News Archives

MMA Welcomes COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Expansion Goal, High-Risk Groups Still a Priority

January 21, 2021
On Jan. 18, Gov. Tim Walz announced that the state is expanding its COVID-19 vaccination dissemination to those 65 years of age and older, as well as educators, school staff, and child-care workers. The expansion includes nine new community vaccination sites and a new state website for vaccine appointment scheduling. This expansion comes despite the gaps remaining among the Phase 1a target populations, health care workers, and residents and staff at long-term care facilities. 
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Biden/Harris Administration Moves Quickly on COVID-19 Pandemic Tactics

January 21, 2021
Shortly after taking the oath of office, President Biden took immediate steps to address the COVID-19 pandemic. 
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State’s Vaccine Distribution Focus of Legislative Hearings

January 21, 2021
The state’s efforts to distribute COVID-19 vaccines became the focus of health care committees this week at the state Capitol. 
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State Continues to Refine COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Amid Changing Rules

January 14, 2021
Under mounting pressure from both health care workers and patients, as well as changes in federal guidance, the state of Minnesota continues to adjust its plans and communicate updates about the COVID-19 vaccine allocation and dissemination in the state. 
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New Videos Provide Health Care Workers with COVID-19 Vaccine Info

January 14, 2021
Health care professionals now have a series of videos that they can refer to for information on COVID-19 vaccine development and safety. 
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Noon-Time Forum to Ponder Why Literature Matters to the Practice of Medicine

January 14, 2021
“Why literature matters to the practice of medicine” will be the topic of discussion at the next virtual physician forum on Jan. 20 from noon to 1 p.m.    
 
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New Educational Resource Created to Help with COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy

January 14, 2021
A new searchable database of accredited continuing education activities for clinicians about the COVID-19 vaccines is now available at learntovaccinate.org. It is intended to help overcome vaccine hesitancy among physicians and other healthcare professionals. 
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31 New Legislators Learn How to Legislate in a Virtual World

January 14, 2021
With the legislature starting the 2021 Legislative session on Jan. 5, the first two weeks have been mostly filled with overview hearings. Buildings are still closed to the public, so both bodies have started with holding hearings over Zoom.  
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MMA, AMA, Others Speak Out Regarding Scope Issue at VA

January 14, 2021
The MMA, along with more than 100 other state medical associations and medical specialty societies, signed on to an AMA-led letter to the Department of Veteran Affairs opposing an Interim Final Rule (IFR) that permits nearly all VHA-employed non-physician providers (NPP) to practice without the clinical supervision of physicians and without regard to the state scope of practice law. 
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ZVMS Honors Resident, Four Students for Outstanding Work

January 14, 2021
The Zumbro Valley Medical Society (ZVMS) honored one resident and four medical students at its virtual Annual Meeting on Jan. 14. AMA president-elect Gerald E. Harmon, MD, was the keynote speaker. 
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MMA, COPIC Offer Guidance on Malpractice Case

January 07, 2021
The MMA, in collaboration with COPIC, has developed additional guidance on the case of Popovich v. Allina Health, which increases liability exposure for hospitals in Minnesota.
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MMA Staffer, Eric Dick, Passes Away at Age 45

January 07, 2021
Eric Dick, the MMA’s manager of state legislative affairs, died over the New Year’s holiday break. Dick worked at the MMA for 10 years, bringing a wealth of political acumen and insight to the association’s efforts. 
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Forum to Address Resilience, Finding Joy Again in Medicine on Jan. 13

January 07, 2021
A virtual forum on resilience and finding the joy and purpose in medicine will be held on Jan. 13 from noon to 1 p.m. 
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Health Department Modifies Statewide Quality Reporting and Measurement System

January 07, 2021
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has updated the Minnesota Statewide Quality Reporting and Measurement System and issued technical guidance about the changes at Quality Measures: 2021 Report Year. 
 
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Physician Survey Says Still A Long Way to Go in Pandemic Fight

January 07, 2021
Nearly half (49 percent) of U.S. physicians believe the COVID-19 pandemic won’t be under control until after June 1, 2021, according to The Physicians Foundation 2020 Survey of America’s Physicians, which was released in late December. 
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2021 Legislature Back in Session 

January 07, 2021
The Minnesota Legislature reconvened for the 2021 legislative session at noon on Jan. 5 to start what will be a unique session focused on passing a balanced budget for the state. 
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MMA Seeks Further Clarity from State on COVID Vaccine Distribution Plans

January 07, 2021
The MMA is urging the state to provide greater clarity regarding COVID-19 vaccine distribution for physicians, particularly those who are in non-hospital settings. The MMA has received inquiries and noted frustrations from physicians and medical groups who have been unable to get specific information on vaccine access or timing. 
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Special Session Legislation Extends Telehealth Flexibility

December 17, 2020
On Dec. 14, the House and Senate returned to the Capitol for a seventh and final special session of the year and passed MMA-supported legislation to extend “site of service” telehealth flexibility. Gov. Tim Walz signed the measure on Dec. 16.
 
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MMA Sets 2021 Legislative Priorities

December 17, 2020
With the Jan. 5 start of the 2021 legislative session fast approaching, the MMA Board of Trustees has selected the MMA’s top three legislative priorities.  
 
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New MN PMP Requirement for Prescribers of Controlled Substances Begins Jan. 1

December 17, 2020
Beginning Jan. 1, Minnesota prescribers of controlled substances (or an agent or employee of the prescriber to whom the prescriber has delegated the task of accessing the data) must access the state Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) before issuing an initial prescription order for a Schedules II-IV opiate controlled substance. 
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MMA Member Pleads with Minnesotans to Keep Guard Up In COVID-19 Fight

December 17, 2020
MMA member and infectious disease physician Peter Bornstein, MD, implored Minnesotans to continue to keep their guard up as the state continues to fight the spread of COVID-19.
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Teen Vaccine Study to be Led Locally by Member

December 17, 2020
MMA member Gary Berman, MD, has been selected to conduct the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine study enrolling adolescents ages 12 to 17. 
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Volunteers Needed for Advocacy Efforts on Firearm Safety, Telehealth, and Vaccines

December 17, 2020
Looking for a way to engage on policy related issues and lend your voice to the conversation? The MMA is looking for volunteers to join an MMA Advocacy Action Team on one of the following topics: firearm injury and death prevention, telehealth and vaccines. 
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New Program Created to Mentor Students in BIPOC Communities

December 17, 2020
The Allina Health/United Family Medicine Residency is launching a new mentorship program in partnership with the Minority Association of Pre-medical Students (MAPS) at the University of Minnesota, with the goal of increasing diversity in Minnesota’s health care fields. 
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State Leaders Plan to “Immunize for Impact” as First Batches of Vaccines Roll Out

December 10, 2020
When COVID-19 vaccines begin arriving in Minnesota as soon as next week, Minnesotans, including health care workers, are being asked to be patient as there will be a relatively small number of doses available. 
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MMA President Promotes Telehealth in House Committee Hearing

December 10, 2020
MMA President Marilyn Peitso, MD, testified in support of extending telehealth flexibility in Minnesota before a state House committee on Dec. 8.
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Board Approves Two New Health Equity Task Forces

December 10, 2020
At its Dec. 7 meeting, the MMA Board of Trustees approved the formation of two new health equity task forces: the MMA Task Force on Barriers to Workforce Diversification in Physician Education, Training & Licensure, and the MMA Racial Healing & Reconciliation Task Force. These two new task forces will help advance the MMA’s health equity initiatives.
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MMA Member Named Top TikTok Content Creator

December 10, 2020
One of MMA’s own has become a viral sensation regarding the coronavirus. MMA Member Rose Marie Leslie, MD, has been named the no. 1 top content creator on the recently released “Top 100” list from TikTok. 
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DHS Looking for Quality Improvement Liaisons for Opioid Prescribing Improvement Program

December 10, 2020
The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) plans to mail 2020 opioid prescribing reports via the U.S. Postal Service in January 2021 to about 16,000 individual providers. About 500 of these providers are required to participate in DHS’ mandatory quality improvement efforts.
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MMA Foundation Awards Funds to 12 Medical Students for Health Equity Projects 

December 10, 2020
The MMA Foundation has awarded scholarship grants to 12 medical students through its Friedman-Bowen Primary Care Scholarship Fund.  All of the projects funded through this program address health disparities and health equity.
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Volunteer Openings Available on MMA Policy Committees and the MMA Policy Council

December 10, 2020
Volunteer positions are available on each of the following MMA policy committees of the Board of Trustees: Ethics and Medical-Legal Affairs; Medical Practice & Quality; Finance and Audit; and Public Health. 
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MMA Medical Student Section Elects New Student Leaders

December 10, 2020
On Dec. 5, the MMA Medical Student Section (MSS) hosted its 2021 elections remotely.  Elections were held for the officers of the MSS Executive Committee, as well as for medical student representation on the MMA Policy Council, MMA Foundation Board, and MEDPAC.
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State Adds Two More Conditions to Its Medical Cannabis Program

December 03, 2020
Two more medical conditions will join the state’s medical cannabis program in August 2021. On Dec. 1, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced that it will add sickle cell disease and chronic vocal or motor tic disorder to its list of qualifying conditions.
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Member Receives Rural Health Lifetime Achievement Award 

December 03, 2020
MMA member Deborah J. Erickson, MD, has received the Rural Health Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the Minnesota Rural Health Awards, which were announced during Rural Health Week, Nov. 15-21. 
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Forum to Look at Eliminating Race-Based Medicine

December 03, 2020
The MMA will host a noon-time forum on “Eliminating Race-Based Medicine” in partnership with the University of Minnesota on Dec. 9 from noon to 1 p.m. 
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MMA Takes Stand on Contested Flavored Tobacco Ordinance

December 03, 2020
On Dec. 2, the MMA partnered with the AMA and 24 other public health and anti-tobacco organizations on an amicus brief (“friend of the court”) with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in a case that determines a local government’s authority to ban the sale of tobacco or tobacco products.
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CMS Releases Medicare Payment Update 

December 03, 2020
On Dec. 1, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule that includes updates on policy changes for Medicare payments under the Physician Fee Schedule (PFS), and other Medicare Part B issues, on or after Jan. 1, 2021.
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New COVID-19 Therapy Med Now Available in Minnesota

November 19, 2020
Bamlanivimab, a new type of therapy drug that has been shown to decrease the need for hospitalizations and emergency department visits in COVID-19 patients, is now available in Minnesota.
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AMA Adopts Minnesota Resolution to Stop Using Race as a Proxy for Biology

November 19, 2020
A Minnesota-submitted policy that calls for halting the use of race as a proxy for biology, genetics, or heredity when treating patients was adopted by the AMA’s Interim House of Delegates (HOD) this past week. 
 
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DHS Looks for Comments on Tapering Opioid Therapy Guidelines

November 19, 2020
The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) is requesting public comment by 5 p.m. on Dec. 13 on proposed revisions to Section V of the Minnesota Opioid Prescribing Guidelines, Tapering Opioid Therapy.   
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MDH Announces New COVID-19 Vaccine Webinar Series

November 19, 2020
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is conducting a COVID-19 vaccine webinar series for anyone who works in health care. 
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MMA Meets with Gov. Walz to Urge Further Restrictions to Slow the Spread

November 19, 2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to escalate in Minnesota, members of the MMA Executive Committee met Nov. 17 with Gov. Tim Walz to urge him to enact further restrictions immediately and to share their worries and experiences. 
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MMA Supports Gov. Walz’s Order to Tighten Restrictions on Pandemic

November 12, 2020
On Nov. 10, the MMA distributed a statement to media across the state voicing its support of Gov. Tim Walz’s decision for further restrictions of large public gatherings, specifically bars, restaurants and receptions.  
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MMA Urges Minnesotans to Follow CDC Guidelines at Holiday Gatherings

November 12, 2020
On Nov. 11, the MMA sent out a press release to media across the state supporting guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and strongly encouraged Minnesotans to re-think their holiday plans if those plans include gathering in-person. 
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MMA Signs on to Letters Urging New CPT Code for COVID-19

November 12, 2020
The MMA and 150 other health care organizations have signed on to letters to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and major commercial health plans requesting that a new CPT code be approved and implemented to help physicians and their practices be more accurately compensated during the COVID-19 pandemic.  
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Free Webinar to Examine Dermatology and COVID-19 

November 12, 2020
The MMA is partnering on a free webinar on dermatology and COVID-19 along with the Potomac Center for Medical Education and Rockpointe. This activity is supported by an educational grant from Lilly.
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AMA, Health Care Orgs Urge Congress to Pass Medicare Payment Legislation

November 12, 2020
The AMA has joined a coalition of more than 70 physician and allied provider groups, and other health care organizations in urging Congress to support legislation that would waive the budget neutrality requirements in Medicare in order to avoid large expected payment cuts due to ongoing economic  impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.  
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Forum to Discuss Firearm Injuries and Other Penetrating Traumas During 2020

November 12, 2020
Three local physicians will lead a virtual noon-time forum on “Firearm Injuries and Other Penetrating Traumas During 2020” on Nov. 18 from noon to 1 p.m.
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Revised: Changes Come to the Allina Heath’s United Family Medicine Residency Program

November 06, 2020
Allina Health has made the decision to move its family medicine residency program in St. Paul from the United Family Medicine (UFM) clinic to a new site serving the same region. The move is a result of changes at UFM that were needed to remain licensed as a Federally Qualified Health Clinic (FQHC).
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Split Government Remains Unchanged Following Election

November 05, 2020
After a hotly contested election season and tens of millions of dollars of spending, the partisan control of the state Legislature remained the same, with the DFL controlling the Minnesota House of Representatives and the GOP in control of the State Senate. The results set up Minnesota for continued divided government.
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MMA/MHA and AMA Release Statements Supporting Physicians 

November 05, 2020
Following negative remarks toward physicians made by President Trump on the campaign trail last week in which he accuses them of profiting off of COVID-19 patients, the MMA released a joint statement on Oct. 31 with the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) decrying his words. The AMA sent out a similar statement the day before. 
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4 Physician Vacancies Now Available on Medical Board

November 05, 2020
The Minnesota Board of Medical Practice (BMP) is seeking physicians to fill four vacancies representing the First, Fourth, Seventh and Eighth Congressional districts.
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Volunteer Opportunities Available on State Boards, Committees and Councils

November 05, 2020
The state of Minnesota is seeking physicians to fill vacancies on several boards, committees and councils.
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Free Webinar Will Address Asthma Management Amid COVID-19 

November 05, 2020
The MMA is partnering on a free webinar on telemedicine in asthma management during the COVID-19 pandemic along with the Potomac Center for Medical Education and Rockpointe. The program is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from AstraZeneca.
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Medical Practices May Be Eligible for COVID-19 Losses and Expenses

October 29, 2020
Minnesota medical practices that have suffered financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic may have coverage for business interruptions through their insurance plans. 
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AMA Releases Results of its COVID-19 Impact Study

October 29, 2020
This summer, the AMA conducted a nationwide online survey of 3,500 physicians to better quantify the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on physician practices.  
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Will Opioid Abuse Settlements Make Their Way to Minnesota?

October 29, 2020
With last week’s news that Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin, had plead guilty to federal criminal charges including conspiracy to defraud the United States and violating federal anti-kickback laws, health care advocates are wondering whether Minnesota will see any of the $8 billion settlement money. 
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Guidance Provided for Implementing Cures Act Related to Electronic Health Information

October 29, 2020
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has released regulations implementing provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures) requiring physicians to comply with new regulations on the access, exchange, and use of patients’ electronic health information (EHI). 
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5th Annual Physician Well-being Conference Set for Jan. 28 

October 29, 2020
As the calendar turns from 2020 to 2021, physicians and other clinicians deserve to take some time for self-care and mutual support. Join your colleagues and the MMA for a one-day, virtual gathering on Jan. 28, 2021, to learn and deploy strategies to help you reclaim the joy in practicing medicine.  
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National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is Saturday

October 22, 2020
To provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing prescription drugs, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will hold its 19th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day this Saturday (Oct. 24). 
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Free Webinar Will Address Managing Diabetes Amid COVID-19 

October 22, 2020
The MMA is partnering on a free webinar on managing diabetes during the COVID-19 pandemic along with the Potomac Center for Medical Education and Rockpointe. 
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MEDPAC Rolls Out New Membership Year with Video Message

October 22, 2020
To kick off its annual membership campaign, MEDPAC, the MMA’s political action committee, has released a video message featuring Board Chair Will Nicholson, MD, urging physicians to support political advocacy by contributing to the PAC.
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Hematologist/Oncologist Receives Bolles Bolles-Rogers Award

October 22, 2020
The Twin Cities Medical Society Foundation (TCMSF) awarded Daniel J. Weisdorf, MD, professor of medicine and deputy director, University of Minnesota Clinical and Translational Institute, its Charles Bolles Bolles-Rogers Award on Oct. 14.
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MDH to Begin Posting COVID-19 Cases Detected by New, Quicker Antigen Testing Equipment

October 15, 2020
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced Oct. 14 that it will begin posting on its website COVID-19 cases detected using new antigen testing equipment approved by the FDA under an emergency use authorization.
 
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Noon-Time Forum to Address Helping Teens Thrive During Pandemic

October 15, 2020
The MMA and Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatricians (MNAAP) are partnering to present a noon-time forum on Oct. 21 that will feature a presentation and practical strategies to help teens thrive during a public health crisis. 
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Walz Calls Legislature Back for Fifth Special Session to Extend COVID-19 Emergency

October 15, 2020
For the fifth time this year, Gov. Tim Walz called the Legislature back for a special session on Oct. 12 in order to extend Minnesota’s emergency powers to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
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MDH Warns Physicians of Patients Seeking to Avoid Negative Close Contact Determinations

October 08, 2020
Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) epidemiologists have contacted the MMA to inform us that they have received reports from physicians and other health care providers who are being asked by patients to re-assess close contact determinations often because they don’t like being told to isolate or quarantine. 
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Report Offers Recommendations on COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation

October 08, 2020
On Oct. 2, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine released the final report of a consensus study recommending a four-phased equitable allocation framework that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and state, tribal, local, and territorial authorities should adopt in the development of national and local guidelines for COVID-19 vaccine allocation. 
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Recruitment Continues on Project to Improve Community Care

October 08, 2020
Stratis Health, as part of the Superior Health Quality Alliance, is continuing to enroll organizations to participate in a new Community Coalitions for Improving Care initiative sponsored by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The enrollment period ends Oct. 31.
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Medical Students and Residents Sought for MMA’s Mentorship Program

October 08, 2020
The MMA is currently seeking students and resident mentors to take part in its recently launched mentorship program. 
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Introducing the New MMA Leadership for 2021

October 01, 2020
Marilyn Peitso, MD, a pediatric hospitalist in St. Cloud, was inaugurated as the 154th president of the MMA at the group’s virtual Annual Conference this past weekend. She officially begins her one-year term on Oct. 1.
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Physicians, Medical Students and Legislators Receive Annual MMA Awards

October 01, 2020
Six physicians, two physicians-in-training, and two legislators were honored with MMA awards as part of this year’s virtual Annual Conference. Each year, the MMA honors those in medicine for going above and beyond. 
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Federal Government Ends Role in Distribution and Allocation of Remdesivir Today

October 01, 2020
The federal government’s acquisition and distribution of 500,000 treatment courses of remdesivir has ended. Starting today (Oct. 1), hospitals can now purchase unrestricted amounts of remdesivir directly from the distributor.
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Noon-Time Forums Resume with Session on COVID-19 and Addiction Care

October 01, 2020
The MMA’s popular noon-time physician forums will resume Oct. 14 from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. with a session reviewing how to care for patients with substance use disorders (SUD) that are hospitalized with acute illness. This session is a collaboration between MMA and Project ECHO (Rural Opioid ECHO Series.)
 
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HHS Announces $20 billion in New Funding for Providers on COVID-19 Frontlines  

October 01, 2020
Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced $20 billion in new funding for providers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. Eligible providers may begin applying for funding Oct. 5 through Nov. 6.
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Legislation Offers Flexibility and Relief to Physicians Participating in Federal Programs 

October 01, 2020
On Sept. 30, Congress passed the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act (CR) that contains several provisions to help physicians who participate in Medicare and Medicaid. President Trump signed it into law on Oct. 1
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AMA Webinars to Discuss COVID-19 Vaccine Development, What Physicians Need to Know

October 01, 2020
A new AMA webinar series, beginning Oct. 7, will address the science, evidence and process of vaccine development, regulatory review and what physicians need to know.  
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Virtual Annual Conference Will Tackle Pandemic, Equity in Health Care This Week

September 24, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic and equity in health care take center stage this week as the MMA holds its first-ever virtual Annual Conference, Sept. 25 and 26.  
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MMA Joins Health Care and Community Orgs Committed to Addressing Systemic Racism  

September 24, 2020
On Sept. 18, 30 organizations, including the MMA, adopted guiding principles to help Minnesota eliminate systemic racism and commit to addressing racial disparities and inequities.
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MMA Urges Policy Makers to Act on Homelessness

September 24, 2020
The MMA joined several other physician groups in urging Gov. Tim Walz and policy makers to act to address the rise in homelessness. The COVID-19 pandemic, economic downturn and high unemployment, and the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing have all exacerbated an already acute challenge in many communities.
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MMA Signs Onto Letter Regarding Concerns on Medicare Patient Safety 

September 24, 2020
On Sept. 22, the MMA, along with 127 other state medical association and specialty groups, signed-on to an AMA letter opposing the “Medicare Mental Health Access Act,” which would change the definition of “physician” under the Medicare program to include clinical psychologists. 
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MMA RFS Leadership Put into Place

September 24, 2020
The MMA’s Resident/Fellow Section has named its 2020-2021 governing council, which take office on Oct. 1. 
 
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MMA Awards, Presidential Inauguration, and Business Meeting Videos Premiere Next Week

September 17, 2020
On Sept. 21, the MMA will begin posting a series of videos in anticipation of the Virtual Annual Conference taking place Sept. 25 and 26. The videos will include award presentations, the annual MMA business meeting and the presidential inauguration. 
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2 MMA Docs Named to AMA Cannabis Task Force

September 17, 2020
Former MMA President David Thorson, MD, and Mayo Clinic’s Eugene Scharf, MD, have been named to the AMA Cannabis Task Force. Thorson will represent the MMA while Scharf will represent the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), which is based in Minneapolis. 
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Gov. Extends Peacetime Emergency Declaration Again

September 17, 2020
The Minnesota Legislature returned to the Capitol on Sept. 11 for the fourth special session of 2020, as Gov. Tim Walz extended the existing peacetime emergency first declared in March as the COVID-19 pandemic grew. Despite opposition from the GOP, the extension will continue until at least early October.
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Sept. 17 is National Physician Suicide Awareness Day

September 17, 2020
Today is National Physician Suicide Awareness Day (NPSA). According to a new Survey of America’s Physicians by The Physicians Foundation, 25 percent of physicians know a physician who has committed suicide. 
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Local and National Experts to Lead Sessions at our Virtual Annual Conference

September 10, 2020
As the MMA’s Virtual Annual Conference draws near, we continue to add experts to our list of faculty for the event taking place Sept. 25 and 26. 
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AMA Approves Two Additional CPT Codes to Support COVID-19 Response

September 10, 2020
This week, the AMA published an update to the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code set that includes two Category 1 code additions for reporting medical services sparked by the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
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Statewide Initiative Launched to Integrate PMP and EHR

September 10, 2020
The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy (BOP) announced on Sept. 9 that it has launched a statewide initiative, using Appriss Health’s PMP Gateway service, to integrate access to Minnesota Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) reports from within approved Electronic Health Record (EHR) and Pharmacy Management Systems (PMS). 
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Webinars to Address Treating Lung Cancer During COVID-19 Pandemic

September 10, 2020
The MMA is jointly providing free webinars on managing patients with lung cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic along with Rockpointe, MEDCHI (the Maryland State Medical Society), other state medical societies and global oncology associations. 
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Special Thanks to This Year’s Annual Conference Sponsors

September 10, 2020
The MMA would like to thank the sponsors for this year's MMA Virtual Annual Conference taking place Sept. 25 and 26. Their support allows us to bring in the great group of faculty we have scheduled this year. 
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COVID-19 and Day Care and School Attendance the Subject of Upcoming Webinar

September 10, 2020
The MMA is partnering with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (MNAAP) to host a noon-time webinar on Sept. 16 regarding school and day care attendance during the COVID-19 pandemic.   
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Major Changes Made to 2021 CPT Code for E/M Office Visits and More

September 03, 2020
The AMA recently implemented significant changes to the CPT codes and guidelines for office and other outpatient evaluation and management (E/M) services. The changes, which take effect on Jan. 1, 2021, are intended to make E/M office visit coding and documentation simpler and more flexible. This is the first overhaul in more than 25 years.
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Annual Conference to Examine the Challenges of Viewing Medicine Through a Race-Based Lens

September 03, 2020
Day two of the MMA’s Virtual Annual Conference will kick off with an examination of race in medicine from a clinical perspective and an assessment of how physicians can more effectively make clinical decisions – without the need for a race-based lens.
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Medical Cannabis Program to Consider Additional Conditions

September 03, 2020
The Office of Medical Cannabis (OMC) announced on Aug.31 that it will review the addition of anxiety, sickle cell disease, and tic disorder to the panel of conditions that allow a patient to participate in the state’s medical cannabis program.  
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MDH Releases Revised Fact Sheet on What to Do While Waiting for COVID-19 Results

September 03, 2020
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has updated a fact sheet physicians can share with their patients called “What to Do While You Wait for a COVID-19 Test Result.”  
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State Officials Unveil Updated COVID-19 Guidance for School Attendance

September 03, 2020
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) earlier this week unveiled a tool to help schools, child-care centers, and parents determine if a child should be withheld from school or day care if they show symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection.  
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MMA Study Finds Broad Health, Care Delivery, and Economic Impacts of COVID-19

August 27, 2020
Minnesotans experienced adverse health outcomes due to delays in care, the use of telehealth has surged, the bottom lines of physician practices in Minnesota were hurt significantly during the first months of the COVD-19 pandemic, and doctors fear the next wave of the virus. These are a few of the key findings of a recent study commissioned by the MMA on the impact of the pandemic on physician practices.
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Annual Conference to Explore How COVID-19 has Exposed Cracks in the Health Care System

August 27, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic is exposing flaws and vulnerabilities in the U.S. health care system. This phenomenon will be discussed during “Cracks in the Health Care System Exposed by COVID-19” on Sept. 25 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at this year’s virtual MMA Annual Conference.
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AMA Urges FDA to Keep Physicians More Informed on COVID-19 Vaccine Development

August 27, 2020
On Aug. 25, the AMA sent a letter to the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging the agency to ensure that America's physicians are kept informed of COVID-19 vaccine development and efficacy.
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National Experts to Address Equity in Healthcare at Annual Conference

August 20, 2020
National experts Uché Blackstock, MD, Esther Choo, MD, MPH, and Jane van Dis, MD, will examine common barriers to addressing equity in healthcare and provide a series of compelling arguments for enacting true and measurable changes during the MMA’s Annual Conference closing session from 10:15 to 11:30 a.m. on Sat., Sept. 26. 
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Webinar to Address Managing Obesity Amid COVID-19

August 20, 2020
The MMA is partnering on a free webinar on managing obesity during the COVID-19 pandemic along with Rockpointe, MEDCHI (the Maryland State Medical Society), the Potomac Center for Medical Education (PCME), and the Maryland Nurses Association (MNA).
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Hippocrates Cafe to Celebrate COVID-19 Front-Liners in TV Special

August 20, 2020
MMA member Jon Hallberg, MD, will host a special edition of Hippocrates Cafe that will celebrate those on the front lines of care during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will air for the first time at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 13 on TPT 2. 
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Coalitions to Help CMS Improve Community Care

August 20, 2020
Stratis Health, as part of the Superior Health Quality Alliance (Superior Health), is currently enrolling organizations to participate in a new Community Coalitions for Improving Care initiative sponsored by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). 
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Osterholm, Malcolm and Cole to Discuss Latest on COVID-19 at Annual Conference

August 13, 2020
Minnesota’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic will be the focus of the MMA’s Annual Conference kick-off session from noon to 1 p.m. on Sept. 25. 
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Former CMS Leader to Discuss COVID-19 During Virtual Physician Forum

August 13, 2020
Andy Slavitt, the former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and current chair of United States of Care, will discuss COVID-19 during a virtual physician forum on Aug. 19 from 1 to 2 p.m.  
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HHS Offering Another Chance to Receive Help from Provider Relief Fund

August 13, 2020
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on Aug. 10 that eligible providers have another opportunity to apply for funds from the Provider Relief Fund. 
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AMA Urges America’s Physicians To Petition Congress for COVID-19 Relief

August 13, 2020
On Aug. 13, the AMA asked physicians across the nation via an action alert to urge members of Congress to pass much-needed economic relief legislation. 
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Third Special Session of the Summer Short, Contentious

August 13, 2020
The summer‘s third special session was a short, though controversial, one.  Legislators met in a one-day session on Aug. 12 that was largely preordained given the partisan makeup of the House and Senate, but not before the Senate GOP majority surprised many by considering – and rejecting – one of Gov. Tim Walz’s commissioners.
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MMA Submits Comments to Blue Ribbon Commission

August 06, 2020
In a July 31 letter to the Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) on Health and Human Services, the MMA applauded the inclusion of several significant reforms, in particular noting its strong support of the commission’s call to align Minnesota’s health privacy law with HIPAA.  
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Free Noon-Time Forum to Discuss Physician Wellness in a Pandemic

August 06, 2020
The next virtual physician forum will take a look at physician wellness during a pandemic on Aug. 12 from noon to 1 p.m. with Timothy J. Usset, MDiv, MPH, a board-certified chaplain and licensed marriage and family therapist. 
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Physicians Sought for Palliative Care and Speech-language Councils

August 06, 2020
Two positions on state councils are now available for physicians via the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website. 
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Celebrate August as “Civic Health Month”

August 06, 2020
The MMA has partnered with VotER, a nonpartisan national organization made up of more than 50 state and national health care organizational leaders formed to promote civic engagement and voting.  
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MMA’s Mentorship Program Goes Live Next Week

August 06, 2020
On Aug. 12, the MMA will launch its mentorship program to pair pre-med students, medical students, and residents/fellows, with medical students, practicing physicians, residents/fellows, and retired physicians.  
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CMS, CDC Provide Guidance on Self-Isolation for Waiting on Test Results

August 06, 2020
On July 30, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that payment is available to physicians and health care providers to counsel patients, at the time of their COVID-19 testing, about the importance of self-isolation after they are tested for COVID-19 and prior to the onset of symptoms. 
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MN Supreme Court Increases Liability Exposure for Minnesota Hospitals

August 06, 2020
A July 29 Minnesota Supreme Court decision increases the liability exposure for Minnesota hospitals. 
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Osterholm, Malcolm, Blackstock, Choo, and van Dis to Headline MMA’s Virtual Annual Conference, Sept. 25-26

July 30, 2020
Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, and health equity experts Uché Blackstock, MD, Esther Choo, MD, MPH, and Jane van Dis, MD, will highlight the list of prominent faculty scheduled for this year’s Annual Conference, being held online Sept. 25 and 26. 
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Nation’s Physicians, Nurses and Hospitals Ask for Additional Emergency Funding for Front-Line Workers

July 30, 2020
On July 22, the AMA, the American Hospital Association and the American Nurses Association sent a letter asking Congress to include in the next COVID-19 relief package an allocation of at least an additional $100 billion for the emergency relief fund to provide direct funding to front-line health care personnel and providers, including physicians, nurses, hospitals and health systems, as they continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Members Asked to Vote for MMA Leadership During August

July 30, 2020
MMA members are invited to vote for 2020 MMA leadership during the month of August. Members will receive a ballot via email to vote on the slate of leadership candidates for 2020.
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President Signs 4 Drug Pricing Executive Orders

July 30, 2020
On July 24, President Trump signed four new executive orders (EO) geared toward lowering prices on medications.   
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CMS’s Quality Payment Program Review Open Until Aug. 20

July 30, 2020
Clinicians and groups have until Aug. 20 at 7 p.m. Central Time to review their 2018 Quality Payment Program (QPP) performance information before it is publicly reported on Physician Compare profile pages and in the downloadable database. 
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Apply for Provider Relief Funding by Aug. 3

July 30, 2020
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has extended the deadline to apply for distributions from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund to Aug. 3. Physicians who have not already received a payment from the Provider Relief Fund General Distribution allocation are encouraged to apply even if they are uncertain if they are eligible. 
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MMA Signs on To Surprise Billing Letter to Congressional Leaders

July 30, 2020
The MMA along with more than 100 state medical associations and specialty societies signed onto a letter to Congressional leadership urging them not to include surprise medical billing provisions in the next COVID-19 relief package.  
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Physicians Encourage Back-to-School Vaccinations

July 23, 2020
The MMA, the Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (MNAAP) and the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP) have partnered to promote increasing immunization rates throughout the state to achieve community immunity.  
 
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Second Special Legislative Session Sees Action on Law Enforcement Reform

July 23, 2020
In a surprising move to many observers, the Minnesota Legislature reached an agreement earlier this week on policing and law enforcement reform legislation.
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State House Passes Resolution Calling Racism a Public Health Crisis

July 23, 2020
During the recently completed special session, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed a resolution, supported by the MMA, recognizing racism as a public health crisis. 
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New Opioid Report Shows Rise in Illicit Drug Use, Decrease in Prescription Meds

July 23, 2020
There’s both bad and good news concerning the country’s opioid epidemic, according to the AMA’s Opioid Task Force report released on July 21. A dramatic increase in fatalities involving illicit opioids is slightly tempered by a dramatic drop in the use of prescription opioids.  
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HHS Extends CARES Act Deadline for Medicaid, CHIP

July 23, 2020
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has extended, from July 20 until Aug. 3, the deadline for eligible Medicaid and CHIP physicians and organizations to submit information and apply for funding from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund. 
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Financial Planning During COVID-19 To Be Covered in Free Forum

July 23, 2020
Financial advisor Joel Greenwald, MD, CFP, will lead a virtual forum on “Managing your Personal Finances During COVID-19” from noon to 1 p.m. on July 29.  
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Appeals Court Rules That HHS Can Reduce Off-Campus PBD Rates

July 23, 2020
On July 17, the U.S. Court of Appeals - DC Circuit overturned the district court’s decision, ruling that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had the authority to cut payments to off-campus provider-based departments for E/M services to make them equivalent to the rate paid to physician offices in 2019. 
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New MN PMP Prescriber Education Available Online

July 23, 2020
The Minnesota Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) has created a four-part, pre-recorded series of education sessions for prescribers in Minnesota.  
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Free COVID Testing Now Available for Uninsured Minnesotans

July 16, 2020
Uninsured Minnesotans can get tested for COVID-19 at no cost during the federal public health emergency, thanks to a new health care option from the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). 
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Physicians Asked to Complete Telehealth Survey

July 16, 2020
Physicians are being asked to complete a Telehealth Impact Study Provider questionnaire developed by the AMA, Mayo Clinic and the MITRE Corporation by Aug. 13. 
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MEDPAC Seeks Board Members

July 16, 2020
MEDPAC, the political action committee of the MMA, is seeking MMA members to join its Board of Directors. MEDPAC Board members help guide the direct political advocacy work of the MMA, working to elect legislators who support the MMA’s legislative agenda.  
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Blue Ribbon Commission Report Offers Cost-Cutting Strategies for Health Care Delivery

July 16, 2020
The Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Care and Human Services recently released its draft report, finding several strategies to save costs in health care delivery.
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Questions Surround What Legislature Will Accomplish in Second Go-Around

July 16, 2020
The Legislature returned to the Capitol for a second special session as Gov. Tim Walz sought to extend the existing peacetime emergency declaration for an additional 30 days. State law requires the Legislature to be in session when a governor implements or extends a peacetime declaration.   
 
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Round 2: Legislators Likely to Return for Additional Special Session on July 13

July 09, 2020
With Gov. Tim Walz likely seeking an extension of the existing peacetime emergency declaration, the Legislature is expected to reconvene on July 13 for a second special session this summer. State law requires the legislative body to be gathered to extend the emergency.   
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MMA, 20 Other Medical Societies Urge Mandatory Masking Across State

July 09, 2020
In a June 26 press release, the MMA and 20 other state medical societies urged public and private leaders across the state to require the wearing of face masks or face coverings to help control the spread of COVID-19. On July 7, the MMA also released a statement in support of cities that are mandating mask use.
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Free Virtual Forum to Discuss Health Disparities and COVID-19

July 09, 2020
Nathan Chomilo, MD, FAAP, the physician leading the state’s Medicaid and MinnesotaCare programs, will lead a virtual forum on “Health Disparities Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic” from noon to 1 p.m. on July 15.  
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MMA Foundation Seeks Nominations for $10,000 COPIC/MMA Foundation Humanitarian Award

July 09, 2020
COPIC, the MMA’s preferred medical liability insurance provider, and the MMA Foundation are currently seeking nominations for the new COPIC/MMA Foundation Humanitarin Award, which will honor physicians for volunteer medical services and contributions to their community.
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Volunteer Positions Available on State Work Groups, Committees

July 09, 2020
Several volunteer positions are available to physicians on state boards and committees including one opening on the state’s Opioid Prescribing Work Group (OPWG).
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CMS Allows Physicians to Opt Out of 2020 MIPS Due to Pandemic Hardship

July 09, 2020
In late June, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that physicians will have the option to opt-out completely or partially from the 2020 MIPS program by completing a hardship exemption application and indicating it is due to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE). 
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MMA Sends Letters to Congressional Delegation Urging Support of IMGs to Help in Pandemic

June 25, 2020
On June 24, the MMA sent letters to Minnesota’s congressional delegation asking them to support the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act, which would expand access to care by supporting international medical graduates (IMGs).
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New Online Policy Tool to Debut Next Week

June 25, 2020
On June 29, the MMA will launch The Pulse (thepulse.mnmed.org), a new and innovative online policy development and polling tool that is designed to capture the ideas and opinions – the pulse – of MMA members. 
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Special Legislative Session Produces Little

June 25, 2020
Legislators returned to the Capitol on June 12 for a one-week special session, but they failed to produce agreement on two major outstanding issues before the Legislature – a bonding bill and policing/criminal justice reforms.  
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Noon-time Virtual Forum to Discuss POLST During Pandemic

June 25, 2020
On July 1, the co-chairs of the POLST MN Steering Committee, Victor Sandler, MD and Thaddeus Pope, JD, PhD, will discuss advance care planning during a pandemic and using POLST as a vital tool from noon to 1 p.m. 
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MMA and Other Advocates Push for Telehealth Changes in Washington

June 25, 2020
The MMA joined more than 30 other health care organizations in a June 15 letter to U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and Seema Verma, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), to request the continuation of the flexibilities regarding telehealth services that have been afforded to providers during the COVID-19 pandemic response.
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Survey to Gather Data on How COVID-19 Has Impacted MN Medical Practices

June 18, 2020
On June 17, the MMA sent a survey to all physicians and medical clinics in the state to gather information on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on medical practices of all sizes. Physicians and clinic administrators are asked to complete the survey as soon as they receive it, but no later than June 30. 
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Virtual Annual Conference to Focus on Advocacy and COVID-19

June 18, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of our daily lives, and how the MMA hosts events is one of them. Plans are underway to convert the Annual Conference from an in-person event to a virtual event, scheduled for late September. 
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Special Session Focusing on Policing and Criminal Justice Reform

June 18, 2020
As anticipated for several weeks, the Legislature returned to the Capitol for a legislative special session.  State law requires that the Legislature to be in session if the governor declares or extends a peacetime emergency declaration. As expected, Gov. Tim Walz extended the existing emergency declaration until July 12. 
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Agenda for Tomorrow’s Special Session Not Clear; MMA Calls for Liability Protection Again

June 11, 2020
Legislators return to the Capitol tomorrow (June 12) for a special legislative session but what they will discuss is not quite clear. 
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Leading Infectious Disease Expert to Discuss Congregate Care Settings and COVID-19

June 11, 2020
Kristen Ehresmann, RN, MPH, director of the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention, and Control Division, will be part of a three-person discussion on COVID-19 in Congregate Care Settings from noon to 1 p.m. on June 17.
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Medicaid and CHIP Get Boost from Provider Relief Fund

June 11, 2020
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), is distributing additional funds from the Provider Relief Fund to eligible Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) providers.  
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MMA Signs On to Letter Urging Congress to Pass Liability Protections

June 11, 2020
On June 9, the MMA and 135 other state medical associations and specialty societies signed on to a letter to congressional leadership urging them to include liability protections for physicians in the next COVID-19 relief package.
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AMA Elects New Officers as Part of Virtual House of Delegates June 7

June 11, 2020
Gerald Harmon, MD, a family physician from Georgetown, S.C., was elected as president-elect of the AMA at the group’s House of Delegates held virtually on June 7.
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Free Course Examines How Racism Affects Health

June 04, 2020
The MMA has released a free course highlighting concepts, papers, and frameworks on how racism affects health, in particular, communities of color. 
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AMA Supports Push in U.S. House for Liability Protections

June 04, 2020
On May 29, U.S. Reps. Phil Roe, MD, (R-Tenn) and Lou Correa (D-Calif.) introduced the Coronavirus Provider Protection Act, which would provide targeted liability protections to health care workers who have had to change how they practice during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
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AMA Continues Pressing Congress for COVID-19 Relief, Support

June 04, 2020
The AMA continues to advocate for physicians fighting the COVID-19 pandemic with requests into Congressional leaders regarding the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program, liability protections, PPE supplies and more. 
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Extension to PPP Now Awaiting President’s Signature

June 04, 2020
Clinics that benefited from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that passed in March will be encouraged to hear that Congress passed revisions to the program that will provide small businesses more flexibility on how they spend the funds received. The bill is now awaiting President Trump’s expected signature.
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MDH Recommends COVID-19 Testing for All Involved in Recent Protests and other Community Activities

June 04, 2020
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is encouraging all Minnesotans who have recently attended protests, vigils, community clean-ups and supply distributions to get tested for COVID-19, even if they are asymptomatic.
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Warning: Fraudulent Unemployment Claims Targeting Physicians

June 04, 2020
Reports are coming in that physicians and other health care professionals in the state have been the target of fraudulent unemployment benefit claims.  Information on these notices often have some incorrect information, so physicians are urged to review any notices they receive carefully.
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May 29 Forum to Discuss Facility Design in the Age of COVID-19

May 28, 2020
The MMA has partnered with the American Institute of Architects Minnesota to present a free forum tomorrow (May 29) from noon to 1 p.m. on how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect how future health care facilities are designed. 
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Renowned Epidemiologist Will Lead June 3 COVID-19 Webinar

May 28, 2020
Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH, will discuss the epidemiology of the COVID-19 pandemic during a free noon-time webinar on June 3. 
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MN Senator Proposes Bill to Cover Telehealth Services on ERISA Plans

May 28, 2020
Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith has introduced a bill in Congress called “the Health Care at Home Act” that would require employer, self-insured plans regulated by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to cover telehealth services. 
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MMA Launches Practice Good Health Campaign

May 28, 2020
Today, the MMA launched Practice Good Health, a unified effort of its 10,000 members to empower Minnesota families to proactively care for their physical and emotional well-being, especially during COVID-19.  
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Liability Protection Fails to Advance, Still Opportunity During Special Session

May 21, 2020
Although the Minnesota Legislature failed to pass legislation offering liability protection for physicians and other health care workers who are providing care during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still a chance it could pass during a special session in June. 
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MMA Hits .500 With Legislative Agenda This Session

May 21, 2020
The MMA advocated successfully for two of its four legislative priorities during the recently completed session. The Legislature passed measures that decrease the burden of prior authorization (PA) on physicians while ensuring timely access to drugs, procedures, and diagnostic testing for patients, as well as legislation to reduce minors’ access to tobacco and e-cigarettes.
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Health Commissioner Discusses Pandemic with MMA Board

May 21, 2020
Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm told the MMA Board of Trustees during its May 16 meeting that “vigilance is the watch word for all of us” as the health care community continues to battle COVID-19. 
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Congrats to Minnesota’s Medical Students Who Finish with Virtual Graduations

May 21, 2020
Fourth-year medical students had their commencements severely adjusted this spring with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This past weekend, Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine students graduated online; University of Minnesota Medical School students had their virtual ceremonies earlier in the month. The MMA wishes all a hearty congratulations!
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Nominations for MMA Awards Open Until June 26

May 21, 2020
Members are encouraged to nominate their peers, medical students and advocacy champions for one of MMA’s four annual awards. Visit the MMA website to make a nomination by June 26.
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Tobacco 21 Bill Awaits Governor’s Approval

May 14, 2020
Following strong bipartisan votes in both the House and Senate, legislation to align with federal law to increase the age to purchase tobacco to 21 is headed for the Governor’s desk for his likely signature. Passage of T21 has long been a priority of the MMA, many medical specialty societies, tobacco control proponents, and public health advocates.  
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AMA Calls on Congress to Bolster Health Care Workforce, Provide Education Debt Relief

May 14, 2020
On May 8, the AMA sent letters to Congress supporting the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act, which would allow the recapture of 15,000 unused employment-based physician immigrant visas from prior fiscal years. These unused visas could go to International Medical Graduates (IMGs) who could help bolster the nation’s COVID-19 response.
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May 20 Webinar: Crisis Standards of Care and Ethical Considerations During COVID-19

May 14, 2020
The next free Virtual Physician Forum will take place May 20 at noon and will examine “Crisis Standards of Care and Ethical Considerations during COVID-19” with Thomas Klemond, MD, geriatrics and palliative care physician at Hennepin Healthcare.
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Liability Protection Bill Proceeds through Senate

May 14, 2020
Legislation to provide limited liability protection to physicians, nurses, EMTs, hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care professionals during the declared peacetime emergency is proceeding through the Minnesota Senate.  
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Prior Authorization Reform Bill Passes Senate Floor

May 14, 2020
One of the MMA’s top legislative priorities, reforming prior authorization (PA) requirements, passed the Minnesota Senate on May 13 on a 67-0 vote.  
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Prescription Pricing Transparency Bill Signed into Law

May 14, 2020
First pursued during the 2019 session, legislation to require drug manufacturers to post information about sharp increases in drug pricing was signed into law on May 12. 
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State Receives Remdesivir for COVID-19

May 14, 2020
Over the past week, Minnesota has begun receiving shipments of the antiviral drug remdesivir (RDV) from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ​
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COVID-19 Contact Tracing a Controversial Topic at the Capitol

May 14, 2020
Legislation to guide how the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) conducts contact tracing for individuals potentially exposed to COVID-19 has become a controversial topic at the Capitol.  As the bills were unveiled and considered in committee, several GOP members expressed concern about potential privacy risks for patients.
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With MMA Support, Walz Eases Restrictions on Elective Surgeries, Procedures

May 07, 2020
With the backing of the MMA and nearly two dozen other medical organizations, Gov. Tim Walz eased restrictions on elective surgeries and procedures on May 5. 
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Prior Auth Legislation Moves Forward in Senate and House

May 07, 2020
On May 5, the Senate Health & Human Services Finance & Policy Committee unanimously passed one of the MMA’s top legislative priorities – prior authorization (PA) reform.  
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CMS Agrees to Boost Payments for Medicare Telephone Appointments

May 07, 2020
On April 30, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it will increase payments for audio-only telephone visits between Medicare beneficiaries and their physicians to match payments for similar office and outpatient visits.
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Mandated Opioid Prescribing Activity Continues to Garner Interest with Prescribers

May 07, 2020
While many Minnesota physicians are inundated with battling the COVID-19 pandemic, others are waiting to return to a regular work schedule. This may be a good time to catch up on licensing and education requirements, including the state-mandated activity on prescribing opioids and other controlled substances. 
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MMA Liability Insurance Carrier Allows Payments to be Deferred

May 07, 2020
COPIC, the MMA’s endorsed medical liability insurance carrier, is committed to supporting MMA   members during the COVID-19 pandemic by deferring premium payments. 
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Scope of Practice Bills Move Forward at Capitol

May 07, 2020
Several measures related to scope of practice for non-physician health professionals were included in an omnibus bill that cleared committees in both the House and Senate this week. The bills were referred to the full House and Senate for consideration in the coming weeks.
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Omnibus Health Care Package Clears Committees

May 07, 2020
With the end of the legislative session looming on May 18, legislators have begun in earnest to bundle their policy proposals to increase their chance of passage. The House and Senate Health and Human Services (HHS) policy committees joined the effort this week by passing large omnibus bills containing dozens of smaller provisions.  
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HHS Extends Reporting Requirements for Provider Relief Fund

May 07, 2020
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has extended by 15 days the deadline for health care providers to attest to receipt of payments from the Provider Relief Fund and accept the Terms and Conditions. 
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One Day Remaining in Physicians’ Campaign to Unite to Help the Homeless

May 07, 2020
Homeless shelters and food banks are making extraordinary efforts to help keep the state’s most vulnerable neighbors and communities safe. As the COVID-19 virus spreads, these organizations are feeling significant financial pressure as their increased workloads exceed their budgetary constraints. 
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May 6 Forum: Emergency Preparedness During COVID-19

April 30, 2020
The next free Virtual Physician Forum will take place May 6 at noon and will examine “Emergency Preparedness During COVID-19” with John L. Hick, MD, Hennepin County Medical Center, and Sarah Lim, MD, Medical Specialist 2, Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention and Control at the Minnesota Department of Health.
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Walz Signs Order Allowing Out-of-State Physicians to Practice in MN

April 30, 2020
Gov. Tim Walz released an Executive Order on April 25 granting authority for out-of-state physicians and nurses to practice in Minnesota for the duration of the COVID-19 peacetime emergency.   
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AMA Urges CMS To Reinstate Accelerated and Advance Payment Program

April 30, 2020
On April 28, the AMA strongly urged the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to quickly reinstate the Accelerated and Advance Payment (AAP) Program after CMS paused it last weekend. 
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T21 Legislation Advances to House Floor

April 30, 2020
Legislation to increase the age to purchase tobacco and products containing nicotine to 21 cleared the House Ways & Means Committee on April 27. The legislation now awaits consideration by the full House of Representatives.
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Changes to Mandated Reporter Requirements Clears House Committee

April 30, 2020
Legislation to amend the state’s mandated reporter requirements for physicians treating pregnant women who are using illicit substances was amended onto a larger health policy omnibus bill on April 29. The omnibus package now moves to the House floor for consideration.
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MMA Provides Input to MN COVID Ethics Collaborative

April 30, 2020
The MMA is providing input to the Minnesota COVID Ethics Collaborative (MCEC), a joint effort that includes representatives of the Minnesota Department of Health, the State Health Care Coordination Center, the Minnesota Hospital Association, the University of Minnesota, and others to address the allocation of medical resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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MDH Releases Advisory on Expanded SARS-CoV-2 Testing

April 30, 2020
On April 23, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) released a Health Alert Network (HAN) advisory on statewide polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing.
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AMA Encourages HHS to Revise Diagnostic Testing for COVID-19

April 30, 2020
On April 27, the AMA wrote to Admiral Brett Giroir, MD, the assistant secretary for health with the 
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to offer recommendations regarding COVID-19 diagnostic and serologic tests. 
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MMA, Health Care Orgs Ask Walz for Liability Protection

April 23, 2020
On April 20, the MMA and four other health care associations in Minnesota sent a letter to Gov. Tim Walz’s office urging him to create an Executive Order (EO) providing health care workers with some immunity during the state’s declared emergency on COVID-19. 
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Senate Passes Prescription Price Transparency Bill

April 23, 2020
On April 20, the Minnesota State Senate passed legislation (63-2) to require drug manufacturers to publicly post pricing information when the cost of an individual drug spikes within a given period.  
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Additional MMA Virtual Physician Forums Scheduled to Discuss COVID-19

April 23, 2020
The MMA has scheduled six additional virtual physician forums that address the COVID-19 pandemic. These free events will take place every other Wednesday for the foreseeable future. 
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DHS Increases Access to Telemedicine Services

April 23, 2020
On April 21, the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) announced that it had expanded access to telemedicine to ensure that 1.1 million Minnesotans covered by Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare do not lose access to care and services, including mental health and substance use disorder coverage, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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MMA Partners with New Telehealth Platform

April 23, 2020
The MMA has partnered with DrFirst’s Backline-Telehealth, an award-winning clinical communication platform that gives health care providers, patients, caregivers, and collaborating clinicians a simple, secure way to share health information in real-time. 
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HHS Releases Information on Allocation of $100 Billion from CARES Act

April 23, 2020
On April 22, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provided additional information regarding the allocation of the $100 billion CARES Act Provider Relief Fund.  
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MN Community Measurement Launches Webpage Addressing COVID-19 and Quality

April 23, 2020
MN Community Measurement (MNCM) has created a new webpage to serve as a resource for monitoring changes that are happening to health care measurement efforts in Minnesota and nationally during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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FCC Offering Funding for Communicating with Patients During COVID-19 Pandemic

April 23, 2020
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is making available funding for communicating with patients during the COVID-19 pandemic via two programs.  
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Join with Other Physicians to Help Organizations Serving the Homeless

April 23, 2020
As the COVID-19 virus spreads, homeless people in Minnesota, who are physically incapable of following Gov. Tim Walz's directive to shelter at home, are especially vulnerable to infection. The ripple effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on shelters and encampments will cause further strain on health care systems.  
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Insulin Access Legislation Signed into Law

April 16, 2020
Concluding an emotional debate that stretched across two legislative sessions, a bill to provide insulin for low-income Minnesotans passed by a wide, bipartisan majority on April 14. Gov. Tim Walz signed the MMA-supported legislation into law later in the day.
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Legislature Passes Additional COVID-19 Relief Bill

April 16, 2020
In a continuing effort to help offset the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Legislature passed another relief measure on April 14. Gov. Tim Walz signed the bill into law following its passage by strong bipartisan margins in both the House and Senate.
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MMA Kicks Off COVID-19 Virtual Series with Telehealth Forum

April 16, 2020
The MMA will examine the changing landscape of telehealth at the first in a series of virtual physician forums on April 22 from noon to 1 p.m.  
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New Telephone Support Service Now Available for Health Care Workers

April 16, 2020
A new free telephone support service for health care workers, first responders, and essential personnel called COVID Cares launched April 14. Volunteers will be available from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through a collaboration with the Minnesota Psychiatric Society, the Minnesota Psychological Association, the Minnesota Black Psychologists and Mental Health Minnesota. 
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HHS Begins Distributing CARES Act Funds to Hospitals, Physician Practices

April 16, 2020
On April 10, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the immediate disbursement of the first $30 billion out of the $100 billion that Congress allocated to hospitals, physicians and other health care providers in the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 
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MMA to Launch Online Advocacy Tool Called The Pulse on June 1

April 16, 2020
The MMA is creating an exclusive member engagement tool called The Pulse, that will allow members to submit policy proposals, comment on proposals, indicate their support or opposition to proposals and provide feedback on final actions taken by the MMA Board of Trustees. 
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MMA, Health Care Orgs Urge Congress for More Financial Help for Practices

April 16, 2020
The MMA, along with 137 state medical associations, specialty societies and health care organizations, signed onto a letter to the leaders of Congress to strongly urge 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.”
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Specialty Certification and State Licensure During COVID-19

April 16, 2020
In the wake of the COVID-19 public health emergency, requirements for continuing medical education and maintenance of certification (MOC) have been deferred. 
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MMA Weighs in on Child and Teen Checkup Reimbursement

April 16, 2020
The MMA signed on to a letter to the state expressing concerns about Child and Teen Checkup (C&TC) visits and reimbursement during the COVID-19 pandemic.  
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MDH Now Accepting Applications for Additional $150 Million in COVID-19 Response Grants

April 14, 2020
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is now accepting applications for $150 million in grants the Legislature approved as part of a $200 million health care response fund to help providers prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
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MinnesotaCare Tax Deadline Extended to June 15

April 13, 2020
Clinics, hospitals, physicians, and other health care providers providing needed care and/or facing care delivery disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic have received some tax relief from the Minnesota Department of Revenue. 
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MDH Awards $50 Million in COVID-19 Emergency Health Care Grants

April 09, 2020
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced April 8 that it has awarded $50 million in emergency health care grants to nearly 350 provider organizations across the state to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read More

MMA Continues to Advocate for Tax Relief for Practices

April 09, 2020
The MMA sent a follow-up email to Minnesota’s Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly on April 7 petitioning her to provide additional tax relief for physician practices. The email was also copied to Gov. Tim Walz’s office and key legislators.
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State House and Senate Reach Agreement on Insulin

April 09, 2020
After nearly two years of discussions the Minnesota House and Senate have reached an agreement on two new state programs to provide affordable insulin to uninsured and low-income Minnesotans. 
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Workers Compensation Law Amended to Include COVID-19

April 09, 2020
The Legislature returned for a single day session on April 7 to pass legislation intended to expand workers compensation coverage to health care workers and first responders who contract COVID-19 during their work. Gov. Tim Walz signed the bill into law shortly after passage, and it became effective on April 8.
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MMA Signs onto Letter to HHS Urging Immediate Financial Relief for Practices

April 09, 2020
The MMA, along with 138 other state medical associations, specialty societies and health care organizations, signed onto a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar requesting “immediate financial assistance for physicians across the country” who are fighting COVID-19, providing ongoing care to their patients and incurring “significant financial losses” due to having to postpone essential procedures and visits.
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CMS Approves More Than $51 Billion for Providers with Accelerated/Advance Payment Program

April 09, 2020
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have delivered more than $51 billion to health care providers on the front lines battling COVID-19.
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Physician Volunteers Needed to Work at Tribal Sites Across the U.S.

April 09, 2020
The Center of American Indian and Minority Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School-Duluth is recruiting physician volunteers to work at tribal sites around the nation.  
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CMS Revises MIPS to Accommodate for COVID-19

April 09, 2020
In order to provide relief to clinicians responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced it is modifying deadlines and policies regarding its Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).  
Read More

New POLST Materials Now Available Online

April 09, 2020
To encourage increased completion of the Minnesota POLST (Provider Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) form by appropriate patients, the POLST Task Force has created materials to facilitate conversations and streamline workflows in a variety of settings.  
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Physician Practices Have New Financial Resources Thanks to CARES Act

April 02, 2020
The recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes resources for small physician practices to help them navigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
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DEA Provides Flexibility on Treating Patients with Opioid Use Disorder

April 02, 2020
On March 31, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued guidance to DEA-registered physicians that provides them with flexibility in treating patients with opioid use disorder. 
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Federal Govt. Eases Regulations to Help Health Systems Address Pandemic

April 02, 2020
On March 30, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued temporary regulatory waivers and new rules to equip the American health care system with maximum flexibility to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
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CMS Expands Accelerated and Advance Medicare Payments

April 02, 2020
To help ensure physicians have the financial resources they need to maintain focus on patient care during the COVID-19 epidemic, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has expanded its accelerated and advance payment program for Medicare participating health care providers and suppliers. 
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Live Online Forum April 7: Expert Guidance on Practice Employment & Financial Assistance During COVID-19

April 02, 2020
The MMA is partnering with Minneapolis law firm Dorsey & Whitney to host a free, live online forum for members and clinic administrators to address questions about practice employment and benefits, and new financial protections as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency. The forum will be held Tuesday, April 7 from 7 to 8 p.m.
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CMS Grants Minnesota DHS Waiver Request

April 02, 2020
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) quickly granted Minnesota flexibility in managing the state’s public health insurance programs – Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare.  
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$2 Trillion Federal COVID-19 Package Includes Help for Physicians

March 27, 2020
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a $2 trillion stimulus and COVID-19 relief package, two days after the Senate passed it unanimously. President Trump signed it into law later in the afternoon.
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Gov. Issues New Exec. Orders Addressing Licensing Standards & Drug Supply

March 27, 2020
Gov. Tim Walz issued today an Executive Order that provides medical licensing boards flexibility in licensing requirements relating to CME requirements.  
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Further Revisions Made to the Practice of Telehealth

March 26, 2020
The practice of telehealth continues to evolve as the nation’s physicians adapt to treating patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.  
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State Seeks Waiver from CMS to Help COVID-19 Response

March 26, 2020
On March 23, the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) requested that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) grant the state some additional flexibility to manage the state’s public health insurance programs – Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare – in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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DHS Commish Calls Upon Congressional Delegation for Assistance on COVID-19

March 26, 2020
On March 20, Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead sent an extensive request to Minnesota’s Congressional delegation requesting help to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. 
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MMA Signs onto Stimulus Letter to Help Physicians and Their Practices

March 26, 2020
The MMA and 129 other state medical associations and health care organizations signed onto an AMA letter to Congress urging lawmakers to include in the final “stimulus” legislation specific provisions to help physicians sustain their practices and provide their patients with the best possible care during the COVID-19 public health emergency. 
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CMS Eases Requirements in Quality Reporting

March 26, 2020
On March 22, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced relief for the clinicians, providers, and facilities participating in Medicare quality reporting programs including the 1.2 million clinicians in the Quality Payment Program and on the front lines in dealing with COVID-19.
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MMA Requests Executive Orders: Stay at Home, Opioid Medication Access, Provider Tax Filing Extension

March 26, 2020
The MMA continues to work closely with Gov. Tim Walz and his administration to advocate for physicians and their practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. This week alone, the MMA requested executive action for a time-limited stay-at-home order, for MinnesotaCare tax relief for physician practices, and for actions to ensure patients in opioid treatment programs can readily obtain their medications and to ease the 30-day state limit on opioid prescriptions. 
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MN Legislature Passes Additional COVID-19 Response Measures

March 26, 2020
The Minnesota House and Senate passed an additional package of measures intended to help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 26. The bill passed by wide bipartisan margins in both bodies, and is expected to be signed soon into law by Gov. Tim Walz.
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Executive Order: Report PPE Inventory by March 25

March 23, 2020
Gov. Tim Walz issued an executive order today (March 23) 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.  
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ATTENTION: COVID-19 Short-Term State Emergency Funding Grant Proposals Due Midnight on March 25

March 22, 2020
The Minnesota Legislature has approved $200 million for health care grants to support costs related to planning for, preparing for, or responding to an outbreak of COVID–19. Of that $200 million, $50 million is available for short-term funding to provide cash flow relief to health care organizations to cover their highest priority needs over the next two to eight weeks. Grant proposals for these funds are due at midnight on March 25.  
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PPE Donations Urgently Needed

March 22, 2020
The MMA is working to coordinate with the Minnesota Hospital Association and the Minnesota Department of Health to support the donation, collection and distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE). 
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State Announces Priorities on COVID-19 Testing

March 19, 2020
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced on March 17 that due to a national shortage of COVID-19 laboratory testing materials, the state is forced to make adjustments to its testing criteria to focus on the highest priority specimens including hospitalized patients, health care workers and those in mass living settings such as long-term care facilities.
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Telehealth Redefined as Coronavirus Spreads, Physicians Given Much More Leeway

March 19, 2020
Given the need to expand the use of telehealth to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the White House, HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the State of Minnesota have revised rules associated with the practice. 
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PPE Supplies a Top Concern for Physicians and State Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

March 19, 2020
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. 
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Legislature Approves $200 Million to Address COVID-19 in Minnesota

March 19, 2020
Early in the morning of March 17, the Minnesota Legislature unanimously passed a funding bill for COVID-19. The bill, signed by Gov. Tim Walz later in the day, appropriates $200 million to combat the COVID 19 pandemic. 
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ABIM Suspends Spring Assessments

March 19, 2020
On March 16, the board of directors of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) decided to suspend all spring assessments due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 
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Share What You’ve Learned on COVID-19 With Your Fellow Physicians

March 19, 2020
The spread of COVID-19 is both rapid and unpredictable. It is already causing many of us to change not only our work habits but our ideas about what it means to be a physician and how we relate to patients, our families and our communities.
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CDC Offering March 24 Call for Dealing with High Risk COVID-19 Patients

March 19, 2020
Physicians are encouraged to take part in a CDC Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) conference call on March 24 from 1 to 2 p.m. (Central) to learn more about dealing with people who are at a higher risk for COVID-19 complications because of their age or underlying medical conditions.
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Gov. Issues Temporary Ban on Elective Surgeries and Procedures

March 19, 2020
In a March 19 executive order, Gov. Tim Walz directed health care providers to postpone elective surgeries and procedures, including non-emergent elective dental procedures, in order to focus supplies and capacity on addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. The order follows guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to postpone elective surgeries and non-essential medical and surgical procedures. The MMA supports this move.
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How You Can Help – Take Care of Yourself & Volunteer Opportunities Available with COVID-19

March 19, 2020
The MMA is receiving numerous inquiries from physicians – working part-time, retired, or those with newly available time – about how they can help. 
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Nominations for MMA Leadership Now Being Accepted

March 12, 2020
Nominations for MMA’s president-elect, board trustee and AMA alternate delegate positions are open now through May 15.
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MMA to Host Two Open Issues Forums – An Opportunity for Members to Submit Policy Ideas

March 12, 2020
In 2020, the MMA will host two Open Issues Forums – one in June focusing on two specific themes and one in September that will cover a variety of topics. 
 
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MMA Partners on Program to Prevent and Manage Stress for Physicians

March 12, 2020
To help address the issue of physician well-being, the MMA has partnered with Heartwood Healing to offer physicians and physicians-in-training the Heartwood Self-Mastery Program, which includes evidence-based tools and strategies to prevent and manage stress and to help  rediscover the purpose in medicine.
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Session Update: COVID-19, Prior Authorization, Scope of Practice, Insulin and Tobacco

March 12, 2020
A variety of health care related bills from COVID-19 funding to scope of practice continue to progress through the Capitol.
Read More

MMA Seeks Info on Impact of St. Joe’s Closure on Mental Health Care Access

March 05, 2020
In its efforts to ensure adequate access to mental health care, the MMA recently sent a letter to M Health Fairview requesting information on its plans for the future of St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul.
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MMA Submits Commitment Statement on Well-being and Resilience

March 05, 2020
The MMA has submitted a commitment statement to the National Academy of Medicine’s Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience regarding its work to reduce the effects of physician burnout and promote physician well-being.   

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Throngs of White Coats Take Over the Capitol

March 05, 2020
More than 160 physicians and physicians-in-training gathered in St. Paul for the MMA’s annual Day at the Capitol on March 4, where they met with legislators to discuss MMA’s top legislative priorities: reducing minors’ access to tobacco and e-cigarettes, preventing firearm injury and death, increasing immunization rates, and reducing third-party interference in patient care.
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New App Shows That Physicians Interested in Weight Reduction, Managing Stress

March 05, 2020
A month after the implementation of a new physician well-being app, the MMA is learning that participants are interested in getting more information about how to lose weight and reduce their stress. This is according to data mined from the app created by the MMA and Benovate, a Minnesota-based software development company. This data is preliminary, and the information gleaned from users will become more robust as app use continues.
Read More

Session Update: Firearms, Tobacco, COVID-19, Insulin

March 05, 2020
The 2020 session continues to zoom along. Here are updates on a variety of health care related legislation.
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COVID-19: Resources for Minnesota Physicians and Health Care Workers

February 27, 2020
Although no cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) have been confirmed in Minnesota, experts predict that it’s only a matter of time before it hits the state. The MMA wants to provide its members with resources to learn more about the disease.
Read More

3 Doctors’ Lounge Events Scheduled for Rochester, Metro Area and St. Cloud

February 27, 2020
Plans are shaping up for four free networking events taking place this year across Minnesota. Registration is now open for the April 21 Doctors’ Lounge in Rochester, the May 30 event in Eagan and the July 23 event in St. Cloud. Details for an event in Duluth will be released later in the year. 
Read More

Scholarship Available to MN Residents for Emerging Leaders Program

February 27, 2020
Minnesota residents have an opportunity to receive a scholarship to attend the Academy for Emerging Leaders in Patient Safety (AELPS) program this June in Breckenridge, Colo., thanks to the COPIC Medical Foundation (CMF).
Read More

Annual Conference Presentation Recordings Now Available Online

February 27, 2020
Audio recordings from presentations given at the MMA’s 2019 Annual Conference are now available online. They are free to those who attended. Individual recordings range from $5 - $60 each.   
Read More

Session Update: Tobacco, Insulin, and Formulary Change Bills Move Forward

February 27, 2020
Several health care bills of interest to Minnesota physicians moved forward this week at the State Capitol including proposals on Tobacco 21, insulin access and formulary changes.
Read More

Legislation Focuses on Prescription Drug Pricing

February 20, 2020
Under legislation moving in the House and Senate, manufacturers of drugs who raise their prices significantly would be required to report to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).  The bill further requires MDH to publicly post the information on its website.
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Doctors’ Caucus Expresses Frustration on Lack of Progress With Health Care Bills

February 20, 2020
Three members of the Legislature’s “Doctors’ Caucus” voiced their frustration during a Feb. 18 press conference at the State Capitol that health care proposals dealing with drug prices, affordable health care premiums and mental health are not getting heard.
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Report: Measures on Depression Care and Antibiotic Overuse Avoidance Improving

February 20, 2020
Depression care and avoiding antibiotic treatment in adults with acute bronchitis is improving in Minnesota, according to the latest MN Community Measurement (MNCM) annual report, which highlights health care quality measures for medical groups and clinics in Minnesota.
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Prior Authorization Bill Introduced in House and Senate

February 20, 2020
Bipartisan legislation to address the state’s prior authorization (PA) process was introduced on Feb. 17 at the Capitol. The bill aims to reduce delays in patient care and decrease physician frustration and administrative expenses with the current process. 
Read More

MMA Launches New Physician Wellness App

February 13, 2020
MMA members now have free access to a new physician wellness app through a partnership with Benovate, a Minnesota-based software development company.
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Health Equity Series Continues with Session on Implicit and Institutional Bias

February 13, 2020
The MMA, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) will continue their free health equity education series titled “Building Systems of Culturally Responsive Integrated Care” on Feb. 21 from 10 to 11:15 a.m. with an online session on “The Impacts of Implicit and Institutional Bias on Integrated Care.”
Read More

Two Metro Docs Receive Charles Bolles Bolles-Rogers Award

February 13, 2020
Scott F. Davies, MD, an internist and pulmonologist, and David A. Rothenberger, MD, a colon and rectal surgeon, were recently awarded the 2019 Charles Bolles Bolles-Rogers Award, which honors physicians for their contribution to medical research, achievement or leadership.
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Physicians Gather to Discuss Public Health Insurance Option in MN

February 13, 2020
A group of dedicated physician and physician-in-training advocates gathered both in-person and online on a frigid morning on Feb. 13 to discuss the impact on patients and physicians of a public health insurance option at the Renaissance Minneapolis Bloomington Hotel.
Read More

Insulin Debate Leads to Contentious Start to Session

February 13, 2020
Signaling the high priority of providing assistance to those who cannot afford insulin, the House Commerce Committee took up consideration of an insulin bill by Rep. Mike Howard (DFL – Richfield) on the first day (Feb. 11) of the new legislative session.  
 
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2020 Legislative Session Set to Begin Next Week

February 06, 2020
Legislators from across the state will return to St. Paul next week for the start of the legislative session at noon on Tuesday, February 11.  The session will conclude no later than May 19.
Read More

Get Involved in MMA Policy Through Committee Involvement

February 06, 2020
Volunteer positions are available on each of the following MMA policy committees of the Board of Trustees: Ethics and Medical-Legal Affairs; Medical Practice & Quality; and Public Health.
Read More

MMA Sponsors “Celebrate Immunization” Rally on Feb. 18

February 06, 2020
Strengthening the state’s weak immunization requirements is a key 2020 legislative priority for the MMA. That’s why the MMA is joining forces with other pro-vaccine advocates to sponsor “Celebrate Immunization”, a rally in support of immunizations at the State Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 18 from 11 to 11:30 a.m.    
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MMA Weighs in on Further Clinic Consolidation

February 06, 2020
Allina Health System announced on Feb. 4 that they acquired Apple Valley Medical Clinic for an undisclosed sum. The practice, which will be known as Allina Health Apple Valley Clinic, has 150 employees, including seven physicians and three advanced practice clinicians. This is the latest in a trend of large health systems acquiring independent clinics.
Read More

Federal Ban on Flavored E-cigarettes Now in Effect

February 06, 2020
The federal “partial ban on flavored e-cigarettes” is now in effect. This partial ban will affect most e-cigarettes that use pre-filled pods, including fruit-, dessert- and mint-flavored vape pods. Menthol and tobacco flavors are exempt, along with other kinds of vaping products. 
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MMA Submits SQRMS Comments to State

January 30, 2020
The MMA will submit comments to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) regarding concerns on the proposed amendments to the State Quality Reporting and Measurement System (SQRMS).
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CME Mandate on Opioid Prescribing Now in Effect; MMA Course is Live

January 30, 2020
The MMA is now offering an online, self-paced activity for Minnesota prescribers of opioids and other controlled substances to help physicians comply with a new mandate from the Minnesota Legislature. This course is free for MMA members.
 
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MHA Names Dr. Rahul Koranne President and CEO

January 30, 2020
The Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) has named Rahul Koranne, MD, MBA, FACP, as its new president and CEO, effective January 28, 2020. He succeeds Lawrence Massa, who led the association for nearly 11 years before retiring in September 2019. Koranne is a MMA member.
 
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MMA Opposes Proposed Change to Statewide Quality Reporting & Measurement System

January 30, 2020
The MMA will submit comments to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) regarding concerns on the proposed amendments to the State Quality Reporting and Measurement System (SQRMS).
Read More

CME Mandate on Opioid Prescribing Now in Effect; MMA Course is Live

January 23, 2020
The MMA is now offering an online, self-paced activity for Minnesota prescribers of opioids and other controlled substances. Click here to learn more about the activity.
Read More

MMA Answers CMS Inquiry About Scope of Practice

January 23, 2020
The MMA joined the AMA and dozens of other state medical and specialty societies in cautioning the Trump Administration from making changes to scope of practice regulations without fully considering the education and training of nonphysician health care professionals and the impact on the overall cost and quality of care.
Read More

ACP Calls for Single Payer or Public Insurance Option as Path to Universal Coverage

January 23, 2020
The American College of Physicians (ACP), the national specialty society for internal medicine physicians, called for either a single payer system or a public health insurance option that would compete with private insurance products as the two best paths for achieving universal coverage.
Read More

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Request to Expedite Review of Challenge to the ACA

January 23, 2020
On Tuesday, January 21, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request for an expedited review of a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 
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Mistrial Declared in Warren v. Dinter Case

January 23, 2020
In April 2019, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued a decision in a case called Warren v. Dinter  ruling that in some circumstances a plaintiff could pursue a medical malpractice action against a physician in the absence of a physician-patient relationship.  In Warren, a physician’s assistant at a rural hospital contacted an on-call hospitalist to discuss the possibility of admitting the patient. The Supreme Court decided that if it was foreseeable to the patient or the medical provider who contacted the physician that they would rely on the physician’s input, then a jury could consider whether the physician violated the standard of care.
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ABIM Expects to Launch Longitudinal Assessment Option in 2022

January 16, 2020
The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) recently announced that it anticipates launching a longitudinal assessment option in 2022 in as many specialties as possible.   

As part of this option, internists will be able to: 
  • answer a question at any place or time, and receive immediate feedback as to whether it was correct or not
  • see the rationale behind the answer, along with links to educational material
  • proceed at their preferred pace answering questions during each administration window
  • access all the resources they use in practice, such as journals or websites.

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U of M Professor Emeritus Receives Shotwell Award

January 16, 2020
Steven Miles, MD, received the 2019 Shotwell Award at the Jan. 7 Annual Meeting of the Abbott Northwestern medical staff. 

Chris Johnson, MD, chair of the Twin Cities Medical Society Foundation, presented the award, which is given annually to a Minnesotan who has made significant contributions in the field of health care. 
 
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Get Involved in MMA Policy Through Committee Involvement

January 16, 2020
Volunteer positions are available on each of the following MMA policy committees of the Board of Trustees: Ethics and Medical-Legal Affairs; Medical Practice & Quality; and Public Health. 

As a committee member, you influence the MMA’s direction, acquire new leadership skills and network with physicians who care about the same issues you do. It takes about eight hours a year (four evening meetings annually). If you can’t make a meeting in person, you can also call in or video conference.
 
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Session Weeks Away, but Work has Begun

January 16, 2020
With the Legislative session nearly four weeks away, much work has already begun.  Since this is the year with the shorter session, and expected to last just over 13 weeks, groups like the MMA are working on getting their proposals ready for a fast start.
 
A major priority for the MMA continues to be addressing the barriers insurers and pharmacy benefit managers impose that interfere with providing good patient care.  Over the last four weeks we have met with Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) and Rep. Hunter Cantrell (DFL-Savage), the two chief authors on legislation to prohibit insurers from forcing a patient to change from a drug that is working during the patient's enrollment year.  This bill passed two committees in the House last session and remains alive in the Senate.
 
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MMA, MDH and DHS Partner on Health Equity Education Series

January 16, 2020
In its efforts to improve health equity in Minnesota, the MMA has partnered with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and Department of Human Services (DHS) to jointly provide CME credit on a free education series titled, Building Systems of Culturally Responsive Integrated Care. Due to the weather, the first session has been rescheduled for Friday, January 24.
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Federal Action on T21 and E-Cigarettes Both Surprises and Disappoints

January 09, 2020
Even though federal legislation has passed to increase the age to purchase tobacco, e-cigarettes, and other products containing nicotine from 18 to 21, Minnesota’s tobacco control community, as well as the MMA, remain committed to passing a T21 law here in Minnesota.
Read More

Five MMA Members to Take Part in Firearm Injury and Death Prevention Forums

January 09, 2020
Five MMA members will participate in panel discussions across the state dealing with preventing firearm injury and death. The MMA is a co-host of the five, free breakfast forums. 
 
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DHS to Provide Updated Opioid Prescriber Reports

January 09, 2020
The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) plans to soon send out updated opioid prescriber reports as part of a statewide opioid prescribing improvement program led by the department. 
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Physician Pay More Equitable Via Salary, Study Finds

January 09, 2020
A recent study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings confirmed that paying physicians by salary, instead of by variable incentives, resulted in pay equity for women and people of color in 96 percent of cases.  
Read More

Board Redefines MMA’s E-Cigarette Policy

December 19, 2019
The MMA Board of Trustees voted at its Dec. 16 meeting to expand MMA’s e-cigarette policy to include all vaping products, and call for the MMA to support efforts to prohibit both their availability and use unless approved  by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as tobacco-cessation devices.
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MMA Revises Policy on Providing Health Care to Undocumented Residents

December 19, 2019
At its Dec. 16 meeting, the MMA Board of Trustees voted to adopt revisions to MMA’s policy on providing health care to undocumented residents.
Read More

Health Equity Champion Named Medical Director for State’s Public Programs

December 19, 2019
Nathan Chomilo, MD, a pediatrician, internist, and founding member of Minnesota Doctors for Health Equity, a statewide coalition of physicians, has been named medical director for the state’s health care programs, announced Department of Human Services (DHS) Commissioner Jodi Harpstead on Dec. 16.
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MMA to Sponsor 5 Forums on Preventing Firearm Injury and Death

December 19, 2019
The MMA will co-host five free breakfast forums throughout the state on preventing firearm injury and death   for physicians and health care, mental health, public health and social services professionals. 
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MMA to Co-sponsor “Celebrate Immunization” Rally on Feb. 18

December 19, 2019

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CME Mandate on Opioid Prescribing began Jan 1; MMA Offering Course

December 19, 2019
During the 2019 session, the Minnesota Legislature passed a law that requires individuals with licenses with the authority to prescribe controlled substances to obtain at least two hours of CME on best practices in prescribing opioids and controlled substances. 
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Surprise Billing Continues to be Debated in D.C.; Outcome Unclear for 2019

December 12, 2019
Protecting patients from so-called surprise bills continues to be top of mind for members of Congress as the year-end approaches. Earlier this week, chairs of the Senate Health Committee, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced that a compromise on surprise billing has been reached between the chairs of those committees, but it is not clear whether this “deal” has been signed off by other leaders.
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Legislators Suggest Many New Uses for State Surplus

December 12, 2019
The repeal of the provider tax made a brief appearance on Dec. 5 when the state revealed its November forecast, which showed a $1.3 billion surplus. 
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Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Care Considers Next Steps

December 12, 2019
Health care leaders, agency heads, and legislators continued to consider possible savings in the state’s health and human services (HHS) budgets during a Dec. 5 meeting of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Health and Human Services.  
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MMA Supports State’s Lawsuit Against Nation’s Leading E-Cig Maker

December 12, 2019
The MMA applauds Minnesota Atty. Gen. Keith Ellison and Gov. Tim Walz for filing a lawsuit against Juul Labs, the nation’s largest manufacturer of electronic cigarettes.  
Read More

MDH Seeking New Assistant Health Commissioner

December 12, 2019
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is currently seeking an assistant commissioner of health for the Health Improvement Bureau, a position previously held by a physician. MMA members are encouraged to consider applying for the role. 
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Chronic Pain, Macular Degeneration Added to Medical Cannabis Program

December 05, 2019
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced Dec. 2 that it will add chronic pain and age-related macular degeneration as new qualifying conditions to the state’s medical cannabis program, which began in 2014. The new conditions will take effect in August 2020.
Read More

MMA Board Weighs In On Open Issues Submissions

December 05, 2019
At its November meeting, the MMA Board of Trustees voted on all of the open issues proposals that were submitted for consideration in 2019. All issues were vetted by the MMA Policy Council. 
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Alert: Scam Artists Impersonating BMP and DEA Representatives

November 21, 2019
Minnesota physicians are warned to be on the lookout for scammers who are posing as representatives of the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice (BMP) or the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
 
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MMA Working on Content to Fulfill Legislative Opioid, Controlled Substances CME Mandate

November 21, 2019
The MMA is developing an online, self-paced activity for prescribers in the state to meet the legislative mandate to “obtain at least two hours of continuing education credit on best practices in prescribing opioids and controlled substances” beginning Jan. 1, 2020. 
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Volunteer Opportunities Available on State Boards, Committees and Councils

November 21, 2019
The state of Minnesota is seeking physicians to fill vacancies on several boards, committees and councils.
Read More

MMA Sets Its Legislative Priorities for 2020 Session

November 14, 2019
The MMA has set its priorities for the 2020 legislative session, which begins Feb. 11.
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MMA Board Votes to Take No Position on Recreational Cannabis Legalization

November 14, 2019
At its Nov. 9 meeting, the MMA Board of Trustees voted to not take a position on the issue of recreational cannabis, but rather serve as the voice of medicine by laying out seven public health considerations that should ensure state lawmakers keep public health in mind as they debate the topic.  
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Minnesota Medicine Takes Home 4 Awards at Publishing Event

November 14, 2019
On Nov. 7, Minnesota Medicine received four awards at the annual Minnesota Media & Publishing Association Excellence Awards in Minneapolis.
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MMA Submits Recommendations to State Blue Ribbon Commission on HHS

November 14, 2019
On Nov. 1, the MMA sent its recommendations to the Blue Ribbon Commission on Health and Human Services, a group formed by the Legislature and tasked with finding ways to reduce state health care spending in Minnesota by next October. 
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More than 30 Percent of Insured Minnesotans Diagnosed with Hypertension

November 07, 2019
Nearly one-third of all insured Minnesotans have been diagnosed with hypertension according to “Geographic Variation in Hypertension in Minnesota, 2014,” which the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) released on Nov.6. It is the first report to estimate the prevalence of hypertension in local communities in Minnesota.
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Revised Childhood Blood Lead Treatment Guidelines Available Online

November 07, 2019
The revised Childhood Blood Lead Clinical Treatment Guidelines, which were vetted by the MMA’s Public Health Committee and approved by the MMA Board of Trustees, are now available on the Minnesota Department of Health website.
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Volunteers Needed to Serve on MMA Committees

November 07, 2019
Volunteer positions are available on each of the following MMA policy committees of the Board of Trustees: Ethics and Medical-Legal Affairs; Medical Practice & Quality; and Public Health. 
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CMS Releases Final Physician Fee Schedule for 2020

November 07, 2019
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the finalized Physician Fee Schedule for 2020 on Nov. 1. 
 
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Bipartisan Efforts to Curb Youth Tobacco, Vaping Use Promoted at Capitol

October 31, 2019
On Oct. 28, DFL and Republican lawmakers from the House and Senate announced their support for preventive policies aimed at combatting Minnesota’s youth tobacco and vaping epidemic. 
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MMA Shares Its Concerns on Insulin Proposals with Legislators

October 31, 2019
On Oct. 29, the MMA formally requested that legislators working as part of an Insulin Working Group reconsider some of their positions on proposals addressing the issue of increasing unaffordability of insulin.
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5 Physician Vacancies Now Available on Medical Board

October 31, 2019
The Minnesota Board of Medical Practice (BMP) is seeking physicians to fill five vacancies representing the Second, Third, Fifth, and Seventh Congressional districts and an at-large DO position. 
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Top Doc with State Medical Cannabis Program Moving On

October 31, 2019
After five years as research manager for the Minnesota Department of Health’s Office of Medical Cannabis (OMC), Tom Arneson, MD, has announced that his last day with the program will be Nov. 7. 
 
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Free Webinar on Vaping Available Nov. 1

October 31, 2019
The Minnesota Department of Health will host a webinar on severe lung injuries associated with vaping on Nov. 1 from noon to 1 p.m. 
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AHRQ Seeks Ambulatory Clinics to Improve Antibiotic Prescribing

October 31, 2019
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is looking for Minnesota ambulatory clinics to join its Safety Program for Improving Antibiotic Use, a free 12-month program that seeks to improve antibiotic prescribing.
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Insulin Access Continues to Garner Legislators’ Attention

October 24, 2019
With advocates continuing to pressure elected officials to act, legislative leaders in the House and Senate have agreed to formally consider legislation intended to make insulin available to low-income Minnesotans with diabetes. 
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Financial Ruin A Major Concern for American Patients, Survey Finds

October 24, 2019
Nearly three-quarters of Americans are concerned about their ability to pay for medical treatment if they were to get sick or injured, according to the recently released Physicians Foundation’s 2019 Survey of America’s Patients.
 
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MMA Continues to Work on Surprise Billing Legislation That is Fair to Physicians

October 24, 2019
On Oct. 16, the MMA joined the AMA and more than 100 additional state medical and specialty societies on a letter to Congress outlining concerns regarding surprise billing proposals that are under consideration by the U.S. House and Senate. 
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Blue Ribbon Commission Looking for Health and Human Services Improvements

October 24, 2019
The state’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Health and Human Services is encouraging Minnesotans in health care to submit ideas to improve program efficiencies, produce savings, and promote better outcomes in health and human services. 
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MMA, AMA Share Concerns on Medicare Billing Privileges with CMS

October 17, 2019
The MMA recently worked with the AMA to provide comments on proposed changes to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding its ability to deny or revoke Medicare billing privileges for physicians. These changes are part of CMS’ annual update to the Physician Fee Schedule.
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Minnesota Passes 50 Municipalities with Tobacco 21 Restrictions

October 17, 2019
In the first half of October, several more Minnesota cities passed ordinances that restrict the purchase of tobacco and nicotine-containing products for those under 21. These additions push Minnesota over the 50 municipalities mark.
 
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Physician Volunteer Positions Available on State Boards and Commissions

October 17, 2019
Several positions for physicians on state board and commissions are now available via the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State website. 
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Trump Administration Proposes Changes to Medicare

October 10, 2019
On Oct. 3, President Trump signed an Executive Order, “Protecting and Improving Medicare for Our Nation’s Seniors,” which outlines policy areas that the president believes need to be addressed in order to improve Medicare, but does not include specific legislative or regulatory changes.
 
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Survey Finds Rapid Increase in Teen Vaping Use

October 03, 2019
According to the 2019 Minnesota Student Survey released on Oct. 2, one in four Minnesota 11th graders reported using an e-cigarette in the past 30 days. 
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Physicians Need to Audit Their Delegates Who Access the PMP by Oct. 30

October 03, 2019
Physicians are being asked to audit each of their delegates who access the state Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) by Oct. 30 to make sure they are properly using the tool. 
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Governor Vows to “Lean In” on Vaccinations

September 26, 2019
Gov. Tim Walz told members of the MMA at its Annual Conference on Sept. 21 that he plans to “lean in” on the association’s efforts to improve vaccination rates in Minnesota.
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Register Now for Resilience Conference Held in December

September 26, 2019
Registration is now open for the Bounce Back Project’s 4th Annual Healthcare Provider Resilience Conference being held Dec. 4 and 5 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Plymouth.
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MMA Raises Administrative Concerns with New Senate Insulin Proposal

September 26, 2019
On Sept. 23, MMA staff shared concerns on behalf of the state’s physicians regarding a new Senate proposal that would provide insulin free-of-charge for up to 12 months for patients who qualify.
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Mankato Physician Inaugurated MMA President at Annual Conference

September 26, 2019
Keith Stelter, MD, a family physician in Mankato, was inaugurated as the 153rd president of the MMA at the group’s Annual Conference on Sept. 20 in Duluth.
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Five Members Receive MMA Awards at Annual Conference

September 26, 2019
Five MMA members were honored with MMA Awards during the Annual Conference, Sept. 20, at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. Each year, the MMA honors those in medicine for going above and beyond. 
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Seats Available on Health Equity Advisory and Leadership Council

September 26, 2019
MMA members are encouraged to consider applying for a seat on the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Health Equity Advisory and Leadership (HEAL) Council. Applications will be accepted through Oct. 25.
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MMA Appointee Joins Opioid Epidemic Response Advisory Council

September 19, 2019
MMA appointee Halena Gazelka, MD, who practices pain and palliative medicine at the Mayo Clinic, is part of a 19-member Opioid Epidemic Response Advisory Council that was announced on Sept. 18. 
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Virtual Event will Discuss Better Communication Between Physician, Patient

September 19, 2019
Author Rounds: The MMA Book Club will continue Oct. 11 from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. with a virtual event featuring Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD, and a discussion of her book: “What Patients Say, What Doctor Hear.” 
 
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MMA to Host Two Doctors’ Lounges in October

September 19, 2019
The MMA will host two social gatherings for physicians and physicians-in-training in October including the rescheduled Mankato Doctors’ Lounge and the first-ever Doctors’ Lounge held in Edina.
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Senate Republicans Unveil Stop-Gap Solution for Insulin Pricing Crisis

September 19, 2019
Senate Republicans unveiled legislation on Sept. 19 to address the insulin pricing crisis in Minnesota. Dubbed the Minnesota Insulin Assistance Program, the plan calls for an insulin distribution system that would provide insulin free-of-charge to those who qualify for the program.  
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MMA Signs On to Letter Asking Congress to Improve Prior Auth in Medicare

September 12, 2019
The MMA, along with dozens of state medical associations and specialty societies, signed on to a letter  to the House of Representatives that asks members to support efforts to streamline prior authorization processes by Medicare Advantage plans. The bill, HR 3107, is called the “Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act.”
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Physician Suicide Awareness Increases with Initiatives

September 12, 2019
As part of National Physician Suicide Awareness (NPSA) Day (Tuesday, Sept. 17), the Physicians Foundation will launch a new campaign called Vital Signs to remind physicians, and their colleagues and loved ones, to check in on one another's wellbeing, and to help destigmatize the negativity around physicians' seeking help for their mental health. 
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Volunteers Needed for Care, Consultations to Homeless Vets This Fall

September 12, 2019
The MMA Foundation is recruiting physicians who are interested in giving back to the state’s homeless and at-risk veterans at four events this fall. 
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House Panel Considers Physician Aid-in-Dying

September 12, 2019
The House Health and Human Services Policy Committee held an informational hearing about legislation that would allow physician aid-in-dying (PAID) on Sept. 11. The committee did not take any votes on the proposal, authored by Rep. Mike Frieberg (DFL – Golden Valley). Physicians testified in both support and opposition to the proposal, as did faith leaders and patients with terminal conditions. 
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Gov. Walz to Address Access to Care at Annual Conference

September 12, 2019
Gov. Tim Walz will discuss access to care at the MMA’s Annual Conference on Sept. 21 at 11:30 a.m. at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.  
 
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Livestream Feed Available for Annual Conference

September 12, 2019
Physicians and physicians-in-training who are unable to attend next week’s Annual Conference in Duluth can tune in to a livestream and participate remotely. 
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MMA Leadership Election Results Announced

September 05, 2019
St. Cloud-based pediatrician, Marilyn Peitso, MD, has been elected as the MMA’s president-elect. She will assume her role at the conclusion of this year’s Annual Conference and will serve as the association’s president beginning in September 2020. 
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11 Policy Issues to Be Discussed at Annual Conference

September 05, 2019
Attendees at this year’s Annual Conference will have the opportunity to weigh in on 11 topics during the Open Issues Forum, from 8:15 to 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.
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Surgeon General Visits with Physician Leaders in Rochester

September 05, 2019
Vice Admiral Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, visited the Mayo Clinic on Aug. 27 to meet with staff and trainees, as well as local physician leaders from Olmsted County's public health office, physicians from Olmsted Medical Center, representatives from innovative social service organizations, and members of the Zumbro Valley Medical Society. 
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State Fair Poll Respondents Favor Recreational Cannabis, Stricter Gun Laws

September 05, 2019
Informal polls at the Minnesota State Senate and House of Representatives booths at the Minnesota State Fair revealed that fair goers are in favor of recreational marijuana legalization and stricter gun laws. 
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MDH Seeks Input on Two Possible Additions to State Medical Cannabis Program

August 29, 2019
Physicians and members of the public have through Oct. 20 to provide comments to Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Commissioner Jan Malcolm as she deliberates on adding two new medical conditions to the state’s medical cannabis program. 
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MMA Advocates for Reversal of Title X Restrictions

August 29, 2019
The MMA signed on to an op-ed column that urges the Trump administration to reconsider its recent ruling that prohibits clinics that receive federal Title X Family Planning grants from referring patients to any clinic that performs abortions.
 
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Physician Volunteers Needed to Help Homeless Veterans

August 29, 2019
Physician volunteers are needed to provide free health screenings and consultations to homeless veterans at “Stand Down” events in Bemidji on Sept. 25 and Grand Rapids on Sept. 26.  Both events run from 8 am to 2 pm. Any time commitment is welcomed.
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Council of Health Plans Names New President/CEO

August 29, 2019
The Minnesota Council of Health Plans has named Lucas Nesse as its new president and CEO, effective Oct. 21. 
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MCA Now Accepting Steering Committee Applications

August 29, 2019
The Minnesota Cancer Alliance (MCA) is currently accepting applications for open seats on its steering committee, including one for a physician who will represent the MMA.  
 
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MMA Partners with Bounce Back Project to Host Wellbeing Conference

August 22, 2019
The MMA is partnering with the Bounce Back Project to host the 4th annual Bounce Back Conference dedicated to improving physician and other health professional wellbeing and resiliency. The conference will take place Dec. 4 and 5 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Plymouth. 
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Register for The Annual Conference Before Prices Increase on Sept. 6

August 22, 2019
If you are planning on attending this year's Annual Conference, Sept. 20 and 21, in Duluth, you better sign up quickly, as registration fees will be increasing on Sept. 6. 
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Three More Doctors’ Lounges Provide Networking Opportunities

August 22, 2019
Three more Doctors’ Lounges await MMA members this fall in Duluth, Mankato and Edina. 
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MDH Warns of Severe Lung Disease’s Possible Link to Vaping

August 15, 2019
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is encouraging physicians to be on the look-out for novel cases of severe lung disease potentially related to vaping and e-cigarette use among teens and young adults.
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Vote Now on MMA Leadership and Bylaws Approval

August 15, 2019
Voting for 2019 MMA leadership and bylaws approval is underway now and will continue through the end of August.  
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CMS Releases Proposed Rule for Medicare Fee Schedule

August 15, 2019
On July 29, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposed rule for the 2020 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and Quality Payment Program. The rule covers a variety of topics, including updates to payment for evaluation and management office visit services, and proposed changes to the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). 
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New Guide for COPD Geared to Rural Hospitals, Clinics

August 15, 2019
The National Rural Health Resource Center has released a “Rural Hospital Guide to Improving Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)."
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PSP Expands Its Services to Help Physicians, Physician-in-Training Cope

August 15, 2019
With funding from philanthropic partners and health systems, Physicians Serving Physicians (PSP) is expanding its services this year with the support of LifeBridge Physician Wellness to include referrals for general physician wellness and mental health support needs. 
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MMA Meets with Congressmember on Surprise Billing Legislation

August 08, 2019
MMA members and staff met with Rep. Angie Craig (DFL – 2nd Congressional District) on Aug. 6 to discuss surprise billing. It’s the first in a series of meetings scheduled with Minnesota’s Congressional delegation to discuss the important topic and to ensure Minnesota representatives and senators support physicians when they debate legislation. 
 
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MMA Staff Attend AMA State Legislative Strategy Conference

August 08, 2019
While attending the AMA State Legislative Strategy Conference in late July, MMA lobbyists learned that many other state medical associations are facing the same legislative issues as Minnesota. 
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Advisory Council on Rare Diseases Seeks Physician Members

August 08, 2019
The University of Minnesota has begun the process of selecting members for the recently created Rare Disease Advisory Council.
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Volunteer Opportunities Available for Physicians on State Groups

August 08, 2019
Several positions on state boards and commissions are now available for physicians via the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State website.
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Congress Break Ideal to Discuss Surprise Billing with Lawmakers

August 01, 2019
The six-week summer Congressional recess is here and it’s the perfect time for physicians to meet face-to-face with their representatives and discuss surprise billing. 
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MMA Launches Immunization Campaign Across the State

August 01, 2019
As the new school year approaches, the MMA has launched a grassroots campaign to promote vaccinations across the state. 
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MMA Asks Governor, Lt. Governor to Include Physician in DHS Leadership

August 01, 2019
The MMA made a formal request on Aug. 1 to Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan to ensure that future leadership at the Department of Human Services (DHS) includes someone with medical expertise.
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MMA and its Foundation to Offer Suicide Prevention Training

August 01, 2019
The MMA and its Foundation are partnering with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to offer two train-the-trainer opportunities for members who have an interest in leading suicide prevention workshops for colleagues. 
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New Opioids, E-cigs, Hands-Free and Facility Fees Laws Take Effect Aug. 1

July 25, 2019
Several new Minnesota laws impacting prescribing, public health and requirements for facility fee disclosures are taking effect Aug. 1.  
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MDH Seeks Physician Input on Health Information Exchange

July 25, 2019
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is actively seeking feedback by Aug. 28 on its “Request for Public Input on a Connected Networks Approach for Health Information Exchange (HIE) in Minnesota.”
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Nominations Open for MMA Foundation Physician Volunteerism Award

July 25, 2019
The MMA Foundation is seeking nominations for its Physician Volunteerism Award, which recognizes Minnesota physicians who volunteer their time providing care to medically underserved patients or who volunteer their time and talents improving the health and well-being of their communities.
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BCBS Prior Authorization Rules Fuel Worry and Frustration

July 25, 2019
Since spring 2018, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota (BCBS) has dramatically increased its use of prior authorization and other utilization management policies affecting hundreds of procedure codes in both inpatient and outpatient settings. 
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PTSD Sufferers Report Medical Cannabis Helps, Survey Says

July 18, 2019
A Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Office of Medical Cannabis survey recently found nearly three-quarters of patients using medical cannabis for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) reported a high level of benefit. PTSD was added to the list of eligible qualifying conditions in 2016.
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MMA Signs on to Another Surprise Billing Letter to Congress

July 18, 2019
The MMA signed on to an AMA-generated letter to Congress requesting that an "independent dispute resolution process" be included "in any final bill coming out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to ensure the legislation is balanced and does not result either in unfair payments to physicians or unreasonable bills to health plans."
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MMA Members: Vote for MMA Officers During August

July 18, 2019
MMA members are invited to vote for 2019 MMA leadership during the month of August. 
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Physicians Sought for State Medicaid Committee

July 18, 2019
Physicians are encouraged to apply to serve on the state’s Medicaid Services Advisory Committee, a federally mandated group designed to provide guidance to the state Medicaid agency on specific policies, initiatives and proposed program changes that help to improve and maintain the quality of Minnesota’s Medicaid program. 
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MMA Members Urged to Vote on New Bylaws

July 18, 2019
Beginning Aug. 1, MMA members will be asked to approve updates to the MMA Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws. To help prepare you for this vote, we’ve put together the following guide and frequently asked questions. In August, MMA members will receive a ballot via email to vote on the bylaws as well as the slate of leadership candidates for 2020. 
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CMS Rolls Out New Payment Models for Kidney Care

July 18, 2019
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced five new payment models for physicians who provide care to patients with chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease (ESDR).  
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MEDPAC Board Welcomes New Medical Student Members

July 18, 2019
The MEDPAC Board of Directors welcomed two new board members representing the MMA’s Medical Student Section (MSS) at its July 11 meeting.
 
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MMA Foundation Seeking Candidates to Join its Board of Directors

July 18, 2019
The MMA Foundation (MMAF) is currently looking for candidates to serve three-year terms with its board of directors.
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MMA Advocates for More Physician-Friendly Approach to Surprise Billing Legislation

July 11, 2019
The MMA sent letters to the Minnesota Congressional delegation on July 2 urging lawmakers to consider a more physician-friendly approach to potential “surprise billing” legislation. 
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Physicians Encouraged to Review Opioid Prescribing Reports

July 11, 2019
Physicians who treat Minnesotans covered by Medicaid and MinnesotaCare, and prescribe opioids for pain management, including those who prescribe to fee-for-service members and those who care for members enrolled in a managed care organization, are encouraged to review their 2018 opioid prescribing reports.
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Several Leadership Opportunities for Physicians with State-Wide Positions

July 11, 2019
The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) is looking to fill two high profile positions with practicing physicians including its Medicaid Medical Director and Medicaid Behavioral Health Clinical Director. 
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MMA Begins New Mentorship Program for Minnesota Medical Students

July 11, 2019
In an effort to help Minnesota medical students grow their network with residents and practicing physicians, the MMA kicked off a new pilot mentorship program with a small reception on July 9 at the MMA office.
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A Few Minutes with Author Tom Combs, MD

July 11, 2019
Former emergency department physician-turned-novelist Tom Combs, MD, will discuss his novel, Nerve Damage, in the MMA's first book club event on July 23 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Open Book, 1011 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis.
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MMA Seeks Physician for Opiate Epidemic Response Advisory Council

June 27, 2019
Physicians interested in participating in the state’s Opiate Epidemic Response Advisory Council should contact the MMA by Wednesday, July 17. 
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Drug Costs to Be Focus of Annual Conference Discussion

June 27, 2019
With the recent push to make insulin more affordable for patients, the Annual Conference’s discussion on prescription drug costs proves to be extremely timely for Minnesota physicians and physicians-in-training.  
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Free Training on Operational, Billing for Psychiatric Collaborative Care Offered

June 27, 2019
The American Psychiatric Association is offering free training on operational and billing aspects of psychiatric collaborative care management services in primary care. 
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Physician Volunteer Positions Available on State Boards and Commissions

June 27, 2019
Several positions on state board and commissions are now available via the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State website. 
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Massa To Step Down From MHA

June 27, 2019
After 11 years at the helm, Lorry Massa, president and CEO of the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA), has announced that he will step down this September. A national search for his replacement has already launched.
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MMA to Host Housing Insecurity Discussion on Facebook Live July 24

June 20, 2019
The MMA will host another event in its series of online discussions on health equity on July 24 at noon when various experts will deliberate on housing insecurity. 
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MMA Members Discuss Recreational Marijuana at St. Paul Forum

June 13, 2019
More than 40 physicians and physicians-in-training took part in a sometimes (politely) contentious discussion on June 6 in St. Paul on whether and in what way the MMA should create policy regarding recreational marijuana legislation if it ever gains traction at the Capitol.
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Health Department, Pollution Control Report Ties Air Pollution and its Impact on Health

June 13, 2019
A new analysis released June 11 by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) found that air pollution that does occur in Minnesota plays a measurable role in deaths and hospitalizations across the state.
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Another City, County Approve Tobacco 21

June 13, 2019
On June 11, New Brighton joined the growing list of Minnesota municipalities that are raising the age of buying tobacco products to 21. Wilkin County in western Minnesota also passed a similar law. Thirty cities and six counties have now passed T21 restrictions. 
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MN Physicians Tackle Host of Issues at AMA Annual Meeting

June 13, 2019
More than a dozen Minnesota physicians participated in the AMA’s 2019 Annual Meeting June 8-12 in Chicago, covering a variety of topics from reducing prior authorization to strengthening the Affordable Care Act to Medicare for All. 
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New AMA Report Shows Opioid Prescriptions Down by 12.4 Percent in MN

June 06, 2019
On June 6, the AMA released its 2019 Opioid Progress Report and it shows that the number of opioid prescriptions continues to decrease in Minnesota. 
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MMA, Other Health Care Groups Ask Congress to Improve MACRA

June 06, 2019
The MMA, along with 119 other specialty societies and state medical associations, signed onto a letter dated June 3 urging Congress to make further refinements to improve MACRA (Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act).
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DHS’s Uniform Preferred Drug List Goes into Effect July 1

June 06, 2019
Starting July 1,  Medical Assistance fee-for-service and all managed care organizations that offer drug benefits for Minnesota Health Care Programs – such as Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare – will be required to use a Uniform Preferred Drug List (PDL), created and managed by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). 
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Hippocrates Cafe to Combine Prose, Music and Medicine Before Annual Conference

June 06, 2019
Prose, music and medicine will converge during a special production of Hippocrates Cafe on Sept. 19 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Kitchi Gammi Club in Duluth. The performance takes place the night before the MMA’s 2019 Annual Conference.
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June 2019 Advocacy Champion

June 06, 2019
Physicians wear many hats, and one of those is for advocacy. Physicians advocate for their patients, and for their professions. Being an advocate is also a way in which physicians can reduce burnout. When you advocate for what matters most – improving patient care and improving your profession – you remember why you went into medicine. Each month, the MMA will recognize an MMA member who has served as an “Advocacy Champion.” Whether it’s testifying at the Capitol or raising your voice at a City Hall meeting, the physicians chosen exemplify the true meaning of advocacy.
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Respondents Split on Possible Recreational Marijuana Legalization

June 06, 2019
Physicians and physicians-in-training are split on whether the MMA should support efforts to legalize recreational marijuana, according to an informal survey conducted by the association between May 13 and June 4. 
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Legislature, Governor Approve HHS Bill in Special Session

May 30, 2019
It took an extra day in a special session, but the Legislature finally approved a Health and Human Services (HHS) budget on May 25. Gov. Tim Walz was expected to sign it into law by the end of May. Legislative leaders on both sides are saying this was a bit of a draw, as there were wins and losses included in the final bill.
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Forum on Recreational Marijuana is Next Week in St. Paul

May 30, 2019
The MMA’s policy forum on recreational marijuana will take place next Thursday (June 6) from 5 to 8 p.m. at 317 on Rice Park, 317 Washington St., in downtown St. Paul. Registration is closed but space is still available for walk-ups. 
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MMA Book Club Kicks Off June 18 with Discussion on Medical Ethics

May 30, 2019
The first Author Rounds: MMA Book Club will explore the topic of medical ethics on June 18 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Edina Barnes & Noble as Barron H. Lerner, MD, discusses  his book, “The Good Doctor: A Father, a Son and the Evolution of Medical Ethics." 
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Provider Tax Reduced but Sunset is Gone

May 23, 2019
With time in the 2019 session quickly fading and the threat of a budget impasse and government shutdown building, Republican Senate leadership agreed to the repeal of the provider tax sunset strongly supported by the DFL House and Gov. Tim Walz. While the tax will be indefinitely extended, the rate will be lowered to 1.8 percent, a 10 percent reduction from the current levy.
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Opioids Stewardship Bill Approved by Gov. Walz

May 23, 2019
It took weeks to work out an agreement but the Senate (60-3) and House (109-25) finally passed a bill that positions Minnesota as a leader in the fight against the opioid epidemic. Both bodies passed the opioid stewardship bill on the last day of the session and sent it to Gov. Tim Walz, who signed it on May 22. 
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MMA-supported PBM Bill Sent to Governor’s Desk

May 16, 2019
Legislation to increase transparency and accountability for pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) took its final step with the adoption of the conference committee’s recommendations by both the House (130-2) and Senate (67-0). The bill was sent to the governor for his signature on May 16.
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MMA Releases Survey to Physicians on Recreational Marijuana in Minnesota

May 16, 2019
In order to begin formulating a policy regarding the legalization of recreational marijuana in Minnesota, the MMA distributed a survey on May 15. Data gathered from the brief survey will be used at the June 6 forum, A Physician’s Take on Recreational Marijuana from 5 to 8 p.m. at 317 on Rice Park in downtown St. Paul.
 
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MMA Honors Past Board Chairs at Reception

May 16, 2019
The MMA honored seven of its past Board of Trustee chairs at a reception held on May 13 at the MMA office. 
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With Days Left, A Look at the Good, the Bad and the Uncertain

May 16, 2019
Just days are left in the legislative session and many questions remain regarding MMA-supported bills. However, anything can happen before the May 20 deadline. 
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MMA Modifies Position on Provider Tax Replacement

May 09, 2019
With less than two weeks in the session, the MMA continues to advocate to replace the funding mechanism for Minnesota public health programs funded by the Health Care Access Fund. 
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Opioid Stewardship Bill Still in Conference Committee

May 09, 2019
What appeared to be a certainty weeks ago, now appears in question. The opioid stewardship bill went into a conference committee in early April so legislators from both bodies could work out an agreement on final legislation. The group, however, is deadlocked on how the fee will be assessed and when it should sunset.  
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DHS’s Uniform Preferred Drug List Goes into Effect July 1

May 09, 2019
Starting July 1, all managed care organizations that offer drug benefits for Minnesota Health Care Programs – such as Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare – will be required to use a Uniform Preferred Drug List (PDL), created and managed by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). 
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Three Authors Scheduled for MMA’s Book Club

May 09, 2019
Two authors and one novelist have been scheduled to take part in the inaugural season of Author Rounds: The MMA Book Club taking place June 18, July 23 and Oct. 11.
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Deadlines Next Week for Minnesota Medicine's Writing and Photography Contests

May 09, 2019
The editors of Minnesota Medicine are looking for physicians, residents and medical students to tap into their creativity and enter their work in the magazine’s annual writing and photography contests. 
 
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Legislation Proposes Rare Diseases Advisory Council

May 09, 2019
A bill that would create an advisory council to study and make recommendations to policy makers regarding rare diseases passed through the Senate on May 8. 
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House, Senate Pass Vastly Different HHS Finance Bills

May 02, 2019
Both the House and Senate have passed Health and Human Services (HHS) finance bills, but they’re significantly different. 
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Two Firearm Violence Prevention Bills Advance in House

May 02, 2019
On April 29, the House passed its public safety omnibus bill (70-64), which includes two MMA-supported firearm violence provisions – background checks and a “red flag” law.
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Conversion Therapy, Mandated Reporter Changes Added to House HHS Budget Package </