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.

ACTION ALERTS

  • 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.   

MMA SURVEYS

  • 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

LETTERS/FORMAL REQUESTS

FEDERAL EFFORTS

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

Congressional Outreach

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.

TELEHEALTH

  • 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.

FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY

  • 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.

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