releases new opioid prescribing guidelines
Joined by health care providers and state health experts including MHA and the
Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), Lt. Gov. Tina Smith on Dec. 1
announced new guidelines designed to cut the risk of
opioid addiction. The new guidelines were developed by a work group made up of
health care providers and community partners and will help doctors and other
health care providers decide when to prescribe these powerful painkillers, how
much to prescribe and how to monitor their use.
The new guidelines, currently in draft form, aim to curb the number of
unnecessary opioid prescriptions for acute pain and promote effective
alternatives, encourage careful monitoring of prescription opioid use and
encourage compassionate care for chronic opioid users to help them to decrease
opioid use over time.
The new guidelines were developed collaboratively by the Opioid Prescribing Work Group,
a group of physicians, pharmacists and consumer and law enforcement
representatives, as well as staff from DHS, the Minnesota Department of Health
and the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. Public input was solicited
throughout the development of the new guidelines. Now that these draft
guidelines have been released, a 30-day public comment period begins.
“The guidelines being rolled out today put in place consistent, statewide
recommendations for all health care providers who prescribe opioids,” said Dr.
Rahul Koranne, chief medical officer, MHA. “Minnesota hospitals and health
systems are working to decrease both the amount of opioids prescribed and the
variation in prescribing among health care providers. We are ready to work with
DHS to implement these guidelines to achieve those goals.”
To learn more, view the press release. return to top
provides updated link to Mental Health Innovation Grant RFP
The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) on Nov. 27
issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a qualified grantee to improve
accessibility and quality of community-based outpatient mental health services
and reduce admissions to and stays beyond medical necessity in regional
treatment centers and Community Behavioral Health Hospitals. The RFP was
publicized in the Nov. 27 issue of Newsline.
After publication, DHS updated the link to the RFP. The RFP is now available here.
Responses to the RFP are due no later than 4 p.m. on Jan. 8, 2018. Instructions
for submission are outlined in the RFP.
A RFP responders’ conference will be held Dec. 6 at 1:30 p.m. at the Elmer L.
Anderson Human Services Building, Room 2333, 540 Cedar Street, St. Paul, MN
55155. Attendance is not mandatory but is recommended. Responders may attend
via conference call; contact Amanda Calmbacher, Mental Health Division,
DHS, 651-503-4050, for more information.
To learn more, visit the DHS website or
contact Amanda Calmbacher, 651-503-4050. return to top
approves Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
The Senate approved its version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by
a vote of 51-49. The Senate-passed bill differs from the legislation approved
by the House on Nov. 16. The differences between the Senate- and House-passed
bills will be reconciled before final passage. Republican leadership aims to
send the final tax bill to President Trump for his signature by the end of the
The Senate bill, like the House bill, would amend the tax code to eliminate the
ability of nonprofit hospitals to execute tax-exempt "advance
refundings" of outstanding tax-exempt bonds. However, unlike the
House-passed bill, the Senate legislation would not eliminate the tax exemption
for private-activity bonds (PABs), including qualified 501(c)(3) hospital
MHA and some Minnesota hospitals urged the Minnesota delegation to oppose the
repeal of tax exemption for PABs in the final tax bill. Rep. Tom Emmer joined
over 60 House Republicans in signing a letter to House and Senate leadership opposing
the repeal of the tax exemption for PABs. MHA encourages hospitals in the sixth
district to thank Emmer for working to protect hospital access to a vital
source of low-cost capital. Hospitals in Minnesota’s second and third districts
are encouraged to contact Reps. Jason Lewis and Erik Paulsen, urging them to
ask leadership to exclude the tax-exemption repeal from the final tax bill.
Other differences between the Senate and House legislation include the Senate
bill’s provisions to repeal enforcement of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA)
individual mandate, effectively repealing the mandate, and provisions to reduce
the itemized deduction for medical expenses from 10 percent to 7.5 percent of
income for two years. The House-passed bill would eliminate the deduction for
medical expenses. return to top
joins efforts to prevent 340B Program payment cuts
MHA has joined the amicus brief filed in support of the American
Hospital Association’s lawsuit to prevent the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services (CMS) from reducing payments under the 340B Drug Pricing Program. In
its hospital outpatient prospective payment system final rule, CMS said
Medicare payments to certain hospitals that participate in the 340B Program
will be cut by approximately 28 percent beginning on Jan. 1, 2018.
Additionally, MHA has asked the Minnesota delegation to cosponsor HR 4392,
which would prevent the significant reduction in Medicare Part B payments for
many hospitals that participate in the 340B Program. Rep. Collin Peterson has
signed on as a cosponsor of the bipartisan legislation. The bill will not move
through Congress as a stand-alone bill, but if there is wide congressional
support it could be included in the end-of-the-year legislation package. return to top
Board of Pharmacy reviews supply shortage issues
The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy at its Nov. 29
meeting reviewed issues related to shortages of saline and other medical
supplies manufactured in Puerto Rico, as a result of Hurricane Maria’s damage
to Puerto Rico’s electrical, communications and transportation systems.
Dr. Rahul Koranne, chief medical officer, MHA, shared information regarding
mitigation and conservation strategies being implemented by Minnesota health
system pharmacists, as well as concerns from hospitals and health systems.
Cody Wiberg, Pharm.D., executive director of the Board of Pharmacy, asked that
the board consider exercising enforcement discretion under specified conditions
during this shortage situation. The board agreed by full consensus to support
More information will be forthcoming from the Board of Pharmacy. MHA members
are also collaborating with the Minnesota Department of Health to address the
shortage situation. MHA will continue monitoring developments and communicate
any additional information with members. return to top