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Prior Auth Bill Still Remains Viable

Legislation that would improve the state's medication prior authorization process - a top MMA priority - remains viable at the Capitol. The Senate's version of the bill made it through that body's HHS budget discussion. The House did not include any provisions regarding PA in its bill. Here's what happens next.  

House Votes to Eliminate MinnesotaCare, Cut $1 Billion from HHS   

In the wee hours of the morning of April 29, the House passed legislation that calls for cutting the state's Health and Human Services budget by $1 billion and eliminating the MinnesotaCare program. Read more here  

Interstate Licensure Bill Passes Senate Unanimously

Legislation that supports the creation of a new system to expedite the process for physicians who want to be licensed in multiple states passed the Senate unanimously on April 30 (59-0). This issue is one of the MMA's top legislative priorities this session. The House has yet to schedule a vote, but little opposition is expected.

Expedited Provider Tax Repeal Lives on in the House

As part of the House tax bill that passed April 29, the dismantling of the provider tax will be accelerated so that it occurs Dec. 31, 2018, rather than Dec. 31, 2019. However, this provision is not included in the Senate version of the tax bill and its fate will be determined in a conference committee. The accelerated repeal of the tax is closely linked to the House proposal to end MinnesotaCare. The tax bill's proponents argue that with the program's repeal, the tax can be phased out sooner.

House and Senate Bills Differ Greatly on Tobacco Taxes

As they have on other issues, the House and Senate differ greatly on the issue of tobacco taxes. Last week, the House included measures in its omnibus tax bill that would repeal the annual cigarette tax increase and provide new tax breaks on e-cigarettes. Meanwhile, the Senate's version of the bill did not include the provisions, though it did contain language to close a loophole that allows some chewing tobacco to be taxed at a lower rate. Read more here.

Physicians Gather to Discuss Patient-Doctor Relationship

Physicians from across the state gathered in Bloomington April 25 to examine the evolving relationship between physicians and patients. Read more here.

SBMS, St. Cloud State Collects 80 Pounds of Drugs

The Stearns Benton Medical Society (SBMS) partnered with St. Cloud State University on April 23 to organize a prescription drug take-back day. Eighty pounds of drugs were collected. SBMS worked with practices throughout Stearns and Benton counties to promote the event to patients.

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, MMA Foundation, US Air Force, US Army, US Navy, Cambria, Home Federal, Limb Lab, Clements, the MMA's Young Physician, Resident and Fellow, and Medical Student sections. The event is a celebration of medicine, a thank you to members, and a welcome to new and prospective MMA and ZVMS members. Free hors d'oeuvres and drinks will be served. For more information, click here.

Writing Contest Deadline Extended

You now have until May 11 to enter your essay, poem or short story for Minnesota Medicine's Medical Musings writing contest. You also have until May 11 to enter the best photo you've taken for the annual photography contest. Winners will be featured in the July issue of the magazine. For more information and to enter, visit the Minnesota Medicine contest website.

Call for Annual Conference Presentations

The MMA is seeking presenters for its 2015 Annual Conference Sept. 25-26 in St. Louis Park on the following topics: physician leadership, technologies that can assist physicians, innovation in medicine and practice, and physician resiliency and wellness. Presenters will receive complimentary conference registration and lodging. Those interested should send a two-paragraph description of their talk and links to previous presentations to Mandy Rubenstein.

Inspiring Physicians

Being a physician is a noble profession. Few would argue with that. But there are those who go above and beyond their regular work of treating patients, researching disease or educating physicians-in-training. Our latest group of inspiring physicians includes a doctor who integrates new perspectives, questions and insights from East and West, medicine and psychology, and science and spirituality; another who has been providing care to people in Guatemala for the past 10 years; and a third who is helping address the rise in heroin use, emerging infectious diseases such as Ebola, potential pandemics and the threat of chemical warfare.

Digital Rounds - the MMA Blog

Medication prior authorization is a daily battle for Minnesota physicians. Sometimes it's one that lasts for weeks and weeks. Read more here.  

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