Massachusetts Medical Society: The what, why, and how of the MMS House of Delegates

The what, why, and how of the MMS House of Delegates


News and announcements

Get involved with the MMS House of Delegates 
(Nov 30, Dec 1)

IM17_pair_audience.jpeg Join us for the  2018 Interim Meeting of the House of Delegates on Friday, November 30, at MMS Headquarters, and Saturday, December 1, at the Westin Hotel, Waltham.  

Learn Are you a member of the MMS but not a delegate to the House of Delegates (HoD)?  Are you curious what the House does at its meetings? Take a look at the current Delegates' Handbook.

Participate Some  districts have open seats for members interested in becoming delegates. We welcome your participation and attendance. 

Testify If you feel passionate about a resolution or report, consider  posting your testimony online and adding your voice to the policymaking process. Members are welcome to testify both online and in-person at the meeting. 

If you plan to attend the meeting, please pre-register.  Pre-registration closes Monday, November 26 at noon. [Photo: attendees at the 2017 Interim Meeting.]


MMS members to receive awards at ACP chapter meeting (Nov 17)

Two MMS members will receive awards at the 2018 Massachusetts Chapter, American College of Physicians Scientific Meeting —Your Health Matters: Transformation of Physician Well-Being and Practice — at MMS Headquarters, Waltham. Click the button below for more information, including CME.

  • The 2018 MA ACP Laureate Award will go to Valerie E. Stone, MD, MPH, MACP, for excellence in medical care, education or research, and in service to the community and the ACP. Dr. Stone chairs the Department of Medicine at the Mount Auburn Hospital and is a professor of medicine at HMS.
  • The 2018 MA ACP Outstanding Clinician-Teacher Award goes to Martin A. Samuels, MD, MACP, chair of the Department of Neurology at BWH and professor of neurology at HMS. Dr. Samuels is internationally known as a premier diagnostician and teacher.


New MMS resource for older patients

The MMS Committee on Geriatric Medicine offers Simple Measures for Successful Aging, an updated brochure for older patients or their family members. Click the button below for the downloadable brochure.


Lecture: Ancient DNA and disease (Nov 16)

The Inaugural Gilbert S. Omenn Lecture at HMS — Ancient DNA, Biology, and Disease — will be delivered by David Reich, PhD, professor of genetics, whose research uses ancient DNA and population structure to learn about history and biology. Click the button for more information.


New regulatory requirements

Mass law changes MassPAT requirements for benzo Rx 

Certain provisions of the CARE Act, addressing the opioid crisis, will affect clinical practice. One of the most immediate reforms is a slight change to the requirement to check MassPAT, the state’s prescription monitoring program. Specifically, the Care Act now requires prescribers to query MassPAT prior to every benzodiazepine prescription. Previously, MA law only required such a query prior to initial benzodiazepine prescriptions (as well as all schedule II and III narcotic prescriptions). The MMS encourages physicians to develop systems, including the use of delegates when appropriate, to ensure regular querying of MassPAT, especially for patients with long-term benzodiazepine and narcotic prescriptions. Please stay tuned to MMS for more information on relevant changes from the opioid legislation. The CARE Act was supported by the MMS; click the button for more information.


Webinar on Mass HIway connection requirement (Jan 13)

For 2019, the Mass HIway Regulations (101 CMR 20.00) require all Acute Care Hospitals, all Community Health Centers, and Large and Medium Medical Ambulatory Practices to connect to the Mass HIway. These organizations must meet the requirements by January 1, 2019, and must attest by July 1, 2019, that they met the requirements. The MA Health and Human Services department is holding a webinar to outline the requirements on January 13.


Benefit Buzz

Safeguard your medical license and career

A disciplinary action by the Board of Registration in Medicine may have devastating consequences. The Legal Advisory Plan, a low-cost MMS member benefit, gives you expert advice from legal counsel committed to protecting your rights and interests, helping you avoid common mistakes. Enroll or renew for January 2019 – January 2020 coverage for $70 a year. Additional discount apply for groups of five or more. For questions, call (781) 434-7311 or email  

"Since I was not a LAP member when I received a Board complaint, it cost me thousands of dollars for an attorney to resolve the issue. The Plan is an incredible bargain.”  — MMS Member


Get involved

2018 Women's Health Award presented
WomensHealthAward.jpg Congratulations to Julie Johnston, MD, who was presented with the 2018 MMS Women’s Health Award at Essex North’s District meeting on Tuesday. Dr. Johnston is a family physician at Greater Lawrence Family Health Center. Shown left-right: Dr. Johnston; Pei-Li Huang, MD, vice chair, Committee on Women’s Health; Joshua St. Louis, MD, president, Essex North District.

Wanted: Nominations for 2019 MMS awards


The following award nominations are due imminently; click the button below for details:


Reminders: Stuff you should click on

Forum: Economic impact of the opioid epidemic (Nov 16) 

This half-day Boston forum — The Massachusetts Opioid Epidemic: An Issue of Substance — will feature Michael Botticelli, executive director of the Grayken Center for Addiction at BMC, and Kaime Mahaniah, MD, CEO / CMO of Lynn Community Health Center. Other speakers and panelists include Governor Charlie Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders. Two panels explore the frontlines of clinical care and how to channel resources. The event is organized by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. Click the button below for information and registration.


Symposium for neonatal and perinatal providers (Nov 16)

Join your colleagues for lectures and workshops at the 19th Braden E. Griffin, MD, Memorial Symposium, a one-day event for neonatal and perinatal providers. The John Figgis Jewett, MD, Lectureship, sponsored by the MMS Committee on Maternal and Perinatal Welfare, will cover “A second life: microbe–human interactions beginning in infancy.” The event is provided by UMass Memorial Children's Medical Center. Click the button for more information.


Video: Universal Health Care conference

Did you miss our conference on Universal Health care last month? Catch up via our videos of presentations — from leading physicians, analysts, and advocates — exploring what's next for the ACA and for health care policy overall, the pros and cons of a dramatic move to a single-payer option versus incremental reform, lessons from state-level innovations, and how this may play out in the 2018 and 2020 elections.

Evolution of medical practice told through the stories of MMS past presidents: MRIs

FVHpastpres.png "They had MRIs at the big teaching hospitals in the Boston area, but none of the community hospitals. So we got about six or seven of the community hospitals together and we put a Determination of Need application in, and brought MRI out here to the communities in the western suburbs."

— Francis X. Van Houten, MD, MMS president 1994–1995, reflecting on the evolution of radiology in the mid-1980s

This series of video interviews with MMS past presidents illuminates the evolution of the medical practice and profession over recent decades.


Educational programs and events

Live events

2018 Annual Oration: The Beneficial Effects of the 100-year-old BCG Vaccine in Type 1 Diabetes
Friday, November 30, 2018, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. 

Ethics Forum: Health Care as a Basic Human Right
Friday, November 30, 2018, 3:30 – 6:30 p.m.

More live CME

Featured online CME

Electronic Health Records — Understanding the Payment Landscape (Module 1)

More online CME

Quote of the week

“My mother is a nurse. My sister is a nurse. My grandmother was a nurse. Nursing is a noble profession. Nurses are some tough, loving, caring, amazing people — but I’m not your nurse. I’m your doctor."

— Dr. Caitlin Bass on the bias she experiences as a female physician (Washington Post)

Tweet of the Week

AFFIRM is a non-profit corporation comprised of physician leaders who seek to diminish the human and financial costs of firearm injury in the US.

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.

Lawrence Memorial to close ER amid dwindling patient volume (BBJ)

MelroseWakefield Healthcare plans to close the emergency department at Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford, citing low patient volume and a need to expand urgent care services in the area. In a letter to employees sent Wednesday, MelroseWakefield said it had notified the state that it would close the emergency department and expand the hours of its existing urgent care center at the Medford site. Visits to the satellite emergency facility are down 32 percent from 2016, according to the hospital. On average, it said the ER receives less than one patient per hour during the daytime, and less than one patient between midnight and 7 a.m. No staff will be laid off as a result of the closure. 

Somerville Hospital apologizes after death of woman outside (Boston Globe)

Officials at the parent company of Somerville Hospital apologized Wednesday night for not meeting "our own standards for transparency and accountability" in the death of Laura Levis, who went to the emergency room during a severe 2016 asthma attack and found the door locked. In a statement, Cambridge Health Alliance pledged to improve its emergency medical response protocols days after The Boston Globe Magazine published a story about how the cracks and flaws in the health care system led to Levis's death. The story, written by Levis's husband, Peter DeMarco, chronicled Levis's asthma attack before dawn on the morning of Sept. 16, 2016.

Nurse-staffing measure defeated (MassLive)

The Yes on Question 1 campaign was spearheaded by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, a union representing nurses in 51 acute care hospitals across the state, in addition to other health facilities not affected by the proposal. MNA President Donna Kelly-Williams conceded the vote in prepared remarks released shortly after 9 p.m. "We are all disappointed by tonight's results and the impact this will have on the patients we care for every day," Kelly-Williams said. "We know that right now there are nurses caring for too many patients and those patients are unnecessarily being put in harm's way. And the problem continues to grow every year. The status quo is not a solution here."

Mass. US Reps. are big beneficiaries of Big Pharma (CommonHealth)

Massachusetts' US representatives have received a combined $357,200 from pharmaceutical PACs during the last two years. This figure ranks seventh out of 50 states. The California House delegation leads the country, with a combined drug company war chest of $1.34 million. (Keep in mind, of course, that Massachusetts has nine representatives, compared with California's 54, which makes the disparity in their overall totals unsurprising.) On a per-representative basis, however, the Massachusetts delegation comes in fourth among states, with each member of the House receiving an average of $39,689 from pharma PACs.

Baker and Gonzalez diverge on visions for health care (Boston Globe)

The Democrat running for Massachusetts governor in Tuesday's election is promoting an idea championed by liberals but unproved anywhere in the country: If elected, Gonzalez plans to completely overhaul the state's health care system and move to a government-run single-payer program. Everyone would have the same coverage and the same access to care — and costs, he insists, would be lower. Gonzalez and Governor Charlie Baker have similar backgrounds — Baker, too, used to run a health insurer, and both are former state budget chiefs — but their approaches to health care diverge sharply.  

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