MPhA News

Small Doses

January 26, 2018
News from MPhA
Minnesota News
Use Your Member Benefits
National News
MPhA Events
Did You Know?

News from MPhA

Mission Moment:

Twin Cities Town Hall

Many thanks to MPhA Immediate Past President Molly Ekstrand for leading a panel discussion on the hot topic of Prior Authorization earlier this week. Nearly 50 people attended the MPhA Town Hall Meeting on the St. Paul Campus of the University of Minnesota. Thanks also to our panelists, who provided thoughtful discussion: Sue Cooper, Senior Director of Pharmacy Plan Services, HealthPartners; Julie Freeman, Staff Pharmacist, Cub Pharmacy; Dave Hoang, Clinical Pharmacy Administration, Minnesota Department of Human Services; Laura Odell, Clinical Services, Mayo Health Solutions; and Amanda Robinson, Patient Access Services Manager, Fairview Pharmacy Services.

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

Changes Announced on MHCP Site

From Minnesota Department of Human Services, Jan. 24: The Minnesota Health Care Providers site has updated the State MAC List and the Minnesota SMAC Specialty Drug List.

UnitedHealth and Walgreens Are Mixing Urgent Care with Pharmacy

From Star Tribune, Jan. 20: The tiny suburb of Hilltop, located just north of Minneapolis, is hosting an experimental mash-up of health care services that’s helping to generate buzz on Wall Street.

Hilltop is one of more than a dozen locations across the country where pharmacy giant Walgreens has carved out space in its stores for urgent care clinics from MedExpress, a company that Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group acquired in 2015. Read the full article.

Use Your Member Benefits

Technicians: Get a Discount on Power-Pak Continuing Education — Earn Your Board-Required CE with Unlimited Two-Year Access

MPhA has a partnership with Power-Pak, one of the nation’s leading providers of continuing education for pharmacy technicians and pharmacists. MPhA pharmacy technician members receive a 12.5% discount off the Power-Pak CE Pharmacy Technician Library where you can earn your entire CE required by the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy during the two-year access period.

Power-Pak’s pharmacy technician recertification courses were developed by educational specialists from Postgraduate Healthcare Education, Power-Pak C.E. in conjunction with faculty from leading colleges of pharmacy. The objectives for each T-designated course align with the core competencies listed in PTCB's Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination Blueprint. So if you are a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) these resources will allow you to meet your PTCB CE requirements as well.

Normally the two-year access fee is $39.95. There are more than 20 activities across topics from patient safety and new drugs to pharmacy calculations and drug storage. There are also live Webinars every month.

MPhA pharmacy technician members are able to access the library for $34.95. In addition, MPhA pharmacy technician members will receive a discount for the Power-Pak MTM Certificate Training Course for Pharmacy Technicians — $24.95 rather than the $29.95 regular fee.

National News

CMS Hears Support from NCPA, Congress, Others on Pharmacy DIR Proposal

From NCPA Advocacy Center Update, Jan. 19: The comment period for CMS’ Part D proposed rule closed Jan. 16, before which NCPA, Members of Congress (including Collin Peterson, D-Minn.), beneficiary advocates and a range of other stakeholders commented in favor of the agency’s announced consideration requiring pharmacy DIR fees to be accounted for at point-of-sale instead.

80 U.S. Representatives wrote a bipartisan letter to CMS in support of the pharmacy DIR fee provisions in the proposed rule. Signatories included 10 Energy & Commerce Committee members and six sitting Chairmen/Ranking Members. Separately, an opposition letter to CMS circulated by Reps. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) emerged and was met with swift opposition by NCPA, other pharmacy stakeholders and PhRMA.

NCPA comments strongly supported the proposed rule; cited past research; and included a new survey of independent community pharmacy owners providing fresh evidence of the harm from retroactive pharmacy DIR fees. They also argue in support for a range of additional, important provisions related to pharmacy such as specialty drugs, Part D contracting practices and home delivery.

Congress Continues to Focus on Opioid Epidemic

From NCPA Advocacy Center Update, Jan. 19: The House Ways & Means Oversight Subcommittee examined CMS’ approach to the opioid epidemic. Lawmakers focused on enhanced PDMP efforts, implementation of a “lock-in” program in Part D and debated CMS’ announced guidance to states concerning Medicaid work requirements. Separately, the Senate Homeland Security & Government Affairs Committee held a hearing to consider conflicting viewpoints about whether Medicaid expansion has contributed to the epidemic or not. Also this week, Acting HHS Secretary Hargan extended the national health emergency declared in response to the opioid epidemic.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported on Jan. 18 that the National Governors Association has issued a list of more than two dozen recommendations urging the Trump administration and Congress to provide more money and coordination in the fight again opioids. This is the first coordinated, bipartisan response from the governors since the president’s declaration of a public health emergency in October 2017. The governors applauded him for taking a first step, but called for more action. Among the recommendations: Increased access to naloxone and Medicare coverage for methadone treatment for older adults.

Analysis of Tax Reform Impact on Pharmacies

From NCPA Advocacy Center Update, Jan. 19: NCPA consulted with and received permission from leading community pharmacy accounting firm Sykes & Company, P.A. to share its attached analysis of the recently enacted tax law. It features the example of a hypothetical pharmacy owner to illustrate how specific provisions supported by NCPA within the law can benefit community pharmacy owners.

Download more information.

MPhA Events

Register Today for Hotel Rooms at Midwest Pharmacy Expo

February 16-18, 2018 • Des Moines, IA

You still have time to register for the Expo — but today is the final day to secure discounted lodging rates at the Holiday Inn Des Moines–Airport! After today, it may be difficult to get a room, particularly at the conference hotel (the state wrestling tournament is the same weekend). You must call the Holiday Inn at 515-287-2400 to book your room in the Midwest Pharmacy Expo block.

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.
Saturday features three CPE tracks (Current Headlines, Optimizing Medication Use, and Cardiology) over five sessions. Mix and match to fit your practice setting, expertise or curiosity! Saturday’s program also includes a keynote from Jacques Turgeon, BPharm, PhD, chief scientific officer at Tabula Rasa Healthcare. The Expo wraps up on Sunday with a New Drug Update, Gamechangers and 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.

Join us for a full weekend 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.

“To Really See” Exhibit at UMN Bio-Medical Library

Reception on February 1, Exhibit Available until April 30

The "To Really See" art exhibit is now on display at the Bio-Medical Library on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. The exhibit is open until April 30. A reception will be held on Feb. 1, 5:30-7:30 p.m., in the Bio-Medical Library area. A partial exhibit of the same material is now at St. Luke's Hospital (Duluth).

"To Really See" is an exhibit where patient-medication-user artists describe their medication-taking experiences through art. Much of the exhibit focuses on mental illness. Jes Reyes (Avivo ArtWorks, Minneapolis) and Paul L Ranelli, BSPharm, PhD, FAFPE, FAPhA, are the co-coordinators of the project.

MTM Networking Event

January 31, 2018 • Utepils Brewing, Minneapolis

Is MTM part of your pharmacy practice? Or are you a pharmacy student who is interested in MTM? If so, join the MPhA’s MTM Academy for a networking event on Jan. 31. Mingle, learn what others are doing, learn about opportunities within the MPhA MTM Academy and share ideas in a warm, casual atmosphere. The event will be held at Utepils Brewery, 225 Thomas Ave. N., Minneapolis, beginning at 5 p.m. and concluding by 8 p.m. A round of Trivia Mania starts at 7:30 p.m. No registration is required — simply show up!

Interprofessional Conference on Health Care for Older Adults

March 1, 2018 • Continuing Education and Conference Center, St. Paul, MN

It is projected that by the year 2050, the number of people age 65 and older in the U.S. will double from approximately 40 million to 80 million. As the number of older adults increases, more are living with chronic medical conditions requiring treatment with multiple medications. In addition, many older adults are faced with functional, psychosocial, and economic challenges. The goal of this conference is to enhance participant knowledge and competencies in providing care to older adults as part of the interprofessional team to improve health outcomes.

Registration Fees
General Admission: $150
Student: $50

Did You Know?

FDA, FTC Warn Companies for Selling Illegal, Unapproved Opioid Cessation Products

From FDA News Release, Jan. 24: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission have posted joint warning letters to the marketers and distributors of 12 opioid cessation products, for illegally marketing unapproved products with claims about their ability to help in the treatment of opioid addiction and withdrawal.

Health fraud scams like these can pose serious health risks. These products have not been demonstrated to be safe or effective and may keep some patients from seeking appropriate, FDA-approved therapies. Selling these unapproved products with claims that they can treat opioid addiction and withdrawal is a violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Making unsubstantiated therapeutic claims is also a violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act, which prohibits deceptive advertising. Read the full press release.

APhA Partners with Health Groups to Tackle Administrative Burdens in Prior Authorization

From APhA Focus e-newsletter, Jan. 23: With an eye toward giving patients access to safe, timely, affordable care, APhA will work with the American Hospital Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, American Medical Association (AMA), Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) to foster transparency and promote better communication in the prior authorization process.

Led by AMA, the partnership released a consensus statement on Jan. 17 outlining the ways its members will strive to lighten the administrative load for health professionals while improving patient care. The organizations in the partnership will focus on five key areas: reducing the number of health professionals subject to prior authorization requirements; reviewing the services and medications that require prior authorization; improving channels of communications between insurance providers, health professionals, and patients; protecting continuity of care for patients; and speeding up the adoption of national electronic standards for prior authorization. Read the full article.