MPhA News

Small Doses

January 5, 2018
News from MPhA
Minnesota News
Use Your Member Benefits
National News
MPhA Events
Did You Know?

News from MPhA

Mission Moment:

Pharmaceutical Care Lyceum Underway!

The Pharmaceutical Care Lyceum, inspired by the Deep Portage Pharmaceutical Care Conference hosted for several years by the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy Peters Institute of Pharmaceutical Care and then by Medication Management Systems, is underway in Deep Portage, Minn. A group of Minnesota pharmaceutical care practitioners hoping to revive the spirit and intent of Deep Portage in partnership with the Minnesota Pharmacists Association reflects MPhA’s mission — and we look forward to sharing photos from the event, which will provide an opportunity to develop, collaborate, and reflect on the concept of building bridges to strengthen patient care.

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

Minnesota News

Sen. Franken’s Resignation Official, Sen. Smith Sworn in

Minnesota Senator Al Franken’s resignation from the U.S. Senate was effective on January 2. As quoted in the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s January 3 story, Franken wrote in his resignation letter to Gov. Mark Dayton, “Serving the State of Minnesota in the U.S. Senate has been a privilege and an honor. I am grateful to Minnesotans for their giving me the chance to serve our state and our nation, and I am proud to have worked on their behalf.”

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, who replaces Franken, was sworn in on January 3. She will serve as one of two Minnesota Senators and plans to run for the Senate seat in November.

Vacancy for Two Pharmacists on DHS Drug Formulary Committee

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) maintains a committee of pharmacists and physicians to determine the most appropriate and cost-effective medications for the DHS formulary. The Secretary of State’s office has posted two openings for pharmacists on that committee.

Applications may be submitted online and must be submitted by Jan. 22, 2018, to be assured of full consideration by the appointing authority. Appointing authorities may choose to review applications received by the Secretary of State after that date.
Please review the following new instructions on HOW TO APPLY.

Visit the Open Positions page.

Scroll down to find the correct Agency/Board/Council.

Choose the correct seat type, and click button that says APPLY

The system will walk you through creating an application profile.

Page 2 of the application will now allow you to attach the following documents:

  • Letter of Interest
  • Résumé or Biography

Applicants are encouraged to use the online application as the Appointing  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

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

NCPA Action Alert: Voice Support for CMS’ Proposed Rule

CMS recently proposed a rule that includes a proposal to potentially require all pharmacy DIR fees to be reflected at the point of sale instead of being assessed retroactively. This is a positive development, but is being resisted by the PBMs. To counter this opposition, please take a few moments to send two messages.

First, click here to email your legislators and urge them to sign onto a bipartisan Congressional letter to CMS that voices support for their DIR proposal which would provide greater clarity into actual reimbursements at point of sale. And, which according to CMS, would reduce patient out of pocket spending by $10.4 billion.

Second, click here to submit comments to CMS to voice support for the DIR proposal and other pro-pharmacy aspects of the proposed regulation. These comments are editable so please personalize the message with your own personal experiences prior to submission.

Pharmacists Reduce Re-Hospitalization for Older Adults in New Study

From Hawaii Tribune Herald, Dec. 27, 2017: A University of Hawaii at Hilo study designed to decrease medicine-related re-hospitalizations of older adults is garnering national attention. The “Pharm2Pharm” study has been chosen as a featured presentation at next February’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Quality Conference in Baltimore, Md.

The Pharm2Pharm study demonstrated that patients are less likely to get re-hospitalized when specially trained pharmacists provide prescription-management services.
Insurers such as Medicare were estimated to save $6.6 million at the hospitals that participated. Read the full report.

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, Iowa

The 2018 Midwest Pharmacy Expo kicks off on Friday, Feb. 16, with Clinically Intensive Workshops. The day features 6.5 hours’ worth of high-level clinical CPE designed for pharmacists with advanced certifications or who want to be clinically challenged.

For those pharmacists interested in obtaining advanced certifications, these workshops provide a sampling of the level of programming you can expect as you pursue and maintain your certification.
The intense topics include:

  • Biostatistics and Trial Design: An Interactive Primer for Pharmacists
  • Chronic Care Mgmt Part I: Mental Health, Cardiology, Endocrinology
  • Chronic Care Mgmt Part II: COPD/Asthma & Oral Chemotherapy
  • Physical Assessment: A Refresher for Pharmacists

Join us for these and a weekend full of high quality live CPE and plenty of networking opportunities with pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and student pharmacists from across the Midwest! See the full agenda and register today!

Register Now! 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?

Help Your Patients Quit Smoking in the New Year

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a page on its website devoted to resources specific to pharmacists to help patients quit using tobacco products. The CDC points out, “Many of your patients may be tobacco users who want to quit.”Get more information, including downloadable tip sheets and posters.