MPhA News

Small Doses

January 12, 2018
News from MPhA
Minnesota News
Action Alert
Use Your Member Benefits
National News
MPhA Events
Did You Know?

News from MPhA

Mission Moment:

Professor Donald Uden to Receive Weaver Medal

MPhA member and University of Minnesota Professor Donald Uden, PharmD, has been selected as the 2017 Lawrence C. and Delores M. Weaver Medal recipient. The award is given annually to someone who supports the college and its students through service to education, the profession, research and the community. A reception to honor Dr. Uden will be held this spring; more details will be provided soon.

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

Flu Now Widespread in Minnesota

In its most recent report, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported widespread geographic spread of influenza in the state. The number of hospitalizations reported in the report is significantly higher than in the three most recent years, but still lower than or on par with the 2012-13 and 2013-14 flu seasons. Read more at the MDH website.

MDH reminds Minnesotans that it is not too late to get a flu vaccine. Vaccination is the best way to prevent flu and lessen its serious effects. “Even otherwise-healthy people can become very sick from flu, and we still have a lot of flu season left. Flu can easily circulate through April and beyond,” says Kris Ehresmann, MDH director of infectious disease.

The main flu strain circulating so far this season in Minnesota and the U.S. is influenza A (H3N2). Flu seasons with H3N2 as the dominant strain have been associated with more hospitalizations and deaths in adults 65 years and older and young children compared to other age groups. It is very important for young children, older adults and others at high risk for complications from flu to get vaccinated. People at higher risk for flu complications include pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions, like diabetes, asthma or heart disease.

Action Alert

Your Help Needed: Write in Favor of CMS’ Part D Proposed Rule Addressing Network Issues

From NCPA Advocacy Center Update, Jan. 5: Jan. 16, 2018, is the deadline to submit your comments for the CMS Part D Proposed rule that could favorably impact community pharmacies if adopted. NCPA is coordinating a grassroots outreach among all state associations and its members to support the measure. The Minnesota Pharmacists Association is among more than 40 state associations that have signed on to a letter submitting comments. The proposal includes several NCPA-supported provisions, including a potential requirement to shift retroactive pharmacy DIR fees to point-of-sale instead. Here’s how you can help.

  1. Submit comments to CMS to encourage the agency to move forward with the proposal. You can use the NCPA developed sample comments (be sure to customize them with your personal experiences) to help us counter the opposition PBMs are sure to raise.
  2. Ask your Representative to sign a letter to CMS being circulated by Reps. Morgan Griffith, Peter Welch, Austin Scott, Dave Loebsack, and Buddy Carter. Click here to contact your Representative.
  3. If you are a pharmacy owner/manager, please take a few moments to complete a brief survey and let us know how DIR fees are impacting you and your patients. Your input will help guide NCPA’s formal comments.

NCPA staff met recently with CMS officials on behalf of members to convey appreciation for the important community pharmacy-related aspects of the proposed rule. In addition, NCPA is engaging pharmacy stakeholders to join a sign-on letter to CMS and we’re also educating other patient and provider groups about the proposal’s provisions and the need to support them. For additional information on the topic, read an opinion piece from NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey that was published in The Hill on Jan. 4.

Use Your Member Benefits

Complimentary On-Demand Virtual Coffee Break Webinars Available to MPhA Members

If you missed our December Virtual Coffee Break with Joshua Johnson, PharmD, RPh, on Medicare Part D Enhanced MTM, you can listen online whenever you have time! MPhA offers monthly educational webinars that provide you with education from experts on best practices, trends, effective solutions, and quality resources to help you advance your career as a pharmacy professional. E-learning is ideal for those who are unable to travel or are looking for educational opportunities in between conferences. The program provides opportunities to obtain CEs from the comfort of your home or office with both live and on-demand options. There are enough programs in the archive for you to earn your entire two-year pharmacist CE requirement on a complimentary basis.

Registration Fees

  • FREE for MPhA members, including pharmacy technicians, students and residents
  • $25 per person per webinar for non-members

National News

Community Pharmacy Owners Rank Policy Priorities

From NCPA Advocacy Center Update, Jan. 5: A recently concluded National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) survey of independent community pharmacy owners identified their top policy issues for this year. In order of ranking: 1) Eliminate retroactive pharmacy DIR fees; 2) Ensure MAC transparency to address delays in payment rate updates and appeals processes; and virtually tied are 3) Advocate for reasonable Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement (both managed care and fee-for-service) and 4) Allow Medicare beneficiaries to access any willing pharmacy in Part D preferred networks. MPhA is also working on these issues and actively tracking them.

This valuable membership input will continue to help guide NCPA’s advocacy activity on your behalf. Mark your calendar for the NCPA Congressional Pharmacy Summit April 11-12 in Alexandria, Va. — your best opportunity of the year to advance these initiatives and push back against efforts that would harm patients and their community pharmacists.

HHS Nominee Vows to Tackle High Drug Costs

From the Washington Post, Jan. 9: Alex Azar II, former president of the U.S. division of Eli Lilly and President Donald Trump’s choice to run the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, testified before the Senate Finance Committee that addressing drug costs would be one of his top priorities if confirmed. "I don't know that there is any drug price of a brand-new product that has ever gone down from any company on any drug in the United States, because every incentive in this system is towards higher prices, and that is where we can do things together, working as the government to get at this,” he said. Read the full article.

MPhA Events

Register Now for Next Week's 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: Twin Cities Town Hall on 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.

Support MN Pharmacy Advocacy

Independent Pharmacy Conference 2018

April 26-29, 2018 • Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Discover solutions together at the Independent Pharmacy Conference — network with other independent pharmacy owners and managers, plus meet key vendor contacts and industry leaders. Learn and earn 9 continuing education credits with presentations on hot-button topics. This event is co-sponsored by Pace-IPC, the American Pharamacy Services Corporation, RxPlus Pharmacies, the Independent Pharmacy Alliance and other organizations. Visit for additional details and to register.

Did You Know?

Physical Activity Can Help Adults with Arthritis

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that an estimated 54 million adults in the United States are affected by arthritis. The prevalence of receiving health care provider counseling for exercise among adults with arthritis increased 17.6% from 51.9% in 2002 to 61.0% in 2014. However, nearly 40% of adults with arthritis still do not receive health care provider counseling for exercise. Read more information.