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Editor's Note: We will be taking a break for the holidays. The next edition of MMA News Now will arrive Jan. 7. Have a safe and joyous holiday season!    
Thank You, Minnesota Physicians
As 2015 winds down, we wanted to take the time to say thank you for being a part of the MMA.  

This year, we accomplished much. We focused heavily on reforming medication prior authorization. We also continued our ongoing efforts to: fight prescription opioid addiction, abuse and diversion; improve access to primary care physicians; ensure the continuation of safety-net programs for low-income Minnesotans; close the gap on racial and ethnic health disparities; and promote cost transparency and adequate payment.

In 2016, we will continue our emphasis on prior authorization reform at the Legislature. We'll also keep fighting for issues that impact physicians, their patients and their practices every day. Please get active. Our efforts are always bolstered when our members get involved!
In the meantime, we wish you and your family a happy and safe holiday season.

Robert Meiches, M.D.
MMA to Continue Supporting Physicians in Avera Marshall Case
Physician members of the Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center medical staff have filed with the Court of Appeals to appeal an October District Court decision that found that hospital administration has the authority to amend medical staff bylaws without needing approval from two-thirds of its medical staff. Read more here.   
MMA Frustrated With Delays in DHS Physician Enrollment Processing
The MMA recently sent a letter to the assistant commissioner of the Department of Human Services urging him to dedicate resources to reduce delays in enrolling physicians as eligible providers for the state's public programs. Read more here.  
CDC Seeking Input on Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently seeking public comment on the draft CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. Written comments must be received on or before Jan. 13, 2016. Read more here.  
Commonwealth Fund Ranks Minnesota No. 1 in Health Again
Minnesota continues its reputation as a leading health care provider, according to the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that promotes high-performing health care systems and supports independent research on health care issues.  Minnesota ranked first in the nation for health care access, quality and outcomes in the group's report issued Dec. 9. Read more here
MMA Makes Electronic Prior Auth Materials Available
Effective Jan. 1, 2016, all Minnesota prescribers are required to submit, and payers are required to accept, electronic prior authorization (ePA) requests for prescription drugs. The MMA has created resources to help members get ready for ePA including a fact sheet, FAQs, and a recording of a webinar that took place Dec. 3. The MMA learned Dec. 7 that the state's Department of Human Services will not be able to accept ePA until April 1, 2016, at the earliest.
Save the Date: MACRA Webinar Scheduled for Jan. 26
The MMA will host a webinar on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) on Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. The webinar, "Making Sense of MACRA: Preparing for Medicare's New Physician Payment Policies," will provide information on the law that replaces the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR). To register, click here.  
Listening Session on Cancer Plan Minnesota Set for Jan. 19
Physicians are encouraged to take part in a one-hour listening session on Jan. 19 at 6 p.m. at the MMA to gather input for the Minnesota Cancer Alliance, which is updating its Cancer Plan Minnesota 2011-2016. Read more here
Minnesota Medicine

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