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Maine Academy of Family Physicians

In This Issue
Lyme Disease in Maine
Lyme Tick Tracking
HIT Webinar
Restrictive Covenant Decision
Board of Licensure Openings
Law 595 - Vaccines for Children - Trainings

May 23, 2011

Seventy-nine Cases of Lyme Disease Reported in the State this Year - Hundreds More Expected

In an article written by health reporter Meg Haskell recently, the Bangor Daily News reported that so far this year 79 cases of Lyme disease have been reported to the state.  But, based on past years, most cases are reported in late summer or fall.  Last year, the number of cases dropped to 734 from nearly 1000 cases being reported in 2009.  Lyme disease is most prevalent in Cumberland and York counties but it is becoming more common in more northerly counties.

Scientists at Maine Medical Center have studied Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses since 1989.  In addition to collecting ticks for their own studies, the Center's Research Institute provides free identification of any tick.  So far, about 27,000 ticks have been sent in for identification by doctors, veterinarians, and members of the general public.  For information and instructions for submitting a tick for identification, visit the MMCRI vector-borne disease lab website at

The first case of Lyme disease in Maine was diagnosed in 1986 and by 2003 about 175 cases were being reported annually.  The disease was first identified in Connecticut in l975.

There are 14 varieties of ticks found in Maine, the most common being deer ticks, dog ticks, and woodchuck ticks.  Only the deer tick carries the microorganism which causes Lyme disease.

As reported in the BDN article, state epidemiologist Stephen Sears, M.D., M.P.H. of the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention noted  the disease can almost literally to be stopped before it starts, but diagnosed late in its progression it can cause long-term damage that resists the medications available.  Starting patients early on oral antibiotics usually kills the microbe that causes the disease.

Maine CDC Expands Efforts to Track Lyme Disease Carrying Ticks 

Maine Medical Center Research Institute, in partnership with Maine CDC, is expanding its efforts in northern and western Maine to track the spread of the ticks that may carry Lyme disease.  


Instructions and a submission form can be downloaded from MMCRI's website at  Instructions & Submission Form


Maine's Department of Conservation and the Maine Forest Service no longer identifies ticks, so please send all ticks to MMCRI.  This is a free service.


More information on Lyme disease can be found at:

  Maine Public Health Alert Network System 

Maine CDC 

Maine's Department of Conservation and the Maine Forest Service no longer identifies ticks, so please send all ticks to MMCRI.  This is a free service.

HIT - "Ask the Experts" Roundtable Webinar Series
Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 12noon-1pm - FREE!!
Dear Colleague:

Plan on attending the upcoming webinar from the comfort and convenience of your office!  This webinar series is co-sponsored by Health InfoNet & Quality Counts


The July 14th session will discuss  

Understanding and Navigating through Meaningful Use Measures

Do you need a more granular "walk through" of the Meaningful Use Measures? Could you use a practical action plan that would make this complicated rule easier to navigate?  


Join the discussion on July 14th as Dr. Susan Thomas, MD, FAAP, leads us in a crosswalk of the Meaningful Use Measures, providing practical options that will help providers meet Meaningful Use Stage 1.


Dr. Thomas is an expert in the clinical adoption of Health Information Technology in physician practices.  She is a Family Physician and the former Chief Medical Officer for GE Healthcare.  She holds a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT and graduated from the Yale University School of Medicine.  During her 20 years as a Family Physician in Maine, her technical expertise became invaluable to her medical practice.  She helped implement the GE Centricity Electronic Medical Record (EMR) in her practice and championed the use of EMR software locally and nationally.

Register Now! 

Maine law Court Upholds Restrictive Covenant 

Leading Maine Case Decided

Physicians and residents frequently ask questions about "restrictive covenants" or "non-compete" agreements in physician employment agreements during the MMA's presentations on employment law.  For years, MMA attorneys have pointed to Brignull v. Albert, 666 A.2nd 82 (Me. 1995) as the leading Maine case in the health care context supporting enforcement of these contract provisions if the terms are reasonable in duration, geographic scope, and the business interest to be protected.   


The Maine Supreme Judicial Court recently considered a dispute involving three physicians who left employment with Sisters of Charity Health Care System, Inc. to be employed by Central Maine Healthcare System, Sisters of Charity Health System, Inc. v. Douglas Farrago et al. 2011 ME 62 (May 26, 2011).  In this case, the physicians challenged not the duration or geographic scope, but the legitimacy of the business interest protected.   


They also challenged the $100,000 per physician liquidated damages provision.  The Law Court confirmed the Superior Court's conclusion that protecting the former practice's existing patient base and "good will" were legitimate business interests.  The Law Court also found the liquidated damages provision to be enforceable based on the precedents in Maine law.  


You can find the decision on the web at: Restrictive Covenant Court Decision 

Three Openings on Board of Licensure in Medicine 

There are currently three openings on the nine-member Board of Licensure in Medicine, occasioned by the completion of the terms of Sheridan Oldham, M.D., the resignation of George "Joe" Dreyer, M.D., and the resignation of the newest public member of the Board, Meredith Baxter.  Qualifications for appointment to the Board include five years of continuous medical practice in the state immediately prior to appointment.  Terms are for six years.  The Board meets for a full day the second Tuesday of each month and at least one day of preparation for the meeting is generally required.  Compensation is nominal.


The appointments are considered personal appointments of the Governor, meaning that no confirmation hearings or legislative review is required.  Physicians interested in serving on the Board should send a current CV and a letter expressing interest to:

Michael Hersey  (Att:  Scott Van Ormand)
Director of Boards and Commissions
1 State House Station,  Augusta, Maine 04333


While the Board is particularly interested in surgeons and psychiatrists, given the current mix of specialties represented, any physician meeting the above noted statutory requirements may apply.

In July, the Board will elect new officers for a term year period.   


Dr. Oldham has chaired the Board for the last four years and has served two six-year terms. She has been a strong and effective leader at the Board during her tenure.  Likewise, Dr. Dreyer has served admirably during his term on the Board.

Vaccines for Children: Public Law 595- Implications for Maine Immunization Providers 

Maine Immunization Program Regional Trainings


8:30 am - 3:30 pm, with Registration at 8 am 

July 28, 2011- Presque Isle

August 4, 2011 - Bangor

August 11, 2011 - Portland

August 12, 2011 - Augusta


These workshops will provide an overview of the new Universal Childhood Immunization Program and provide information to help Maine immunization providers prepare for implementation in January 2012. The training will focus on vaccine management, ordering and accountability; provider requirements; Maine Immunization Registry and information on vaccines that will be available through the Universal Childhood Immunization Program.   


There will also be information on the ACIP schedule, vaccine administration, vaccine usage and vaccine myths.


Space is limited - Register Early 


For more information or to register, see Immunization Regional Training 

For an overview of the Universal Childhood Immunization Program, see the presentation available at:  Childhood Immunization Program  

Sponsor: Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Infectious Disease, Immunization Program