Massachusetts Medical Society: What it's like to grow old in MA: compare towns via interactive tool

What it's like to grow old in MA: compare towns via interactive tool


News and announcements

Last call: A gift that money can't buy (Dec 17)


Please help the MMS honor outstanding physicians. Click the button below for details. Nominations for three major awards are due Monday:

  • 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)


Mass. Healthy Aging Report: local data via interactive tool 

The  2018 Massachusetts Healthy Aging Data Report was published this week. The report presents “the distribution of disease, health behaviors and the extent to which health varies by zip code across the state.” Massachusetts is the 7th healthiest state for older people in the US, but there are wide variations in seniors’ health, often associated with the social determinants of health. The rates for several health conditions have worsened in recent years. Six percent of 65+ have some form of substance use disorder. The most commonly diagnosed mental health issue among older people is depression. The report is published by the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative. Click the button below for an interactive website presenting profiles of the states’ cities, towns, and neighborhoods.


Improved access to long-acting reversible contraception postpartum

Seventeen insurance plans now provide additional reimbursement for LARC care immediately postpartum — key to reducing unintended pregnancy and increasing patient satisfaction, according to Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. All MassHealth plans and most commercial payors reimburse for LARC insertion and the devices separately from the bundled payment for postpartum care. When a patient chooses LARC, ACOG recommends IUD insertion in the delivery room. Offering contraception at the postpartum visit misses some women and is too late for others; at least 70 percent of pregnancies occurring in the first year postpartum are unintended.

What’s up in advocacy and policy

New law improves patient confidentiality

state-house-220.jpgThe new “PATCH” law fixes a crucial barrier to accessing confidential health care services in Massachusetts. It is designed to ensure that when multiple people are on the same insurance plan, confidential health care information is not shared with anyone other than the patient. The law allows an insured patient who is legally authorized to consent to care to choose their preferred method of receiving the summary of payments form. The Division of Insurance will be issuing a provider bulletin and doing outreach with MDPH. The Massachusetts chapter of ACOG and Health Care for All were instrumental in advocating for the legislation. For more information, click the button below.


Physicians’ role in fighting climate change

New MMS policy adopted at the Interim Meeting this month reflects the Society’s commitment to environmental health as a pressing public health issue and to physicians’ leadership in the fight against climate change (see Vital Signs, Summer 2018). The new policy clarifies the Society’s commitment to socially responsible investments, including divesting from fossil fuels where possible, supporting relevant public policy and continuing medical education, and highlighting the health implications of environmental policy. (For more information about policies adopted at the Interim Meeting, click the button below; members only.) The Society’s policy is consistent with that of many other health organizations. In a recent column in Fortune , Dr. Leonid Eidelman, president of the World Medical Association, wrote: “We need to help patients understand that they can help mitigate climate change’s effects… Given our expertise on health, our patients are more likely to trust our advice than that given by a non-physician.”


Benefit Buzz

Legal Advisory Plan: Why you should enroll now

Do you know that your professional liability policy may limit your coverage for Board of Registration in Medicine investigations, and you may quickly reach your coverage maximum? Are you aware that your premium may subsequently go up? Using the MMS Legal Advisory Plan (LAP) first provides an extra layer of coverage and may help prevent malpractice insurance premium increases. For a nominal fee of $70 a year, you have access to expert attorney representation for a successful outcome. Enroll or renew for January 2019 – January 2020 coverage. Additional discounts apply for groups of five or more. For questions, call (781) 434-7311 or email

Member verdicts

"When I received the Board complaint, I tried to sign up for the LAP.  It was too late. I had to be enrolled already when I received the letter from the Board. It cost me thousands of dollars for an attorney to resolve the issue. Don't wait. The Plan is an incredible bargain."  

"The LAP newsletters were very helpful. Made me aware of situations to avoid that could impact my medical license."


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


Get Involved

Physician-mothers leading the MMS Resident and Fellow Section
RFS_women.jpg Three of the five officers of the MMS Resident and Fellow Section are new mothers or soon to give birth. The five Section officers for the 2018–19 term include Secretary Meegan Remillard, MD, an internist at Tufts Medical Center (left in photo), Vice Chair Emily Cleveland Manchanda, MD, chief resident in the Harvard-Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency (center), and Chair Monica J. Wood, MD, chief resident in radiology at MGH. Dr. Remillard and Dr. Wood — both active in the MMS since they were in medical school — are soon to become parents. Dr. Manchanda gave birth to her second child in August. Dr. Remillard and Dr. Wood have been active in the MMS since they were in medical school; Dr. Wood previously chaired the Medical Student Section. Matthew Lecuyer, MD, is the Resident and Fellow Section trustee, and Eli C. Freiman, MD, the alternate trustee.

Reminders: Stuff you should click on


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.

Announce your career news in Vital Signs

VS_OctNov18(1).png Have you recently changed jobs, received an award, been appointed to a board or committee, been featured in the media, or been otherwise recognized? Help us spread the word among your professional community. To have your news included in the next issue of Vital Signs Member News and Notes (in print and online), email  

Look out for the Dec/Jan issue of Vital Signs, on trends in medicine, which mails next week. Click the button to see Member News and Notes listings in the Oct/Nov issue.


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 

Is There a Doctor on Board? Medical Emergencies on Commercial Flights

More online CME

Quote of the week

Hill_Rebecca.jpg “There are no words to describe how grateful I am for the medical care I have received from Rebecca Hill, MD, and her staff. The level of professionalism and respect has been more then exceptional. There is no doubt in my mind that ... I have been the recipient of the best medical care in Massachusetts, and if I may say, at the national level also. Her kindness, compassionate ear and bedside manner are exemplary. Dr. Hill and her staff have time and time again earned my trust and respect in the most heartfelt way.” 

— Philip J. Lentoni, who contacted the MMS to commend his physician, Rebecca Hill, MD, of Atrius Health, and her team, including Katelyn Carr, RN, and Michelle Davis, medical assistant.

Tweet of the week


Addiction Medicine physician @MGHmedicine passionate about changing systems of care, improving treatment, and fighting stigma

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.

Mass. emergency departments continue to see a lot of avoidable visits (WWLP)

Massachusetts emergency rooms continue to see a high number of visits that could've been avoided. One out of three Massachusetts residents receiving health insurance through their job has reported their last visit to an ER was for a non-emergency, according to a new study. The Executive Director for the Health Policy Commission said of those non-emergency visits, roughly 72 percent were for care needed outside of normal doctors office hours. Sixty-two percent were a result of not getting an appointment soon enough.  These avoidable ER visits can also contribute to longer wait times.

Business groups aim to curb emergency room use (Boston Globe)

Hospital emergency rooms are supposed to be for patients with severe medical conditions who need care right away. But in Massachusetts, emergency rooms are too often used by people who don't have emergencies at all and instead could be seen in a doctor's office or other clinic, according to new state data. On Tuesday, a coalition of business groups representing thousands of employers kicked off an ambitious new effort to reduce these potentially avoidable emergency room visits, and in the process lower health care costs by up to $100 million.

Doctor charged with manslaughter in opioid overdose death (Boston Globe)

A grand jury has indicted a Dracut physician on charges of involuntary manslaughter in the 2016 death of a woman who overdosed on opioids that he'd prescribed. The case is the first in which the state has brought manslaughter charges against an opioid prescriber. Attorney General Maura Healey announced the charges Tuesday against Dr. Richard Miron, saying that he is alleged to have prescribed opioids to an at-risk patient without legitimate medical purpose. Miron was also charged with defrauding the state's Medicaid program, MassHealth. The patient died on March 17, 2016. According to Healey's office, the medical examiner determined that her death was caused by acute intoxication from combined effects of fentanyl, morphine, codeine and butalbital (a barbiturate), all prescribed by Miron.

Aetna pays penalty, vows to improve access to mental health care in Mass. (MassLive)

The insurance company Aetna agreed to pay $75,000 and take steps to make it easier for members to access behavioral health care, under a settlement reached with Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. "Massachusetts patients face far too many barriers to receiving essential mental health and substance use treatment," Healey said in a statement. "With these commitments, Aetna is making it easier for patients to access the care they need." Healey's office alleged that Aetna violated the state's consumer protection law by publishing directories of providers that were "materially inaccurate and deceptive."

Partners HealthCare plans new outpatient clinics (Boston Globe)

Partners HealthCare, the state's largest network of doctors and hospitals, plans to expand its reach across Eastern Massachusetts by opening several new outpatient clinics over the next five years. Partners officials did not reveal how many new locations they plan to open, but they said the company would target busy suburban areas near major highway interchanges for the new clinics. The sites will range in size and scope and could include an orthopedic surgery center. The plans were disclosed to the Globe as Partners announced Friday that the company earned $310 million on operations in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 and saw revenue dip slightly to $13.3 billion. 

Partners gets federal approval for Care New England acquisition (Boston Business Journal)

Partners HealthCare has received federal approval to acquire Care New England in Rhode Island, and expects to hear from local regulators by April, a top executive at the health system said. Partners, the largest health system in the state, has been seeking to acquire the three-hospital Care New England system since April 2017. The deal would expand Partners' out-of-state presence south of Massachusetts for the first time. Peter Markell, chief financial officer for Partners, said in an interview that the Federal Trade Commission had approved the acquisition. Partners will now seek state approval in Rhode Island. Markell said Partners hasn't yet filed paperwork with Rhode Island regulators, but expects to do so by the end of this year. Rhode Island regulars have granted the project an expedited 90-day review process, and Markell said he expects the state to give its decision by April.

Central Mass. providers take state awards (Worcester Business Journal)

Ten Central Massachusetts health offices were awarded in the first patient experience awards from the nonprofit Massachusetts Health Quality Partners. The agency said it received more than 65,000 responses in its new awards program it started to recognize primary care practices performing best. It awarded offices in nine categories, with five overall best performer winners each for adult and pediatric practices, and three winners in each performance category. Some Central Massachusetts offices received multiple awards.

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