Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP) lobbyist Dave Renner, CAE, shares an update from the Capitol in Saint Paul, highlighting recent legislative action on:
- mid-year formulary changes
- the All-Payer Claims Database
- conversion therapy
- the collaborative care model
- prior authorization
- flavored tobacco and vaping products
- adult-use cannabis
Limits to Mid-Year Formularies Passed in Senate Health & Human Services Committee
The Minnesota Senate Health and Human Services Committee passed SF 328 (Senator Mann, DFL – Bloomington) on March 1, 2023.
MAFP Immediate Past President Deb Dittberner, MD, MBA, testified in favor of the bill, which prohibits insurers from forcing patients who are currently on a medication therapy to change drugs during the contract year and limits drug manufacturers from increasing the price of certain drugs once they have posted the price for an entire calendar year.
The bill allows insurers and pharmacy benefit managers to change their formularies if providing a lower cost alternative for patients, but they cannot force patients to change medications before the enrollment year ends.
What’s next: SF 328 was re-referred to the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee. The House companion bill has passed two committees and is awaiting action in the House Judiciary and Civil Law Committee.
All-Payer Claims Database Bill Passes Senate Health & Human Services Committee
SF 302 (Senator Mann, DFL – Bloomington)—the bill that updates the All-Payer Claim Database (APCD) to require payers to report all payment data to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), including data not found on an insurance claim (like value-based payments, infrastructure costs, etc.)—passed the Minnesota Senate Health and Human Services Committee on March 1, 2023.
This update to the APCD is needed to ensure that that the state is collecting a complete picture of what we pay for health care. The bill also requires MDH to report back to the legislature on how much of current spending is invested in primary care services. The last report in 2020 showed that only 6% of total spending went to primary care.
What’s next: SF 302 was re-referred to the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee.
House Votes to Ban Conversion Therapy
Legislation to ban the use of so called “conversion therapy” on minors—HF 16 (Representative Hollins, DFL – St. Paul)—passed off the floor of the Minnesota House of Representatives last week.
Representative Athena Hollins, chief author of the bill, referenced the strong opposition to this practice at a press event in support of the bill: “It’s been denounced by every mainstream medical and mental health organization. It preys on the fears of parents and does irreparable harm to children.”
The bill recognizes that homosexuality and gender diverse identities are not pathological disease states, but rather variations of human sexuality. “Prohibiting conversion therapy sends an important message that LGBTQ+ Minnesotans deserve compassionate, respectful care,” said MAFP President Alex Vosooney, MD.
What’s next: A Senate vote is expected in the coming weeks.
Collaborative Care Model for Mental Health Care Passes Committees
The House Commerce Committee and Human Services Policy Committee have both passed HF 1171 (Representative Bierman, DFL-Apple Valley), a bill that requires payers in Minnesota to activate and reimburse for the codes for the collaborative care model.
The collaborative care model supports the primary care provider’s leadership of a team that includes a behavioral health care manager and a psychiatric consultant to ensure a patient’s needs are addressed and their condition(s) can be continuously managed within their primary care clinic.
The MAFP has joined with the Minnesota Psychiatric Society to support passage of this bill. In a letter provided to Commerce Committee, MAFP President Alex Vosooney, MD, said, “All Minnesotans deserve access to this highly effective model, and ensuring adequate payment is essential for greater implementation and expansion.”
What’s next: The bill was referred to the House Health Finance and Policy Committee.
Prior Authorization Reporting Bill Introduced
Legislation requiring health plans to submit their prior authorization data annually to the Department of Commerce—SF 2331 (Senator Morrison, DFL – Deephaven)—was introduced on March 1, 2023, and referred to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
The bill requires all insurers and utilization review organizations to report how often they require prior authorization, how often requests are approved and how often requests are denied and for the Commissioner of Health to use this data to make recommendations on how to reduce use and streamline processes.
Ban on Flavored Tobacco & Vaping Products Passed Senate Health & Human Services Committee
The Minnesota Senate Health and Human Services Committee passed SF 2123 (Senator Champion, DFL – Minneapolis), a bill to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products and flavored vaping products in Minnesota. The use of menthol in tobacco has been used to target Black smokers for years, and the use of flavoring in vaping products has been targeted at kids. The bill is supported by Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation (MSFG), a coalition of which the MAFP is a member.
What’s next: The bill was referred to the Senate State and Local Government and Veterans Committee.
Recreational Cannabis Bill Passes Another Committee with Stronger Warning Label
Legislation legalizing adult-use cannabis in Minnesota—SF 73 (Senator Port, DFL – Burnsville)—passed another committee, following a multi-day hearing in the Health and Human Services Committee, and was referred to the Senate Human Services Committee.
While the bill still allows recreational cannabis use by adults over age 21, the committee adopted an amendment to strengthen the warning label by requiring that it include information on the effects of cannabis use on brain development for those up to age 25. The amendment also directed the Minnesota Department of Education to develop educational programs to be used by schools that address the physical and mental effects on persons under age 25.
What’s next: This bill has now passed six committees in both bodies and has a number more before reaching the floor.