Latest News

  • January 15, 2021 5:29 PM | Anonymous

    Updated 1/22/2021

    The previously announced, Trump Administration, HHS practice guidelines regarding a new exemption from certain X-waiver certification requirements for certain physicians never posted to the Federal Register-- which means the exemption never went into effect.  The Biden Administration has put a temporary freeze on matters not yet posted to the Register, pending further review.  As soon as ASAM receives further information from federal agencies about all of this, we will inform our members.

    In the meantime, on Capitol Hill, ASAM continues to advocate for a complete elimination of the X-waiver while ensuring controlled medication prescribers have baseline education on addiction – that will require a legislative “fix.”

    Posted 1/15/2021

    We have some important news to share regarding buprenorphine prescribing from HHS. For physicians, the requirement for a separate X-Waiver to prescribe Buprenorphine/naloxone will no longer be required. The patient limit for physicians without the X-Waiver will be 30 patients but it is unclear at this time what it will mean for X-waived providers. This does not apply to PA's or NP's. ASAM plans to put out a statement in the next few days when more details are available.

    Sincerely,

    David Galbis-Reig, M.D., DFASAM
    President, Wisconsin Society of Addiction Medicine

    HHS Expands Access to Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

  • January 14, 2021 2:17 PM | Anonymous

    MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers announced today that the the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has awarded nearly $9 million to 23 county agencies and five tribal nations to provide treatment services for the harmful use of opioids—such as prescription pain relievers, heroin, and fentanyl—or stimulants—such as cocaine and methamphetamine.


    “Too many Wisconsinites, and their friends, family, and neighbors, have experienced the tragedies of harmful use of stimulants and opioids first hand,” said Gov. Evers. “It tears apart families, impacts our kids, and has affected every Wisconsin community in one way or another. I am glad we are able to get these critical funds out the door to provide treatment and hope for so many.”
    “The problem use of opioids and stimulants is an epidemic in Wisconsin,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “These grant awards enable our county and tribal partners to expand access to help those who need it most, giving them hope and healing, as we continue our collective work to build healthy communities.”
    The grant awards listed below are based on the level of need for treatment services in the county or tribe and the types of treatment services to be provided by each county or tribe.

    Read more.

  • 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

  • January 06, 2021 5:40 PM | Anonymous

    PHOENIX (PRWEB) JANUARY 06, 2021

    The American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT) will present the 2021 Virtual ‘Total Tox Course’ on three Fridays in February – the 5th, 12th, and 19th. Attendees may choose to register for one, two, or for the complete course, all three days. Register here.

    The Total Tox Course is a comprehensive review of the scope of emergency toxicology and will include up-to-date interventions and management options for poisoned patients. Prominent experts in medical toxicology and emergency medicine will lead the course. The 3-day course will focus on medical toxicology topics of interest to Physicians, Pharmacists, Advanced Practice Nurses, Nurses, Physician Assistants, Medics, EMTs, Specialists in Poison Information (SPI), Laboratorians, Poison Center Educators, First Responders, Operational or Tactical Specialists, Residents and Students. Attendees will be presented with the most up-to-date information to evaluate and manage cases of poisoning and exposure to medications, drugs of abuse, chemical terrorism, and environmental toxins.

    Topics will include:

    • Dangers and Management of Opioid Abuse
    • Over-the-Counter Poisons
    • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
    • Envenomations
    • Disaster Preparedness - Radiation, Nerve Agents, & Biologic Terrorism
    • Dangers in Your House
    • Tricyclic Antidepressants, Antipsychotics, SSRIs and Lithium
    • Ethanol Intoxication & Withdrawal
    • Plants, Mushrooms & Nutritional Supplements
    • Toxic Alcohols
    • Antimicrobials & Antivirals
    • Drug Screen Pitfalls
    • Asphyxiants
    • Anticonvulsants
    • Malignant Hyperthermia
    • Local Anesthetic Toxicity
    • Dysrhythmias
    • Beta and Calcium Channel Blockers
    • Toxicity of Endocrine Agents

    Course organizer Christina Hantsch, MD, FACEP, FAACT, FACMT explains, “The possibility of a hazmat event is a daily reality; drug overdose has surpassed trauma to become a leading cause of death from injury in the US and is increasing with the COVID-19 pandemic-related stress; exposure to disinfectants, sanitizers and both prescribed and homeopathic COVID-19 treatments are also increasing. With facts such as these in mind, it’s clear that healthcare providers need to stay up-to-date in toxicology.”

    This activity is eligible for CME (Continue Medical Education) and CPE (Continuing Pharmacy Education). Registration for the course is open now! Register here.

    This course has been recommended by the American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM), American Academy of Emergency Nurse Practitioners (AAENP), American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), Central State Occupational and Environmental Medicine Association (CSOEMA), Society of Forensic Toxicology (SOFT), and the Wisconsin Society of Addiction Medicine (WISAM).

    About ACMT
    The American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT) is a professional, nonprofit association of physicians with recognized expertise and board certification in medical toxicology. Our members specialize in the prevention, evaluation, treatment, and monitoring of injury and illness from exposures to drugs and chemicals, as well as biological and radiological agents. We care for people in clinical, academic, governmental, and public health settings, and provide poison control center leadership.

  • December 28, 2020 11:58 AM | Anonymous

    The CEPO and DoD Opioid Prescriber Safety Training Work Group has been working diligently to provide an update to the current DoD Opioid Prescriber Safety Training Program on the CE Management System (CMS).

    The DoD Opioid Prescriber Safety Training Program stems from the presidential memo, "Addressing Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Use," from October 2015 that mandated training for all providers, residents, and clinical trainees in federal health care facilities who prescribe controlled substances. The memo is accessible at http://go.wh.gov/QyMgQT. It was created by tri-service experts and equips providers to improve patient outcomes for substance use disorders and pain management. This program will replace the previous version that closes on 31 December 2020.

    The new DoD Opioid Prescriber Safety Training Program will go live in the CMS on 1 January 2021 and will offer participants 2.0 Continuing Education/Continuing Medical Education credits (CEs/CMEs). The training features a video developed by the DoD/VA Joint Pain Education Project (JPEP) to summarize the DoD and VHA approach to pain management, as well as, a video developed by the JPEP that provides clinicians and patients with an explanation and understanding of the New Pain Paradigm driven by emerging evidence regarding the risks of opioid therapy.

    Target Audience:
    This activity is designed to meet the educational needs of Physicians, Nurses, Pharmacists, Physician Assistants, Dentists, and other health care professionals.

    To access the DoD Opioid Prescriber Safety Training Program event flyer, please click here.

    2021 Clinical Communities Speaker Series

    The Defense Health Agency's Continuing Education Program Office has scheduled the dates for the FY21 Clinical Communities Speaker Series (CCSS). The CE/CME educational activities enhance quality of care, patient outcomes and population health by improving the practice skills and clinical knowledge of health care providers across the military health care system. Participants will have the opportunity to earn up to 7.0 CE/CME credits per series!

    Save the Date for the FY21 DHA CCSS Activities:

    • 25 February 2021: Emerging Priorities in Women’s Health
    • 22 April 2021: Youth in Transition
    • 24 June 2021: Exploring Evidence-Based Practices in Modern Medicine Primary Care
    • 26 August 2021: Exploration of Innovations in Health Care
    • 28 October 2021: Promising Practices in Military Health Care

    *Please note, event details are subject to change*

    Target Audience:
    CEs/CMEs are available for the following health care professionals: Physicians, Nurses, Pharmacists, Pharmacy Technicians, Physician Assistants, Optometrists, Dentists, Dental Hygienists, Dental Lab Technicians, Social Workers, Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, Certified Counselors, Case Managers, Kinesiotherapists, Speech-Language Pathologists, Audiologists, Healthcare Executives, Registered Dieticians, Dietetic Technicians, and other health care professionals.

    To access the 2021 CCSS Save the Date Flyer, please click here.

    Continuing Education:
    The DHA, J-7, CEPO awards the credits, which are limited in scope to health care providers who actively provide care to U.S. active-duty service members, reservists, National Guardsmen, military veterans and their families.

    Participation:
    Please visit the CE Management System to participate in the 2020 DHA CCSS Home Study activities and additional CE/CME offerings: https://www.dhaj7-cepo.com/

    https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USMHS/subscriber/one_click_unsubscribe?verification=5.f0d309d9b2624539baaa028dff891a51&destination=sally%40badgerbay.co

  • December 08, 2020 1:38 PM | Anonymous

    Wisconsin Health News

    The first COVID-19 vaccinations are expected in Wisconsin soon.

    Wisconsin is set to receive 49,725 first doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine after it receives emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, Stephanie Schauer, Department of Health Services Division of Public Health Immunization Program manager, told reporters Monday.

    And DHS also expects Wisconsin to receive a first allocation of 16,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine this month once it's approved, a spokeswoman said. Further allocations of vaccines doses would arrive in the following weeks, she said.

    DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said the vaccine has not arrived in Wisconsin yet, but they’ll start giving doses sometime this month. 

    “Distributing COVID-19 vaccine is the most significant public health undertaking of our lifetimes,” Willems Van Dijk told reporters. “It will require both preparedness and adaptability and patience.”

    Wisconsin will use a “hub-and-spoke” model to disseminate the Pfizer vaccines, which will arrive in batches to hubs like health systems in each of the state’s healthcare emergency response coalition regions, Willems Van Dijk said. 

    Those hubs will be equipped with the ultra-cold storage needed to store the vaccine. Once at the hubs, vaccines will head to smaller clinics around the area. 

    The Moderna vaccine, when approved and available, will be sent directly to vaccinators since it doesn’t require ultra-cold storage, Willems Van Dijk said. 

    DHS plans to prioritize front-line healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents, followed by high-risk groups. Then the general public will be eligible. 

    Willems Van Dijk said it’ll take months to vaccinate everyone in Wisconsin, meaning people will have to continue using preventive measures for some time.

    She predicted summer or fall would be a “really realistic goal” for moving beyond COVID-19 precautions, like mask wearing and social distancing. 

    “I know everybody’s excited and we’d love to take our masks off by Valentine’s Day, but that’s not just going to happen,” she said. 

    She also said they’re working on a contract for additional vaccinators, given that healthcare providers and public health workers are “deeply embroiled” in responding to the pandemic. 

    Willems Van Dijk said they’re assessing who has capacity and where additional workforce might be needed. 

    The UW System recently offered tuition credit to nursing students who help vaccinate. Willems Van Dijk said that Wisconsin Emergency Management and the Wisconsin National Guard could help bolster efforts. 

    Walgreens and CVS will provide vaccinators in long-term care facilities, she added.
  • December 08, 2020 12:44 PM | Anonymous

    The American Society for Addiction Medicine (ASAM), American Psychiatric Association (APA), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and Friends Research Institute (FRI) are developing the Addiction Medicine Practice-based Research Network (AMNet) to address the nation's opioid epidemic.

    Though addiction medicine/psychiatry practices play an essential role in responding to the opioid epidemic, little is known about the type of patients treated in these practices, the type and quality of services their patients receive, and their patient outcomes. These practices often have limited opportunities to organize their data for quality improvement (QI) efforts and are rarely invited to participate in clinical research. AMNet aims to change this disparity.

    On December 18, a special information and session on AMNet will be held virtually to introduce participants to the background and aims of AMNet, discuss eligibility criteria and advantages of participating in AMNet, and demonstrate how to access AMNet standardized tools and quality measures in the PsychPRO.

    AMNet Informational Session
    Friday, December 18, 2020
    2:00 pm CST / 3:00 pm EST
    Please register in advance 

    Questions may be directed to AMNet@psych.org 

  • December 07, 2020 12:20 PM | Anonymous

    The ACMT Total Tox Course is a comprehensive review of the scope of emergency toxicology and will include cutting-edge interventions and management options for poisoned patients. Prominent experts in medical toxicology and emergency medicine lead the course. 

    The online course will focus on medical toxicology topics of interest to emergency providers, including toxicological issues of current clinical and public health importance. Attendees will be presented with state-of-the-art updates on the evaluation and initial management of poisoning and exposure to medications, drugs of abuse, chemical terrorism, and environmental toxins. 

    Target Audience: Physicians, Pharmacists, Advanced Practice Providers, Nurses, Medics, EMTs, SPIs, Laboratorians, Poison Center Educators, First Responders, Operational or Tactical Specialists, Residents and Students. 

    Click here for more information! 

  • December 03, 2020 7:31 PM | Anonymous

    Wisconsin Medical Society | Medigram

    Doctor Day, the state’s premier event for physician advocacy, is set for May 5, 2021. Preparations are underway to ensure the event can be held that day either virtually or in-person – so be sure to save the date! As the state looks forward to finding a way through the COVID-19 pandemic, the 8th annual Doctor Day could be the most important ever. Elected officials and policymakers always benefit from physicians sharing their expertise; that knowledge will be needed even more in spring 2021.

    One of the most popular aspects of Doctor Day is meeting with Capitol legislators and staff, and those important interactions will be on the agenda as well – either virtually or in-person depending on the COVID-19 situation at the time. Of those attending last year’s Doctor Day, 99 percent said they would “highly recommend” the event to their colleagues.

    Please save the date and register today at widoctorday.org. Contact Heidi Green for more information.

  • November 25, 2020 9:30 AM | Anonymous

    COVID-19 Risk Chart to share with your patients

    The current rise in COVID-19 cases has shown that a significant portion of the general public remains unsure about activities that put them more at risk for catching the underlying virus despite widespread information about COVID-19. To help inform your patients, the Wisconsin Medical Society’s (Society) COVID-19 Task Force has created this downloadable display that you can use when talking with your patients, have on display in your examining rooms, lobby or other areas where patients may see it or give to your patients at discharge.

    The Society’s COVID-19 Task Force meets every other week to discuss the latest issues related to the pandemic and strategize on ways to support physicians and better educate the public. Contact Society Chief Policy and Advocacy Officer Mark Grapentine, JD with any questions or suggestions.

    Nominees sought for Society offices; deadline Jan. 4

    Nominations are now being accepted for several Wisconsin Medical Society (Society) offices, and all nomination materials are due to the Society’s Nominating Committee by Monday, January 4, 2021.

    Candidates are sought for the following offices:

    • President-Elect for 2021-2022
    • AMA Delegate for 2022 and 2023 (two positions) – George Lange, MD, of River Hills (incumbent and eligible for reelection); Charles Rainey, MD, JD of River Hills (ineligible for reelection)
    • AMA Alternate Delegate for 2022 and 2023 – Don Lee, MD, of Milwaukee; Nameeta Dookeran, MD, of Waukesha (both incumbents and eligible for reelection)

    All candidates must submit a curriculum vitae not to exceed three pages, a cover letter no longer than one page, a completed candidate questionnaire for the office the candidate is seeking and a completed Disclosure of Significant Affiliations (conflict of interest) form. The candidate questionnaire forms are available here.*

    The Nominating Committee will meet Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, at 4 p.m. via Zoom. The Committee will interview and evaluate the candidates for Society offices and prepare a slate of nominees for presentation to the membership.

    Those serving on 2020-2021 Nominating Committee are:

    • District 1—Arthur Angove, DO, of New Berlin; Joshua Gershtenson, MD, of Kenosha; David Galbis-Reig, MD, of Racine; Michelle Graham, MD, of Milwaukee; Cynthia Jones-Nosacek, MD, of Milwaukee; Aurora Lybeck, MD, of Hartford; Anthony Rieder, MD, of Wauwatosa.
    • District 2—Lynn Broderick, MD, of Madison; Michele Brogunier, MD, of Madison; Natalie Wheeler, MD, of Madison; Alan Schwartzstein, MD, of Oregon.
    • District 3—Hilary Bingol, MD, of La Crosse; Michael White, MD, of Onalaska.
    • District 4—Larry Gordon, DO, of Weston; Michele Montgomery, MD, of Wausau; William Raduege, MD, of Woodruff.
    • District 5—Bret Pasiuk, MD, of Fond du Lac.
    • District 6—Bradley Burmeister, MD, of Green Bay.
    • District 7—Cecil Berlie, MD, of Eau Claire; Lee Hofer, MD, of Eau Claire.
    • District 8—Charles Bertel, MD, of Ashland.
    • Specialty Sections—Vacant.
    • Resident/Fellow—Evan Henricks, MD, of Milwaukee.
    • Medical Students—Kyle Bevers, Medical College of Wisconsin; Noah Borchardt, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

    Communications to the Nominating Committee should be addressed to Clyde “Bud” Chumbley, MD, MBA, CEO, Wisconsin Medical Society, PO Box 1109, Madison, WI 53701. Communications also can be emailed to Noreen KruegerClick here to learn more about the nominating process and to download the candidate questionnaires and the conflict of interest form.*

    Note: The Society will post the completed candidate questionnaire and cover letter on WisMed Community upon submission. The Society will post the conflict of interest form of all candidates selected by the Nominating Committee as nominees on WisMed Community after nomination by the Committee.

    For questions or more information, email Noreen Krueger.

    *WisMed Community is a members-only resource and will require you to log in. For questions or assistance please contact Anne Hauer.

    Financial lunch and learn sessions

    Put the major financial pieces in place for your future by joining one or all of the lunch and learn classes hosted by WisMed Financial. The Retirement Readiness series is focused on decisions for those near or in retirement. Financial Planning 101 provides a good knowledge base for anyone. All of the sessions start at noon. To register please visit wismedfinancial.org/lunch-learn.

    Retirement Readiness
    11/19 Have you saved enough and Social Security
    12/3 Wills, estate documents and charitable giving
    12/10 Replacing the paycheck with investments and smart tax planning
    12/17 Health insurance, Medicare and long-term care

    Financial Planning 101
    11/17 Cash flow and eliminating debt including student loans
    11/24 Charitable giving, wills and other estate documents
    12/1 Saving for retirement and kids’ college
    12/8 Building an investment portfolio
    12/15 Smart tax strategies, life and disability insurance

    To learn more or for questions, please contact Mark Ziety, CFP®, AIF® of WisMed Financial, Inc.

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

    Society continues statewide push for smart COVID-19 behaviors

    Building off of Governor Tony Evers’s November 18 announcement that he will declare another public health emergency and extend the face coverings order through mid-January 2021, the Wisconsin Medical Society (Society) called on the state to help protect physicians and other health care staff in the face of a growing COVID-19 pandemic.

    “Every day, more Wisconsin physicians... are personally affected by the pandemic, and that means hospital capacities are even more strained,” Society President Erik Gundersen, MD, said in a press statement provided to the state’s media outlets. “Everyone in Wisconsin needs to rally around what can attack this pandemic.

    “If we all do this, we can save lives,” Gundersen said.

    As various gubernatorial orders have been challenged in the state’s courts as an overreach of executive branch power, Wisconsin’s COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise – dragging hospitalizations and ICU bed usage numbers along with them. Combined with more health care staff succumbing to the virus itself or quarantining due to exposure, dramatic action is needed to help stave off even worse overall outcomes.

    “The Society is continuing to call for all private and public entities to help fight the pandemic and protect our heroic health care workforce,” Society CEO Bud Chumbley, MD, MBA, said. “Physicians can lead the way in urging our communities to put politics aside and do the things that we know make a difference: wash hands, wear masks and stay home.

    “The Society will continue to use all of its means to help physicians during the pandemic,” Dr. Chumbley said. “And that includes urging the public to step up for their physicians and the communities they serve.”

    As the holiday season approaches – and as COVID-19 cases continue to rise at alarming rates – the Society’s COVID-19 Task Force created this downloadable display that can be used when talking with patients, as a display in examining rooms, lobbies or other areas where patients may see it or give to patients at discharge. Additionally, Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) produced an informational piece about how to celebrate the holidays safely.

    Physicians can access the Society’s COVID-19 Resources page for additional tools that can help them educate the public about smart COVID-19 behaviors and other information.

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

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