Academy of Pediatrics, ACOG, AAFP, ACP, APA and other physician and health care groups have joined a national campaign to oppose the rule change. As physicians, we are concerned that families will not access necessary health care and food services to which they are legally entitled because their use of those programs will be used against them in the determination of final legal entry into the country. The Fiscal Policy Institute estimates that the chilling effect of the proposal would extend to 24 million people in the US, including 9 million children, who are seeking to become legal citizens. See the Society's comments; feel free to draw on these. To submit your own comments, click the button below. The deadline is December 10.


News and announcements

Campaign to help providers use MassPAT

MassPAT.png A new campaign from MDPH and MassPAT seeks to keep physicians and other providers informed about the value and ease-of-use of the state’s prescription monitoring program. Prescribers are required to query MassPAT before issuing every prescription for benzodiazepines or schedule II or III narcotics — a quick step that can help identify patients who may be seeking drugs because of addiction and/or at risk of overdose. A recent study by BMC suggested that 275,000 Massachusetts residents — 4.6 percent of people aged 11+ — had OUD in 2015. The MMS encourages physicians to develop systems to ensure regular querying of MassPAT. Click the button below for more information.


CMS: Medical equipment and prosthetics for patients 

Do you refer patients for Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, & Supplies (DMEPOS)? Be aware that all DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program contracts expire on December 31, 2018. From January 1, 2019, there will be a temporary gap in the DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program that CMS expects will last until December 31, 2020. During that time, Medicare beneficiaries may receive DMEPOS items from any Medicare-enrolled DMEPOS supplier. In most cases, they won’t need to switch suppliers. Click the button below for a fact sheet. Questions? Call Renee Richard on (617) 565 1256 or email


Thank you for the socks  

The Massachusetts Medical Society Alliance would like to extend sincere thanks to those MMS members and Alliance members who donated hundreds of pairs of socks to support the Friends of Boston’s Homeless "Operation Sock Drop."

This holiday season, honor a colleague


Please help the MMS honor outstanding physicians. Click the button below for details. Upcoming deadlines for award nominations:

  • Senior Volunteer Physician of the Year Award honors a MMS physician (60+) who has volunteered beyond the call of duty (Dec 10) 
  • Special Award for Excellence in Medical Service recognizes a remarkable demonstration of compassion and dedication to patients' needs and/or a community or an act of heroism (Dec 17) 
  • Distinguished Service to the MMS Award recognizes a member's leadership, member recruitment, committee work, or other endeavors (Dec 17)
  • MMS Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a member's lasting contributions to medicine and service to the Society in health care delivery, patient care, education, or administration (Dec 17)


Renew your membership

Give yourself the gift of MMS Membership

Thank you to all our members who have renewed. Do you still need to renew? Give yourself a gift by renewing your membership today with the MMS for 2019. It takes just 4 minutes. Your membership supports MMS advocacy and CME, so it also serves as a gift to your professional and patient community. Go to


Reminders: Stuff you should click on

Donate: Help our Foundation get health care to vulnerable local communities

Please consider supporting the MMS and Alliance Charitable Foundation as you consider your giving strategy for this upcoming holiday season and for 2019. When you donate to the Foundation, you help us address major gaps in care and services across the Commonwealth — so that even the most vulnerable patients in our communities can get access to the health care they need and deserve.Click below for more information on the Foundation. You can also help us by liking our Facebook page.



Bring your performance to our show

Physicians — we know medicine is not your only skill. Please share your music, comedy, dance, or other talent with your friends and colleagues at our spring 2019 talent show. Seasoned performer? Getting ready to venture onstage for the first time? Either way, this is the show for you. The event will be held at the Seaport/World Trade Center Ampitheater, Boston (part of the MMS Annual Meeting 2019). To download the guiidelines and application info, click the button below.


Educational programs and events


Live event

Evolving Models for Sustainable Medical Practice
Saturday, February 2, 2019
7:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

More live CME

Featured online CME

Universal Health Care 2018

More online CME

Quote of the week

“Migrants commonly contribute more to the economy than they cost, and how we shape their health and wellbeing today will impact our societies for generations to come. There is no more pressing issue in global health.”  

—Richard Horton, MD, editor of The Lancet, dispelling the myth that migrants strain health care (CNN)

Tweet of the week


Martina Murphy, MD
Heme/Onc @UF — focus in thrombosis, obstetric hematology & gyn oncology. Passion for women’s health, addressing health disparities &  #MedEd.

What’s new in health care

Check out the most clicked-on stories from this week's MMS Media Watch. Sign up for daily Massachusetts media roundups by email. Some publications are fully accessible only to their subscribers.

Number of uninsured kids rising in Massachusetts (Gloucester Daily Times)

The number of children without health insurance is rising in Massachusetts for the first time in years, according to a report that blames divisive national politics for the reversal. An estimated 20,000 children in the state didn't have health insurance in 2017, an increase of about 5,000 children from the prior year, according to a new report from Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families. The surge knocked the state off its no.1 ranking for the smallest portion of uninsured children. In fact, Massachusetts was one of nine states — including Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, and Tennessee — that saw substantial increases in the number of uninsured kids. Nationally, an estimated 3.9 million children did not have health insurance in 2017, according to the Georgetown researchers, an increase of 276,000 from the previous year.

Mass. overdose death rate far exceeds national average (Worcester Business Journal)

The Massachusetts Medical Society, responding to the report, said although its advocacy work is continuing, it is encouraged that opioid prescriptions in Massachusetts have fallen by what it says is 35 percent in the last three-plus years. "We must continue to work to expand the availability of appropriate treatment, including expanded coverage for evidence-based non-opioid pain treatment options," the Society said. "Fentanyl is present in 90 percent of fatal drug overdoses in our state, so we will continue to work with all concerned parties on increasing efforts to prevent fentanyl-induced overdoses." The Society has advocated for expanded access to naloxone, the opioid overdose-reversing medication, and has even said the state should have a pilot supervised injection facility for more responsible use.

Brigham doctors rally against proposed changes to 'public charge' rule (WBUR)

"As doctors, we shouldn't have to think about our patients' immigration status," Dr. Douglas Jacobs, an internal medicine resident at Brigham and Women's Hospital, told the crowd. "But now, when I'm looking at a list of patients assigned to me in clinic, I can't help but wonder who would be affected, and who might not be able to see me again." He mentioned a patient from Ecuador who was recently diagnosed with cancer: "I want to tell them that I'll always be there for them, but now I'm just not so sure."  

MMS adopts policies on immigrant health care (MassLive)

The governing body of the Massachusetts Medical Society accepted several resolutions, ranging from access to health care for LGBTQ individuals to mass-casualty training to burnout for caregivers of those with dementia, proposed by members during the two-day 2018 Interim Meeting here Nov. 30. The proposals, which include advocating for those not born in the country to receive medical treatment regardless of status, approved by the House of Delegates become organizational policy

Man charged with raping unconscious patient at Holyoke Med. Center (MassLive)

A Chicopee man who allegedly raped an unconscious patient in the psychiatric unit at Holyoke Medical Center is being held without right to bail for a dangerousness hearing next week. John R. Zawada, 65, pleaded not guilty in Holyoke District Court on Nov. 26 to rape and failure to register as a sex offender. The incident took place on Nov. 25 when Zawada, a patient in the psychiatric unit, sexually assaulted a woman who was unconscious from a combination of alcohol and medication, according to the arrest report.

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