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Payment for Telemedicine Services Changes with New Year
As of Jan. 1, Minnesota Health Care Programs now cover "medically necessary services and consultation" by licensed health care providers through telemedicine in the same manner as if the service or consultation was delivered in person. This is in accordance with the Minnesota Telemedicine Act, passed last legislative session. Read more here.  
BMP, Nursing and Pharmacy Boards Update Pain Management Statement
In late December, the Minnesota Boards of Medical Practice, Nursing, and Pharmacy updated their Joint Statement on Pain Management, which they first created in 2004 and reaffirmed in 2009. Read more here
Nominations Open for CDC Childhood Immunization Champion
The Minnesota Department of Health is seeking nominations again for the CDC Childhood Immunization Champion Award, which recognizes individuals doing exceptional work in the area of childhood immunization. Last year, MMA member Patrick Zook, MD, won the award. Nominations are due Feb. 5. Read more here.  
Registration Now Open for Day at the Capitol on March 23
Physicians, students and residents can now register for MMA's annual Day at the Capitol, taking place on March 23. During the upcoming legislative session, which begins March 8, the MMA will continue its quest to fix medication prior authorization. The MMA will also work to maintain the repeal of the provider tax, which is scheduled for repeal at the end of 2019. In addition, the MMA will advocate for stronger immunization laws, as Minnesota has one of the weakest childhood immunization laws in the nation. This session, the MMA wants to completely remove the conscientiously held belief exemption that allows parents to opt-out of the state law to immunize their children, similar to what passed in California in 2015. To register, visit the MMA website
Free CME Session on Opioid Prescribing Set for March 18 
Minnesota physicians are invited to attend a free CME session on "Clinical Challenges in Opioid Prescribing: Balancing Safety and Efficacy" from 7:45 am to 4:45 p.m. on March 18 in Brooklyn Park. Read more 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 help the Minnesota Cancer Alliance gather information for the update of its Cancer Plan Minnesota 2011-2016. Read more here
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 about the law that replaces the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. To register, click here.  
MMA Makes Electronic Prior Auth Materials Available
This year, all Minnesota prescribers will be 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 switch to ePA including a fact sheet, FAQs, and a recording of a webinar that took place in December. The MMA learned last month that the state's Department of Human Services will not be able to accept ePA until April 1, 2016, at the earliest.
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