CME

MMS Advisory: Effective Communication CME Course Postponed to March 1

Posted in CME on February 7th, 2013 by Erica Noonan – Comments Off on MMS Advisory: Effective Communication CME Course Postponed to March 1

The Massachusetts Medical Society’s Continuing Medical Education Course on The Impact of Effective Communication on Patients, Colleagues, and Metrics, scheduled for Friday, February 8 has been rescheduled because of the weather.

The conference has been moved to Friday, March 1.

For more information, call or write: 800-322-2303, x7306 or continuingeducation@mms.org

Preventing Falls Among the Elderly: A Webinar

Posted in CME on January 23rd, 2013 by MMS – Comments Off on Preventing Falls Among the Elderly: A Webinar

Did you know that one out of three people ages 65 years and older suffers a fall each year, risking fractures, head injuries, and even death?  Falling is a very important problem for our aging society.  As a health care provider, you can help reduce your patients’ chances of falling and of suffering serious injuries.

What are some ways you can assess your patients’ falls risk factors?  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created a helpful tool kit, including these validated tests to help you with assessment:

  • The Timed Up and Go (TUG) Test – Use this test to assess a patient’s mobility
  • The 4-stage balance test – Use this test to assess a patient’s balance.
  • The 30-Second Chair Stand Test – Use this test to assess a patient’s leg strength and endurance
  • Measuring Orthostatic Blood Pressure – Use this tool to determine if a patient may have postural hypotension

The MMS, in partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, is addressing this need by offering a lunchtime webinar on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 designed to help health care providers adopt an evidence-based resource for falls screening, risk assessment, and care management.  The tests mentioned above, as well as other resources in the CDC toolkit, will be addressed.

For more information on the webinar and to register, call 800-322-2303, x7306 or visit www.massmed.org/PreventingFalls.

The Ever-Important Metric: Communication

Posted in CME on January 22nd, 2013 by MMS – Comments Off on The Ever-Important Metric: Communication

While 2012 was an interesting and dynamic year in health care with many moving and changing components, there was one thing that became abundantly clear: Patient engagement is going to continue to play an extremely important role in health care.

The new cost control law in Massachusetts law now requires patient decision aids to be used in healthcare settings in order to promote patient engagement and shared-decision making.

Patient decision aids are defined as an educational tool that helps patients understand and communicate their beliefs and preferences related to their treatment options, and to decide with their health care provider what treatments are best for them based on their treatment options, scientific evidence, circumstances, beliefs and preferences.

Additionally, participation in the Medicare/Medicaid Meaningful Use program requires physicians to focus on patient engagement as part of the criteria necessary to achieve meaningful use. The coming year will provide plenty of opportunity for the conversation to continue with the need for enhanced definition of patient engagement metrics by payers and providers, behind the scenes work to operationalize these metrics and ultimately implementation at the practice level.

Placing a proverbial flag in the ground in order to get your practice moving is key, but how do you decide where to start?

Why not make a resolution to start simply and break it down to the basics of communication? Communication is the basic core tenant of every relationship. Perhaps now is a good time to pause and review how well your practice communicates internally and externally with both physicians and patients.  Set your own internal metrics and strive for improvement in areas where you’ve identified deficits.

Perfecting communication will certainly benefit your practice, your patients and increase employee and patient satisfaction but also by setting the groundwork for success with patient engagement metrics.

To learn more about the importance of communication, join us on February 8, 2013, for an exciting program titled “The Impact of Effective Communication on Patients, Colleagues and Metrics”.  For more information visit  http://www.massmed.org/IEC2013.

The Art & Science of Breast Cancer Management

Posted in CME on June 11th, 2012 by MMS – Comments Off on The Art & Science of Breast Cancer Management

In the past decade, we’ve made significant strides in the treatment of breast cancer. We’ve refined strategies to treat both hormone-positive and hormone-negative disease, developed targeted treatments for patients with specific tumor subtypes, and advanced our approaches to early-stage and metastatic breast cancer.

Still, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, accounting for nearly 1 of every 3 cancers diagnosed, and is the cause of significant morbidity and mortality.

Additionally, changing (and sometimes conflicting) clinical guidelines related to breast cancer screening continue to generate controversy in both the medical literature and the lay media.

The result? Perplexed patients and their clinicians are navigating decisions about potentially life-changing diagnostics and treatments in real-time in the midst of ongoing debate about the value and limitations of screening and risk assessment for individual patients.

Because physicians are challenged to stay up to date on advances in screening, assessment and management of women with breast cancer, the Massachusetts Medical Society is proud to announce a new continuing medical education program, Breast Cancer Seminar Series: Personalized Treatment in Breast Cancer: Improving Outcomes in Advanced Disease .

Sponsored by MMS and chaired by Karen Antman, MD, Dean of the Boston University School of Medicine, this live virtual CME summit brings together leading experts in breast cancer research and clinical practice — live and online — to discuss the latest topics and new developments in breast cancer.

Watch Eric Winer, MD, of the Dana Farber Cancer Center present his perspectives on optimizing treatment for patients with triple negative disease, for example, and compare your decision-making in managing patients with locally advanced and metastatic cancers to that of faculty member William Gradishar, MD, of the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine.

Attend our free, online interactive program from on Monday, June 18, and earn up to 4.0 AMA Category 1 Credits(TM). The Virtual Education Breast Cancer Seminar Series will be conducted live and online from 11am until 3pm ET, and tuition is complimentary. View the full agenda and speakers, and sign up now at the Clinical Series Live.

Five Ways You Can Meet the State’s New CME Licensing Requirements

Posted in Board of Medicine, CME, End of Life Care on January 20th, 2012 by Erica Noonan – Comments Off on Five Ways You Can Meet the State’s New CME Licensing Requirements

The state Board of Registration in Medicine notified physicians this week of new regulations that require them to complete CME courses in pain management and end of life care during the license renewal or obtaining a new license.

Pain management: Effective Feb. 1, physicians who prescribe controlled substances (Schedules I through VI) must complete at least three credits of education and training in pain management and opioid education.

MMS and the Boston University School of Medicine offer two courses to help physicians fulfill that requirement:

End-of-life care: Also effective Feb. 1, all physicians seeking a new or renewed license must take two CME credits in end of life care. The credits can qualify as either category 1 or category 2, and may be counted as risk management credits.

The MMS offers three online courses to fulfill this requirement:

The pain management education requirement was created by the Legislature in statute enacted in 2010. In public testimony, the MMS unsuccessfully opposed that requirement.

Mandatory education in end-of-life care was imposed by the Board of Registration in Medicine (BRM) following the recommendation of a special commission. It was not a legislative mandate, and the MMS opposed the inclusion of this condition for licensure based solely on the BRM’s perception of the significance of the issue.

BRM Executive Director Stancel Riley, MD, is scheduled to meet the MMS Board of Trustees in March to discuss these and other new licensing regulations.

 

 

Board of Medicine Moves to Require CME Credits in Pain Management and End of Life Care

Posted in CME, End of Life Care, Palliative Care on January 12th, 2012 by MMS – 5 Comments

We learned today that the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine is notifying physicians by email that effective Feb. 1, it will require continuing medical education (CME) credits on two specific clinical topics as a condition of licensure and re-licensure: pain management and end of life care.

It will require three hours of CME credits in pain management for physicians who prescribe controlled substances (Schedules I through VI). These credits qualify as either category 1 or category 2 CME, and may be counted as risk management credits. This requirement was established by the Legislature by statute in 2010.

The MMS recommends two courses to fulfill this requirement:

The Board will also require physicians to take two credits in education about end-of-life care, also effective Feb. 1.  The credits qualify as either category 1 or category 2, and may be counted as risk management credits. This is a requirement imposed by the Board very recently, following the recommendations of an expert panel on end of life care that met in 2008.

The MMS online CME center offers three courses that would fulfill this requirement:

The state’s complete CME requirements for licensure and re-licensure are available on the MMS website.

Coming Jan. 1: New Requirement for Physician Licensure

Posted in CME, Palliative Care on December 20th, 2011 by MMS – Comments Off on Coming Jan. 1: New Requirement for Physician Licensure

Starting Jan. 1, every physician applying to renew or obtain a new Massachusetts license must complete at least three credits of education and training in pain management and opioid education.

According to state regulations, such education includes “but is not limited to, training in how to identify patients at high risk for substance abuse and training in how to counsel patients on the side effects, addictive nature and proper storage and disposal of prescription medicines. These hours may be included among the required 10 hours of risk management credits.”  The requirement was outlined in state legislation passed during the summer of 2010.

Several online CME activities fulfill this requirement. The MMS offers an online program, Managing Risk When Prescribing Narcotic Painkillers for Patients, for one credit. It meets the criteria of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine for risk management study. The Boston University School of Medicine also offers a three-credit online course, Safe and Effective Opioid Prescribing for Chronic Pain.

Visit the MMS website for complete information on CME requirements for Massachusetts licensure.

Future CME Requirements
In 2014, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will require applicants for new and renewed licenses to complete training in end of life care. In 2015, such applicants must also certify their competence in the use of electronic health records.

MOLST Expands End-of-Life Planning for Physicians, Patients

Posted in CME, End of Life Care, Palliative Care on November 3rd, 2011 by Erica Noonan – Comments Off on MOLST Expands End-of-Life Planning for Physicians, Patients

Too often, palliative care experts say, physicians are unable to carry out their patients end-of life wishes because they were contained in a document that was incomplete, too vague, not legally binding, or simply misplaced by family members.

Massachusetts is poised to join more than 14 other states with formal Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) programs. The proposed state protocol, called Massachusetts Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (MOLST), aims to translate patients’ goals of care into specific medical orders that travel with the patient if he/she changes health care settings.

MOLST differs from the most common type of palliative care planning – advanced directive orders, which usually include a “living will” or other expression of wishes. Those orders generally designate a surrogate decision maker, or health care proxy, to act on behalf of an incapacitated patient.

Living will instructions – when presented by a health care proxy – are generally recognized as evidence of patient preferences, but are not recognized by Massachusetts law.

In contrast, a completed MOLST form travels with the patient at all times, may be faxed or reproduced, and is an official part of a patient’s medical record.  MOLST is more comprehensive than another common end-of-life preference form, the Massachusetts Comfort Care/DNR Verification Protocol, which covers emergency hospital transport and resuscitation efforts.

The MOLST document, which is signed by both patient and physician, encompasses these procedures, as well as breathing tubes and ventilation, artificial nutrition and hydration and dialysis.   Patients or their health care proxy can change MOLST preferences at any time.

A successful MOLST pilot program in the Worcester area was completed earlier this year and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services is currently evaluating feedback from medical professionals there to shape policy. The Massachusetts Expert Panel on End-of-Life Care has recommended statewide implementation of MOLST by early 2014.

To learn more about presenting the MOLST option with patients, and how to use MOLST to facilitate conversations about end-of-life care, join us on Dec. 6 for a webinar featuring Dr. Susan Block, co-director of the Harvard Medical School Center for Palliative Care. Visit www.massmed.org/molst for more information.

–  Erica Noonan

MOLST: A New Approach for End-of-Life Care

Posted in CME, End of Life Care, Palliative Care on October 18th, 2011 by Erica Noonan – Comments Off on MOLST: A New Approach for End-of-Life Care

An estimated 75 percent of patients will be unable to make some of their own medical decisions at the end of their lives. More physicians and clinicians are now finding that advanced directives and living wills are often too vague or unenforceable to ensure optimal care for dying patients.

To ensure patients receive the end-of-life care they desire, Massachusetts is poised to join more than 14 other states with formal Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) programs.

The proposed state protocol, called Massachusetts Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (MOLST), aims to translate patients’ goals of care into specific medical orders that travel with the patient if he/she changes health care settings.

The MOLST document, signed by both patient and physician, covers specific health care therapies such as CPR, breathing tubes and ventilation, artificial nutrition and hydration, as well as more general patient preferences about issues such as hospital transport. A patient or health care proxy can change MOLST preferences at any time.

Unlike an advanced directive, which often designates a surrogate decision maker and is not part of a patient’s file, a MOLST form travels with the patient at all times and is an official part of a patient’s medical record.

State palliative care experts say they expect MOLST to soon become part of standard patient care for many Massachusetts clinicians. A successful MOLST pilot program in the Worcester area was completed earlier this year and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services is currently evaluating feedback from medical professionals there to shape policy.  The Massachusetts Expert Panel on End-of-Life Care has recommended statewide implementation of MOLST by early 2014.

To learn more about presenting the MOLST option with patients, and how to use MOLST to facilitate conversations about end-of-life care, join us on Dec. 6 for a webinar featuring Dr. Susan Block, co-director of the Harvard Medical School Center for Palliative Care. Visit www.massmed.org/molst for more information.

–          Erica Noonan

Preserving the Concept of Physician-Led ACOs

Posted in Accountable Care Organizations, CME, Payment Reform on August 18th, 2011 by MMS – Comments Off on Preserving the Concept of Physician-Led ACOs

In the recent New England Journal of Medicine article Launching Accountable Care Organizations- The Proposed Rule for the Medicare Shared Savings Program, Dr. Donald Berwick noted that “a critical foundation of the proposed rule (on ACOs) is an unwavering focus on patients.”

The best way to focus on patients is to ensure that decisions are being made by those directing care – the physicians. It is undeniable that ACOs may be structured in various formats with group practices, networks of individual practices, hospitals or a combination there of. In order to uphold the patient centered focus it is important to preserve the physician led ACO construct.

Even with national trending showing that more and more physicians are moving towards employed organizational models, there is still the opportunity and necessity for physician leadership. Encouraging physicians to think outside the box in terms of partnerships will ultimately allow innovative models of ACO development.

To learn more about ACOs, accountable care delivery models and the things your practice can do to prepare join us on September 13 for our fall program, A Path to Accountable Care Organizations: How Do We Get There From Here? Visit www.massmed.org/aco2011 for more information.

– By Kerry Ann Hayon
Manager, MMS Physician Practice Resource Center