MMA Sets Legislative Agenda

[MMA News Now, Feb. 6, 2014] With the start of the 2014 legislative session just a few weeks away, the MMA has identified its top issues.

They include:
Protecting patients through physician-led team-based care
The MMA supports a collaborative partnership between physicians and other health care providers. Legislators may weigh in on a proposal that could provide Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) with more independence (for example, allow them prescribing authority). Collaboration is crucial to ensure that patients receive the best care possible by the right practitioner. We support physician-led team-based care.

Battling prescription opioids misuse
The MMA supports strengthening the Minnesota Prescription Monitoring Program in various ways such as automatic alerts to prescribers on patients who are potentially “doctor shopping.” The MMA also supports “911 Good Samaritan and Naloxone” legislation that is designed to reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths by providing immunity to those who call 911 in good faith to save a life and increasing public access to the antidote naloxone. The law would allow first responders to carry naloxone and make the drug available through community-based agencies that work with intravenous drug users.

Cost and quality data for hospitals and clinics
The MMA supports eliminating Provider Peer Grouping and focusing more attention on the All Payer Claims Database as the tool to be used in creating public comparisons of the cost and quality of care provided by hospitals and clinics.

Regulating e-cigarettes

The MMA supports adding e-cigarettes to the Freedom to Breathe Act to prohibit their use in public indoor spaces such as workplaces and bars. The MMA is also looking at additional retail regulations such as requiring tobacco sellers to obtain a license to sell e-cigarettes and requiring that they put the product behind their counters. 

Aligning clinical data sharing
The MMA supports legislation that would bring the Minnesota Health Records Act into alignment with HIPAA, the existing federal standards governing the sharing of health information. Enhanced information sharing is crucial to support better care coordination and to the functioning of accountable care organizations, health care homes and total cost of care arrangements. Appropriate clinical data sharing will increase the quality of patient care and decrease costs. 

Retaining the provider tax phase-out
In 2011, legislators voted for the phase-out and repeal of the provider tax, effective Dec. 31, 2019. The 2 percent tax has driven up the cost of health care and falls more heavily on sick and low-income Minnesotans. The MMA will continue to lobby legislators to ensure the repeal and will oppose any efforts to use the Health Care Access Fund for any new purposes. 

Prohibiting tanning beds by minors
The MMA supports legislation to prohibit the use of indoor tanning devices by minors. Artificial tanning devices are a known carcinogen and access by minors must be regulated. 

Restoring the newborn screening program
The MMA will be asking legislators to restore the state’s newborn screening program to its prior nation-leading status by removing the arbitrary retention periods for test samples and data established in 2012.

The MMA’s top priority - advocating for physician-led, team-based care – mirrors the AMA's top priority. In January, about 200 medical association leaders discussed strategies for advancing medicine’s top legislative and regulatory priorities for 2014 during the AMA State Legislative Strategy Conference in Tucson, Ariz.
The other AMA priorities included: implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), reforming Medicaid, including expansion under the ACA and adopting medical liability reform.  

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