Annual Meeting 2011

Lynda Young Becomes 129th MMS President

Posted in Annual Meeting 2011, Videos on May 24th, 2011 by MMS – Comments Off on Lynda Young Becomes 129th MMS President

Worcester pediatrician Lynda Young, MD, became the 129th president of the Massachusetts Medical Society last week, delivering an address that extolled the benefits of the small physician practice, and committing the Society to leading by working together with others.

She said, “Our bedrock principle is to keep the physician and patient in control of clinical decision-making.  I agree that health care must be affordable. And I understand that decision-making is not a simple matter anymore.

“But if we lose sight of this central relationship – the physician-patient relationship — we lose health care — not health care as we know it – but health care itself.”

MMS Physicians Approve Guidelines for Professional Use of Social Media

Posted in Annual Meeting 2011, social media on May 22nd, 2011 by MMS – 1 Comment

The Massachusetts Medical Society’s chief policy-making body this weekend approved a sweeping set of principles and guidelines for physicians who wish to utilize social media for professional purposes.

The 12-page report states that a “carefully planned and professionally executed participation in social media by physicians is appropriate, and can be an effective method to connect with colleagues, advance professional expertise, educate patients, and enhance the public profile and reputation of our profession.”

The report includes:

  • An overview of the concerns that may have made physicians slower to adopt social media than other professionals
  • The benefit patients have derived from social media
  • The successes of physicians who are active social media participants, such as Kevin Pho and Bryant Vartabedian, and the potential benefits of broad physician participation
  • Suggestions on how physicians can get started in social media, with recommendations on best practices

The guidelines were developed by the members of the MMS  Committee on Communications and will be disseminated to the Society’s membership. The report also asked the Society to explore the possibility of sponsoring Continuing Medical Education activities on the topic..

Read the guidelines and download the full report.

Health Reform Principles Stress Balance Between Patient Choice and Economic Reality

Posted in Accountable Care Organizations, Annual Meeting 2011, Defensive medicine, Global Payments, Health Policy, Health Reform, Malpractice, medical liability reform, Payment Reform on May 22nd, 2011 by MMS – Comments Off on Health Reform Principles Stress Balance Between Patient Choice and Economic Reality

Spirited debate at the MMS House of Delegates Saturday led to the adoption of 18 principles on health care reform that the Society plans to share with local and national legislators.

The principle that dominated deliberations asserted that “health care reform must enable patient choice in access to physicians, hospitals, and other services while recognizing economic reality.”

Among the other principles adopted were the following:

  • Physicians must lead reform, keeping clinical decision-making in the hands of doctors and patients.
  • Reform must be flexible enough to account for different practice types and their variable readiness to change.
  • Fee-for-service payment should have a role in any system.
  • Physicians will need infrastructure support, especially for IT and hiring physician extenders.
  • Risk adjustment methods must incorporate physician input and account for illness burden and socioeconomic status of patients.
  • Transparency throughout the whole process is essential.
  • Patient education and accountability must be enhanced.
  • Professional liability and antitrust reform are crucial underpinnings to reform.

The complete principles are available at

Complete Annual Meeting coverage is available at

Shattuck Lecture: How To Achieve a Better Health Care System

Posted in Annual Meeting 2011, Health Policy, Health Reform on May 21st, 2011 by MMS Communications – Comments Off on Shattuck Lecture: How To Achieve a Better Health Care System

When you face a tough situation and need some potential answers, you seek  an expert. That’s what the MMS Committee on Publications did when choosing its speaker for the 2011 Shattuck Lecture.

Harvey Fineberg, M.D., President of the Institute of Medicine, delivered the Shattuck Lecture Friday and gave his answer to what perhaps is one of the most important and toughest questions facing the nation: How do we build a successful and sustainable health care system?

Saying our system is “neither successful as it should be, nor sustainable as it could be,” Dr. Fineberg painted a grim picture of current U.S. health care: last among developed nations in performance but first in health care costs. The situation, he said, is made all the more urgent by a booming Federal budget deficit that is only making the  problem worse.  “Health costs are the biggest part of the federal dilemma,” he told 200 MMS delegates attending the lecture as part of the 2011 MMS Annual Meeting in Waltham.

In a one-hour presentation characterized by precision and clarity, he met the issue head on, recommending a strategic approach and specific strategies for success and sustainability.

His approach: tackle the totality of the problem, including costs and performance; accelerate the pace of change, as the financial situation makes it urgent; and take different reinforcing actions simultaneously, as the nation needs to try many different things to alter the system.

Among the 15 ideas he offered to achieve a successful and sustainable health care system: using evidence more effectively in decisions by physicians and patients; redesigning care to reduce avoidable errors; giving providers and patients incentive to increase value and improve health; streamlining administrative functions such as claims and billing; and reforming medical liability.

The Institute of Medicine, established in 1970 and part of the National Academy of Sciences, serves as adviser to the nation to improve health. With health costs consuming ever larger portions of federal, state, and municipal budgets, with businesses and individuals reeling from rising premiums, and with an uncertain landscape for health care reform, this physician provides a welcome voice in the health reform debate.

Annual Education Program: What Medicine Could Be, Should Be

Posted in Annual Meeting 2011, Health Reform, Uncategorized on May 20th, 2011 by MMS Communications – Comments Off on Annual Education Program: What Medicine Could Be, Should Be

For those individuals seeking a greater understanding of what the interplay of medicine, physicians, patients, and society could be, and perhaps should be, the MMS’s Annual Education Program today provided fertile territory and thought-provoking time well spent. Patients First – Social Accountability: The Mission of Medicine was moderated by Liz Walker, former television journalist and founder of the Walker Group.

From pilot/lawyer/ABC television airline analyst John Nance (“Doctors have to lead; if you don’t lead we’re never going to get where we want to go.”), to the CDC’s Dr. Camara Jones (citing the many and varied social determinants of health, how disparities arise, and the impact of racism on health), to the University of British Columbia’s Dr. Robert Woollard (“Professionalism is the basis of medicine’s contract with society.”), the primary presenters offered their views of the hits and misses of healthcare in society today and how medicine and physicians can get much closer to their intended target – the patient.

A posting of a few hundred words here falls far short of doing justice to the participants and the quality of their presentations. But here are some snippets to tantalize:

John Nance: “The point of differentiation between aviation and medicine is that one has learned to standardize and one has not.”

Dr. Jones: “Health equity is the assurance of conditions for optimal health for all people. It requires valuing people equally, recognizing and rectifying historical injustices, and providing resources to meet those needs.”

Dr. Woollward: “Medical schools in the 21st century faces a series of challenges, including improving quality and equity, and reducing the mismatch with societal priorities.”

Additional presentations on such topics as the consequences of urban trauma on health care reform, social issues of health care, patient expectations and needs and accountable care organizations, and fiscal responsibilities came during a panel discussion with additional participants.

Those who attended the event are likely richer for the experience; those who missed it may capture its essence here.

President’s Report: Make Our Society Stronger

Posted in Annual Meeting 2011, Videos on May 20th, 2011 by MMS – Comments Off on President’s Report: Make Our Society Stronger

The address of MMS President Alice Coombs, MD, at the Opening Session of the Massachusetts Medical Society House of Delegates, May 19, 2011.

Read the related news release from MMS.

JudyAnn Bigby Talks to MMS About Payment Reform and ACOs

Posted in Accountable Care Organizations, Annual Meeting 2011, Health Reform, Payment Reform, Videos on May 19th, 2011 by MMS – Comments Off on JudyAnn Bigby Talks to MMS About Payment Reform and ACOs

Massachusetts Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. JudyAnn Bigby offered a little something for everyone at this morning’s opening session of the MMS House of Delegates.

After emphatically defending the state’s record on health reform, Dr. Bigby told the delegates that she agrees with the MMS payment reform principle that “one size doesn’t fit all.” Bigby also delighted some in the audience when she said, “We don’t believe that hospitals should be the center of the universe for ACOs. … We envision a wide range, a diversity of integrated providers.”

She also strongly criticized the proposed federal rules for Medicare ACOs. “We have a challenge getting the federal government to understand if they put out those types of regulations and those types of restrictions … it’s going to hamstring us all in being innovative and being able to create entities in Massachusetts that represent much more diverse entities that they envision.”

Dr. Bigby also said the state will soon invite providers to suggest how the state should design payment models that support the delivery of integrated care. She said the feedback will help the state design demonstration projects for different payment models.