MPhA News

Small Doses

July 28, 2017
Breaking News
News from MPhA
Minnesota News
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National News
MPhA Events
Did You Know?

Breaking News

U.S. Senate Continues Work on Alternatives to ACA

From news sources: Three times, the U.S. Senate voted on bills to repeal and/or replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this week — and three times, the bills went down to defeat. It is unclear what path the Senate will take next.

In brief, these are the options that Senate leaders have considered:

  • Repeal and Replace: A revised version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) includes an amendment that allows insurers to sell plans that don’t comply with some current insurance regulations, as long as insurers also offer a set of plans that do. Insurers would be able to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. This bill keeps two taxes on high-income earners and adds state stability funding.
  • Partial Repeal (the Obamacare Repeal and Reconciliation Act): This bill would repeal coverage provisions in the ACA, including the individual mandate, Medicaid expansion and premium subsidies, but would let stand insurance market reforms like ensuring a base level of coverage.
  • “Skinny” Repeal: This version would eliminate the least popular parts of the ACA, but make no changes to Medicaid. It would not eliminate the ACA’s insurance regulations, and is not likely to lower premiums.

Sen. Klobuchar Calls for Congressional Action on Insulin Prices

From APhA’s Pharmacy Today, July 24: Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) is urging congressional action on the price of insulin. Speaking at a news conference in St. Paul earlier this week, Klobuchar said the cost of insulin — which has tripled in the past decade — is financially squeezing people with diabetes. She called for votes on legislation she is pushing in Congress that boost competition by allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices for prescriptions, loosen restrictions on importing drugs from Canada, and increase the availability of generic drugs.

In addition, Klobuchar coauthored a bill that would eliminate the practice of brand-name drug companies paying to keep generic versions of drugs off the market. Read the full article.

News from MPhA

MPhA Holds Planning Retreat

The 2017-2017 MPhA Board of Directors and outgoing board members met with MPhA staff at Park Nicollet in St. Louis Park for their annual Board retreat.

Board Retreat

The retreat provided the opportunity for board members to get to know one another, learn about their roles and responsibilities, create committee charges and leadership, plan MPhA’s calendar of events through June 2018 and discuss long-term goals and strategies for the association to continue to fulfill its mission to serve Minnesota Pharmacists to advance patient care. Several Town Hall events are being planned throughout greater Minnesota and the Twin Cities as well as a collaborative interprofessional program with the American Association of Diabetes Educators. The MPhA Board and Staff want to hear your ideas, too! Feel free to share your thoughts by emailing Interim Executive Director Marsha Millonig at

Minnesota News

Board of Pharmacy Opening for Pharmacy Surveyor

Due to a retirement, the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy has an opening for a Pharmacy Surveyor (aka Inspector). Job duties include: Conduct onsite inspections of pharmacies, drug manufacturers, drug wholesalers, medical gas distributors, and controlled substance research facilities to ensure compliance with applicable laws, rules and standards of practice. During inspections, the employee will work with facility personnel to develop a plan to bring the facility into compliance with laws, rules and standards of practice, as necessary. The employee will complete inspection reports and will notify the Board’s Deputy Director or Executive Director of any serious violations. Read the full position description. Once you reach the site, go to the Search page and enter "pharmacy" in the search field.

Pharmacist Vacancy on Medicaid Drug Formulary Committee

Deadline for Application: August 3

The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State released a notice of vacancy for a pharmacist on the Medicaid Drug Formulary Committee. You are encouraged to consider this opportunity for service to the state and patients served through this program. To learn more about the position and how to apply:

  • Visit the Open Positions page.
  • Scroll down to find the correct Agency/Board/Council.
  • Choose the correct seat type, and click the button that says APPLY.
  • The system will walk you through creating an application profile.

Applications must be submitted by Thursday, August 3. Applications submitted via
downloadable application may experience some delay in reaching the Appointing Authority.

Paper applications may be submitted by email to: or by
mail or in person to:

Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State
180 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155-1299

Minnesota Named Top State to Be a Pharmacist

From Drug Topics, a ModernMedicine Network publication, July 19: Looking at 12 metrics, Drug Topics compiled a list of the top ten U.S. states to be a pharmacist. Minnesota was ranked first. While salary is important, other factors (such as number of pharmacists per state, cost of living, crime statistics and health insurance rates) were also considered. Pharmacists living here were rated best in terms of overall well-being, financial savviness and stress (presumably, low stress). Our lowest score on the 12 measures came on pharmacy robbery rates, where Minnesota scored 40th.

Minnesota #1

Other states in the top ten, in order of rank: Wisconsin, Iowa and Vermont (tied for third), New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Nebraska (tied for eighth place) and New York. Read the full article.

Use Your Member Benefits

MPhA Partners with AAA for Member Discount

MPhA has partnered with AAA to provide members, their families and friends with a 15% discount on new and renewal AAA membership. In addition to the well-known AAA roadside assistance, AAA membership provides significant discounts on travel, touring services, car care and insurance. AAA has discounts with more than 160,000 partners. If you already hold AAA membership, you’ll save on renewal dues with this benefit. For both new and renewal memberships, contact MPhA’s AAA representative, Scott Dieter, at 507-258-6366 or

National News

U.S. House Subcommittee Hears Testimony on the Value of Pharmacists

From NCPA Advocacy Center Update, July 23: The House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health held an oversight hearing during the week of July 17 examining 11 bipartisan bills aimed at improving Medicare. NCPA CEO Doug Hoey sent a letter to the subcommittee's chair and ranking member, Reps. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) and Gene Green (D-Texas) touting three bipartisan bills that NCPA believes would bring needed transparency to Medicare Part D:

  • H.R. 1083, the Improving Transparency and Accuracy in Medicare Part D Spending Act, would force pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to apply DIR fees at the point-of-sale. As a result, beneficiaries' out-of-pocket costs would not increase and pharmacies' viability would not be threatened by the delayed timing and undetermined amount of these PBM clawbacks.
  • H.R. 1316, the Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act, would codify, strengthen and extend current Part D maximum allowable costs (MAC) disclosure requirements for generic prescription drug reimbursements to the TRICARE and the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) programs.
  • H.R. 1939, the Ensuring Seniors Access to Local Pharmacies Act, would allow pharmacies in medically underserved areas (MUAs) to participate in Part D preferred pharmacy networks if they accept the contract terms and conditions that other in-network providers operate under. As a result, beneficiaries would have greater access to discounted copays.

During the hearing, Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) asked questions of two witnesses in support of independent community pharmacists. He asked a question related to mail order and diabetic testing supplies to the CEO of the Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition, Ms. Christel Aprigliano. Ms. Aprigliano answered that many times patients will return to their local pharmacy due to faulty readings or device inaccuracy. She noted that the pharmacist becomes part of the “health team” for individuals with diabetes. Rep. Carter also questioned Dr. K. Eric De Jonge, President-Elect, American Academy of Home Care Medicine (AAHCM) on the need for pharmacists to be part of the team with individuals who are home bound and the savings available by avoiding re-admittances to SNFs and hospitals. He went on to promote H.R. 592, the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act and ask that the committee consider the legislation. He pointed to testimony that in the long term, the bill and policy would save Medicare money. NCPA is a member of the Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition (PAPCC), which sent aseparate letter to the committee urging support for H.R. 592 as the bill expands the scope of practice for pharmacists under Medicare Part B.

CDC Report Finds More than a Third of U.S. Adults Have Prediabetes; Most Don’t Know

From APhA Focus, July 25: The latest report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that nearly 10% of Americans have diabetes, and more than a third have prediabetes. The National Diabetes Statistics Report from CDC is released approximately every two years.

The report also found that more men (37%) have prediabetes than women (29%). Although diabetes rates are still rising, the report finds they are not increasing as quickly as in previous years. “Although these findings reveal some progress in diabetes management and prevention, there are still too many Americans with diabetes and prediabetes,” said CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, MD.

Share a link to a quick test to help your patients recognize prediabetes

MPhA Events

Join Us at the 2017 MPhA Annual Learning Networking Event & MTM Symposium!

Chart Your Course for Change with MPhA, September 7-8 in St. Paul

Join your colleagues at this peer-designed event, which will allow to you create an agenda for your practice and professional development. We have an excellent line-up of speakers and topics! Here are just a few highlights from our MTM Symposium Track:

  • Kristi Melby, PharmD, LADC, CTTS, Genesis Recovery Services, LLC: Becoming an Addiction Specialist Pharmacist
  • Jean Moon, PharmD, BCACP, University of Minnesota, and Gardner Lepp, PhD, University of Minnesota: Precepting Millennials
  • Heidi Burres, PharmD, BCACP, Fairview Specialty Services Pharmacy, and Brittany Symonds, PharmD, BCACP, Fairview Pharmacy Services: Minimally Disruptive Medicine
  • Amy Busker, PharmD, CGP, Fairview Pharmacy Services: Depression in Elderly Patients
  • Lisa Krohn, PharmD, BCACP, Park Nicollet Health Services: COPD Update

Register Online

Register Now for August 16 Virtual Coffee Break Webinar

Flu Vaccine Guidance for Minnesota Pharmacists

In this one-hour webinar on Wednesday, August 16, we will learn about new influenza recommendations and refresh knowledge of the basics of giving flue vaccine. Jennifer Heath, DNP, MPH, RN, from the Minnesota Department of Health will present essential information to prepare for the 2017-2018 influenza season and answer your questions related to providing flu vaccine.

Read more

August 16, 2017 • Online Webinar
FREE for all MPhA Members • Non-member cost: $25 per person

Register Online

Did You Know?

August Is National Immunization Awareness Month

From Immunizing Pharmacists News, a publication of the American Pharmacist Association, July 26: Every year in August, National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of immunization and the need for improving national vaccination coverage levels.

NIAM is sponsored by the National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC). The 2017 edition of the communications toolkit, issued by NPHIC in collaboration with CDC, contains key messages, vaccine information, sample news releases and articles, sample social media messages, links to web resources from CDC and other organizations, and logos, web banners, posters, and graphics to use with social media. It also includes a media outreach toolkit and a place for you to share your NIAM activities and view what others are doing for NIAM, using the hashtag #NIAM17.

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