MMS Website Service Restored

Posted in Uncategorized on October 20th, 2016 by MMS Communications – Comments Off on MMS Website Service Restored

The MMS website is now back in operation, after a brief “downtime” period for the installation of a new member database. Members please note that the first time you log into the website, you will be required to reconfirm your password.  You may enter the same password you are currently using, and you will be asked to reconfirm it OR you may enter a new password, and you will likewise be asked to confirm it. This process should take less than one minute.  After logging in, you may continue to use the rest of the site.

If you have any questions, or if you need assistance, please contact our Customer Service Department by phone at 800-843-6356 or by e-mail at webmaster@mms.org.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this period.

MMS Website Inaccessible from 6 – 9:00 a.m. on Oct. 20

Posted in Uncategorized on October 20th, 2016 by Will Oliver – Comments Off on MMS Website Inaccessible from 6 – 9:00 a.m. on Oct. 20

Due to the installation of a new member database system, the Massachusetts Medical Society’s website will temporarily be inaccessible from approximately 6-9:00 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20.

After 9:00 a.m., the website will once again be accessible.

MMS Responds to TV Ad on Question 4

Posted in Uncategorized on October 17th, 2016 by MMS Communications – 1 Comment

The Yes on 4 group advocating for the legalization of recreational marijuana in the Commonwealth has announced a television ad featuring a physician urging passing of the referendum.  In response,  Dr. James Gessner, President of the Massachusetts Medical Society, has issued the following statement:

“The television ad represents one physician’s perspective and is attempting to confuse the recreational marijuana issue with medical marijuana, which is governed by strict regulations set down by the Department of Public Health.  Question 4 lacks any public health oversight of recreational marijuana and has no provision for health education, prevention, or treatment programs.   The Massachusetts Medical Society and 10 state physician specialty societies believe Question 4 would result in bad public health policy, and have stated their overwhelming opposition to the ballot question because of the multiple public health dangers it presents: the risk of addiction, impaired cognition, and damage to the developing brains of adolescents.”

James S. Gessner, M.D.
October 17, 2016

Related: The President’s Podium: The Real Issue of Question 4 


Massachusetts Medical Society States Support of Governor Baker’s Proposal for Lyme Disease Treatment

Posted in Uncategorized on July 29th, 2016 by MMS Communications – Comments Off on Massachusetts Medical Society States Support of Governor Baker’s Proposal for Lyme Disease Treatment

MMS President James S. Gessner, M.D. today issued a statement of support for Governor Charlie Baker’s alternative proposal for the treatment of patients with Lyme disease.

“The Massachusetts Medical Society is firmly in support of the Governor’s initiative to provide insurance coverage for the treatment of patients with Lyme disease,” said Dr. Gessner.

“Public health officials have determined that Lyme disease is endemic throughout the Commonwealth,” Dr. Gessner added, “so much so that the state has the fourth highest incidence of Lyme disease in the nation.  It is imperative that we provide comprehensive care for those affected, and the Governor is attempting to do just that.”

The Governor’s bill, filed Thursday, would require private health insurers, nonprofit hospitals, and health maintenance organizations to cover the costs of medically appropriate and clinically proven treatments for Lyme disease equal to the coverage that the state’s Medicaid program provides.  That requirement would ensure needed treatment for patients with the condition.

Dr. Gessner added that he is gratified that the Governor acknowledges that his bill would provide coverage only for evidenced-based therapies that have proven to be clinically effective and that physicians of all specialties would be able to prescribe treatment when determined to be medically necessary.

Men’s Health: Breaking the Resistance

Posted in Uncategorized on June 17th, 2016 by MMS Communications – Comments Off on Men’s Health: Breaking the Resistance

Resistance by men to medical care and treatments remains a vexing challenge as evidenced by the presentations of five clinicians at the Massachusetts Medical Society’s 14th Annual Symposium on Current Issues in Men’s Health on Thursday, June 16th.

The annual symposium is sponsored by the MMS Committee on Men’s Health, currently co-chaired by Frederic S. Schwartz, M.D. and Michael B. Bader, M.D., and seeks to promote awareness of men’s health issues and improve the overall health of men through education and information for physicians and other healthcare providers, researchers, and the public.  Some 60 health care professionals attended this year’s event, held during National Men’s Health Week.

Dr. Frederic Schwartz, Co-Chair, MMS Men's Health Committee

Dr. Frederic Schwartz, Co-Chair, MMS Men’s Health Committee

The opening presentations, on the treatment of Hepatitis C and alcohol dependence, were followed by a discussion on erectile dysfunction and its relationship to cardiovascular disease, and a presentation that reported how a cohort of male patients responded to questions about access to health care. The symposium concluded with a presentation about the health and identity issues transgender patients face when seeking medical care.

In his introductory remarks, MMS President James S. Gessner, M.D. underscored the urgency that surrounds these topics.

“Statistically, we face numerous challenges with regard to male patients,” Dr. Gessner said, “because men continue to be more likely than women to make unhealthy lifestyle choices. One in every five men will suffer a heart attack before they reach the age of 65. We must adopt a dual role as practitioners and catalysts, to treat men and to motivate them to live healthier lives.”

George Abraham, M.D., in his presentation titled Citius, Altius, Fortius: The New Standards of Hepatitis C, declared that “the saddest statistic we face is that while we have conquered HIV, the prevalence of cirrhosis is quite high, and men are increasingly the victims.” He said that liver transplants have increased and liver cancer is common among male patients. The good news, however, is that we are now headed to help cure this problem more rapidly than ever, thanks to medical and pharmaceutical advancements. Yet male patients must make a commitment to recovery and that practitioners must urge them to embark on this path, he said, or reinfection is possible.

Drawing on two American authors – Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald — as examples of men who battled and later succumbed to alcoholism, Kenneth Hetzler, M.D., in his presentation, Alcohol Dependence and Best Practices for Treatment, explored alcoholism symptoms and treatments. Noting that both Hemingway and Fitzgerald paid a high price for their alcohol dependencies — depression, cirrhosis and, in Hemingway’s case, suicide — he urged physicians to engage in frank dialogues with their patients about their drinking habits so patients can grasp the risks of alcohol dependency and turn to resources for sobriety.

Martin Miner, M.D., cited another American author, Mark Twain, in his presentation, Erectile Dysfunction and Cardiovascular Function: What We Know.  Twain’s remark, “You can’t break a bad habit by throwing it out the window. You’ve got to walk it slowly down the stairs,” illustrated what Dr. Miner said is an effective approach to discussing and treating erectile dysfunction, a subject men find difficult to broach. Male patients must take small steps to change their lives, Dr. Miner said, which often include lifestyle changes. Noting that the relationship between erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular health is being clinically explored, Dr. Miner said that working with men to change slowly and understand the implications of their health challenges over time remains a key imperative.

James E. Leone, Ph.D., in his presentation Advancing Health Behaviors in Men: Understanding Men’s Perceptions Regarding Accessing Health Care, urged physicians to work with male patients to “unpack the behaviors” that lead to their resistance of healthcare. These include fear, control, time/convenience, trust, and other issues that emerged from his research as examples of resistance by men to seeking healthcare. “We need to create a more robust dialogue with men,” Dr. Leone said, “to bring men back to being active participants” in their own well-being.

Dr. Kevin Ard, the recipient of this year’s Men’s Health Award from the MMS, followed with a presentation entitled Transgender Identity and Health Issues, noting that LGBT patients have traditionally felt marginalized by the medical profession.  He encouraged practitioners to “make their clinical settings more welcoming,” and to use preferred names and pronouns, to ask patients about their identity and sexual orientation, and to remain open to them by avoiding assumptions about their health issues.

—Robert Israel

Editor’s Note: The slide presentations of  Dr. Abraham, Dr. Hetzler, Dr. Minor, Dr. Leone, and Dr. Ard are available here. 











Shattuck Lecture: A Better Way to Drug Development

Posted in NEJM, Uncategorized on May 6th, 2016 by MMS Communications – Comments Off on Shattuck Lecture: A Better Way to Drug Development

The pharmaceutical and biomedical research industry have had many successes over many years, curing and eradicating diseases, prolonging and enhancing life. Such success has entailed years of testing and trials and millions and even billions of dollars.


Dr. Janet Woodcock

Today, however, the development and costs of new drugs have become two of the most difficult – and sometimes controversial – topics in medicine today.  The cost of developing even a single drug can run into the billions of dollars; the cost of one life-saving therapy can erase the life savings of a patient.  Such conditions have brought the pharmaceutical industry under scrutiny and under fire.

However, even with so many triumphs, says Janet Woodcock, M.D., “the biomedical research enterprise is surprisingly ineffective at improving health and treating disease, given our level of investment in it.”

Dr. Woodcock, Director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the Food and Drug Administration, shared her thoughts on drug development programs as she delivered the 2016 Shattuck Lecture, Lost in Translation: The Path from Scientific Discover to the Clinic, presented by the MMS Committee on Publications and the NEJM Group as part of the MMS annual meeting today.

She offered her perspectives – and some recommended solutions – to improve scientific discovery based on her 30 years of observing thousands of attempted drug development programs, both commercial and academic, while at the FDA.

Dr. Woodcock was clear and direct in her analysis: “Multiple systemic flaws impede generational knowledge,” she stated. “Medicine must take back ownership of clinical evidence development.”

The shortcomings in the system, she says, are the result of three problems in biomedical research: a lack of reliable basic scientific information to support development program; the absence of a robust translational infrastructure to develop and assess tools and drug candidates; and the inability of clinical medicine to create effective systems to generate evidence.

Despite the flaws, Dr. Woodcock believes opportunity for change and improvement exists.  “The system we have successfully operated for many years is under severe stress,” she declares, “and transformative change is needed.  New structures and technologies will provide opportunities.”

“Transformation of clinical research would be challenging with many obstacles,” she notes, “but the payoff might be worth it.” Among the benefits would be rapid and efficient generation of clinical evidence, patients as active participants in the clinical research enterprise, the integration of research into healthcare, and more effective and clinically relevant evaluations of new products and other interventions.

For more observations from Dr. Woodcock and a sampling of her recommendations for a better way forward, view her presentation here.



March Physician Focus: Common Skin Disorders

Posted in Uncategorized on March 22nd, 2016 by MMS Communications – Comments Off on March Physician Focus: Common Skin Disorders

The skin is the largest organ in the human body and serves to regulate our body temperature and provide protection from bacteria and SKIN DISORDERS EDITED 3_editedviruses.  Yet the skin is subject to a number of diseases and conditions – from acne to eczema, rashes to rosacea, to various types of skin cancer.

The latest edition of Physician Focus features representatives from the Massachusetts Academy of Dermatology discussing the most common skin conditions and what patients can do to protect their skin.

Guests are Ira L. Skolnik, M.D., Ph.D., (photo, right) president of the Massachusetts Academy of Dermatology, and a physician with Family Dermatology in Concord, Mass., and Pamela Weinfeld, M.D., (center) vice president of the Academy and founder of Dermatology and Skin Care Associates in Wellesley. Hosting this edition is family physician Mavis Jaworski, M.D.(left).

The conversation includes the risk factors for skin disease, including the dangers of tanning; differences among the three most common types of skin cancer; and the causes and treatments of acne and eczema.

Physician Focus is available for viewing on public access television stations throughout Massachusetts and online at www.physicianfocus.org, www.massmed.org/physicianfocus, and YouTube.

Download Your Copy of the MMS Physicians’ Guide to Social Media

Posted in Uncategorized on March 21st, 2016 by Erica Noonan – Comments Off on Download Your Copy of the MMS Physicians’ Guide to Social Media

social media guide coverThe evidence is clear: Your patients are seeking, and often sharing, health information across a variety of platforms on the Internet.

Physicians can use the new platforms and communities to share valuable information, provide context to health stories in the popular media, and even dispel dangerous health myths.

In doing so, physicians who are active in social media will simultaneously strengthen their own online reputation and digital footprint, as well as that of their practice or employer.

The MMS Committee on Communications  has created a new guide to help physicians engage in and manage social media tools in ways that will provide optimal benefit to their patients and practices.

Download the 28-page .pdf free of charge here.

Erica Noonan

Patient Experience is NOT Patient Satisfaction: Why Focusing on Great Patient Experience Delivers Safe, Quality, High-Value Care

Posted in Uncategorized on August 28th, 2015 by Erica Noonan – Comments Off on Patient Experience is NOT Patient Satisfaction: Why Focusing on Great Patient Experience Delivers Safe, Quality, High-Value Care


By Katherine Schauer

Do you know the difference between patient experience and patient satisfaction?

If you’re not sure, you’re not alone, according to Adrienne Boissy, MD, chief experience officer at the Cleveland Clinic.

“Patient satisfaction measures if they were satisfied, (i.e. happy) with the results of their stay. To look at it this way makes patients seem like consumers at a store…But health care is more emotional than that,” said Dr. Boissy.

Dr. Boissy is one of the featured speakers at a two-day Patient Experience Summit: A Physician Leadership Certificate Program, focusing on the patient experience. It will be held on September 30 and October 27, and was developed by the Cleveland Clinic in collaboration with the MMS.


Adrienne Boissy, MD

Dr. Boissy said that patients aren’t really consumers because under most circumstances, they don’t want to be in the hospital. To call them satisfied and treat them like consumers is a mistake, she said. “Our goal isn’t to make them satisfied or leave them feeling happy. Our goal is to help them navigate through the process of getting better or dealing with a lifelong sickness. We want to make that experience a little easier for them. That is patient experience, an emotional journey that we can try to make better.”

Dr. Boissy defines patient experience as delivering “safe, quality, high-value care” and notes that everything a physician does in front of the patient influences their experience. “It matters because the patients choose where they want to be treated based on their past experiences and through the experiences of their friends and family,” she said.  “It also matters because at one point we are all patients. It isn’t “their” experience; it is “our” experience.”

The patient experience has many aspects, cleanliness of room, discharge speed, doctor/nurse attitude and more.  But Dr. Boissy thinks physicians are one of the most important influences on the experience.

“They (physicians) definitely have control over the experience. The problem is that some of them do not see their accountability. The physicians don’t feel as connected to some parts of the patient experience, like the cleanliness of the room. They are accountable for everything they say and the impression they give their patients,” she said.  “A doctor may be a phenomenal heart surgeon but if the patient feels they weren’t listened to then it doesn’t matter how good of a doctor he/she was.”

Health care teams are looking towards physicians to lead the patient experience movement, she said, and physicians must become more engaged with the idea of patient experience to get their teammates on board.  “Health care has shifted from being doctor-centered to relationship-centered care,” she stated.  Hospitals and practices know that patient experience is a key metric and will receive more focus in the future, as hospitals are increasingly reimbursed for quality patient care.

Many physicians believe they are leaving their patients with great impressions, but sometimes they’re mistaken, Boissy said. “Doctors need the transparency of the survey results to see their patient experience blind spots, to become self-aware.”

Dr. Boissy said systems that compare doctor-patient experience evaluations within a group or system can be more effective than traditional private evaluations. Seeing his or her scores in comparison with a colleague can motivate a physician to improve or to seek advice from others.

The Patient Experience Summit: A Physician Leadership Certificate Program is designed to help physicians improve their practice of patient experience and relationship-centered care. Registration is now open. It will be held on September 30 and October 27 at the Massachusetts Medical Society’s headquarters in Waltham.


MMS Statement on Today’s Supreme Court Decision Upholding ACA Subsidies

Posted in Uncategorized on June 25th, 2015 by Erica Noonan – Comments Off on MMS Statement on Today’s Supreme Court Decision Upholding ACA Subsidies


Statement from Massachusetts Medical Society President Dennis M. Dimitri, MD, on King v. Burwell:

The Massachusetts Medical Society welcomes today’s Supreme Court decision safeguarding access to crucial health care service for millions of patients, said Massachusetts Medical Society President Dennis M. Dimitri, MD.

“The physicians of the Massachusetts Medical Society applaud the decision to uphold Affordable Care Act subsidies in states that do not have their own health care exchanges,” said Dr. Dimitri. “Patients across the United States will not lose access to the care they need and deserve.”