Top Stories
Cannabis Review Panel Begins Consideration of New Qualifying Conditions
A review panel established by the Office of Medical Cannabis to consider possible additions to the list of conditions that may be eligible for medical cannabis held its first meeting on Aug. 25. The seven-member panel includes three physician members, as well as patient advocates and other health care professionals. Read more here.
Elections Offer Opportunity for Physicians to Make a Difference
With a little more than two months to go in the election cycle, the MMA remains strongly involved in the process, providing information on the issues of medication prior authorization reform, provider tax repeal, and strengthening immunization laws. MMA's political arm, MEDPAC, is also active, having endorsed candidates in 20 state legislative races and seven of the eight congressional races. Read more here.
Numbers Looks Good For Weight Loss in Minnesota
Minnesota saw a significant drop in its adult obesity rate from 2014 to 2015, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read more here.
MMA Meets with Congressman to Talk Health Care
Member Robert Nesheim, MD, (second from left), and his wife, Marlys Johnson, discuss politics with Rep. Rick Nolan and the MMA's Phil Raines.
MMA staff and a member met with Rep. Rick Nolan (MN - Eighth District) in Duluth on Aug. 30 to di
scuss health care legislation and regulations. Nolan is interested in strengthening the Affordable Care Act and opposes efforts to repeal the bill. He noted Washington, D.C.'s current environment prevents pushing simpler reforms that have bi-partisan support, and that most legislation is stalled. MMA member Robert Nesheim, MD, a psychiatrist from Grand Marais, voiced his concerns with "meaningful use" criteria, and urged Nolan to support expanded health care without duplicative or harmful mandates.
Electronic Voting for Officers, Trustees, AMA Delegation and Bylaws Amendment Begins
Ballots to elect 2016-2017 MMA officers, trustees and the AMA delegation and a proposed MMA Bylaws change were emailed on Aug. 17 to all members with email addresses on file with the MMA. Read more here.
Three Policy Forums Scheduled for 2016 Annual Conference
Physicians and physicians-in-training will have several chances to discuss important policy matters at this year's Annual Conference. The first forum will review the controversial topic of physician aid-in-dying on Sept. 23 from 10 - 11:20 a.m. Later that afternoon, from 3 to 4:30 p.m., physicians, residents and medical students will meet for an Open Issues Forum with such topics as pornography as a public health crisis and firearm safety. The final forum, on Sept. 24 from 9:30 to 10:50 a.m., will focus on quality measurement, which the MMA is advocating for limiting. Register here for the conference, which takes place in St. Louis Park. 
Member Joins Health Equity Advisory Council
Lynn Hassan Jones, MD, a member of the MMA's Health Disparities Work Group, was recently appointed to MN Community Measurement's new Health Equity Advisory Council. The groups' charge is to provide advice and recommendations to Community Measurement's president and board on health equity measurement and reporting for ambulatory health care entities with a goal of reducing health disparities and improving health outcomes.
Final Physicians' Social for the Year Set for Oct. 4 in Duluth
Following in the footsteps of the successful Physicians' Socials in Minneapolis and Rochester, the MMA is hosting an event in Duluth on Tuesday, Oct. 4, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Harbor View Room at Fitger's, 600 E. Superior St. The event is a celebration of medicine, a thank you to members, and a welcome to new and prospective members. Hors d'oeuvres and drinks will be served. For more information, go to the MMA website.
What Makes You Happy?
We hear a lot about physician burnout and the many factors that contribute to it. Minnesota Medicine wants to look at a different side of physician life: What makes you happy. It can be something you do outside of medicine, a favorite place, a certain person, a simple thing you make time for every day. In 100 words or less, tell us what you do to increase your happiness. Send your comments to Kim Kiser. We'll publish them in our November/December issue. Deadline: Sept. 15.
Prepare Now for New Medicare Quality Payment Program
Although the new Medicare quality payment program created by the 2015 MACRA law doesn't take effect until 2019, physician practices are urged to start preparing for it now. Performance on quality and other metrics in 2017 will serve as the basis for Medicare payments in 2019. Final program regulations and metrics will be released later this year and could involve new or different data collection requirements starting Jan. 1, 2017. To help members understand the changes, the MMA offers a comprehensive set of resources, including a no-cost, in-person presentation to clinic leadership.
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