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Governor's Newsletter

Summer 1997

We are online!

Visit the Minnesota Chapter Web page at http://www.acponline.org/chapters/mn

The Minnesota State Chapter of the American College of Physicians is pleased to offer a Web page which can be accessed through the ACP's home page at www.acponline.org. Peter L. Elkin, M.D. and Donald Deye, M.D., have worked on the Chapter's behalf to provide you with a set of useful links relevant to medical practice in the State of Minnesota. The Web page is fully connected with the College's server. Therefore, it provides access to College resources such as excerpts from the Annals of Internal Medicine, ACP Journal Club, and MKSAP questions. Our Web page provides useful links within the State of Minnesota, and in addition, provides access to useful medical links that will help you go wherever in the electronic world you wish to go.

We sincerely hope that this Web page will serve your interest and help to improve communication between physicians in our Chapter. Should you have any comments or suggestions regarding the Web page or any of its links, please do not hesitate to contact: elkin.peter@mayo.edu.

Health and Public Policy Update

Mark Liebow, M.D., F.A.C.P., Chair of our Health and Public Policy Committee, asked me to include the following message which he prepared for our Newsletter. If you have an interest in these or other state and national political issues, please contact Mark at: (507) 284-2269 or liebow.mark@mayo.edu.

The first half of 1997 has been eventful in terms of health policy changes. The state legislature has completed its regular session and one of its special sessions with generally good news for physicians. The $400 surcharge on our medical licenses has been repealed as of January 1, 1998. The provider tax was decreased from 2% to 1.5% for at least 2 years. The requirements for access to patient records for research have been simplified. Permission is needed only for release to "external" researchers and a reasonable attempt must be made to obtain the patient's consent, but consent is assumed if the patient does not respond to this reasonable effort. Minnesota Care changes include expanding eligibility to 175% of federal poverty level for families, establishing a drug purchasing program for enrollees in the Medicare A and B programs who earn up to 125% of the federal poverty level and have no supplemental insurance, and repealing the $10,000 inpatient limit for families with children who have annual incomes up to 175% of the federal poverty level. The state also agreed to spend 27 million dollars over the next 2 years to support medical education and research costs.

Even more dramatic things are happening at the Federal level. The budget compromise calls for a great deal of the cuts needed to be taken out of Medicare and Medicaid. Hospitals will be hardest hit by the Medicare cuts, followed by health plans, but doctors will take their share of the cuts as well. The changes in Medicare reimbursement that were expected to benefit internists, including a single conversion factor and reevaluation of the practice expense component of the relative value scale are in some jeopardy. There is talk of delay in implementing the new practice expense evaluation and perhaps some delay in moving to a single conversion factor. These issues are unsettled at this time. Graduate medical education funding is likely to take a significant cut over the next several years, though the House and Senate bills differ on how fast the cut will take place. Congress will put a cap on the number of residents who can receive GME funding and will give some incentives to reduce the number of residents over a several year period.

I represented our chapter at ACP Leadership Day in Washington on May 8. I spoke to staff or Congressmen for six of Minnesota's eight districts as well as to a health policy aide for Senator Wellstone. The ACP chose to emphasize four issues this year: reforming Medicare, assuring quality in fee-for-service and pre-paid practices, increasing health insurance coverage of children, and preventing firearm injuries. As before it is fascinating to talk with non-clinicians who are interested in health policy and find out what is important to them I hope I represented the chapter well. I don't expect to see much action on most of these issues this year, but I hope we have laid the groundwork for future successes.

The situation in national politics continues to evolve. Anyone interested in this or wanting to know more can call me at (507) 284-1551 or send e-mail message to liebow.mark@mayo.edu.


1997: November 14 - 15, Minnesota State Chapter ACP Meeting, Minneapolis, MN

Annual Session National Meetings:

1998: April 2 - 5, San Diego
1999: April 22 - 25, New Orleans
2000: April 6 - 9, San Diego

Most sincerely,

Scott C. Litin, M.D., F.A.C.P.
Minnesota State Chapter ACP

Contact Information

Heather E Gantzer, MD FACP, Governor, Minnesota Chapter

Chapter Staff:
Katherine Cairns, Executive Director
1043 Grand Ave. #215
St. Paul, MN 55105
Fax: 651-699-7798