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MMA Works with Legislators to Pass Prior Auth Reform
The MMA recently held an event in Prior Lake with Rep. Tony Albright (R-Prior Lake) to emphasize physicians' interests in improving the state's medication prior authorization processes. Albright is the chief author of a House bill to reform PA. Read more here
MMA Launches New Initiative on Reducing Health Care Costs
The MMA is launching a significant new effort focused on health care affordability. The MARCH Campaign - Minnesota Action to Reduce Costs in Healthcare - initially will address three topics: 1) administrative burden and inefficiencies; 2) prescription drug costs; and 3) low-value and unnecessary care. A 15- to 18-member steering committee, which will meet approximately six to eight times in 2016, is being assembled to help guide the campaign's work. Physicians interested in serving on the  committee should submit a brief statement of interest to Janet Silversmith, MMA director of health policy. 
Forum Addresses Opportunities and Challenges for Independent Practices
Recruiting and retaining physicians. Sustaining a referral base in a consolidated market. Having to meet performance standards with limited resources. Feeling like you have to know everything. These were among the things that keep physicians in independent practices awake at night, according to those who attended an MMA-sponsored forum on the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus on Nov. 11. Read more here
MMA Supports Anti-Flavored Tobacco Ordinance in St. Paul
On Nov. 10, the MMA sent a letter to the St. Paul City Council encouraging its members to approve an ordinance that will restrict the sale of all flavored (other than menthol), non-cigarette tobacco products to adult-only tobacco shops.  This proposal is similar to one that passed in Minneapolis earlier this year, an initiative the MMA also supported. The St. Paul measure also proposes increasing the price of little cigars and cigarillos to match the prices in Minneapolis and Maplewood, which passed similar ordinances. The Council is scheduled to consider the proposal at its Nov. 18 meeting. 
Medicare Changes for 2016 Announced
The 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule was published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Oct. 30. Among the announced changes are a $35.83 conversion factor (10 cents below the 2015 conversion factor); payment for two codes for advance care planning services, which include conversations between patients and their physicians before an illness progresses and during treatment; clarifying billing and physician supervision requirements for "incident to" services; and an extended effective date for implementation of the appropriate use criteria consultation requirement for physicians ordering advanced diagnostic imaging. An AMA summary of the final rule can be found here
MinnesotaCare Patients to Pay More in 2016
Beginning Jan. 1, 2016, enrollees in MinnesotaCare will be responsible for paying higher copayments because of a cost-saving measure passed earlier this year by the Legislature.  Read more here
Member Featured in Book on Black Women in Medicine
MMA member Dionne Hart, MD, is featured in a recently published book highlighting portraits and biographical accounts from more than 100 of the most prominent historical and contemporary black women physicians in the country.  Against All Odds: Celebrating Black Women in Medicine is the print companion to the upcoming documentary film, Changing the Face of Medicine. 
Physicians Asked to Provide Input on Stage 2, Meaningful Use
In its ongoing efforts to improve EHRs and their interoperability, the AMA is assisting the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) with gathering information to improve the summary of care document that is produced to meet the Transfer of Care objective in Stage 2 of Meaningful Use. Physicians are encouraged to take a 5- to 10-minute survey, the results of which the ONC will use to reduce the number of pages in the summary of care and make finding relevant information easier. The survey closes Nov. 30.  
Give Back to the Profession; Become a Preceptor
Physicians have a lot on their plates. But the need for preceptors is great. Anne Pereira, MD, and Jeremy Springer, MD, write in the most recent edition of Insights that more physicians need to help the next generation of doctors by becoming preceptors. The greatest need, they write, is to train medical students in high-functioning ambulatory settings in order to encourage them to pursue careers in primary care.  
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