MMA Action - How MMA is Working for Physicians
This page was updated on Nov. 17, 2020 at 10:37 AM CST and will be updated as the situation develops.
Below, you will learn more about how the MMA is working to make sure you are equipped to handle your patients’ and community needs during this public health emergency.
OVERVIEW OF MMA’S RESPONSE AND ACTIVITIES
- MMA CEO serving on Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) COVID Advisory Committee with other business, education, health care, and childcare organization leaders.
- MMA is coordinating and communicating with state specialty society leadership.
- MMA is communicating the urgency of personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies to state and federal leaders.
- MMA is providing physicians information on how they can volunteer/help in the COVID-19 response.
- MMA’s weekly e-newsletter, MMA News Now, has expanded its distribution to all Minnesota physicians so members and non-members can have access to COVID-related information from the MMA. Special editions of News Now will continue to be sent to share time-sensitive or urgent information.
- MMA has created a COVID-19 page on our website with helpful links and resources.
- MMA is coordinating our federal advocacy with the American Medical Association (AMA) on issues including PPE supply and financial protection for physician and practices.
- MMA is increasing its communication and outreach to members of the MN Congressional delegation to seek their support and offer input and guidance.
- MMA is concerned about physician and other health care worker health and well-being, in light of this stressful situation and we continue to explore ways to offer additional support.
- MMA has a seat on the statewide Minnesota COVID Ethics Collaborative, a multidisciplinary group composed of experts from organizations across the state including ethics, law, public health, medicine, nursing, disaster planning, and spiritual care.
- Physician Liability Bill Awaits Action - Act NOW to let your legislators know that Minnesota’s physicians need protection from unique legal liability that the pandemic has caused. Now is the time to protect those health professionals who are risking their own health and safety to provide care for Minnesota’s most vulnerable.
- COVID-19 Impact Study: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on the practice of medicine around the world. To gauge how the virus has directly impacted Minnesota physicians, the MMA conducted a survey from mid-June to mid-July. On August 26, 2020, the MMA released survey results on the impact of the pandemic on physician practices.
MMA STATEMENTS/PRESS RELEASES
- Nov. 17, 2020 - Minnesota Physicians Call for Greater Virus Controls As Soon as Possible
- Nov. 11, 2020 - State physicians urge Minnesotans to follow CDC guidelines at holiday gatherings
- Nov. 10, 2020 - Minnesota Physicians Support Gov. Walz’s Order to Tighten Restrictions on Pandemic
- Oct. 31, 2020 - Joint Statement Supporting Doctors Treating COVID-19 Patients Minnesota Medical Association President Marilyn Peitso, MD, Minnesota Hospital Association President and CEO Rahul Koranne, MD
- Sept. 25, 2020 - MMA Statement on COVID-19 from President Keith Stelter, MD
- Aug. 26, 2020 - Minnesota Medical Association Study Finds Broad Health, Care Delivery, and Economic Impacts of COVID-19
- July 22, 2020 - Minnesota Physicians Urge Back-to-School Prep to Include Vaccinations, Regardless of Where School is Held This Fall
- July 22, 2020 - Statement Supporting State-wide Mask Mandate
- July 14, 2020 - Statement Supporting Mask Mandate in Duluth From MMA President Keith Stelter, MD
- July 7, 2020 - MMA Statement Supporting Mask Mandates in Edina, Mankato and Rochester
- June 26, 2020 - State physicians call for mandatory mask use to slow COVID 19 spread
- June 25, 2020 - Minnesota’s Physicians Unite to Encourage Minnesotans to Practice Good Health Through Routine Vaccinations
- May 28, 2020 - Statement Supporting Mayor Carter’s Request to Wear Masks in Public
- May 22, 2020 - Statement Supporting Mayor Frey’s Request to Wear Masks in Public
- May 5, 2020 - MMA Statement on Easing of Restrictions on Elective Surgeries and Procedures
- April 4, 2020 - Press Release - Elective Procedures Recommendations
- April 9, 2020 - Press Release: Minnesota’s Physicians Remind Minnesotans Not to Delay Urgent Care & to Pay Attention to Overall Health
- March 25, 2020 - Press Release: Minnesota’s Physicians Stand Behind New Order to “Stay Home MN” to Slow Spread of Pandemic
- March 20, 2020 - MMA Statement: Minnesota Physicians Warn Public to Heed State Guidance and Advice
- MMA President, Keith Stelter, MD, is providing frequent media interviews.
- November 10, 2020 – To help address the significant fiscal pressures placed on physicians by the COVID-19 pandemic, the MMA signed on to letters urging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), and major commercial health plans (i.e., Anthem, Aetna, Cigna, Health Care Service Corporation, Humana and UnitedHealthcare) to immediately implement and pay for CPT code 99072.
- July 22, 2020 - Signed on to a letter to Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), urging CMS to sunset the waivers involving scope of practice and licensure when the public health emergency concludes.
- June 15, 2020 - Signed on to a letter to Alex Azar, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Seema Verma, Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), regarding the expansion of telehealth services through the Medicare program. Specifically, the purpose of the letter is to formally request the continuation of the flexibilities regarding telehealth services that have been afforded to providers during the COVID-19 pandemic response.
- June 9, 2020 - Signed on to an AMA letter to Congressional leadership urging them to include liability protections for physicians in the next COVID-19 relief package, and in particular the protections that are included in the bipartisan bill, H.R. 7059, the “Coronavirus Provider Protection Act.”
- May 1, 2020 - The MMA and 23 Minnesota medical specialty societies and medical groups presented Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm with recommendations that are intended to inform changes to Executive Order 20-09 to allow Minnesota health care providers to resume the delivery of medically necessary care in a safe, controlled, and planful way.
- April 20, 2020 - Letter to Governor Walz asking for an Executive Order to provide health care provider liability protection during the declared emergency.
- April 15, 2020 – Signed on to a letter, on behalf of providers providing pediatric care in Minnesota, to Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead and Medicaid Director Matt Andersen re: outlining concerns and requests related to Child and Teen Checkup (C&TC) visits and reimbursement during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- April 15, 2020 – Signed on to an AMA letter to Congressional leaders urging them to take additional steps to protect patient access to care by preserving the viability of physician practices as part of the nation’s essential health care system.
- April 7, 2020 - Letter to Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly, Minnesota Department of Revenue, asking for further action to continue to postpone payments of the MinnesotaCare tax for the first and second quarter of 2020.
- April 7, 2020 – Signed on to an AMA letter to Secretary Alex Azar, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, requesting immediate financial assistance for physicians across the country who are taking heroic action to treat patients with the novel coronavirus, providing ongoing care for patients with chronic conditions and urgent needs, and incurring significant financial losses due to postponing non-essential procedures and visits.
- March 26, 2020 - Letter to Governor Walz re: Interest- and penalty-free extensions for 2019 Provider Tax returns and first quarter 2020 provider tax payments.
- March 25, 2020 - Signed on to an AMA letter to Congressional Leaders re: request to include specific provisions in the final “stimulus legislation” to help physicians sustain their practices and provide their patients with the best possible care during the COVID-19 emergency.
- March 24, 2020 - MMA communicated its support for a “stay-at-home” order directly to Commissioner Malcolm and the office of Gov. Walz.
- March 24, 2020 - Letter to Governor Walz re: Opioid Treatment Programs and Take-Home Medications/Removal of 30-Day Limit on Opioid Prescriptions.
The MMA is coordinating with the AMA on other federal asks, which include the following issues:
- Preserving the viability of physician practices
- CPT code clarification
- Shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Expansion of Medicare coverage for certain services
- Assistance in a declaration of COVID-19 outbreak disaster or emergency under the Stafford Act or the National Emergencies Act.
- Allocation of federal funding for front line health care personnel and providers
- Assistance in expanding public health capacity and access to and the availability of testing
- Assistance in providing frontline health care providers with financial support
LICENSURE & LIABILITY
- The MMA is working closely with the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice regarding licensure requirements and potential regulatory or executive action needed to ensure a sufficient number of skilled and qualified physicians. MMA is also working with COPIC, MMA’s endorsed professional liability carrier, to examine potential liability issues that may require executive action.
PPE & OTHER MEDICAL SUPPLIES
- Minnesota physicians, as well as health care workers across the country are concerned about the nation’s supply of personal protection equipment (PPE), particularly N95 and surgical masks. MMA has been aggressively advocating for such supplies with community and state leaders as well as with members of the Minnesota delegation.
- On March 23, Gov. Tim Walz issued an executive order that directs all non-hospital entities to conduct an inventory of their PPE, ventilators, respirators, and anesthesia machines that are not required for the provision of critical health care services or essential services, and report the result to the state no later than March 25.
SURGE CAPACITY SUPPORT
- COVID-19 has caused many of Minnesota’s practices to experience a surge in demand for COVID-19 testing and treatment. As in many other states, we continue to lack a sufficient supply of testing equipment and other items critical to Minnesota’s ability to respond to COVID-19. The MMA is coordinating with the AMA and others on federal asks to ensure Minnesota has the resources it needs.
- The MMA recognizes the importance of using telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are working to ensure appropriate flexibility in payer policies and payment and have created a page on our website with comprehensive information.
- COVID-19: Federal Paycheck Protection Program & SBA Loans – New Updates for Physician Practices: On April 29, the MMA, along with legal experts from Dorsey & Whitney, LLP discussed recent changes by Congress to the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) and Small Business Administration (SBA) loans.
- Access the recording here.
- Additional webinar information can be found here.
- COVID-19: A Focus on Employment, Benefits, and Financial Assistance for Physician Clinics: On April 7, the MMA, along with legal experts from Dorsey & Whitney, LLP hosted “COVID-19: A Focus on Employment, Benefits, and Financial Assistance for Physician Clinics,” a webinar discussing the possibility of changes to your business (e.g. staff layoffs, furloughs and associated employee benefits) in light of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the potential financial protections for practices including the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act).
- Listen to it here.
- More information can be found here.
- The MMA recognizes the challenges and financial burdens that clinics will face as a result of reduced patient services and the postponing of elective surgeries and procedures, as was directed in the Governor’s March 19 executive order. To support physician practices, the MMA is urging state and federal legislators to ensure to provide dedicated financial support to all physicians and their practices who are experiencing adverse economic impacts.