MPhA News

Small Doses

December 22, 2017
News from MPhA
Minnesota News
Use Your Member Benefits
National News
MPhA Events
Did You Know?

News from MPhA

Mission Moment:

Todd Sorensen Will Serve as AACP President-Elect

MPhA member Todd Sorensen, PharmD, of the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy has won election as president-elect of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP).

Happy Holidays from MPhA

Happy Hannukkah, Merry Christmas, and Happy Festivus! Best wishes for the holidays from your staff at the Minnesota Pharmacists Association. The MPhA office will be closed on Monday, Dec. 25, in observance of Christmas, and on Monday, Jan. 1, for New Year’s Day. While our office is open Dec. 22-29, many staff members are taking some additional time off to celebrate with family and friends. We will return at full strength on Tuesday, Jan. 2.

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 will continue to showcase these Mission Moments as part of Small Doses. If you have an example to share, please send it to Laurie Pumper lauriep@mpha.org.

Minnesota News

Minnesota Health Commissioner Resigns

Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Commissioner Dr. Edward Ehlinger resigned on Dec. 19 after published reports and controversy over the state’s mishandling of allegations of criminal abuse in senior care facilities. Deputy Commissioner Dan Pollock will serve as acting commissioner until Gov. Mark Dayton appoints a replacement. Gov. Dayton also gave the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) new powers over the agency responsible for investigating abuse and neglect in senior care homes. Read more.


Minnesota Rural Health Conference Needs Readers

Volunteers will help to read and score session proposals

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is looking for a “few good readers” to help read and score the session proposals that are submitted to the 2018 MN Rural Health Conference. Thank you to those who have already contacted MDH about their willingness to do so. The initial request for session proposals will be sent out shortly and the deadline for submission is Friday, January 5. Your scores and notes are due by Monday, January 15.

MDH typically has people read and score proposals for one of the learning tracks:

  • Behavioral health
  • Supporting rural populations
  • Addressing social determinants of health
  • Workforce
  • Financial sustainability
  • Quality

If you’d like to participate, let Maria Rogness at MDH know which track you’d like to read through (feel free to pick more than one track) and MDH will send you the online links to the scoring sheets January 8. You can do it all from your desk!

Use Your Member Benefits

Get Smart about Your Student Loan Repayment Options: MPhA Membership Benefit

Many pharmacists have incurred steep education debt by the time they begin practicing. Loan relief programs can reduce a major source of stress and save thousands of dollars for pharmacists on their student loans. MPhA is partnering with Navigate, LLC for student loan expert advice.

Schedule your student loan consultation today. MPhA members receive over 50% off regular rates. A regular public service loan consult would be $1,000 — but MPhA members are able to receive this consult for $395. A regular loan refinance consult would be $500 but MPhA members are able to receive this service for $195. That’s a savings of $305-$605 and provides an incredible return on your MPhA membership investment. Satisfaction is guaranteed!

Navigate’s principal, Joy Sorenson Navarre, is a national expert on student loan management who consults individually with physicians and pharmacists. She is a popular speaker at residency programs, medical schools and hospitals. Her articles appear in journals and websites throughout the medical community.

Schedule your phone appointment today. Get smart about your student loan repayment options and take advantage of this important MPhA member benefit!

National News

NCPA Urges Support for CMS Part D Proposed Rule

From NCPA Advocacy Center Update, Dec. 15: The proposal includes several provisions supported by the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), including a potential requirement to shift retroactive pharmacy DIR fees to point-of-sale instead.

To demonstrate support and counter potential opposition from pharmacy benefit managers, NCPA has developed sample comments for community pharmacists to personalize and submit to CMS. Please customize the message with personal experiences prior to submission. In addition, NCPA has organized a sign-on letter for pharmacy stakeholder organizations and allies to document support. For more information, contact NCPA’s Michael Rule. NCPA is also developing formal comments to submit before the Jan. 16, 2018 deadline.


What Is Gene Therapy? How Does it Work?

From U.S. Food & Drug Administration, Dec. 19: Gene therapy holds the promise to transform medicine and create options for patients who are living with difficult, and even incurable, diseases. What is this innovative therapy? How does it work? 

Read this story and watch a short video to find out.


DEA Asks for Tweaks to 2016 Opioid Law

From NCPA Advocacy Center Update, Dec. 15: At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Demetra Ashley, DEA Acting Assistant Administrator, Diversion Control Division, asked Congress to modify the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act, which was unanimously enacted last year. She said that, while DEA is aggressively using the tools at its disposal, the law has made it more difficult to issue Immediate Suspension Orders (ISOs). Ms. Ashley also described agency enforcement (including involuntary surrender of 10 pharmacy registrations) and awareness efforts (educated 13,300 pharmacists/pharmacy techs and upcoming enhanced focus on doctors).

Lawmakers largely responded along party lines, with Democrats suggesting repeal of the law and Republicans in favor of keeping it. In defending the law, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) recalled issues raised prior to its enactment and cited a 2014 NCPA survey of community pharmacists describing significant problems with legitimate patient access to opioids. The second panel featured witnesses who strongly criticized the law (Maryland’s attorney general and NABP’s Carmen Catizone) as well as a chronic pain patient advocate from the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association concerned about patient access and the Healthcare Distribution Alliance’s John Gray, who defended the law, citing a GAO report and concerns of community pharmacists, and flagging the medical community as a potential source of the actual problem. Related, The Washington Post and 60 Minutes published another joint investigative story on the topic Sunday. NCPA will continue to monitor the Congressional dialogue and present community pharmacists’ perspective.


FDA Issues Guidance for Drug Products Labeled as Homeopathic

This draft guidance describes how we intend to prioritize enforcement and regulatory actions for human drug products labeled as homeopathic and marketed in the United States without the required FDA approval. FDA has developed a risk-based approach under which the Agency intends to prioritize enforcement and regulatory actions involving certain categories of such products that potentially pose a higher risk to public health. However, the Agency also recognizes that many products labeled as homeopathic will fall outside the risk-based categories described.

MPhA Events

Register Now for January Virtual Coffee Break Webinar: Establishing Telepharmacy Services

Wednesday, January 17, 11:30 a.m.

A telepharmacy is a remote pharmacy that provides pharmaceutical services to medically underserved communities who do not otherwise have access to a "brick-and-mortar" pharmacy. Please join MPhA for our January Virtual Coffee Break Webinar to learn how to establish a telepharmacy to help serve more patients. In this session, speaker Heather Bibeau will review the Minnesota laws and rules involved with establishing a telepharmacy, how to apply for a variance, and describe the provisions recommended in the Board of Pharmacy's Guidance Concerning Approval of Telepharmacies.

About Our Speaker: Dr. Heather Bibeau lives in rural Grand Rapids and is the director of Outpatient Pharmacy services alongside her twin sister, Dr. Sara Elioff, the director of Inpatient Pharmacy services at Bigfork Valley Hospital in Bigfork, Minn. Heather has a background in community and long-term care pharmacy practice. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry with a minor in Biology from the College of Saint Scholastica and her doctorate from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy in Duluth in 2010. She oversees participation in the 340B program as a contract pharmacy and the operation of three telepharmacies in rural Minnesota as the pharmacist-in-charge. She also serves as a consultant pharmacist for the Minnesota Department of Corrections. Most recently, she held an at-large position on the board of the Minnesota Pharmacists Association and is an active member. She is also the coordinator of the Grand Rapids Area Pharmacists (GRAPh) group and provides educational opportunities to her peers.

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

The cost is $25 for nonmembers.


Register Now: Complexities of Prior Authorizations — A Panel Perspective

Wednesday, January 24, 5:30-8 p.m. • Continuing Education & Conference Center, University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus

Please join MPhA for a Town Hall on a very hot topic — prior authorizations. The cost of health care continues to rise faster than inflation. For many health plans, the cost of medications now exceeds inpatient costs. High priced and specialty drugs comprise more than 60% of the total pharmacy spend. Managed care provides a valuable and necessary service to contain health care costs. We all agree that we must keep health care affordable. When medications require prior authorizations through health plans or pharmacy benefit managers, patient care providers — including clinicians and pharmacists — are on the front lines.

Often they must deliver this message to their patients and begin a seemingly endless process of red tape. Pharmacies and clinics spend significant time and resources trying to navigate the prior authorization process. Emotions tend to run high on all sides of the issue. This panel discussion will convene key stakeholders willing to have open and honest dialogue about how we could improve this process for all. We will include time for audience-submitted questions/answers.

MPhA Past President Molly Ekstrand, RPh, BCACP, AE-C, MTM Program Lead at Park Nicollet, will moderate the panel. We will have heavy hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. There will be time to network at the beginning of the event. You won’t want to miss this one!

Complimentary for Members
$25 for Non-members


“Intense” Friday Highlights Midwest Pharmacy Expo Agenda

February 16-18, 2018 • Des Moines, IA

16.5 hours of high-quality, live CPE waiting for you at the 2018 Midwest Pharmacy Expo on February 16-18, 2018, in Des Moines. Friday’s Clinically Intensive Workshops will feature high-level clinical programming designed for pharmacists with advanced certifications, those interested in obtaining advanced certifications, or pharmacists who want to be clinically challenged.

Jacques Turgeon, BPharm, PhD, chief scientific officer at Tabula Rasa Healthcare, kicks off Expo Saturday with an insightful keynote focusing on using clinical decision support systems to better personalize therapy. The rest of the day features five sessions featuring three tracks – Current Headlines, Optimizing Medication Use, and Cardiology – for you to mix and match to fit your practice setting, expertise or curiosity.

On Sunday, Expo wraps with long-time favorites New Drug Update and Gamechangers sandwiching a timely session with Don McGuire, RPh, JD, from Pharmacists Mutual on minimizing risks as the roles of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians continue to expand.

All of this plus the opportunity to network with colleagues from across the Midwest! See the full agenda and register today!


Registration Now Open! Minnesota Pharmacy Legislative Day

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 • Best Western Capitol Ridge, St. Paul

Make a difference to advocate for your professional interests and for pharmacy’s interests to advance patient care — come to Minnesota Pharmacy Legislative Day! Even if you have never talked with, called or written your legislators before, this event will give you the tools you need to do so! Minnesota Pharmacy Legislative Day is the one annual event that represents the voice of all pharmacy settings in Minnesota.

Learn about the issues, gain the tools you need to advocate, and network with colleagues and the policymakers who will support pharmacy issues. The day is broken into a morning session, afternoon at the Capitol and an evening reception and program, complete with meals throughout the day and more than 5 hours of continuing education! Best yet, this year’s event is right on the Capitol grounds at the Best Western Capitol Ridge with complimentary parking and within an easy walk of all your meetings.

Did You Know?

Know Your Dose Offers Graphics to Help Educate Your Patients

The Know Your Dose Campaign has released a new social media campaign just in time for cold and flu season. This toolkit has several Facebook and Twitter posts/graphics you can use throughout the winter. Here’s one example:

65% of people don't consider other OTC medicines they’re taking when they’re choosing an OTC pain reliever. It’s important to talk with your patients about this if they come down with a cold or the flu: http://bit.ly/KYD-providers


Twelve Health Care Issues that Will Define 2018

From HealthcareITNews, Dec. 14: The PwC Health Research Institute has identified a dozen issues that will define health care in 2018. Among them: The health care industry will help to tackle the opioid crisis; both patients and clinicians will become educated to use tools to improve patient experience; and myriad state and local regulations are expected to drive price transparency and health care reform. Read the full article.