Fallon Health's Pharmacy Symposium:
Rising Cost & Opioid Crisis

Two unintended consequences of effective treatment options

At Fallon Health, we believe in raising awareness about issues that affect the communities we serve. We are pleased to gather a panel of experts to discuss the growing opioid epidemic and the rising costs of pharmaceuticals.


Wednesday June 1, 2016

7 - 8 a.m.: Registration and networking
8 a.m. - 12 noon: Program
Full breakfast provided

Registration required before May 25, 2016.


The Beechwood Hotel
363 Plantation Street
Worcester, MA 01605

Who should attend

Providers, employers, consultants, brokers, representatives of a community, those involved in government relations

About the conference

Prescription medications are the most rapidly growing cost in health care today. With more treatments and therapies, it is a challenge to understand what is driving these costs and what each of us can do to manage them.

The near-constant conversation about the opioid crisis can seem abstract, if you haven’t already been touched by it. Yet, as the problem grows, it’s increasingly likely that you or someone you know may be affected.


7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. 

Registration and networking
(A full breakfast will be served.)

8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

Welcome and Opening Remarks
Richard Burke, President & CEO, Fallon Health

8:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.

Panel Discussion, “Rising Cost—Pharmaceutical Pricing: Taking A Look Behind The Curtain”
Moderator, Dr. Thomas Ebert, Executive Vice President & Chief Medical Officer, Fallon Health


Dolores Mitchell
Former Executive Director of the Group Insurance Commission (GIC)

Dr. David Shepro 
Oncologist, St. Vincent Hospital PHO, Provider

Dr. Leslie Fish
Director of Clinical Pharmacy, IPD Analytics

Paul Jeffrey
Director of Pharmacy, MassHealth

9:45 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. 

Networking break

10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. 

Panel Discussion, “Opioid Crisis—What Is It? How Did It Happen? What Can Be Done?”
Moderator, Dr. Thomas Ebert, Executive Vice President & Chief Medical Officer, Fallon Health


Dr. Dennis Dimitri
Massachusetts Medical Society

Dr. Mattie Castiel
Worcester’s Commissioner of Health and Human Services

Joe Early
District Attorney, Worcester County

Jennifer Flanagan
Massachusetts State Senator, Middlesex and Worcester Districts

11:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon

Closing Remarks and Call to Action


Matilde “Mattie” Castiel, M.D.
Commissioner for Health and Human Services
City of Worcester

Dr CastielMattie Castiel, M.D. has always held a professional and personal mission to work with the underserved. She was born in Camaguey, Cuba and immigrated to the U.S. in 1962 as part of Operation Peter Pan. Raised and educated in California, she completed her medical training at the University of California-San Francisco after earning a bachelor’s of science degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology from California State University - Northridge.

Dr. Castile moved to Massachusetts to complete her residency at UMass Memorial and has worked as a board-certified physician in internal medicine in the Worcester community for over 26 years, including working at UMass Memorial Medical Center and Family Health Center of Worcester and also as an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Family Medicine and Psychiatry at UMass Medical School.

In 2009, Dr. Castiel founded the Latin American Health Alliance (LAHA), a nonprofit organization in Worcester dedicated to combating homelessness and drug addiction, where she continues to serve as its Executive Director and Medical Director. The LAHA’s programs consist of the Hector Reyes House and Casa Reyes, a substance abuse treatment facility and transitional house for Hispanic males. Last year, LAHA opened Café Reyes on Shrewsbury Street, an innovative jobs training program for the residents at Hector Reyes House and Casa Reyes.

Dr. Castiel has served on the boards of several Worcester nonprofits, including The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts from 2001-2010 and Centro Las Americas from 2001-2006. She currently serves on the board of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation.
In September of 2015, Dr. Castile was appointed as the City of Worcester’s Commissioner for Health and Human Services, where she oversee the divisions of Public Health, Youth Services, Human Rights and Disabilities, Veterans Affairs, and Elder Affairs along with advancing important new initiatives that fall under the scope of youth violence and the current opioid crisis. 


Dennis Dimitri, M.D.
Massachusetts Medical Society

Dr DimitriDennis M. Dimitri M.D., F.A.A.F.P. is a clinical associate professor and vice chair of the Department of Family Medicine & Community Health at UMass Memorial Medical Center and UMass Medical School. In his role at UMass, Dr. Dimitri has oversight responsibility for all clinical services delivered in the Department of Family Medicine while still maintaining his own clinical practice of family medicine. He joined the department in his current role in 2006, after almost 25 years in private practice in Worcester.

Dr. Dimitri is the president of the Massachusetts Medical Society and has served as an officer of the Worcester District Medical Society and chaired its legislative committee. In 2011, he received the Worcester District Medical Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award.  

A fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and a past president of the Massachusetts Academy of Family Physicians, Dr. Dimitri also remains involved in the activities of the MassAFP, serving as a Massachusetts delegate to the Congress of Delegates of the AAFP.  In 2013 he was honored by the MassAFP as its Family Physician of The Year. 

He has also been appointed to serve at various times on the Massachusetts Medicaid Delivery Model Advisory Committee, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services Patient Centered Medical Home Pilot Coordinating Council and the Massachusetts Healthcare Workforce Advisory Council. 

Active in his community, Dr. Dimitri is a former vice chair of the board of trustees of Clark University in Worcester and served for eight years as a founding trustee of the board of UMass Memorial Health Care. In 2011 he was inducted into the Worcester Boys and Girls Club Hall of Fame for his philanthropic efforts in support of the club. 

Dr. Dimitri attended Clark University and received his M.D. at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C.  He completed his residency training in Family Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.

He resides in Worcester resides in Worcester.


Joseph D. Early
District Attorney, Worcester County

Joe EarlyServing his third term as the Worcester County District Attorney, Joseph D. Early works with  law enforcement agencies in 60 communities that make up the Middle District. Mr. Early formed the Central Mass. Opioid Task Force to help the people of his district deal with the opioid abuse epidemic. His office was awarded a $400,000 federal grant to fund research and data collection to help agencies target their response to the crisis. Mr. Early’s office also won a state grant of about $100,000 to fund a pilot program for intervening with the opioid addicts at the point of overdose. Mr. Early lives in Worcester with his wife Judy and their five children.





Thomas H. Ebert, M.D.
Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Fallon Health

Dr EbertAs Fallon Health’s Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Ebert is responsible for ensuring the appropriateness, quality and cost-effectiveness of the health care services received by all Fallon members.

With over 20 years of experience as a managed care physician executive, Dr. Ebert served as Chief Medical Officer at Health New England, a subsidiary of Baystate Health in Springfield Massachusetts. He was also principal consultant at Premier, Inc., a Charlotte, North Carolina based provider-owned health services and consulting company. While at Premier, Dr. Ebert advised and helped hospital systems and physician groups form clinically integrated networks.

In addition, Dr. Ebert practiced nephrology in Worcester, Massachusetts for over 20 years. He served as Associate Chief of Medicine and Director of the Internal Medicine Residency training program at Worcester Memorial Hospital (now part of UMass Memorial Healthcare). He was the first president and medical director of Memorial’s Physician Hospital Organization and was an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine for more than two decades.

A graduate of Case Western Reserve University Scholl of Medicine with a medical degree, Dr. Ebert completed an internal medicine residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital and the University of Texas Southwestern Affiliated Hospitals in Dallas, Texas. He completed fellowships in nephrology and pathology at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

Dr. Ebert and his wife, Sheila Donnelly, M.D. live in West Boylston.


Dr. Leslie Fish
Director of Clinical Pharmacy
IPD Analytics, LLC

Leslie Fish Dr. Fish is a national thought leader with a unique combination of clinical and health care business experience in health care settings including hospital systems, acute inpatient settings and managed care organizations. She has extensive experience in pharmaceutical benefit design development and implementation, formulary and criteria set development and implementation, clinical pharmacy program development and implementation, cost of care program development and implementation, medication utilization analysis and drug trending, drug marketing analysis, and drug trend analysis for clinical program building. In addition, she has worked extensively on medication contract management, pharmaceutical rebating programs, pharmacy benefit management vendor contracts and oversight, and Medicare pharmacy oversight. Her areas of expertise involve all books of business, Commercial, Medicare, Medicaid and Exchange products.

With more than 30 years of experience in the health care field, she has been a strong advocate for managing the safety and cost of prescription medications. Dr. Fish is past Chair of the Fallon Health Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee and sits on the Massachusetts Drug Utilization Board for Medicaid. She has served on the boards of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy Legislative Committee (past president) as well as the Legislative Committee for the Mass College of Pharmacy and Allied Health. She has also served on the editorial boards of several journals including the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy and the America Journal of Integrated healthcare. 

At IPD Analytics, Dr. Fish provides managed care, hospital systems and manufacturers with a proprietary forecasting and strategy tool that enables organizations to gain unmatched visibility into the brand, generic and biosimilar drug landscape 12-60+ months into the future.

Such visibility equips clinical and contracting departments with the foresight to effectively manage traditional/specialty drug spend, optimize formulary design and proactively educate provider networks of upcoming shifts in the landscape for both care and drug availability.

In addition to the above, she develops the insights along with a team of highly experienced pharmacy, patent and regulatory experts that evaluate clinical, legal and market data critical to understanding the future landscape of brand, generic and biosimilar availability.


Jennifer Flanagan
Massachusetts State Senator, Middlesex and Worcester Districts

Sen FlanaghanSenator Jennifer Flanagan is a Leominster Democrat who served two terms in the House of Representatives before being elected to the Senate in 2008. She represents the Worcester and Middlesex district including: Berlin, Bolton, Precincts 1 & 2 of Clinton, Fitchburg, Gardner, Lancaster, Leominster, Lunenburg, Sterling, Townsend and Westminster in North Central Massachusetts.
She currently holds several seats including Chair of the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee, Chair of the Joint Committee of Children and Families and Persons with Disabilities Committee and Chair of the Special Senate Committee on Opioid Addiction. Senator Flanagan was also appointed as vice chair of the Public Health Committee and is a member of the Public Safety Committee and Homeland Security Committee.

Both in the House and Senate, Senator Flanagan had a part in passing several key pieces of legislation relative to mental health and substance abuse. The most recent being An Act to Increase Opportunities for Long-Term Substance Abuse Recovery, which provides people with an opportunity to access treatment, as well as An Act Relative to Substance Use Prevention, which seeks to avert people away from substances.


Paul L. Jeffrey, Pharm.D.
Director of Pharmacy, MassHealth
University of Massachusetts Medical School

Paul JeffreyDr. Jeffrey has served as Director of Pharmacy for the Office of Clinical Affairs at the University of Massachusetts Medical School since 2001. In this capacity, he is Director of Pharmacy for MassHealth and is responsible for the clinical, operational,and financial components of the state’s pharmacy benefit for approximately 1.1million of MassHealth’s 1.8 million members.  Dr. Jeffrey provides consultation and oversight to other pharmacy programs under the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), including Medicaid Managed Care Plans and the Health Safety Net Program. He also participates in interagency medication-related programs among the EOHHS family of agencies.

Dr. Jeffrey is Clinical Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health at University of Massachusetts Medical School; Adjunct Associate Professor of Clinical Pharmacy at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences; and guest lecturer at the Boston University School of Medicine and Harvard University School of Public Health.

Dr. Jeffrey received his undergraduate pharmacy degree from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Duquesne University.  He completed a residency in hospital/clinical pharmacy at Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh. 

In addition to his work in publicly funded pharmacy programs, Dr. Jeffrey also has over 25 years of health system management experience in academic medical centers and has worked as a staff pharmacist in both community and hospital pharmacy. He has contributed many presentations and publications to the field of pharmacy practice.


Dolores L. Mitchell
Former Executive Director of the Group Insurance Commission (GIC)

Dolores MitchellDolores Mitchell served as the Executive Director of the Group Insurance Commission (GIC), the agency that provides life, health, disability and dental and vision services to more than 420,000 of the Commonwealth’s employees, retirees and their dependents as well as a number of authorities, municipalities, and other entities. Mrs. Mitchell served as executive director from 1987 to spring 2016, serving in the administrations of Governors Dukakis, Weld, Cellucci, Swift, Romney, Patrick and Baker.  Mrs. Mitchell has had a long association with former Governor Dukakis, having served as his cabinet coordinator in his first administration.

Mrs. Mitchell also served as a member of a number of professional and community organizations, including the governing board of the Massachusetts Health Care Connector Authority, the Massachusetts Statewide Quality Advisory Committee (SQAC), and as a board member and former chair of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). She was also a board member of the National Quality Forum (NQF).

Mrs. Mitchell is a frequent speaker on health care, politics, women's career issues and related subjects.


David Shepro, M.D.,
Oncologist, St. Vincent Hospital

Dr SheproDr. David Shepro is the Medical Director of St. Vincent Hospital Cancer Care Program and Eaton Place Oncology and is board-certified in internal Medicine, Hematology, and medical oncology.

Prior to joining Eaton Place Oncology, Dr. Shepro practiced at Commonwealth Hematology Oncology with colleagues Dr. Susan Donohue and Dr. James O’Shea.

Shepro formerly served as Medical Director of Hematology and Oncology at HealthAlliance Hospital and was the first Medical Director of the Memorial Hospital Hospice program. He has also practiced hematology and oncology at UMass Memorial Health Care in Worcester. His work as Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at UMASS Medical School is an important part of his commitment to the future of highest quality health care.

Dr. Shepro served his residency in internal medicine at the Medical Center of Central Massachusetts in Worcester, and completed a fellowship in hematology and oncology at Boston University Medical School. He earned his medical degree from University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester after graduating with honors from Boston University.

He is a member of many professional societies, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Hematology, and the Massachusetts Society of Clinical Oncology, for which he is currently on the board of directors. Previously, he served as a board member for the Montachusett Unit of the American Cancer Society and the Oncology Advisory Committee of Tufts Affiliated Health Plans.

Dr. Shepro co-developed a widely utilized clinical tool for effectively managing oral anticoagulation therapy. He and his colleagues are active clinical investigators of new approaches to managing hematology and oncology disorders.