April 10, 2020: State Advocacy Update


In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic and evidence showing that physical distancing is the only effective mechanism to stop the spread of the virus, the AMA sent a letter to the National Governors Association (NGA) urging all states to issue statewide stay-at-home orders.

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The AMA also called on the NGA and all state governors to enact emergency orders to close non-essential businesses, limit non-essential activities and prohibit gatherings during this critical stage of conducting a uniform national response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

"In this urgent moment, it's time for all states to start enforcing physical distancing and stay-at-home policies, practices that are crucial in limiting the virus's long-term effects on our country and health care system," said AMA CEO and EVP James L. Madara, MD. "That's why we're urging states that haven't yet implemented such orders take action immediately—because doing so will help slow the spread of the virus and save lives."

Patients in Minnesota with chronic pain, opioid use disorder and other medical diseases will have increased access to the medications they need thanks to a new law in Minnesota that greatly relaxes the state's refill limits on controlled substances.

The law, enacted as part of the COVID-19 global pandemic, allows Schedule II-V controlled substances to be dispensed for more than 30 days and removes existing refill limitations. These new policies are part of the AMA's top policy recommendations for states to help patients with chronic diseases to avoid leaving their homes during shelter-in-place to limit the spread of COVID-19. Read more about AMA's state policy recommendations.

"The AMA applauds the Minnesota Medical Association and the Minnesota Legislature for its leadership in enacting this legislation and urges all states to take similar action," said AMA President Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA. "The AMA expects all pharmacies, pharmacy benefit management companies and health insurance companies doing business in the state of Minnesota to comply with the law and remove any restrictions that would interfere with this legislation."

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