Top Stories
HHS Budget Bill Uses HCAF to Balance Budget
Although the Legislature had not voted on a final Health and Human Services bill before this edition went to press, House and Senate leaders have a tacit agreement with the governor on how health care dollars will be allocated for the next biennium. Read more here
MMA Revises Its Policy on Physician Aid-In-Dying
At its May 20 meeting, the MMA's Board of Trustees revised its 25-year old position on physician aid-in-dying. The MMA will oppose any bill unless it includes specific protections detailed in the new policy. Read more here
Big Tobacco Ends Session with Tax Cuts
One winner coming out of the Legislature's special session appears to be Big Tobacco, as legislators voted to remove an automatic tax "inflator" on tobacco and reduce taxes on premium cigars. Read more here
ACMC, Rice Memorial and CentraCare Discuss New Regional Health Care Org
Physicians at ACMC Health and the board of directors at Rice Memorial Hospital voted to begin formal discussions with CentraCare Health regarding the creation of a new regional health care organization to serve west Central and southwest Minnesota. Read more here
Socials in St. Cloud and Duluth Approaching Fast
Dozens of physicians, residents and medical students gathered at socials in the Twin Cities and Rochester this week. A great time was had by all! There's still time to sign up for socials in St. Cloud and Duluth on June 1 and June 7, respectively. The socials - which will include free food, wine, beer and other beverages - are a celebration of medicine, a thank you to members, and a welcome to new and prospective members. For more information, click here.  
BMP Sets Up Contingency Plan for Potential Govt. Shutdown
If the Legislature and the governor are unable to agree on a budget in time, the Board of Medical Practice has a back-up plan to ensure that licensees and registrants have the opportunity to maintain licensure through any state government shutdown. Read more here
New RPAP and MetroPAP Director Announced
MMA member Kirby Clark, MD, has been named the new Director of the Rural Physician Associate Program (RPAP) and Metropolitan Physician Associate Program (MetroPAP). He takes over for Kathy Brooks, MD, who retired last November. For more information, click here.
Compact Fix Becomes Law
On May 12, Gov. Mark Dayton signed legislation that brings Minnesota into federal compliance with its Interstate Medical Licensure Compact law. Despite the governor's signature, Minnesota physicians cannot seek licensure through the Compact until the FBI approves the language. The bill is a technical fix to provide the Board of Medical Practice with authority to conduct criminal background checks on physicians who choose to seek licensure through the Compact.
Governor Signs "Title Protection" Bill
Gov. Mark Dayton signed MMA-supported legislation to amplify existing law related to the use of titles by health care practitioners. The new law, signed on May 17, had been sought by the Board of Medical Practice (BMP) so that it may better police non-physician health care practitioners from using titles such as "physician,"  "doctor of medicine," "medical doctor," "doctor of osteopathic medicine," "osteopathic physician," "surgeon," "M.D." or "D.O." The new law springs from a case in which a chiropractor advertised as a "chiropractic physician." 
Former MMA Prez to Serve as Panelist at Health Care Forum
Former MMA President Cindy Firkins Smith, MD, the president and CEO of Affiliated Community Medical Centers in Willmar, will serve as a panelist at a League of Women Voters, Dakota County-hosted health care forum on June 1. The public event will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at Nativity Episcopal Church, 15601 Maple Island Road in Burnsville. Other panelists include: Andy Slavitt, the former Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator, state Sen. John Marty, Lin Nelson, lobbyist for Blue Cross Blue Shield and Dmitri Drekonja, MD, with the Minneapolis VA Health Care System. For more information, click here
MMA Member Receives NAMI Award
MMA member Dionne Hart, MD, a psychiatrist in Rochester, has been selected to receive a 2017 NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Exemplary Psychiatrist Award. Awards winners are recognized for their advocacy for access to care and research funding, community education programs or other NAMI priorities. Hart received the award at the American Psychiatric Association Conference in San Diego, which took place May 20-24.
Medical Student Campaign Teaches Physicians How to Promote Vaccinations
Even before the recent measles outbreak, a group of medical students active with the Minnesota Medical Association - Medical Student Section, were busy educating physicians and their fellow medical students on the importance of immunizations. Read more here.
Health Care Reform Forum Now Available Online
For those who missed the April 25th health care reform forum, the MMA has made 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. 
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