Early in the morning this past Tuesday, legislators gathered to learn more about some of the innovative work being done in Medical Alley at 2019’s first Legislative Learning Breakfast. Sansoro CEO Jeremy Pierotti talked to legislators about Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and how Application Programming Interfaces (API) technology, like the one developed by Sansoro Health, can lead to better patient outcomes, lower costs, and decreased physician burnout. Briefings like this help legislators understand developments in healthcare and provides them with more information and potential solutions when designing new policies. Thank you to Sansoro Health for coming to present and we look forward to hosting these breakfasts throughout the legislative session.
The Minnesota legislative session kicked into high gear this week. Dozens of bills had their first hearings, hundreds more were introduced, and Governor Walz gave some initial hints as to what his budget proposal (due in mid-February) will look like. The Medical Alley Association Government Relations team was there for all of it and has your inside look at the week.
Two major healthcare bills began their march through the legislative process this week. The first, HF400 (Olson – DFL, Duluth), is the House’s bill to address the opioid epidemic. The language funds – through an increased fee on opioid manufacturers and distributors – a number of programs to combat the epidemic and treat those addicted. After considerable testimony and discussion, the bill passed out of its first committee. The Medical Alley Association is committed to helping legislators put together a policy strategy to effectively combat this epidemic and help those impacted. We will keep you updated as this bill, and its Senate companion, moves through the legislative process.
The second bill, SF278 (Jensen – GOP, Carver County), would license and regulate Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). The Senate HHS Finance and Policy committee heard testimony from those in favor and from those with concerns about this legislation before tabling the bill, as was planned. Your Medical Alley Association Government Relations team is closely tracking this legislation as well and will provide updates over the life of the bill.
On Wednesday, Governor Walz spoke to a group of city leaders from Greater Minnesota as part of their day at the Capitol. During his remarks – and after the event – the Governor, for the first time, began shedding some light on what his budget proposal might look like. He indicated that he would increase financial assistance to local governments and that his budget will contain some sort of tax reduction, potentially via rate decreases. Governor Walz’s first budget is due February 19, and we will let you know how it impacts the health innovation and care community.
Next week at the legislature is highlighted by Medical Alley Day at the Capitol on Wednesday! If you haven’t registered for the Evening Reception with legislators, you can do so here. Dozens of Medical Alley Association members are coming to St. Paul to meet with their legislators and discuss issues of importance to the health innovation and care community. Several MAA members will also be exhibiting the life-saving innovations their companies have developed. We’re looking forward to sharing photos and stories with you from this event.
The lovely 50 below zero weather may have slowed some businesses and closed schools, but it did not stop the legislature from doing the people’s work. While we were experiencing frigid cold temps outside, things were heating up inside the State Legislature. We had our first (of many) night hearings in Health and Human Services Policy committee where HF400 (an opioid addiction and overdose prevention bill) was debated. This bill is one to watch as it will have many committee stops along the way before it is ready for prime time on the House Floor. The Senate introduced their own opioid bill, the House passed paid family leave, and committee deadlines were announced. It was anything but a slow week. On top of that, Minnesota may not have caught a heat wave, but they did catch a kid wave as many State Senators and Representatives brought their children to work due to school closings. It was a nice reminder that the legislature is very family friendly—committee hearings were a bit more entertaining this week. Can’t wait to see what next week brings.
See you all in week 5. Stay warm!