June 22, 2012

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Maine Academy of Family Physicians PineCones E-News




Assistance Available For Your Patients Who are Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans   


Many of you have probably read in the mainstream media about a backlog at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in processing applications for disability benefits - a backlog now totaling 558,000 claims. These delays are due in part to a generation of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with more complex claims, and a decision two years ago to expand compensation for Agent Orange-related illnesses. Claims also increase in a poor economy.


The White House has asked the AAFP to increase awareness of this issue among our members, and to encourage the nation's private physicians to help in filling out Disability Benefit Questionnaires (DBQs) for their patients who are veterans. 


These DBQs solicit the medical information necessary to evaluate veterans' medical conditions. The VA has developed more than 70 DBQs, specific to various conditions such as hearing loss or arthritis that veterans can take to private physicians to fill out. Completed DBQs will help speed the processing of veterans' disability compensation and pension claims. According to the VA, the streamlined forms use check boxes and standardized language so that the disability rating can be made accurately and quickly. DBQs can be viewed on the VA website. 


All physicians with active medical licenses who are treating veterans can complete the DBQs. The VA will not reimburse physicians for helping veterans complete their DBQs - veterans are responsible for any related costs.


I encourage all family physicians to seek out their patients who are veterans and volunteer to help them fill out the appropriate DBQs. This will help the VA determine the appropriate benefits to these national heroes and is one way we can honor their service. Thank you in advance.



Glen Stream, MD, MBI, FAAFP
AAFP President

Do You Provide Geriatric Care?  

Dear Geriatric Care Provider:


We would like to invite you to partake in an exciting new opportunity! A statewide chapter of the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is forming and we need your help. An organizational meeting will be held on Monday, September 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm at the MaineHealth building on 110 Free Street in Portland. Teleconferencing will be available to interested individuals unable to attend the meeting in person.


We encourage all practicing geriatric care providers to join and hope to have all disciplines represented. We also welcome trainees and other clinicians interested in learning more about geriatric medicine. Membership in the AGS is not required for participation.


It is our belief that a Maine chapter will provide clinicians a "local" opportunity to form collegial relationships with other geriatric providers and the organizational framework to collaborate on geriatric quality and educational initiatives to improve care for our patients.


If you are interested in learning more about the meeting or wish to attend, either in person or via teleconferencing, please contact: Christy Tibbetts, [email protected] 661-7120.


We are also planning an evening business meeting for the Chapter, to address issues such as Bylaws and Officers on Tuesday April 9, 2013 just prior to the Maine Medical Center Geriatric conference on Wednesday April 10.


Hope to see you in September!



Roger Renfrew, MD,FACP                                  

Redington Geriatric Care            



[email protected] 


Heidi Wierman, MD

Division Director, Geriatrics, MMC

 [email protected]   


Sarah Hallen, MD

MMP Geriatrics MMC

[email protected]


Christy Tibbetts

Administrative Assistant-A Matter of Balance Partnership for Healthy Aging

110 Free Street, Portland, Maine 04101

207-661-7120 (p) 207-661-7540 (f)

 [email protected]  

Do You Do Driver Exams?  (school bus, commercial?)  NEW Federal Rule Affects You    


Final Rule Calls for National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners


The new federal regulations call for the creation of a training, testing and registration program for health professionals who provide physicals for drivers of commercial vehicles.


Physicians Providing Driver Exams Face New Federal Regulations -

The new rule is intended to improve highway safety and driver health.

The regulation calls for medical examiners to re-certify every 10 years and comply with additional reporting requirements.


Read More                                                            

*repeat article* 

Health Care Reform: What's on the Horizon for Maine?  Come Find Out!


Health Care Reform: What's on the Horizon for Maine?  
     Friday, September 7, 2012 9:00AM-Noon 
     The Doubletree Hotel 
     363 Maine Mall Rd.
     South Portland, Maine 

This workshop is a must for behavioral health care providers in Maine. Representatives from insurance companies, a representative from the Maine Health Access Foundation and Maine's Superintendent of Insurance will discuss plans they each have for implementing The Affordable Care Act. 
 Download brochure and registration form. 




Maine Vaccine Program 

The Department of Health and Human Services has requested clarification from the Maine Vaccine Board regarding provision of vaccines to children who live outside of Maine and see a Maine provider for vaccinations. The Board has reviewed the statute, and we want to advise providers of the following:

  • The statute clearly states that the vaccines purchased for the Universal Childhood Immunization Program are available only to children who are residents of Maine.
  • The Federal "Vaccines for Children" (VFC) Program provides vaccines for children on Medicaid and is available to any child who has Medicaid regardless of the state of residence.

The Board recognizes the problem this raises for providers near our state borders, but we are bound by the language of the statute. We hope to rectify this with the next legislative session.


For more information about the Maine Vaccine Board or to become involved contact: Emily McKenna ,Executive Assistant, KidsVax.org,

ph 1.855.KidsVax (543.7829) cell 603.892.4131 fax 1.855.KidsFax (543.7329)
email  [email protected] 

In This Issue
Geriatric Care
Driver Exam-NEW Rules
Healthcare Reform Info
Maine Vaccine Program
Veterans Resources
Is H3N2 Back?
New Hib Vaccine
21st Annual MAFP Update
Immunization Progam Trainings
CDME Self Assessment

"Significant Increase" in H3N2 per CDC   

   There has been a "significant increase" in the number of detected human infections involving the H3N2 variant virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.H3N2v  


   A total of 16 cases - out of 29 overall - have been reported in the last 3 weeks.


   All 12 of the most recently reported cases occurred in people who had direct or indirect contact with swine prior to their illness, the CDC reported on Aug. 3. They occurred in Hawaii, Ohio, and Indiana.



New Hib Vaccine Protects Infants


New Vaccine Protects Infants as Young as Age 6 Weeks Against Meningococcal, Hib Disease


  Family physicians now have a new weapon in their immunization armamentarium, thanks to the FDA's recent approval of GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals' application to market its meningococcal groups C and Y and Haemophilus B tetanus toxoid conjugate vaccine, MenHibrix, in the United States.  


   The vaccine is indicated for the prevention of invasive disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroups C and Y and Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) and is approved for use in children ages 6 weeks through 18 months.

Read more

*repeat article*

Will you be pictured NEXT year? 
Update 2010 General session
MARK the DATES NOW for the MAFP 21st Annual Family Medicine Update

CME By Family Docs for Family Docs

April 10-13, 2013 at Sunday River Hotel & Conference Center

Schedule & Registration will be available at: www.maineafp.org after January 1st 2013

Maine Immunization Program Regional Trainings


August 9, 2012 - Fireside Inn -  Portland

Augusta 10, 2012 - Maine  

  Principals Association -   



Open to all health professionals responsible for managing and supporting childhood vaccine programs including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and practice managers.


More information or to register HERE   

Commercial Driver Medical Examiner (CDME) Self-Assessment Now Available Online 


Commercial Driver Medical Examiner (CDME) Self Assessment

The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) offers an innovative, challenging, and practical way for providers of commercial driver medical examinations to exercise, update, and maintain their knowledge base and conveniently and affordably earn valuable CME credits.


The ACOEM CME program consists of a user-friendly 46-question self-assessment based on  the NEW 5th Edition of The DOT Medical Examination: A Guide to Commercial Drivers' Medical Certification, by Natalie Hartenbaum, MD, MPH, FACOEM.   


READ more 


Deborah Halbach
Maine Academy of Family Physicians
Maine AFP - PO BOx 424 - Hartland, ME 04043
207-938-5005 - www.maineafp.org