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Minnesota Agencies

Information on Minnesota State Agencies, Boards, Task Forces, and Commissions

Compiled by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library

Opioid Prescribing Work Group

Active dates:2015 -

According to their website, "the Opioid Prescribing Work Group (OPWG) is an advisory body of experts convened to forward DHS' Opioid Prescribing Improvement Program (OPIP). The OPIP plays a crucial role in Minnesota's response to the crisis of prescription opioid misuse and abuse, namely addressing inappropriate prescribing behavior among Minnesota health care providers."

Minnesota Statutes indicates that the working group shall recommend to the Commissioners of Health and Human Services the components of the statewide opioid prescribing improvement program, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • developing criteria for opioid prescribing protocols, including: prescribing for the interval of up to four days immediately after an acute painful event; prescribing for the interval of up to 45 days after an acute painful event; and prescribing for chronic pain, which for purposes of this program means pain lasting longer than 45 days after an acute painful event;
  • developing sentinel measures;
  • developing educational resources for opioid prescribers about communicating with patients about pain management and the use of opioids to treat pain;
  • developing opioid quality improvement standard thresholds and opioid disenrollment standards for opioid prescribers and provider groups. In developing opioid disenrollment standards, the standards maybe described in terms of the length of time in which prescribing practices fall outside community standards and the nature and amount of opioid prescribing that fall outside community standards; and
  • addressing other program issues as determined by the Commissioners.

By September 15, 2016, and annually thereafter, the Commissioner of Human Services shall report to the legislature on the implementation of the opioid prescribing improvement program in the Minnesota health care programs. The report must include data on the utilization of opioids within the Minnesota health care programs.

The OPWG contributed to DHS and MDH's development of the first edition of Minnesota Opioid Prescribing Guidelines

In June 2019, Dr. Jeff Schiff, medical director of Minnesota’s Medicaid program at the Department of Human Services and ex-officio member of the OPWG, said his position was being eliminated. Dr. Schiff had helped write the legislation that created the work group and set the group’s agendas and direction. Other work group members expressed concerns about his departure and its potential effect on the OPWG in an open letter to Gov. Walz and Lt. Gov. Flanagan.


14 voting members including consumers, health care practitioners, health professionals, and law enforcement. The working group also includes three non-voting members from: the medical director for the medical assistance program; a member representing the Department of Human Services pharmacy unit; and the medical director for the Department of Labor and Industry.

Entries for this agency in the Annual Compilation and Statistical Report of Multi-Member Agencies Report: 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016.

Note: This report provides membership details as well as meeting information and a summary of the group's activities.

Agency heads:

Appointing authority: Commissioner of Human Services.


Referred to by 2015 Minn. Laws Chap. 71 Art. 11 Sec. 61; cites Minnesota Statutes, section 256B.0638, subdivision 4

Internet resource:
Note: The Legislative Reference Library may have additional reports on or by this group available through our catalog.
News clippings and documents. Agencies Notebook Collection, 2015-2019.
Record last updated: 06/20/2019

All information on this group from the Library’s collection of agency notebooks has been digitized. These materials are incorporated into the “documents/articles” section of the record. Please contact a librarian with any questions. The Minnesota Agencies database is a work in progress.

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