GME, Youth Smoking, NEBH is a Magnet, and more ...

MHA Supports Bill to Curb Youth Smoking “Epidemic”

The impressive gains in curbing youth smoking in the U.S. has hit a roadblock, with the recent uptake in tobacco use among kids being labeled an “epidemic” by both the FDA and the U.S. Surgeon General. In response, MHA has joined 16 other health-focused groups urging Congress to pass H.R. 2339 – The Reversing Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019. 
The bill prohibits the sale of flavored tobacco products that appeal to kids, including flavored e-cigarettes, flavored cigars, and menthol cigarettes. The bill would also raise the age of sale for tobacco products to 21, which would further reduce youth tobacco use, and it would ban the online sales of tobacco products (which often have no age verification requirements). Finally, H.R. 2339 would crack down on the marketing strategies of tobacco companies to prevent them from sponsoring sports, music, and other events.
Youth use of e-cigarettes spiked in 2018, increasing by 78% among high school students and 48% among middle school students in one year alone. In Massachusetts, 20.1% of high school students use e-cigarettes. Over half of youth smokers – and seven in ten African American youth smokers – smoke menthol cigarettes. In Massachusetts, 10.5% of high school boys smoke cigars.

Important Bill to Expand Residency Slots Passes House Committee

The U.S. House Ways & Means Committee took an important step last Wednesday in helping the nation curb the opioid crisis. The committee, chaired by Rep. Richard Neal, (D-Mass.), moved several bills, including HR 3414 – The Opioid Workforce Act that will add 1,000 new graduate medical education residency slots to train addiction specialists.
Massachusetts hospitals have undertaken a series of initiatives to address substance use disorder that have help bend downward the opioid use death curve in the state. Hospitals have expanded their substance use services, including through the use of bridge clinics, addiction consult services, and outpatient substance use services.
“Additional physicians trained in addiction-related fields are critical to ensure the success of these initiatives,” said MHA President & CEO Steve Walsh. “Congressman Neal recognized the tremendous need for this legislation because a significant shortage of trained physicians exists in the areas of addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, and pain management. The additional training slots this legislation provides for teaching hospitals in Massachusetts and across the country means lifesaving access to appropriate treatment for more patients who are battling the scourge of substance use disorder.”

Earlier last week, MHA joined more than 50 organizations offering support for HR 3414.
Ways & Means also advanced H.R. 3417 – The Beneficiary Education, Tools, Telehealth, and Extenders Reauthorization Act of 2019. That bill would, among other things, add telepsychiatry to the list of Medicare-covered telehealth services and add the patient's home as an eligible originating site for these services.

New England Baptist Achieves Magnet Designation

It’s not easy to become a “Magnet” hospital but last week New England Baptist Hospital learned that it had fulfilled the tough requirements to earn the designation from The American Nurses Credentialing Center.
The Magnet Recognition Program requires hospitals to meet strict educational standards for their nursing administrators and staff, collect data to benchmark patient improvements, and comply with regulations from a host of agencies, including the National Labor Relations Board, among many other requirements.
“Receiving this high designation for our hospital marks yet another distinction illustrating our laser focus on outstanding performance,” said the Baptist’s Mary Sullivan Smith, R.N., SVP, COO, CNO, Chief Compliance & Privacy Officer. “The professional practice environment that our nurses created, embedded, and continue to cultivate is the cornerstone of this recognition. Achieving this award symbolizes five years of determination, drive, collaboration and use of evidence-based best practices.”
Of the roughly 6,200 hospitals in the U.S., only 475 are Magnet hospitals, nine of which are in Massachusetts. In addition to New England Baptist Hospital, which is part of Beth Israel Lahey Health, the other Massachusetts hospitals with the designation are: Baystate Medical Center, Boston Children's Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Lowell General Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, South Shore Hospital, and Winchester Hospital, which is also part of Beth Israel Lahey Health.

Opioid-Related Hospital Use Down for Some, Not All

The Health Policy Commission (HPC) released this report last week tracking hospital emergency department (ED) and inpatient use in the battle against the opioid use disorder.
The main takeaway is that the concerted efforts by hospitals, the general healthcare community, and the state has resulted in a decline (2.3%) in opioid-related hospital utilization in Massachusetts between 2016 and 2017. But opioid-related hospital use varies in Massachusetts based on patient age, income, race/ethnicity, and geographic region, highlighting where there is further work to be done. This HPC powerpoint lays out the issue in detail.

Schwartz Center Announces “Compassion in Action” Sept. Program

The Schwartz Center’s Compassion in Action Healthcare Conference takes place Sunday through Tuesday, September 8-10 at the Westin Boston Waterfront. With nearly 60 speakers scheduled, the conference promises to give attendees the inspiration, knowledge, and skills to improve care quality and outcomes, patient experience, and workforce well-being through compassion and collaboration. The Schwartz Center is offering a special summer discount on registration fees for those who sign up by July 12. To learn more about the conference, click here.

CMS Announces Possible Grant Funding to MassHealth

CMS has announced a funding opportunity for state Medicaid programs to help them create programs to address substance use disorders (SUD).
According to CMS, the planning grants “are intended to increase the capacity of Medicaid providers to deliver SUD treatment or recovery services through an ongoing assessment of the SUD treatment needs of the State; recruitment, training, and technical assistance for Medicaid providers that offer SUD treatment or recovery services; and improved reimbursement for and expansion of the number or treatment capacity of Medicaid providers.”
Agencies have until August 9 to submit an 18-month proposal, and CMS will select at least 10 proposals with awards totaling $50 million. The application and supporting documents are here.


Anne Klibanski, M.D., is the new president and CEO of Partners HealthCare, effective immediately. Klibanski has been the interim head of Partners since February, following the retirement of the previous CEO David Torchiana, M.D. Before assuming the top spot at Partners, Klibanski was the system’s Chief Academic Officer, a position she has held since 2012. She also served as Chief of Neuroendocrine at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Klibanski received her B.A., magna cum laude with honors in literature from Barnard College and her M.D. from New York University Medical Center. She is the Laurie Carrol Guthart Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and an Academic Dean for Partners at Harvard Medical School. Last week, the Boston Business Journal reported that Klibanski is overseeing an effort to rebrand Partners HealthCare with a new name.

National Conference on Pediatric Care Management
with a Special Focus on Social Determinants of Health

Sunday, Monday & Tuesday, August 4, 5 & 6
Sea Crest Beach Hotel, Falmouth, Mass.

How will new population-centered care models affect pediatric care? Under the new systems, opportunities exist to work more holistically with patients and their families, paying more attention to their economic realities to help ensure better outcomes. The social determinants of health concept is finally gaining traction and funding. At this conference we’ll explore emerging best practices along these lines. We’ll also look at other areas of care innovation in pediatrics taught by leaders from children’s hospitals around the country, with a special additional focus on caregiver burnout and resilience. Join your peers from around the U.S. on Cape Cod at a very affordably priced beachfront hotel for a few days of high-quality learning and rejuvenation in a relaxed setting. You’ll leave refreshed and energized to get back to the important work you do with pediatric populations. Learn more details here.

John LoDico, Editor