MPhA News

Small Doses

November 17, 2017
News from MPhA
Minnesota News
Use Your Member Benefits
National News
MPhA Events
Did You Know?

News from MPhA

Mission Moments:

GRAPh Town Hall

On November 9, the Grand Rapids Area Pharmacists (GRAPh) and MPhA collaborated to host pharmacists from the surrounding area for a Town Hall event. Special thanks to GRAPh President Heather Bibeau for making plans, to Denise Frank for her presentation on USP Chapter <800>, to our Sponsors (Pharmacists Mutual Companies, Cardinal Health, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, and AstraZeneca) and to nearly 25 pharmacists who came for the lively discussion and networking!

We were very pleased with the excellent attendance at the Town Hall event!

Left to right: Heather Bibeau, Denise Frank and Sara Elioff share in the fun.

AADE/MPhA Collaborative Education Event

Thanks to the American Association of Diabetes Educators and MPhA for a wonderful event to further patient care during American Diabetes Month. Pharmacists do great work with patients to manage diabetes. Molly Ekstrand was a wonderful host, Sean Stewart was a great speaker and we had strong attendance! Above, left to right: Student Member Vu Ha, Past President Molly Ekstrand and Staff Director Bryan Mowry.

Editor’s Note: During our Annual Learning Networking Event in September, MPhA made note of Mission Moments — those times when a member clearly exemplified our mission to advance patient care. As we move through the year, we hope to showcase these Mission Moments as part of Small Doses. If you have an example to share, please send it to Laurie Pumper

Minnesota News

DHS Calls for Feedback on Health Care Purchasing Reforms

New demonstration builds upon successful Integrated Health Partnerships model

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) wants feedback on health care purchasing reforms that will build upon the successful Integrated Health Partnerships (IHP) program, an initiative designed to reward providers who deliver improved health care outcomes in Minnesota.

The plan for the proposed demonstration is available for review by stakeholders and the public on the DHS website. Feedback on the plan will be accepted until 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15, 2017. Public meetings are scheduled beginning next week.

The new contract framework announced by the state will bring the procurement processes across managed care organizations (MCOs) and IHP organizations in closer alignment; introduce increased transparency around health care spending and related outcomes; and move providers toward greater accountability, placing a higher value on providers that achieve better health outcomes at a reasonable cost.

Feedback gathered in the next month will shape the next request for proposals for Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare contracts for children and families for 2019. Health care provider systems in the seven-county metro area will have the opportunity to submit proposals to participate in a new type of IHP contract, alongside MCOs. This effort will focus on testing new ways for providers and health plans to innovate and will require both to demonstrate value. The demonstration aims to enhance the health care enrollee experience by strengthening the patient and provider relationship; it will reward both IHPs and MCOs for improving health care outcomes, increasing efficiencies, and addressing social determinants of health.

Read the full news release.

COP Assistant Professor Named Women’s Health Scholar

University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy Assistant Professor Beshay Zordoky has been named a Masonic Cancer Center Women’s Health Scholar. Dr. Zordoky’s research focuses on cardio-oncology, which has emerged as a novel scientific discipline that aims to mitigate the cardiovascular adverse effects of anti-cancer agents.

Opportunities for Pharmacists on Minnesota Boards and Commissions

The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy and several other boards and commissions are looking for one or more pharmacists to serve as members. MPhA encourages members to apply for these vacancies in order to ensure adequate representation across pharmacy practices.

Minnesota Board of Pharmacy — Closing Date: November 27

The Board of Pharmacy seeks one Pharmacist member and two Public Members. View more information about the position. The posting is available at the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website through December 6. When you are ready to apply, click the green "apply" button next to the position name. If you have not applied for a position on this website before, you will be asked to create an account and a profile. You will only have to do this once, no matter how many positions you apply for.

Once you create your account and profile, you can apply by selecting the green "apply" button next to the position name. The application page will open. Here you can fill out the application and upload your cover letter and résumé. A cover letter and résumé are recommended but not required.

If you are appointed to this position, you will receive notice from the appointing authority.
For individuals without online access, the following Word file can be printed and used to apply: Open Appointments Application. Once the form has been completed it can be delivered in person or by mail 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

Phone: 651-556-0643

Applicants may also submit a cover letter, résumé or other information which might be helpful to the appointing authority. ALL applications become public information once submitted.

For additional information please email:

Minnesota Drug Utilization Review Board — Closing Date: November 27

The Drug Utilization Board has two openings for Pharmacist members. View more information about the positions.

Minnesota Opioid Prescribing Work Group — Closing Date: November 27

The Opioid Prescribing Work Group has one opening for a Pharmacist member, plus one opening for a Pharmacy Director Health Plan Company. View more information about the positions.

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

CDC Seeks Nominations of Innovative Pharmacy Programs

From Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Nov. 9: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (DHDSP) wants to identify community or ambulatory care pharmacies that follow the Pharmacists’ Patient Care Process (PPCP) and practice innovative strategies for controlling high blood pressure as a routine pharmacy practice.

Heart disease and stroke are leading causes of death and disability in the United States and controlling blood pressure with medications is one of the most cost-effective ways to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease. Receiving nominations of pharmacies using effective strategies helps in reaching CDC’s goal to identify and promote effective pharmacy-based strategies for blood pressure control.

The PPCP, developed by the Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners in 2014, provides the framework for a consistent approach to patient care (see CDC’s Pharmacist Resource Guide, “Using the Pharmacists’ Patient Care Process for Managing High Blood Pressure for more background).

Once CDC has identified a range of promising pharmacy program nominations, it will select three practice sites to undergo an evaluability assessment, featuring each of them on the CDC/DHDSP website. The ultimate goal is to have one of these programs also receive a fully-supported comprehensive evaluation that assesses the impact of their strategies to better control blood pressure.

Download a flyer with a brief description of this project and a nomination request. There is no limit to the number of sites that can be nominated. CDC values your expertise and hope that you will consider nominating at least one program. If you don’t have all the details requested on the flyer, please complete what you know. Also, please feel free to share these materials with your colleagues or membership for use in self-nomination. Please return nominations by Monday, November 20, 2017.

If you would like additional information or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Project Manager Dr. Kathryn Henderson at or 301-610-4849.

NACDS Study Highlights Opportunities for Pharmacies to Help Curb Opioid Epidemic

From NACDS Website, Accessed Nov. 14: Strategic changes to government policy would present new opportunities for pharmacies in the United States to expand their already important role in critical initiatives that benefit public health, according to a study by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and funded by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS).

The study, “Serving the Greater Good: Public Health and Community Pharmacy Partnerships,” found the collective group of chain and independent U.S. pharmacies remain an untapped resource in the effort to curb the national opioid crisis, stem the spread of antibiotic resistance, and strengthen pandemic and emergency preparedness and response. There is a growing public health need in these three key areas.

“When pharmacists are integrated into direct patient care in a team with other health professionals, there are positive effects on patient outcomes as well as reduced healthcare costs,” said Gigi Kwik Gronvall, PhD, senior associate at the Center and the study’s corresponding author. “What’s encouraging, though, is that more can be done to ensure pharmacy professionals practice at the ‘top of their license’—the peak of what they are capable and licensed to do to support public health.” Read the full report.

CMS Chief Outlines Vision for Medicaid Changes

From NCPA Advocacy Center Update, Nov. 10: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma unveiled new CMS policies that encourage states to propose innovative Medicaid reforms, reduce federal regulatory burdens, increase efficiency, and promote transparency and accountability. During remarks at the National Association of Medicaid Directors Fall Conference, she highlighted shorter processes for Medicaid State Plan Amendments, section 1115 demonstrations, and section 1915 waivers to federal Medicaid requirements in order to provide states with greater flexibility to design “innovative programs” (such as “work activities" for “working-age, able-bodied citizens on Medicaid”) and removing barriers that impede state progress. NCPA is actively monitoring CMS’ new streamlined approach to the administration of Medicaid and will be on the lookout for a variety of changes to Medicaid proposed at the state level.

NCPA Flags Problems with PBMs at FTC Workshop

From NCPA Advocacy Center Update, Nov. 10: A daylong Federal Trade Commission (FTC) workshop on the prescription drug market featured a panel on PBMs during which NCPA VP for Policy & Regulatory Affairs Susan Pilch discussed in detail PBM-related problems and how community pharmacists are part of the solution.

Pilch raised issues including “spread pricing”; conflict-of-interest; DIR fees; and a lack of transparency and articulated NCPA solutions including direct-to-pharmacy contracting and better aligned incentives that account for how greater Rx utilization can avert costlier, downstream interventions. The panel discussion repeatedly turned to questions about the rising share of brand name list prices commandeered by PBMs as rebates, which put the PBMs’ representative on the defensive. For more, read NCPA’s summary; watch an online webcast; and peruse the panelists’ slides.

MPhA Events

Register Now for December Virtual Coffee Break Webinar: Medicare Part D Enhanced MTM

Wednesday, December 20, 11:30 a.m. CST

Please join MPhA for another hot topic in a Virtual Coffee Break Webinar. Joshua Johnson, PharmD, RPh, will explain why CMS is offering stand-alone Part D plans the chance to innovate MTM, with the goal of improving clinical outcomes while driving down A & B medical costs. The BlueCross BlueShield Northern Plains Alliance is one of the plan participants in this 5-year pilot. Participants will be able to describe the CMS pilot; list the goals of CMS for the pilot; understand the medication risk stratification; amd describe the MedicareBlue Rx program.

About Our Speaker: Joshua Johnson graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BS in Biology in 2004, and then went on to obtain his PharmD from Ferris State University in Michigan in 2008. Upon graduating, he returned to Minnesota where he practiced as a community pharmacist for 8 years, having already spent 3 years as a technician and 4 years as an intern in community pharmacy. In 2016, he was hired by ClearStone Solutions, a Part D Plan administrator, to run the 5-year CMS Enhanced MTM Pilot on behalf of the BlueCross BlueShield Northern Plains Alliance in Medicare Part D Region 25 (IA, MN, MT, ND, NE, SD, & WY). He has presented information on Enhanced MTM to national pharmacy organizations as well as several pharmacy schools within the 7 states of Region 25.

The Webinar is complimentary to MPhA members (including students and residents) thanks to an educational grant from CoverMyMeds.
Non-members are $25.

Did You Know?

Missing Money Site Can Help Pharmacies

Individuals and companies can lose track of money or financial property because of a change of address, death, or forgetfulness. The Minnesota Department of Commerce makes it easy to see if you have unclaimed assets; each year, the department receives millions of dollars in unclaimed property. Learn more at the Minnesota Department of Commerce website.