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Editor's Note: There will not be an MMA News Now next week. We will return Dec. 3. Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday! 
Health Care Financing Task Force Begins Forming Recommendations
After several meetings held in various locales across the state, the Minnesota Health Care Financing Task Force has begun to formulate preliminary recommendations. The group, which met again on Nov. 13 in St. Cloud, must report to the Legislature by Jan. 15, 2016. Read more here.  
Funds Available to Support PMP/EMR Integration
In an effort to increase the use of the Minnesota Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy has issued a Request for Proposal for qualified Minnesota health care systems and Minnesota licensed pharmacies interested in integrating direct access to the PMP into their EMR or pharmacy operations software. Read more here.
Study: Minnesota Ranks Fifth in Rate of Uninsurance
Minnesota had the fifth lowest percentage of people without health insurance in the United States in 2014, according to a study by WalletHub. Findings showed the rate of uninsurance in the state fell from 9.07 percent in 2010 to 5.88 percent in 2014. Those gains didn't extend to certain racial and ethnic groups, however.  Read more here.
Time to Renew Your MMA Membership
"I became a doctor to help people. I joined MMA to help a lot of people" says former MMA President Cindy Firkins Smith, MD, of Affiliated Community Medical Centers in Willmar. By renewing your MMA membership, you too can help a lot of people by having a powerful voice at the state Capitol, in the courts and with insurance companies. Visit for more information or return your dues invoice.  
Trauma Surgeon Wins Bolles Bolles-Rogers Award
David J. Dries, MSE, MD, FACS, FCCP, MCCM, a trauma surgeon and critical care specialist at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, received the Charles Bolles Bolles-Rogers Award from the Twin Cities Medical Society Foundation on Nov. 10 at the Regions Hospital Medical Staff 2015 Annual Meeting and Dinner. Read more here
Three BMP Vacancies, Other State Board Openings for Physicians
The state has several openings for physicians interested in serving on health care boards, including the Board of Medical Practice. The application deadline is Nov. 24, 2015. 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.  
Free Webinar on Electronic Prior Auth Set for Dec. 3
The MMA and MMGMA will co-host a free 30-minute webinar at noon on Dec. 3 on the prescription drug e-PA mandate, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2016. The featured speaker is Laura Topor, president of Granada Health, LLC, and member of the Board of Trustees at the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs Inc. The webinar will be live, but will be recorded for posting online and later viewing.   
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, MPH, 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.  
MMA Signs On To MACRA Letter
The MMA and more than 100 state and national medical specialty societies signed on to a letter to CMS that lays out principles it should follow in designing regulations to implement the Medicare Access and Chip Reauthorization Act.   
Celebrate National Rural Health Day
Today (Nov. 19) is National Rural Health Day, in which health care workers highlight the unique health care challenges and opportunities in rural areas.  For more information, click here.
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