MMA Files Comments on Licensing Board Rules on Use of Controlled Substances for Treatment of Pain

MMA Files Comments on Licensing Board Rules on Use of Controlled Substances for Treatment of Pain

Created on: Monday, June 12, 2017
Author: Maine Medical Association

On June 1, MMA filed comments with the Board of Licensure in Medicine on proposed Rule, Chapter 21, Use of Controlled Substances for Treatment of Pain. The proposal was prepared jointly by five licensing boards representing prescribers including Physicians, PAs, Nurse Practitioners, Podiatrists and Dentists.

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US District Court Blocks Aetna-Humana Merger

US District Court Blocks Aetna-Humana Merger

Created on: Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Author: Peter MIchaud

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled on January 23, 2017, that the proposed $37 billion merger between health insurers Aetna and Humana will not happen. Citing the anti-competitive effects of such a merger, Judge John Bates found the insurers' arguments in favor of the merger "unpersuasive."

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MMA Summary of New Opioid Prescribing PMP Rule from Maine DHHS

MMA Summary of New Opioid Prescribing PMP Rule from Maine DHHS

Created on: Tuesday, January 03, 2017
Author: Peter MIchaud

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services has released the new, statutorily required rule concerning opioid prescribing and use of the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) on an emergency basis. This blog post provides a summary of its provisions.

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Dr. Tom Price: A Good or Bad Choice for Secretary of US DHHS?

Dr. Tom Price: A Good or Bad Choice for Secretary of US DHHS?

Created on: Thursday, December 08, 2016
Author: Maine Medical Association

On November 29, 2016, President-elect Donald Trump named Rep. Tom Price, MD (D-GA) as his nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services. There have been varied reactions to this news from the medical community, from the public, and from organized medicine. This blog post is an opportunity for MMA members and others to discuss this appointment.

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Planned Parenthood Announces New Informational Assistance Under MaineCare

Created on: Thursday, November 17, 2016

On October 1st, a new MaineCare benefit became available for thousands of adults and teens. The benefit provides comprehensive coverage for reproductive and sexual health care for those who meet the income guidelines. Planned Parenthood has informational resources available in English, French and Arabic to explain the new benefits.

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MACRA Update from the AMA

MACRA Update from the AMA

Created on: Monday, October 17, 2016
Author: Maine Medical Association

The AMA has provided this update for physicians on CMS's final rule on MACRA (Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act). It includes resources to help with practice management and understanding payment models.

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AAP Recommends Elimination of Nonmedical Vaccine Exemptions

AAP Recommends Elimination of Nonmedical Vaccine Exemptions

Created on: Monday, August 29, 2016
Author: Peter MIchaud

The American Academy of Pediatrics has published a new policy statement, “Medical Versus Nonmedical Immunization Exemptions for Child Care and School Attendance,” which recommends that only medical exemptions be allowed for vaccine requirements for child care and school attendance.

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New Q & A Document on Opioid Law

New Q & A Document on Opioid Law

Created on: Monday, August 08, 2016
Author: Maine Medical Association

The MMA Website now features a new Frequently Asked Questions document about PL 2015, chapter 488--the new Maine opioid law.

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Maine Left Out of CPC+ Program

Maine Left Out of CPC+ Program

Created on: Friday, August 05, 2016
Author: Peter MIchaud

Maine has not been chosen as one of fourteen states to partcipate in Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+), an initiative from CMS designed to give primary care practices greater financial resources and flexibility to improve the quality and efficiency of care and reduce unnecessary health care utilization.

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New Physician Non-discrimination Rules Now in Effect

New Physician Non-discrimination Rules Now in Effect

Created on: Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Author: Peter MIchaud

On July 18, 2016 new regulations under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act went into effect that prohibit physicians and other health care providers from discriminating against individuals on the basis of various factors and require notice of those rights. The regulation went into effect after nearly 25,000 comments were received and reviewed. This article reviews the notice requirements of the regulations.

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MMA & Quality Counts Join Forces to Assist Prescribers with Compliance with Chapter 488

Created on: Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Last Thursday, MMA and Quality Counts hosted an educational session to assist prescribers in compliance with the new Maine law limiting opioid scripts prescribed for pain. More than 75 people attended and heard from a variety of experts on the law and the medicine. The first part of the new law takes effect on July 29, 2016. The educational program was part of the Caring for ME initiative sponsored by MMA and Quality Counts.

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Hector Tarraza, MD and Gordon Smith, JD Recognized as Maine Leaders

Hector Tarraza, MD and Gordon Smith, JD Recognized as Maine Leaders

Created on: Thursday, July 07, 2016
Author: Maine Medical Association

MMA member Hector Tarraza, MD, and MMA Executive Vice President Gordon Smith, JD, were named in Maine Magazine as two of 50 Mainers charting the State's future. Each was cited for his unique contributions to public health.

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MMA and Maine Quality Counts Present Educational Session on New Opioid Law, c. 488

Created on: Monday, June 27, 2016

Please join the Maine Medical Association and Maine Quality Counts on July 14th for an educational Learning Session designed for providers to gain practical information on key issues related to implementing Maine's new law limiting opioid prescribing. The session is designed to provide training for clinician leaders in your organization and prepare them to train and support practice teams in complying with the new law.

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Code of Medical Ethics Modernized for First Time in 50 Years

Created on: Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Physicians have just affirmed a comprehensive update of the nearly 170-year-old AMA Code of Medical Ethics, the conclusion of a meticulous project started eight years ago to ensure that this ethical guidance keeps pace with the demands of the changing world of medical practice. [from the AMA Wire, by Editor Amy Farouk]

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Notes from the American Medical Association 2016 Annual Meeting

Notes from the American Medical Association 2016 Annual Meeting

Created on: Monday, June 13, 2016
Author: Andrew MacLean

The AMA Annual Meeting is currently under way in Chicago and AMA delegates from Maine, Richard Evans, M.D. and Maroulla Gleaton, M.D. are in attendance along with MMA President Brian Pierce, M.D. and Deputy Executive Vice President Andrew MacLean, J.D. Here are some notes on the early proceedings.rn

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New Antibiotic-resistant E. coli Reaches US

New Antibiotic-resistant E. coli Reaches US

Created on: Friday, May 27, 2016
Author: Peter MIchaud

A new, antibiotic-resistant strain of E. coli has been found in the USA for the first time. It is spread through mcr-1, a plasmid borne, colistin resistant gene. This presents a significant threat to public health.

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Opioid Prescriptions Decline Steadily, But a New Drug Appears

Opioid Prescriptions Decline Steadily, But a New Drug Appears

Created on: Thursday, May 26, 2016
Author: Peter MIchaud

Opioid prescriptions in the US have declined steadily since 2012--the first such decline seen since the introduction of oxycodone in 1996. The largest decrease has been in the prescription of hydrocodone. We expect an accelerated decline in 2016, with new political awareness of and emphasis on opioid addiction. Unfortunately, a new drug of abuse is appearing on the horizon.

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FDA releases long-awaited final rule regulating e-cigarettes and cigars

FDA releases long-awaited final rule regulating e-cigarettes and cigars

Created on: Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Author: Maine Medical Association

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week released its final rule regulating e-cigarettes, cigars, hookah and other previously unregulated tobacco products. The new rules are sweeping in scope, and for the first time, extend federal regulatory authority to e-cigarettes, banning their sale to minors under the age of 18 and requiring health warnings. (from AMA Advocacy Update)

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Maine Opiate Collaborative Presents Task Force Recomendations

Maine Opiate Collaborative Presents Task Force Recomendations

Created on: Monday, May 09, 2016
Author: Gordon Smith

On Friday, May 6, the leadership of the Maine Opiate Collaborative announced to a standing room only audience at Maple Hill Farm in Hallowell the recommendations of its three Task Forces organized around the topics of Treatment, Prevention/Harm Reduction and Law Enforcement.

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Maine Medicine Fares Well on Veto Day

Maine Medicine Fares Well on Veto Day

Created on: Monday, May 02, 2016
Author: Maine Medical Association

Friday, April 29th, was “Veto Day” at the State House—the day the Legislature reconvened for the last day of the session to vote on the 33 vetoes submitted by Governor LePage. All in all, it was a good day for medicine in Maine. The Legislature sustained 12 vetoes and overrode 20, with one tax bill being allowed to die at adjournment after being sent back to committee. Ten of the 20 veto overrides had at least passing reference to medical issues.

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Gov. LePage Vetoes Naloxone Bill, LD 1547

Gov. LePage Vetoes Naloxone Bill, LD 1547

Created on: Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Author: Peter MIchaud

Governor LePage has vetoed LD 1547, which would make it easier for first responders, friends and families to obtain naloxone to use in reversing the effects of opioid overdose. Read the reactions from people both in and beyond Maine.

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Firearm Safety Counseling: Do I Have to Sign the Form?

Firearm Safety Counseling: Do I Have to Sign the Form?

Created on: Monday, April 18, 2016
Author: Peter MIchaud

Recently we have heard about a form being presented by some patients to their physicians concerning firearm safety counseling and risk management. Are physicians required to sign it? What laws address firearm safety counseling as part of the medical exam? This article addresses those issues.

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MaineCare Rate Study for Mental Health Services Leads to Proposals with Devastating Impact

MaineCare Rate Study for Mental Health Services Leads to Proposals with Devastating Impact

Created on: Monday, March 28, 2016
Author: Maine Medical Association

Mental Health agencies in the state and their health professionals are gearing up for a difficult fight over rate cuts proposed by DHHS based upon the results of a rate study for behavioral health and targeted case management services authorized in the state budget document passed last June.

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L.D. 1646, An Act to Prevent Opiate Abuse by Strengthening the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program, Passes Committee

L.D. 1646, An Act to Prevent Opiate Abuse by Strengthening the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program, Passes Committee

Created on: Friday, March 25, 2016
Author: Maine Medical Association

On March 23rd, the Joint Standing Committee on Health & Human Services voted 11 to 1 “Ought to Pass as amended” on L.D. 1646 and the bill will go to the floor of the House and Senate in early April. The "Ought to Pass" form of the bill resulted from negotiations between the LePage administration and the MMA.

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MMA and LePage Administration Reach Agreement on Opioid Prescribing Limits

MMA and LePage Administration Reach Agreement on Opioid Prescribing Limits

Created on: Monday, March 21, 2016
Author: Maine Medical Association

Following the public hearing on L.D. 1646 and L.D. 1648 last Wednesday, MMA representatives and representatives of the LePage Administration reached agreement on several essential provisions in L.D. 1646. Durational limits on prescriptions have been increased and a list of important exceptions to the limits is under development. In addition, the effective date of the law has been extended to January 1, 2017. The legislature's deliberations on these opioid abuse bills will take place during the next one to three weeks as this session winds down. While broad areas of agreement are described below, many of the details remain to be resolved and your input both to the MMA advocacy staff and key legislators will be critically important as negotiations continue.

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Naloxone: Maine Law and Fact Sheet

Naloxone: Maine Law and Fact Sheet

Created on: Monday, March 14, 2016
Author: Peter MIchaud

With the alarming news about 272 overdose deaths in Maine in 2015, we thought it might be a good idea to put some information out about naloxone (AKA Narcan®). Learn more about Maine laws relating to naloxone prescribing and use, and read a Fact Sheet about naloxone that provides valuable information for patients and other non-clinicians, too.

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HHS Issues HIPAA Guidance on Uses of Health Information

HHS Issues HIPAA Guidance on Uses of Health Information

Created on: Thursday, March 10, 2016
Author: Maine Medical Association

New information is available from the US Department of Health & Human Services to help you understand how HIPAA governs your use of health care information.

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The Physicians Foundation Invites Over 650,000 Physicians to Participate in Fourth National Survey

The Physicians Foundation Invites Over 650,000 Physicians to Participate in Fourth National Survey

Created on: Monday, March 07, 2016
Author: Maine Medical Association

The Physicians Foundation, a non-profit organization that seeks to empower physicians to lead in the delivery of high-quality, cost-efficient healthcare, is launching its fourth national Survey of America’s Physicians, one of the largest physician surveys ever undertaken in the United States. Survey Will Inform a “State of the Union” of the Medical Profession

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Major Legislation Expected Soon on Prescribing Limits and Mandated Education and Use of the PMP

Major Legislation Expected Soon on Prescribing Limits and Mandated Education and Use of the PMP

Created on: Thursday, March 03, 2016
Author: Maine Medical Association

The other shoe is about to drop this week at the State House with respect to opioid prescribing and mandated education and use of the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP). The impact on patients and prescribers is likely to be significant.

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Physician Burnout: What You Can Do For Yourself or a Colleague

Physician Burnout: What You Can Do For Yourself or a Colleague

Created on: Monday, February 29, 2016
Author: Peter MIchaud

Burnout: It's a real problem. What are the causes? How can a busy physician learn to cope, to develop resilience, and to get help when necessary?

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Protect Yourself from Identity Theft; File Your Tax Return Early

Protect Yourself from Identity Theft; File Your Tax Return Early

Created on: Friday, February 19, 2016
Author: Maine Medical Association

Well over one hundred Maine physicians (and usually their spouses) were unpleasantly surprised when they filed their federal tax returns for 2013 and 2014 and were told that their return had already been filed received and a generous refund sent to a prepaid debit card at an address now untraceable. Although the accurate returns were eventually processed and the victims of this scam were not held financially liable in any way, nonetheless the hassles associated with identity theft plagued these physicians and continue to be worrisome. Now that it is known that one's social security number, address and other personal information is in the hands of criminals, there is constant fear regarding when the next shoe will drop.

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AMA President Steven Stack, MD issues a call to action

AMA President Steven Stack, MD issues a call to action

Created on: Thursday, February 18, 2016
Author: Gordon Smith

Dr. Stack makes a strong case for all physicians to take specific steps to turn the tide of the opioid epidemic. I was pleased to see that the five specific steps he identified are actions the Maine Medical Association has already taken and continues to be actively involved in. See his letter below...and please comment.

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Maine Enrollment of 84,000  in ACA Marketplace Exchange Continues to Beat Expectations

Maine Enrollment of 84,000 in ACA Marketplace Exchange Continues to Beat Expectations

Created on: Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Author: Maine Medical Association

As of the last day of open enrollment on Sunday, January 31st, more than 84,000 Mainers had enrolled in health plans through the marketplace exchange, representing a 27% increase over 2015. More than 15,000 of the enrollees are new this year, the remainder representing renewals.

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Failure of Communication Leads to $1.8M Malpractice Award

Failure of Communication Leads to $1.8M Malpractice Award

Created on: Friday, January 29, 2016
Author: Peter MIchaud

A problem in the communication of critical lab values led to bacteremia and a large verdict for the patient, pointing out the critical importance of accurate and reliable communication among patient, doctor and hospital.

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Prescription Monitoring Program:

Prescription Monitoring Program:

Created on: Monday, January 18, 2016
Author: Maine Medical Association

January 20th CME program in South Portland on prescribing for pain, preventing diversion and addiction and using diversion alert and the prescription monitoring program (PMP). With increasing pressure at the State House to mandate use of the PMP, stay ahead of the game with this important 3 hour program.

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Healthcare Predictions for 2016...and the 2015 Results

Healthcare Predictions for 2016...and the 2015 Results

Created on: Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Author: Maine Medical Association

MMA makes its annual predictions for the upcoming year and checks how it did for 2015.

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FDA Proposes Tanning Bed Ban for Minors

FDA Proposes Tanning Bed Ban for Minors

Created on: Monday, December 21, 2015
Author: Maine Medical Association

The FDA is proposing that minors be banned from using indoor tanning equipment due to increased risk of melanoma.

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Legislative Leaders Announce Bipartisan $4.8 Million Plan to Fight Drug Crisis

Legislative Leaders Announce Bipartisan $4.8 Million Plan to Fight Drug Crisis

Created on: Monday, December 14, 2015
Author: Maine Medical Association

Legislative leaders this past Wednesday (Dec. 9) announced a $4.8 million plan to fight the opioid/heroin problem in Maine. The plan includes prevention, treatment and law enforcement efforts, including providing the funds requested by Governor LePage to hire 10 new DEA agents.

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MMA Board Votes to Oppose Health Plan Mergers

MMA Board Votes to Oppose Health Plan Mergers

Created on: Monday, December 07, 2015
Author: Maine Medical Association

At its Board meeting last week, directors voted unanimously to oppose the announced mergers of Anthem and Cigna and Aetna and Humana stating that consolidating four of the five largest health plans in the nation into three companies is not in the best interest of patients or physicians.

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Senator King Forum Focuses on Opioid Prescribing Practices and Drug Disposal

Created on: Tuesday, December 01, 2015

On Tuesday, Nov. 24, U.S. Senator Angus King convened a forum held at the offices of MaineHealth to discuss current prescribing practices, the opioid/heroin crisis in the state and the options available for patients to dispose of unused medication.

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Legislative Leaders and Governor LePage Spar over Approach to Opioid Crisis

Created on: Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Governor LePage continues to hold to a Dec. 10th deadline for the Legislature to convene in a special session to provide state funding for ten additional MDEA agents to combat the current flow of heroin and other illegal drugs into the state. Legislative leaders have, to date, resisted the call for a special session preferring a comprehensive approach to the problem to be considered when the Second Regular Session convenes in early January.

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AMA Opposes Health Insurer Mergers

AMA Opposes Health Insurer Mergers

Created on: Monday, November 16, 2015
Author: Maine Medical Association

In a strongly worded, and extensively footnoted, 17-page letter to the head of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, AMA Chief Executive Officer James L. Madara, MD, voiced the opposition of organized medicine to the proposed acquisitions of Cigna by Anthem and of Humana by Aetna, mergers that would effectively reduce the number of national health insurance companies from five to three.

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Maine's Opioid/Heroin Crisis Continues Unabated; Governor Calls for Special Legislative Session

Maine's Opioid/Heroin Crisis Continues Unabated; Governor Calls for Special Legislative Session

Created on: Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Author: Maine Medical Association

There were several developments this past week in the worsening crisis of opioid/heroin use in the state. At least eight overdose deaths were reported and the Governor and the Attorney General both made public appearances related to the problem.

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AMA Releases Analyses of Health Insurer Mergers

Created on: Tuesday, September 08, 2015

A recent AMA study shows nearly half of all states could see decreased competition in the health insurance market.

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Maine's Highest-in-Nation Toddler Vax Rate

Created on: Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Maine's toddler vaccine rate is the highest in the nation, but more work remains to be done to protect the public health.

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Supreme Court Upholds Subsidies in King v. Burwell; Insurance Preserved for More than 60,000

Supreme Court Upholds Subsidies in King v. Burwell; Insurance Preserved for More than 60,000

Created on: Wednesday, August 05, 2015
Author: Maine Medical Association

On Thursday, June 25th, The United States Supreme Court issued its much anticipated decision in the case of King v. Burwell which had challenged the tax credits granted to marketplace enrollees in states that had not established their own exchanges, including Maine. In a 6 to 3 decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Court ruled that Congress had intended for the subsidies to apply in states with either their own exchange or used a federally facilitated exchange.

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