Massachusetts Medical Society: Regulations for Mass Hiway; Medicaid Reform

Regulations for Mass Hiway; Medicaid Reform


MMS News and Announcements

HHS Releases Proposed Regulations for Mass HIway

Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released proposed regulations outlining privacy requirements for Mass HIway, the state’s health information exchange, detailing the requirement that all Massachusetts providers have interoperable electronic health records. The portion of the regulations related to Mass HIway privacy requirements clarifies how patients can opt-in and opt-out of consent to participate in the Mass HIway. The regulations also detail the interoperable EHR requirement, as mandated in the Chapter 224 bill from 2012, which applies to large and medium-sized provider organizations. Provider organizations of less than 10 physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners will not be included in the requirement. MMS will be commenting on both matters during the open comment period, which will last through November. A public hearing is scheduled for November 28.

MassHealth Finalizes Medicaid Reform Waiver

MassHealth finalized a five-year, $52.4 billion waiver with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to facilitate large-scale delivery and payment reform. The waiver approval, which will go into effect in June 2017, will move an increasing portion of the provision of care to MassHealth patients to an accountable care organization setting with strong emphases on behavioral health and long-term care services integration. The waiver also allows for $1.8 billion to be used to prepare the state and its providers for the move toward population-based health care.

MMS President Issues Statement on Passage of Question 4

On Tuesday, Ballot Question 4 was passed by Massachusetts voters, legalizing recreational marijuana in the state. MMS had actively opposed the referendum, calling attention to the personal and public health risks, particularly to teens and adolescents, of allowing the commercialization of marijuana. Following the vote, MMS President James S. Gessner issued a statement indicating MMS would continue to warn citizens about the risks and work with state officials to ensure public health oversight and appropriate protections as the law is implemented. Read Dr. Gessner’s statement. Multiple resources on the health effects of recreational marijuana may be found at

Reminder: MassHealth Mandates Enrollment

MassHealth requires physicians to enroll in MassHealth either as billing or non-billing providers. Mandated by federal legislation, this does not require physicians to accept or provide services to MassHealth patients but asks physicians to fill out a streamlined non-billing application. Physicians currently enrolled in MassHealth as billing providers do not need to take further action. Information and application are available here. MassHealth Customer Service Center is at or call 1-800-841-2900.

Interim Meeting Updates

The 2016 Interim Meeting of the House of Delegates will be held Friday, December 2, at MMS Headquarters and Saturday, December 3, at the Westin Hotel, Waltham.

MMS Awards - Call for Nominations

MMS recognizes its members by presenting numerous awards annually. Let us know if you have a colleague who deserves to be nominated for their outstanding work or service to the community, or if you know a medical student or resident worthy of recognition due to cutting edge innovation. Click here for more information.

Student and Resident Information Technology Awards Program Accepting Applications

Each year the MMS Committee on Information Technology presents two $3,000 awards for the creation of information technology solutions for medicine by one student and one member of a hospital house staff or training program. Deadline for submission is Sunday, November 20, 2016. Click here for information.

Low-Cost Legal Service Available

Physicians receiving notification from the Board of Registration in Medicine (BRM) of a complaint or investigation can find the experience time-consuming and costly. The Legal Advisory Plan (LAP), a member-only, low-cost legal service, is designed to effectively respond to Board issues. Learn more here, or call (781) 434-7311.

Education Programs & Events

Live CME Activities

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.

Save the Date

Membership Meeting
Nov. 17, 6:00 p.m., Stonehedge Inn, Tyngsboro
Speaker: Alex Calcagno. MACRA: What Physicians Need to Know

PCSS-MAT Half and Half Buprenorphine Waiver Training – Provider’s Clinical Support System For Medication Assisted Treatment
Thursday, November 17, 2016, 1:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

2016 Annual Oration – Zika: Responding to the Challenges of an Emerging Infection
Friday, December 2, 2016, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

2016 Ethics Forum – Ethical Challenges in Systems of Care
Friday, December 2, 2016, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

A Town Hall Meeting with the MMS Presidential Officers
MACRA: What Physicians Need to Know
Friday, December 2, 2016, 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

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

MACRA: What Physicians Need to Know
Thursday, November 17, 2016

Featured Online CME Activities – Risk Management Credit

End-of-Life Care

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

Hallmark Health Axes 57 Jobs

Hallmark Health System of Medford is cutting 2 percent of its workforce as part of a cost-cutting plan ahead of its planned merger with the parent company of Tufts Medical Center.

Steward Health Moves to Acquire Doctors’ Group

Steward Health filed plans to acquire Central Massachusetts Independent Physician Association, an independent practice group that has offices in Worcester County and Springfield.

Voters Say ‘Yes’ to Question 4

By legalizing marijuana on November 8, Massachusetts voters have paved the way for marijuana shops to open in 2018 for what could be a billion-dollar business.

Opioid Overdoses Surge

Deaths from opioid overdoses surge in Massachusetts as an influx of illegal fentanyl outpaces the decline of heroin and prescription drugs. Newly released data revealed seventy-four percent of those who overdosed in July, August and September had fentanyl in their system.

Quincy’s Satellite ER Remains Open

Quincy Medical Center’s ER, operated by Steward Health, will remain open, even though Quincy Medical Center will stay shuttered.

MassHealth Faces Fed Overhaul

Massachusetts Medicaid program is facing sweeping federally mandated changes, but many details have yet to be worked out.

Broad Institute and IBM Watson to Analyze Genetic Data

Broad Institute at MIT and Harvard will collect genetic data from the tumors of about 10,000 patients over five years, which will be analyzed by lab scientists and crunched by IBM's Watson supercomputer.

UMass Memorial to Lead MassHealth Pilot Program

UMass Memorial Health Care will lead participation in a MassHealth pilot program that will change how providers are paid for delivering care to Medicaid patients.

MHQP Award Honors Dr. Richard Nesson

Susan Edgman-Levitan has received the first H. Richard Nesson Award from the Massachusetts Health Quality Partners. The award honors a founding member of MHQP and recognizes an individual’s outstanding commitment to the values of the organization. Ms. Edgman-Levitan is executive director in the Department of Medicine at MGH and an associate in Health Policy at Harvard Medical School.

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