The Minnesota Medical Association thanked Gov. Tim Walz yesterday for his executive order for Minnesotans to stay at home, but they hope he will do more to protect that state’s physicians and patients.
The association also asked the governor to sign executive orders giving physician practices tax relief and to help those patients in opioid treatment programs by ensuring that they can stay in those programs, as well as get their medicine-based opioid treatment prescriptions.
“Minnesota physicians appreciate the significance and disruption that this decision means for the safety, security, and economic vitality of the state,” said MMA President Keith Stelter, MD. “This order gives Minnesota’s health care system the strongest possible chance to adequately prepare for the predicted impact of this virus. The MMA and Minnesota’s specialty societies are working in support of and to partner with the governor on this and other needs related to the state’s COVID-19 response.”
The organization also requested the governor grant an interest-free and penalty-free extension to the MinnesotaCare tax filings to protect physicians facing financial hardship because of limitations placed on their practices by measures imposed by the state to combat the spread of the coronavirus, such as a ban on elective procedures and surgeries.
The group said the Minnesota Department of Revenue had granted a filing two-month filing extension if a physician requests it. However, MMA is asking that the extension be guaranteed and that a similar 60-day extension by granted for MinnesotaCare tax payments due on April 15.
On March 24, the MMA asked the governor to protect patients in opioid treatment programs by signing an executive order that would allow opioid treatment patients who are stable to receive 28-days of take-home doses of the drugs used to treat their opioid use disorder. Less stable opioid treatment disorder patients would receive up to 14 days’ supply.
With governments calling for social distancing and limiting non-essential health services, MMA said opioid treatment patients are finding barriers to continuing their treatment without the above steps.