Massachusetts Medical Society: Provider Price Variation Commission Issues Report

Provider Price Variation Commission Issues Report



Provider Price Variation Commission Issues Report  
The Special Commission on Provider Price Variation, a multi-stakeholder group comprising government, hospital, and payer representatives tasked with evaluating variation in prices negotiated by providers, released its final report this week. The Commission worked to identify warranted and unwarranted factors for price variation, though it did not detail how these factors should be used for future price variation containment, and addressed “out-of-network billing,” an issue on which MMS provided comment to the Commission. MMS is reviewing this report and will continue to engage with legislators and other stakeholders on these issues. Read the report here

Changes to Primary Care Clinician Online Service Center Referrals  
Effective March 27, 2017, primary care clinician (PCC) referrals made by a community health center, hospital-licensed health center, hospital outpatient department or group practice PCC entity/service location will not be processed unless an enrolled, on-staff individual practitioner is selected from the Individual Referring Provider pop-up search tool on the Provider Online Service Center (POSC) referral information panel. The PCC referral letter has been updated and will now include the referral number, the referring provider as well as the individual referring practitioner’s name and NPI, so that the billing provider of the referred service will have all required information for the claim. Visit Provider Bulletin 265 for detailed information on these new requirements. 

MMS Alliance Celebrates National Doctors’ Day
MMS Alliance invites all members and their families to celebrate National Doctors’ Day, Friday, March 31, honoring physicians for their dedication and service. The free event will take place at the College Club of Boston, 44 Commonwealth Ave., Boston from 6:00-9:00 p.m. An open dinner buffet will be provided. For more information and reservations contact at (781) 434-7372.

Disaster Psychiatry Course Offered
The Massachusetts Psychiatric Society, in collaboration with the American Red Cross, is offering a CME-certified Disaster Psychiatry Training Course on April 8, 2017, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at MMS headquarters. Click here to register. 

2017 Annual Meeting: Important Deadlines!
This year's Annual Meeting will take place April 27-29, 2017 at the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center in Boston.
Please note that the MMS hotel room block deadline is today. Several nights in the room block are sold out and the hotel is nearing capacity. Please visit to make a reservation or for more hotel information. Please contact Paggy Chen or (781) 434-7007, for additional assistance and to be wait listed or if you are planning to cancel your current reservation.  Click here for online registration.

What’s Your View on Data Sharing?
Sharing clinical trial data is a complex issue. Should data be shared broadly? What is the data’s real value? How do we align incentives and rewards? Join your peers and participate in an online conversation among patients, trialists and analysts at a free web event hosted by the New England Journal of Medicine on April 3-4, 2017. Click here to register.

Last Chance to Register for Mindful Practice in Medicine Workshop 
A Mindful Practice in Medicine workshop is planned for March 18 and 19 at MMS Headquarters, followed by four consecutive Wednesday webinars. The workshop focuses on developing a capacity for self-awareness in stressful and demanding situations and building resilience in community. Click here for information; click here to register.

Benefit Buzz: PQRS Reporting Deadline Extended, Webcast and Special Member Discount
The deadline is extended until today, March 17, 2017, for submitting your 2016 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) measures to CMS. Members receive 33 percent savings using the PQRSwizard to validate, report, and submit data to CMS with 99.5 percent success rate. Avoid payment adjustments and penalties. Check out the Resource Center to access PQRS-related archived webcasts and educational resources.  Click here for more information.

Your Membership Counts – Renew Today!
The MMS is a proactive advocate representing the voice of physicians and their patients. The Society will propose no less than 20 pieces of state legislation on Beacon Hill this year, and has recently testified before the Board of Registration in Medicine against proposed regulatory changes ranging from expanding the grounds for filing complaints leading to disciplinary action, to more onerous credentialing requirements, to additions to informed consent provisions. Please renew your MMS membership for 2017 and support the Society in its mission to ensure the perspective and expertise of physicians is reflected in regulatory proposals.

Benefit Buzz: Legal Advice with Board of Registration in Medicine Issues
Retaining an attorney to respond to a Board of Registration in Medicine (BRM) matter can cost thousands of dollars, and additional legal assistance could raise the cost even higher. The Legal Advisory Plan (LAP) is a member-only, low-cost legal service, designed to effectively respond to BRM issues at a fraction of the cost of hiring an attorney. safeguard your license in the event of a Board of Registration (BRM) investigation. Enrollment for 2017-2018 plan year is available. Click here to learn more. Questions? Email, or call (781) 434-7311.

Women's Health Forum to Present Awards April 21
At the Women’s Health Forum on April 21, Robert H. Young, M.D., will be presented with the 2016 Women’s Health Research Award; Barbara L. Smith, M.D., will receive the 2016 Women’s Health Award; Fatima Cody Stanford, M.D., will receive the 2017 Women’s Health Award, and JoAnn E. Manson, M.D., will receive the 2017 Women’s Health Research Award.
JoAnn Manson, M.D. will deliver the morning keynote address. Dr. Manson is a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Michael and Lee Bell Professor of Women's Health at Harvard Medical School. Barbara L. Smith, M.D. will deliver the afternoon keynote speech. Dr. Smith is director of the breast program at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).
The Women’s Health Forum, provided by the Massachusetts Medical Society and its Committee on Women in Medicine in collaboration with the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender Biology, features a lecture and panel on transgender health, a session on the effect of hormones on metabolism and weight regulation, and a discussion on the evolution of breast surgery by faculty from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).
For registration, visit , or contact Erin Tally at

Educational Programs and Events

Unless otherwise noted, all events are held at MMS headquarters, 860 Winter St., Waltham, MA. Visit to view our full calendar of upcoming live CME activities.
13th Annual Public Health Leadership Forum: Social Determinants of Health - Improving Population Health through Prevention Based Care
Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Women’s Health Forum – Hormones: Do They Define Us?
Friday, April 21, 2017, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. 
Ethics Forum
Thursday, April 27, 2017, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. 
Annual Education Program – The Winding Road of Addiction: Hope on the Horizon
Friday, April 28, 2017, 8:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

MMS Annual Meeting, Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center, Boston, MA or Via Live Webinar
Shattuck Lecture and Luncheon – Personalize Medicine or Precision Medicine
Friday, April 28, 2017, 12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
MMS Annual Meeting, 
Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center, Boston, MA
Directors of Medical Education Conference – Advancing Collaboration and Compliance
Thursday, May 18, 2017, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
The above activities have been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™
The Many Facets of Men’s Health: Clinical Conversations Impacting Your Patients
Thursday, June 15, 2017
Featured Online CME Activities – Risk Management Credit
•     Helping Patients with COPD Breathe Easier 

The above activities have been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™
For additional risk management online CME activities, visit

This Week in Health Care
State Commission Issues Report on Financing for Private Hospitals
Joint Commission on Health Care Financing is recommending more state involvement in addressing health care pricing disparities for private hospitals and laid out specific factors that should and should not be included in insurance reimbursement rates.

Baystate Franklin Nurses Authorize Strike 
Baystate Franklin Medical Center nurses in Greenfield have voted to give their union leaders the right to call a one-day strike — signaling the latest escalation in the ongoing contract negotiations.

Marijuana Advocates Fight against Legislative Changes
Proponents of the Yes on 4 marijuana campaign said they are prepared to spend money in Massachusetts to make the case that legislative changes violate the voter-approved law.

UMass Medical Tops Harvard in Survey 
University of Massachusetts-Worcester Medical School rated higher than Harvard University in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings of medical school programs for primary-care physicians. 

Pittsfield Awaits Medical Marijuana Dispensary
Pittsfield’s Berkshire Roots is one of three medical marijuana dispensaries to open in Berkshire County in 2017.

South Coast Suburbs Respond to Opioid Epidemic 
South Coast suburban Massachusetts residents, responding to the region-wide problem of opioid addiction, have begun to form support groups in their towns.

Baker's Health Insurance Assessment Gets Support
Close to two dozen groups voiced support for Gov. Charlie Baker's controversial proposal to levy per-employee assessments on businesses that don't meet proposed health insurance requirements in a Wednesday letter to House and Senate budget writers. 

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