MPhA News

Small Doses

July 26, 2019
News from MPhA
National News

Minnesota News
MPhA Events

News from MPhA

Mission Moment:

Ann Philbrick Helps Clear the Air on CBD

MPhA member Ann Philbrick, PharmD, associate professor at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, was interviewed for an article in the Southwest Journal, a neighborhood newspaper/website in Minneapolis. “It’s up for debate how much THC to CBD you need for actual therapeutic use,” she said. “If this is something that a person chooses to use on their own, it’s a good thing to let your pharmacist or physician know that you’re using it.” She also noted that while CBD therapy has been shown to decrease seizures, placebo effects have also done so.

Read the Full Article

At the Capitol this Week

New MA Reimbursement Rate Now in Effect

From Minnesota Department of Human Services, July 19: Important changes were made to state law regarding the reimbursement rate for outpatient drugs covered by the fee-for-service (FFS) Medical Assistance (MA) program during the 2019 legislative session. See the Office of the Revisor Statutes SF 12 Bill Text Versions webpage for statutory references. DHS will reprocess claims for dates of service from July 1-18, 2019 on Aug. 29, 2019, and they will appear on pharmacies’ remittance advice on Sept. 17, 2019. Effective for claims with a date of service on or after July 1, 2019, the following changes will be incorporated into the MA reimbursement for outpatient drugs:

Drug reimbursement (ingredient cost, for example)

  • The reimbursement rate for drugs is the same for all pharmacies. The differential rate paid to rural independently owned pharmacies was eliminated.
  • The reimbursement rate for drugs is the lesser of the National Average Drug Acquisition Cost (brand or generic), the state maximum allowable cost or specialty maximum allowable cost, or the usual and customary charge submitted. If a drug does not have a National Average Drug Acquisition Cost, state maximum allowable cost and specialty maximum allowable cost, then the reimbursement rate is the lesser of the wholesale acquisition cost minus 2 percent or the usual and customary charge submitted.

Dispensing fee

  • The dispensing fee for “covered outpatient drugs”, as defined by federal law, will be increased to $10.48 from $3.65.
  • The dispensing fee for covered drugs that don’t meet the federal definition of a “covered outpatient drug” will remain $3.65. An example of a covered drug that doesn’t meet the definition of a “covered outpatient drug” is a covered over-the-counter (OTC) multivitamin.
  • The dispensing fee for all compounded intravenous solutions was changed to $10.48 per bag. All other dispensing fees for compounded intravenous products were eliminated.
  • The dispensing fee for covered OTC drugs will be prorated if a claim is for less than the manufacturer’s original package size.
  • The retrospective billing pharmacy OTC drug dispensing fee was eliminated.
  • The ong-term care blister card system dispensing fee was eliminated.

For full information, including details on 340B reimbursement, OTC drugs, MinnesotaCare tax, and additional changes, visit the Minnesota Health Care Programs website.

Important: Medicaid MCOs Now on Uniform Preferred Drug List

Effective July 1, 2019, the Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) that offer drug benefits to Minnesota Health Care Programs (Medicaid) members must use the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ Uniform Preferred Drug List (PDL). This will create a more consistent drug benefit for all members and minimize disruption of members’ health plan changes. The uniform PDL was reviewed and recommended by the Drug Formulary Committee and includes many commonly used medications for a wide range of medical conditions. This does not apply to members with dual Medicare and Medicaid coverage. The Uniform PDL flowchart has been posted.

Uniform Preferred Drug List

MCOs are contacting both prescribers and patients who are on medications that will require prior authorization to be continued after the July 1 transition. However, it is likely that some patients will request refills of medications after July 1 and will not be aware that either a prior authorization or change of medication is required to continue therapy. It is important to note in these situations that the prescriber can file a “Continuation of Therapy” prior authorization request that will provide 90 days to either request a long-term prior authorization or transition to a preferred drug.

MPhA is working with the Department of Human Services and is providing input on a PDL workgroup. Pharmacies are encouraged to contact Sarah Derr via email at with any issues that occur with the change in the PDL.

Get More Information

Did you miss our special webinar on June 19? Listen to the on-demand version any time!

Click Here for the Recorded Webinar

Alliance for Patient Medication Safety

Minnesota News

DHS Seeks Applicants for Opioid Epidemic Response Advisory Council

The Minnesota Department of Human Services is seeking applicants until July 29 for the new Opioid Epidemic Response Advisory Council. Established by 2019 legislation, the council will review existing efforts to address the state’s opioid epidemic, establish future priorities and recommend specific projects to receive funding from $20 million in annual fees generated from opioid wholesalers and manufacturers.

If you are interested in applying to be part of the council, more information is available from the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State. A total of 11 positions are available.

New Wage Theft Law in Effect; Updated Sample Employee Notice Provided By DOLI Available Now

From Minnesota Retailers Association, July 3: A new wage theft law with portions that impact all employers across Minnesota kicked in July 1. This issue of The Retail Beat shares important compliance information from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI).

Retailers of all sizes and locations are subject to the new law. One provision employers need to be aware of and prepare for is a new employee noticing requirement that took effect July 1 for all new employees.

To review all your obligations under the law, click here.

Also, click here for a sample employee notice from the Department of Labor and Industry.

Reminder: Documentation of 2% Minnesota Wholesaler Tax Needed ASAP

Minnesota has passed legislation to come into compliance with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Covered Outpatient Drug Rule. The goal of the CMS rule is to more closely align product reimbursement with actual acquisition cost and to change dispensing fee reimbursement to align with the true cost of dispensing. The parameters of the new rule will set FFS Medicaid product reimbursement to the National Average Drug Acquisition Cost (NADAC) and raise the dispensing fee to $10.48. The Minnesota Department of Human Services (MDHS) will then conduct cost of dispensing surveys with a revised rate recommendation to the Legislature in 2021 and will conduct a survey every 3 years. All pharmacies doing business in Minnesota are asked to provide DHS with information by July 31.

The next step in implementing the rule is for MDHS to file a State Plan Amendment (SPA) with CMS, who then reviews and approves it. In Minnesota, the SPA will be complicated by the 2% Minnesota Wholesaler Tax. MPhA has been in touch with Chad Hope, MDHS Deputy Director, Div. of Purchasing and Service Delivery, to understand what documentation all pharmacies doing business in Minnesota need to provide in order to assist CMS in making a positive decision to reimburse pharmacies for the 2% fee.

Jeff Lindoo of our Public Affairs Committee has created a template that is acceptable documentation of your payment of the 2% Wholesaler Tax to share with Dr. Hope. Dr. Hope has indicated that he believes having this documentation from nearly ALL pharmacies doing business in Minnesota will be important for CMS to make a positive decision, allowing our SPA to be approved and coming into compliance with the CMS Covered Outpatient Drug Rule. If CMS were to make a negative decision on reimbursing the 2% tax, NO PHARMACY IN MINNESOTA WOULD RECEIVE REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE 2% TAX, creating a very negative business bottom line on these claims.

Your action is needed to get this information to Dr. Chad Hope as soon as possible. Please follow the template. If you are not the appropriate person within your pharmacy operations to complete this documentation, please forward this email to the right contact point for action. As noted in the template, information can be sent directly to Dr. Hope at:

Chad Hope, PharmD
Deputy Director, Division of Purchasing and Service Delivery
Minnesota Dept of Human Services
540 Cedar Street
St. Paul, MN 55101

National News

Pharmacists Take on Expanding Role in Health Systems

A study analyzing pharmacy's role in drug therapy monitoring, patient education, and opioid stewardship found that pharmacists play a significant role as part of the clinical team in health systems. The National Survey of Pharmacy Practice in Hospital Settings found that over 60% of hospitals have pharmacists delivering therapy management services to patients, and more than three-quarters of patients received these services, a 55% increase since 2000.

Sources: Managed Healthcare Executive (7/16), United Press International (7/3)

Court Filings Say Corporations Fed Opioid Epidemic

From APhA’s Pharmacy Today newsletter, July 22: Cities, towns and counties filed thousands of documents from corporations across the pharmaceutical supply chain on July 19. They laid out a detailed case of how diverse interests fed an opioid epidemic that persisted for nearly two decades. The filings are part of the first trial of nearly 2,000 cases brought by cities and counties from across the U.S., consolidated in a federal court in Ohio.

Read More

NCPDP Foundation Seeks Grant Proposals for UPI Research Project: July 31 Deadline

The National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) Foundation is interested in awarding a grant of up to $50,000 to fund a proof of concept research project to validate the Universal Patient Identifier (UPI) powered by Experian Health UIM and NCPDP StandardsTM that improves patient matching and the management of patient identification across the health care ecosystem.

Grant proposals are due to the Foundation by July 31, 2019, with an announcement of the grant award to be made by Sept. 30, 2019. Project metrics may include demonstrating improved patient matching and identification of duplicate patient records; cost savings; effective transmission of the UPI powered by Experian Health UIM and NCPDP StandardsTM nationwide and across the health care ecosystem. Interested parties should review the Project Concept paper and Request for Funding form.

APhA Annual Awards and Honors Program

The American Pharmacists Association is accepting nominations for its Annual Awards and Honors program — the most comprehensive recognition program in the pharmacy profession. The deadline is September 1.

Nominate a Colleague Today

Alliance for Patient Medication Safety

MPhA Events

MPhA Virtual Coffee Break Webinar: What’s Happened to Pharmacy Crime Since the Crackdown on Opioids?

Wednesday, August 21 • 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. • Online webinar

In the midst of what has been a “crisis of prescription drug addiction,” data indicate that pharmacy burglaries and robberies are occurring less frequently than in the past. How significant is the shift? Will this continue? What does history tell us? Why should the pharmacist care?

Our presenter is Michael Warren, ARM, OHST, Corporate Risk Manager with Pharmacists Mutual Insurance. Mike is a frequent speaker on topics related to pharmacy risk management, with audiences including the National Association of State Controlled Substances Authorities, the National Community Pharmacists Association and the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit. He has spoken at fifteen pharmacy associations and six universities over the past few years.

Register Now

APhA’s Pharmacy-based Immunization Delivery Certificate Training Program

Sunday, September 29 • 8 a.m.-5 p.m. • Ewald Conference Center, St. Paul

APhA’s Pharmacy-Based Immunization Delivery certificate training program is based on national educational standards for immunization training from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This program is designed to educate pharmacists about the professional opportunities for vaccine advocacy and administration. This practice-based curriculum represents a fusion of science and clinical pharmacy. The program, which emphasizes a health care team approach, seeks to foster the implementation of interventions that will promote disease prevention and public health.

The purpose of this certificate training program is to prepare pharmacists with comprehensive knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to provide immunization services to patients across the life span.

This certificate training program has three components: online interactive self-study with assessment; the live seminar with online final assessment; and hands-on assessment of intramuscular and subcutaneous injection technique. A Certificate of Achievement will be awarded to participants who successfully complete all program components, including an evaluation.

Our faculty members are John Creasy, RPh; Laurie Deegan, RPh; and Melanie Schwartz, RPh; all are with Fairview Pharmacy Services.

Register Now!

Save the Dates: MPhA Events

MPhA Annual Learning and Networking Event

October 3-4 Minneapolis Marriott Northwest, Brooklyn Park

Sponsorship opportunities are available now!

Thanks to the following sponsors and exhibitors!

Lunch Sponsor: University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy
Silver Sponsors: Anda • Arkray USA, Inc.
Exhibitors: Abbvie • Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals • McKesson • Minnesota Pharmacy Student Alliance • Pharmacists Mutual • SpartanNash

Registration Will Open in Early August

Minnesota Pharmacy Legislative Day

February 20, 2020 • Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge, St. Paul