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HHS Budget Awaits Dayton's Veto
With overall budget negotiations not progressing as fast as legislative leaders hoped, the House and Senate decided to go ahead and pass their version of the budget bills this week. They approved their Health and Human Services budget conference committee report that cuts $505 million from a variety of state programs on May 9. Gov. Mark Dayton has said he will veto their budget bills and will continue to ask for more funding for HHS. Once Dayton vetoes this round of budget bills, all sides will be forced to return to the negotiating table to work out compromises that he can accept. For more information, see the MMA News Now archives.
Compact Bill Fixed, Awaiting Final Approval by FBI
Legislation designed to bring Minnesota into federal compliance with its Interstate Medical Licensure Compact law passed the Senate on May 4 and the House on May 10. Gov. Dayton is expected to sign it into law, but the FBI still needs to review and confirm that it passes muster. Minnesota physicians cannot seek licensure through the Compact until the FBI approves the language. Read more here.
Dayton Vetoes Two Abortion Bills
Two bills that would further restrict access to abortions in Minnesota were vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton on May 10. The MMA spoke out against the bills in committee, arguing that the proposals interfered with the patient-physician relationship and restricted the practice of medicine on a procedure-specific basis. One bill would preclude the use of Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare for pregnancy terminations, and the other would require clinics that perform more than 10 abortions a month to be licensed by the health department.
Health Department Sounds Alarm on Rise of e-Cigarette Use by Youth
On May 10, the Minnesota Department of Health issued another plea to parents and health care providers about the dangers of nicotine for children, teens and pregnant women. Read more here
Concerns Raised Over APRN Scope of Practice Issue
The Minnesota Department of Health has formed an advisory committee to update rules that regulate the use of x-rays and other high-tech imaging. The MMA and other physician groups are concerned that nursing groups may use this opportunity to attempt to expand their scope of practice beyond their training. Read more here
CMS Releases Tool to Help Clinicians Determine MIPS Status
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has launched an interactive tool, which physicians can use to determine if they should participate in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) track of the Quality Payment Program in 2017. Read more here
Allina Joins Growing List of Those Providing Patient Access to Clinical Notes
Allina Health announced recently that it is now allowing its patients online access to clinical notes. This follows similar action taken by Mayo Clinic, Avera Health and the Veterans Administration. Several other groups are in the process of doing the same. This policy is consistent with a recommendation by the MMA's Policy Council, which was adopted by the Board of Trustees in November 2016. The policy says: "The MMA supports voluntary efforts to increase patient access to clinical notes and other medical record information as a means to improve patient engagement in care, health literacy, and communication between patients and physicians." For more information on open notes, click here.
MMA Expresses Disappointment with House Passing AHCA
The MMA released a statement on May 4 following the U.S. House of Representatives' passage of the American Health Care Act. "We have long-supported insurance coverage for all as a core health care reform principle," said MMA President David Agerter, MD, in the statement, which was shared with media across the state. "On this alone, the MMA opposed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in its first iteration in March. Recent negotiations between House members and President Trump have only worsened the legislation." For the entire statement, click here
Register Now for MMA's 4 Free Physicians' Socials
Registration is open for the MMA's free physicians' socials being held this spring in the Twin Cities, Rochester, the St. Cloud area and Duluth. Read more here
Writing/Photo Contest Deadlines Extended to May 15
There's still time to enter the Minnesota Medicine writing and photography contests!  Physicians (practicing and retired), residents, fellows and medical students are all eligible to submit poems, essays, short stories or photographs. Read more here.
Health Care Reform Forum Now Available Online
For those who missed the April 25th health care reform forum, the MMA is making the entire event available online. Local and national experts discuss what repeal and replacement of the ACA means for how medicine is practiced in Minnesota. Click here to access the recording. 
Minnesota Medicine
Epinephrine entrepreneur
A Minnesota allergist aims to build a better-and cheaper-drug injection device for people with severe food allergies.

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