Health Licensing Boards implement criminal background check program
Minnesota law requires that all new applicants for licensure
must complete a fingerprint-based criminal background check. The Minnesota
Health Licensing Boards have cooperatively established the Criminal Background
Check (CBC) Program to help applicants efficiently complete this mandatory
criminal background check.
Upon receipt of an application for licensure, the required application
fee and the $32 CBC fee, the CBC Program will send the applicant an instructional
packet for completing the criminal background check. Applicants are
responsible for having fingerprints taken promptly and for completing all
required CBC paperwork to assure timely application processing.
Mandatory criminal background checks for professions regulated by the Minnesota
Board of Medical Practice (BMP) will be implemented according to the following
- Nov. 10: acupuncturists,
traditional midwives, respiratory therapists
- Nov. 17: physician assistants
- Dec. 1: physicians, surgeons,
To learn more, visit the BMP website. return to top
open enrollment runs through Jan. 14, 2018
Open enrollment for MNsure began Nov. 1 and runs through Jan.
14, 2018. Those who want coverage that begins Jan. 1, 2018, must enroll by Dec.
Visit the MNsure website to compare plans from multiple companies and
estimate out-of-pocket costs. Current enrollees can check to see if their 2017 plan will be available in 2018.
MNsure has a statewide network of expert assisters to help
Minnesotans apply and enroll in person and over the phone. In addition, there
are enrollment events in communities around the
Minnesotans can call MNsure’s Contact Center at 1-855-366-7873 or 651-539-2099.
The center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday
from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. return to top
releases OPPS and PFS final rules, cuts 340B Program payments
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released
the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) final rule for
calendar year (CY) 2018, which finalized the agency’s proposal to reduce 340B
Drug Pricing Program payments for physician-administered drugs by about 28
Under the final rule, CMS will reduce payments for separately payable,
non-pass-through drugs (other than vaccines) purchased through the 340B Program
to the rate of the average sales price (ASP) minus 22.5 percent from the
current ASP plus 6 percent. Sole community hospitals in rural areas, PPS-exempt
cancer hospitals and children’s hospitals will be excepted from this policy for
CY 2018. Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) are also exempt from the Medicare
340B Program payment cut.
CMS is implementing the payment reduction in a budget-neutral manner by
offsetting the estimated $1.6 billion in reductions in drug payments by
redistributing that amount to other non-drug services within the OPPS, meaning
hospitals that do not participate in the 340B Program will see their Medicare
rate increase slightly. The hospital industry has said it will work with
Congress to address the CMS-finalized cuts.
CMS also released the Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) final rule, which will
increase physician payment rates by about 0.41 percent for CY 2018 compared to
CY 2017, after applying a 0.5 percent payment increase required by the Medicare
Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) and a coding adjustment
required under the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014.
Learn more about the OPPS and PFS final rules. return to top
commission releases recommendations
The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the
Opioid Crisis on Nov. 1 released final recommendations for addressing the
nation’s opioid epidemic. President Trump and Congress now have the opportunity
to review the recommendations and determine whether to appropriate funding.
The commission made 56 recommendations in four categories: federal funding and
programs; opioid addiction prevention; opioid addiction treatment, overdose
reversal and recovery; and research and development.
The recommendations include improving access to treatment for individuals using
opioids, modifying reimbursement policies that discourage the use of non-opioid
treatments for pain, developing a national curriculum and standard of care for
opioid prescribers and requiring opioid prescribers to participate in
continuing medical education.
The commission also recommended that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services (CMS) remove pain questions on patient satisfaction surveys.
Read the recommendations. return to top
submits comments in support of improving HIE in Minnesota
Last week, MHA submitted comments regarding a health information exchange (HIE) study from
the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). At the end of this study, MDH gave a
list of options for addressing the barriers to HIE presented by the misalignment
of the Minnesota Health Records Act (MHRA) and HIPAA. MHA strongly supports
full alignment between MHRA and HIPAA. Several health care providers as well as
advocacy groups such as the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce also support full
In addition to the list of options, the study also made several recommendations
that do not require legislative action, each of which MHA supported. The
centerpiece recommendation is the establishment of a task force to develop a
business plan for and establish an HIE model that better connects the current
networks, with an initial focus on addressing the opioid epidemic use case.
MHA was involved on the steering group that MDH established for this study and
also participated through discussions at the E-Health Advisory Group. If you
have questions, please contact Mark Sonneborn, vice president, health
information and analytics, MHA, 651-659-1423. return to top
commissioner urges Minnesota delegation to support health care stabilization,
Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS)
Commissioner Emily Piper on Oct. 30 wrote to Minnesota’s congressional delegation
regarding Affordable Care Act (ACA) cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments, the
Minnesota reinsurance waiver and the Children’s Health Insurance Program
Piper shared that MinnesotaCare is in danger of losing substantial federal
funding. Discontinued CSR payments were estimated to fund approximately 25
percent of MinnesotaCare’s cost in the coming year. MinnesotaCare funding will
be further reduced as a condition of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services (CMS) funding the state’s 1332 reinsurance waiver. The elimination of
the CSR payments and the cuts called for by the reinsurance waiver will reduce
federal support for MinnesotaCare by $742 million between 2018-21.
Piper urged the delegation to support the Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization
Act of 2017, which includes language that ensures BHP funding is eligible for
pass-through payments under the 1332 waiver. If this bill were to become
law, Minnesota would receive $436 million between 2018-22.
In addition, Piper reiterated concerns that Minnesota will exhaust its CHIP
funding before Congress acts to reauthorize the program and asked the
delegation to reauthorize CHIP. Currently, Minnesota’s CHIP covers children in
families with incomes between 275 and 283 percent of federal poverty level
(FPL) and pregnant women ineligible for Medicaid with incomes up to 278 percent
On Nov. 3, the House voted to extend CHIP funding for five years and delay the
Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payment cuts for two years.
Fifteen Democrats, including Rep. Collin Peterson, joined all Republicans in
voting for the CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act (H.R. 3922). It is unlikely the
Senate will consider the House-passed bill, given Democratic opposition to the
provisions offsetting the cost of the bill. The Senate Finance Committee
approved similar legislation (S. 1827) to extend CHIP funding that does not
include the controversial pay-fors. It is becoming more likely that CHIP
funding will move through Congress as part of a large year-end legislative
package. return to top