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Editor's Note: MMA News Now will return Jan. 8. Have a healthy and safe holiday season. 
Thank You, Minnesota Physicians

With this last issue of MMA News Now for 2014, we wanted to say thank you for being a part of the MMA. Minnesota continues to be a leader in health care innovation and a superior place to practice medicine. For that and more, we should be proud.


We accomplished much this past year. We continued addressing prescription opioid misuse and the primary care physician workforce shortage. At the Legislature, we advocated for physician-led team-based care, expanding the use of the all-payer claims database, stricter regulations on e-cigarettes, prohibiting teens from accessing tanning beds, and restoring the state's newborn screening program.


We also hosted a series of spirited forums on medical cannabis, health disparities and the question of whether single payer is right for Minnesota. In September, we launched a revitalized Annual Conference with great discussions on physician well-being, telemedicine and the primary care workforce.


Many of our members served on boards, task forces and committees that will help influence the future of medicine in Minnesota and help our patients lead healthier lives. We also sat at the table with the governor and the health commissioner to allay fears during the Ebola scare this fall.


All in all, it was a great year for physicians in Minnesota.


But, we still face many challenges: easing the burden of prior authorization; increasing loan forgiveness funding for young physicians; continuing the Medicaid payment bump for primary care physicians; expanding on our efforts to regulate e-cigarettes and flavored tobaccos; and expediting physician licensure for those who want to practice in multiple states. These issues will not be resolved without a lot of hard work.


But we are up to the task. We look forward to another year working on your behalf. We know you will be right there with us advocating for all Minnesota physicians.


We wish you and your family a happy and safe holiday season.   


Robert Meiches, M.D.


Total Cost of Care Data Released by MN Community Measurement
On Dec. 18, MN Community Measurement released a first-of-its kind report on the total cost of care for patients in 115 medical groups, representing 1,052 clinics statewide. Read more here. 
Flood of APRN Applications Causes Backlog
Physicians who have advanced practice registered nurses on staff should remind them to apply for licensure as soon as possible. Per legislation, APRNs need to apply for licensure before Jan. 1, 2015, in order to practice in the coming year. It will no longer be sufficient for an APRN to be licensed as a RN and registered as an APRN. Read more here.

APRN FAQ: The MMA staff has compiled answers to frequently asked questions regarding the changing role of advanced practice registered nurses. Click here to view.
Teens Use of E-cigs Increasing, Says National Study
A study released Dec. 16 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows that while teen use of opioids, alcohol and cigarettes has declined in the past year, the same cannot be said for marijuana or e-cigarettes. Marijuana use remained stable but the use of the latter is high. Read more here.

Changes to Credentialing in Minnesota will be Minimal

The MN Credentialing Collaborative and CredentialSmart (CS) have entered into a new agreement effective Dec. 1 that will have CS provide credentialing services directly to clinic groups, hospitals and payers. Read more here.

Member Clinic Recognized by DHS

Fergus Falls-based Lake Region Healthcare, with more than 40 MMA members, was one of eight programs honored Dec. 15 for its outstanding contributions to human services clients by Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. Recipients of the 2014 Commissioner's Circle of Excellence Awards share DHS' commitment to supporting healthy people, stable families and strong communities. For more information, click here.

Make a Difference, Join the MMA Today

The year is almost over. Have you joined or renewed yet? Become part of the MMA by calling 612-362-3782 or e-mailing us.

Deadline Extended for Practice Transformation Network

Physicians interested in helping Stratis Health and the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement (ICSI) secure an innovation grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services now have until Jan. 5 to submit a letter of intent. CMS extended the grant deadline for the Practice Transformation Networks, which provides Stratis and ICSI more time to gather physician letters. Find more information on the Stratis website.

Attention Medical Students, Residents and Fellows

Minnesota Medicine plans to highlight the work of Minnesota medical trainees in its April 2015 issue. The journal will publish select abstracts of original research and clinical vignettes. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 23. Find out more online.
Members In The News

Lisa Mattson, MD, president of the Twin Cities Medical Society, wrote a counterpoint on e-cigarettes in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Dec. 15.


James Welters, MD, and Northwest Family Physicians were featured in the Dec. 14 edition of the Star Tribune for their clinic's ability to provide high quality care at lower costs.


Frank Rhame, MD, appeared on KARE-TV discussing flu in Minnesota on Dec. 12.


On Dec. 15, Will Nicholson, MD, spoke with KARE-TV about advanced practice registered nurses gaining more independence Jan. 1.


The Star Tribune quoted Gregg Plotnikoff, MD, in its Dec. 16 story on Pathways, which provides alternative treatment methods for people with life-threatening illnesses.


Marvin Seppala, MD, spoke about heroin and prescription opioid addiction in a story in the Star Tribune on Dec. 17.


Inspiring Physicians
More inspiring physicians are highlighted on the MMA website. They include an orthopedic surgeon who is helping Hondurans get health care; a family physician who really lives the green lifestyle; and a battle-tested Mayo physician.
Minnesota Medicine


The prior authorization burden
The process is frustrating, time-consuming and costly.

On the go? Get the latest edition of Minnesota Medicine in one place in its Digital Edition.




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