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Budget Debate Includes Discussion on MinnesotaCare's Future

The wrangling over budget targets continues in St. Paul. The Senate wants to add to HHS funding; the House wants to cut. In the middle of the debate is the future of MinnesotaCare. Read more here.

Loan Forgiveness, Health Care Workforce Bills Continue Progressing  

Bills concerning two MMA priorities - loan forgiveness for primary care physicians and the creation of a health care workforce council - were both heard in finance committees this week and are expected to be included in omnibus Health and Human Services finance bills later in the session. The amount of spending attached to each is still unknown at this time, although funding levels will likely be announced in both bodies soon. Read more here.  

Premium Cigar Bill Moves through Senate Committee

A bill that calls for capping the amount of tax attached to premium cigars was heard in a Senate committee on April 8. Similar to the House version, this bill was held over for possible inclusion in a larger tax bill. MMA member Lisa Mattson, MD, has testified against the bill in both bodies. Read more here.

Interstate Licensure Ready for Floor Votes

A bill (HF 321 and SF 253) that supports the creation of a new system to expedite the process for physicians who want to be licensed in multiple states has completed its journey through House and Senate committees and is ready for consideration on the floor of both bodies. The bill calls for establishing a compact that "creates another pathway for licensure and does not otherwise change Minnesota's existing Medical Practice Act." The chief authors of this legislation are Rep. Tara Mack (R-Apple Valley) and Sen. Kathy Sheran (DFL-Mankato). Once the bill becomes law, Minnesota will be one of the initial states to help establish the rules for the compact at the national level.

Ehlinger Addresses State Disparities at Public Health Forum

Although Minnesota has ranked among the 10 healthiest states in the country since the early 1990s, there's still room for improvement when it comes to eliminating health disparities and funding public health activities. That was the message Minnesota Commissioner of Health Ed Ehlinger, MD, MPH, delivered at the third annual State of Public Health Forum in West St. Paul on April 6. Read more here  

Minneapolis Named Healthiest City in America

Minneapolis was named the healthiest city in the United States by in part because of its residents' active lifestyle and their access to health care. Read more here.

Details in Place for Conference on Physician-Patient Relationship

The program for the MMA's first-ever health policy conference, April 25 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Bloomington, is shaping up with the recent confirmation of session topics and speakers. CME is available. Read more here.

Health Department Raises Concerns about Fluoroscopic X-ray Use

The Minnesota Department of Health has raised concerns regarding the qualifications for operating fluoroscopic X-ray equipment on humans. Only individuals who have met certain requirements are qualified to operate this equipment. For more information, click here.

Primary Care Doc Sought for Cancer Measurement Group

MN Community Measurement (MNCM) is looking for a primary care physician to be part of its new cancer care measurement development work group. The measurement being developed is for oncology, but MNCM wants the perspective of a physician who has experience with other measures to discuss burden and implementation. Interested physicians can apply online here.

Social Event Planned for Rochester-area Physicians, Students

The MMA and the Zumbro Valley Medical Society (ZVMS) will hold a free networking event for Rochester-area physicians and physicians-in-training from 5 to 8 p.m. on May 7 at the Cambria Gallery on 400 S. Broadway in Rochester. Hosts include the MMA, ZVMS, Cambria, US Air Force, US Army, the MMA's Young Physician Section, Resident and Fellow Section, and Medical Student Section. The event is a celebration of medicine, a thank you to members, and a welcome to new and prospective members. Free hors d'oeuvres and drinks will be served. For more information, click here.

Time to Register and Report on 2014 Open Payments System Data

Physicians can now register in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) Open Payments Program and review their 2014 calendar year data. As part of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, CMS is required to publicly report data on items of value that are given to physicians and teaching hospitals on an annual basis. The official 45-day review and dispute period runs from April 6 through May 20. Visit the AMA's website for step-by-step instructions on how to register and review your open payments data.

Free Workshop Scheduled on Shared Decision-Making

The Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement (ICSI) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality are sponsoring a free one-day train-the-trainer workshop on shared decision-making April 28 at ICSI's offices in Bloomington. This workshop will provide clinicians with patient decision aids, conversation starters, tips for communicating with patients, and tools that support shared decision-making in clinical practice settings. Participants can earn 6.25 hours of CME credit. To register, click here. For questions, contact ICSI via email or call 952-814-7060.

President's Award Delivered to MMA Member

Dennis Kelly, MMA Foundation CEO, presented Beth Baker, MD, with the 2014 President's Award at the MMA's Public Health Committee meeting on April 7. Baker won the award at the 2014 Annual Conference but was unable to attend the event. Baker was recognized for giving selflessly of her time and energy over many years, exercising leadership in furthering the mission and carrying out the work of organized medicine in Minnesota.

Have You Been a Victim of Physician Identity Theft?

Minnesota Medicine is looking for physicians who have had their National Provider ID number, DEA number, medical license number, Social Security number or other private information compromised. If you are willing to share your story and tell how you resolved the situation, contact Kim Kiser by April 8.

Cultivate Your Creative Side

Do you have a story to tell? A photo you'd like to share? Then Minnesota Medicine is looking for you. Enter your essay, poem or short story in Minnesota Medicine's Medical Musings writing contest by May 4. Or enter the best photo you've taken in the annual photography contest by May 11. Winners will be featured in the July issue of the magazine. For more information and to enter, visit the Minnesota Medicine contest website.

Members in the News

Chris Johnson, MD, appeared on KMSP-TV's Morning News on March 29 to discuss prescription opioids in Minnesota.  


Jeff Hardwig, MD, was interviewed by the International Falls Journal for a story on the mental health crisis facing physicians, law enforcement officials, human services professionals and lawmakers in Minnesota.

Minnesota Medicine


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