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Prior Authorization Bill Begins Moving at Capitol

A bill to fix the medication prior authorization mess passed unanimously through the Senate's Health, Housing and Human Services Committee on March 11. It will now move to the Senate Commerce committee. Read more here.

White Coats Descend on Capitol to Fix Prior Authorization   

More than 80 physicians and physicians-in-training attended the MMA's annual Day at the Capitol on March 11 with one major goal in mind - fix the medication prior authorization mess. Members in attendance had meetings with 51 senators and representatives during the course of the day. Sen. Melisa Franzen (DFL-Edina) served as keynote speaker for the event, discussing her bill (SF 934) that deals with PA. Rep. Nick Zerwas (R-Elk River) also spoke to physicians during the event's late afternoon reception.  

Your Membership Matters! Renew Now

It's time to renew your MMA membership. And this year, your support can make a difference in fixing the costly, frustrating and potentially harmful prior authorization (PA) process for medications. Read about the progress the MMA is making with PA. To renew, call us at 612-362-3728 or e-mail  us. See how the MMA is advocating for physicians and their practices.

Loan Forgiveness Bill Continues to Progress

The senate bill (SF 3) on loan forgiveness has now passed through three senate committees and is waiting for inclusion in an omnibus bill later in the session. Its latest stop was in the Senate Health and Human Services Budget Division Committee on March 10. As the Senate bill stands now it would increase funding for loan forgiveness programs by $3.1 million each year. It would increase the number of participants by 200 practitioners over four years, including 60 primary care physicians. The house version of the bill (HF 211) has been heard in two committees.

Medicaid Primary Care Bump Bill Introduced in Senate, House 

Bills to reinstate the Medicaid primary care bump (SF 1576 and HF 1729) were introduced on March 11. The chief author of the Senate bill is Sen. Kathy Sheran (DFL-Mankato). The House version's chief author is Nick Zerwas (R-Elk River). The bump, which was created through the Affordable Care Act, ended on Dec. 31, 2014. For more information, click here  

Another Committee Approves Right to Try Bill   

The House version of a "right to try" bill (HF 236) passed through its first committee on March 11. Under the bill, patients would have access to drugs, products or devices that have cleared phase one of FDA trials if a physician documents in writing that they have a terminal disease, and have considered, with a physician, all other FDA-approved treatment options. Patients must also give informed consent in writing for use of the experimental drug, product or device. In addition, the bill stipulates that a health licensing board cannot penalize a physician for taking part in this program. With changes adopted by the authors around liability protections and the definition of a terminal condition, the MMA has taken a neutral position on the bill. Similar bills have become law in seven states and the bill's author, Rep. Nick Zerwas (R-Elk River), said 29 states are now considering it. The House bill now moves onto the Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee.

Telehealth Task Force Begins Work

The rapidly changing field of telehealth is the focus of a new task force created by the MMA. Telehealth has emerged as a top priority for physicians, due to ongoing issues with rural health delivery, along with improvements in technology that have opened up new possibilities in the field. Read more here.   

Health Care Workforce Council Bill Heard Twice

Legislation (SF 1246) creating a health care workforce council, preceptor incentive grant program, primary care residency expansion grant program, and clinical training expansion grant program (PAs, APRNs, and mental health professionals), was heard in separate senate meetings this week. Member Michael Belzer, MD, testified before the Senate Health, Human Services and Housing Committee on March 9.  It was also heard in the Senate's Committee on State and Local Government on March 11.  The bill passed as amended and was re-referred to the Senate Finance Committee

Reproductive Health Bills Introduced, Opposed by MMA 

A series of bills related to reproductive health choices and abortion were heard in the House Health and Human Services Reform Committee on March 4. It's anticipated that the bills are unlikely to move in the Senate. Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed similar legislation in 2012. Read more here.

Take the Choosing Wisely Pledge, Part 10  

During the first quarter of 2015, MMA News Now will highlight one test or procedure that physicians in a particular specialty should consider cutting back on. This week's focus is on pediatrics:


Simple febrile seizures are a common condition evaluated by pediatric physicians. Talking with parents about radiation exposure, risk from sedation, and cost of imaging is a Choosing Wisely recommendation for pediatric physicians. See the other nine recommendations and join your colleagues in taking the pledge to Choose Wisely.


All physicians are asked to take the Choosing Wisely pledge. Click here to see the pledge and who has taken it, then add your name.
Members in the News

Member Heather Gantzer, MD, published an op-ed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on medication prior authorization legislation.

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