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January Updates from the Wisconsin Medical Society

January 07, 2021 5:42 PM | Anonymous

Wisconsin Medical Society | Medigram

Society weighs in on Assembly GOP COVID Response Bill

Signaling the importance of battling the COVID-19 pandemic, Wisconsin State Assembly Republicans and Democrats each unveiled their own COVID-19 response bills on Inauguration Day, January 4. With Republicans in control of that legislative house, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) introduced Assembly Bill 1 Monday afternoon, with a committee hearing and vote taking place the next day.

The 63-page omnibus bill hits a wide variety of areas, from schools to unemployment programs to health care workforce and funding. The Wisconsin Medical Society (Society) highlighted both the positive and concerning portions of the bill in this testimony, which was delivered electronically to the Assembly Committee on Health. Protection from COVID-19 exposure civil litigation, ensuring the state’s SeniorCare program covers COVID-19 vaccinations and preventing patients from facing copays or coinsurance for vaccinations garnered the Society’s support. Provisions limiting local public health and state health department powers during communicable disease outbreaks and interfering with employers’ ability to protect employees and customers from SARS-CoV-2 were not supported.

The Assembly Health Committee approved the bill Tuesday afternoon on an 11-5 party-line vote. The full State Assembly convened this afternoon, amending the bill to place stricter limits on public health and school board powers, then passing the bill on a similarly partisan 56-34 vote. The bill now heads to the State Senate, where the bill’s fate in that house is unclear. Any bill passing both houses must then survive Governor Tony Evers’ veto scrutiny.

Contact Society Chief Policy and Advocacy Officer Mark Grapentine, JD for more information.

Society opposes VA rule allowing care without physician supervision

The Wisconsin Medical Society joined with dozens of other state- and specialty-based health care organizations on a letter opposing a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs proposed rule that would allow virtually all non-physician providers (NPP) to practice without the clinical supervision of a physician. The proposal would trump state scope of practice laws and regulations.

“NPPs are an integral part of physician-led health care teams,” the letter reads. “However, NPPs cannot substitute for physicians especially when it comes to diagnosing complex medical conditions, developing comprehensive treatment plans, ensuring that procedures are properly performed, and managing highly involved and complicated patient cases. Nowhere is this more important than at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which delivers multifaceted medical care to veterans, including those with traumatic brain injuries and other serious medical and mental health issues. As such, our nation’s veterans deserve high quality health care that is overseen by physicians.”

The letter was signed by more than 100 organizations and delivered to the Secretary of the Department of Veteran Affairs today. Contact Mark Grapentine, JD for more information.

You’re a member! Now what? Exploring WisMed Assure

Explore the benefits of Wisconsin Medical Society membership by joining the WisMed team for an overview of WisMed Assure, the only Wisconsin-based insurance firm exclusively serving the health care community. Tune in on Wednesday, January 13 at 12 p.m. and learn how they can help you! Register today!

Designed for the busy schedules of physicians, these 15-minute webinars will occur on the second Wednesday of the month, 12 - 12:15 p.m. Whether you're a brand-new member or have been involved for years, you can learn more about the latest member benefits designed specifically for you!

You’re a member! Now what? 
January 13 – Exploring benefits available through WisMed Assure
February 10 – Become an active advocate
March 10 – Take hold of your financial future
April 14 – Member benefits 101

Register once to be signed up for all four sessions. Contact Jess Bourin-Schreiter with any questions.

Help shape Medical Society policies in 2021

With the Wisconsin Medical Society (Society) evolving its policymaking process to a year-round schedule, the Society is seeking a special group of members to help review policy proposals that are submitted for discussion and eventual action by the Board of Directors. This group will include Society members from across the state to ensure widespread representation. The function is similar to the role Reference Committees had in the former House of Delegates structure: listening to testimony on policy proposals and making recommendations for final action to the ultimate deciding body.

The committee will include members from all eight Society districts and the young physician, resident physician and medical student sections. They will meet as needed leading up to each Society Board of Directors meeting. If you are interested in serving on this policy-reviewing committee, please fill out this form.

For more information, contact Society Chief Policy and Advocacy Officer Mark Grapentine, JD.

Physician Wellness Advisory Committee moving forward

The Physician Wellness Advisory Committee held its first meeting in December. The purpose of this committee is to design and establish the framework and operability of a Physician Wellness Program to offer help and respite when needed for the physicians of Wisconsin. The intent is to initiate the program in a short period of time and provide the framework for it to grow and be more robust in the future. Special thanks to Mary Jo Capodice, DO, MPH, Jacqueline Landess, MD, Erica Larson, DO, and Michael Miller, MD, for giving their time and providing recommendations as the Wisconsin Medical Society begins this crucial journey towards providing this valuable service to the physicians of Wisconsin.

The committee is currently reviewing options that can be provided in the immediate future. A model that has been adopted in multiple states is being strongly considered. This proposed model is similar to an Employee Assistance Program, where a limited number of confidential counseling/coaching services are provided without the need to go through one’s employer or health insurance. The option to pilot the program in specific counties is also under consideration. 

Updates on the Committee’s progress will continue to be shared. Please reach out to Jim Lorence with any questions or comments. 

Minnesota Medical Association physician well-being conference Jan. 28

The Minnesota Medical Association’s (MMA) 5th annual physician well-being conference will be held virtually on January 28, 2021. As a promotional sponsor for this event, Wisconsin Medical Society members can access this conference at the discounted MMA member price of $195 with the code JOYMEDPARTNER.

Bryan Sexton, PhD, an associate professor at Duke University and director of the Duke Center for Healthcare Safety & Quality will kick off the conference with his keynote presentation Bite Size Coping During Times of Uncertainty.

For additional information including a full agenda and registration, click here.

Part 2 of COVID Relief Bill

As expected, the COVID Relief Bill was signed into law just before the end of 2020. The $900 billion bill was embedded in the much larger Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

Click here for some key provisions applicable to Wisconsin families and health care.

Please contact Mark Ziety, CFP®, AIF® at 608.442.3750 with any questions. 

Mark Ziety, CFP®, AIF®
WisMed Financial, Inc. part of the Wisconsin Medical Society

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