Latest News

  • July 16, 2018 11:35 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    The annual Wisconsin Health News CEO Roundtable is August 14 in Madison. A panel of the state’s leading health system and hospital leaders will discuss the most pressing issues facing their industry. Panelists include: 

    • Dr. Sue Turney, CEO, Marshfield Clinic Health System 
    • Robert Van Meeteren, CEO, Reedsburg Area Medical Center 
    • Dr. Alan Kaplan, CEO, UW Health 

    Register now (link).

  • July 16, 2018 11:34 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    July 12, Wisconsin Health News

    Workers’ compensation premiums for businesses are set to decline by 6.03 percent this October, according to a statement from the Department of Workforce Development.  

    That could result in an estimated $134 million in annual savings for businesses, the Tuesday statement noted. It’s the third year that workers’ compensation rates have declined, following an 8.46 percent decrease last year and a 3.19 percent decline in 2016. 

    “A safe workplace results in a more productive and profitable one for employers,” Ted Nickel, insurance commissioner, said in a statement. "Employers are recognizing the relation between their employees' safety and the savings that ensue as premiums continue to decline." 

    Mark Grapentine, senior vice president of government relations for the Wisconsin Medical Society, said the report shows that “good news keeps coming” for the state’s workers’ compensation program. 

    “We’re already a national model, with faster return to work, fantastic patient satisfaction and ready access to the highest-quality healthcare in the nation – all at a cost per claim that is below the national average,” he wrote in an email. “Another significant insurance rate reduction is just more evidence that Wisconsin’s system is win-win for both businesses and their employees.” 

    Grapentine added that there’s room for improvement, pointing to a need for the state’s on-the-job injury rate drop below the national average. He added that healthcare providers are “always striving to find better ways to improve care.” 

    Chris Reader, director of health and human resources policy, also lauded the announcement. He said the reduction follows a national trend as employers and workers have invested in and focused on safety. But he noted that costs for medical treatment for workplace injuries are on the rise. 

    “Had Wisconsin enacted a medical fee schedule like almost every other state, medical costs also would have been kept in check and the insurance reduction today would have been even greater," he wrote in an email. 

    Reader also argued that the rate reduction doesn’t mean much to fully-insured employers who don’t pay insurance costs and are left footing “incredibly high medical bills.” 

    Proposals to establish a fee schedule haven't gained traction with lawmakers.

  • June 27, 2018 1:11 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    The Wisconsin Supreme Court issued its ruling today in the Ascaris Mayo v. Wisconsin Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund case to uphold the $750,000 cap on noneconomic damages, thus restoring medical malpractice caps in Wisconsin.

    In January, a coalition of medical specialty organizations jointly filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of the cap. The collaborative efforts of Wisconsin’s medical community resulted in a major victory for physicians and helped preserve access to healthcare across Wisconsin.

    The case centers around Ascaris Mayo, who lost her limbs after a Milwaukee emergency room failed to identify an untreated infection. A court awarded her economic damages as well as $15 million intended to compensate for pain and suffering.

    The state’s Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund, which covers large medical malpractice claims in the state, moved to reduce the $15 million to $750,000. An appeals court backed the award and ruled the law unconstitutional.

    Chief Justice Patience Roggensack wrote the majority opinion upholding the law, in part because she said the Legislature acted rationally when creating the law.

    “We conclude that the Legislature's comprehensive plan that guarantees payment while controlling liability for medical malpractice through the use of insurance, contributions to the fund and a cap on noneconomic damages has a rational basis,” she wrote. “Therefore, it is not facially unconstitutional.”

  • June 25, 2018 4:42 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    Dear WISAM Members,

    Our next teleconference is this Thursday June 28 at 7:00 pm. This will be our one and only teleconference of the summer so join us! Along with the always-lively dialogue among colleagues, some issues we will be discussing include updates on ongoing projects such as the conference and webinars (see below) as well as the State expansion of prescribing of buprenorphine by NPs and PAs and the requirement for MD supervisors for these prescribers. If you have a topic idea to submit for this or future teleconference calls, please send your ideas to

    Our Annual Conference is September 27-29, 2018 at the UW Pyle Center. CME wil be provided as well as credit for the MEB Opioid Prescribing educational requirement. Register here for the main conference (Thursday/Friday). On Saturday, September 29, we will be offering clinical training workshops for those who are prescribing (or considering prescribing) ORT. Primary Care providers will find these workshops very useful. For information and to register for the Saturday workshops, click this link.

    Our 2018 Webinar Series is underway! The first of the four part series began on June 20th and was led by Drs. Bhatnagar and John Ewing. There are nearly 50 providers currentlyi registered to take part in some or all of the sessions. The next session will be presented live on Wednesday, July 18 at Meriter Hospital in Madison. It's not too late to register to access the recordings for any of the sessions, or attend the live presentations of the upcoming sessions. Learn more

    Happy summer to all! 

    Matthew Felgus, MD FASAM

  • June 18, 2018 5:37 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    In competitive elections for council seats, seven delegates were selected by their peers at the AMA House of Delegates to serve. Included was longtime WISAM member and leader, Michael M. Miller, MD, an addiction psychiatrist with Rogers Behavioral Health, who was elected to serve on the AMA Council on Science and Public Health. 

    Doctor Miller is a nationally recognized addiction psychiatrist and addiction medicine physician. He has effectively integrated addiction care into the various psychiatric subspecialty services at Rogers Behavioral Health.

    His work with the Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and his work on prevention with respect to opioid overdose and accidental deaths, is well known and ongoing in the state of Wisconsin, and nationally.  

    Dr. Miller has served as Vice Speaker of the Wisconsin Medical Society House of Delegates and has been a member of the WMS delegation to the AMA HOD since 2000. Prior, he served as a specialty society delegate to the AMA HOD from ASAM.  He has been a member of three AMA HOD Reference Committees, including serving as chair of the Reference Committee on Advocacy Related to Medical Education and Science and Public Health.  A Past President of the Dane County Medical Society, Dr. Miller has chaired or served on numerous committees and task forces of the WMS, the WPA, AAAP, ASAM, ABAM, and the ABAM Foundation. Notably, he chaired the WMS Council on Addictive Diseases and served a dozen years on the Managing Committee of Wisconsin’s Statewide Physician Health Program.  

  • May 10, 2018 1:44 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    Dear WISAM Members,

    It's been an interesting month. For those of you who were not able to make it to the Annual ASAM conference in San Diego, we hope you'll consider attending the 2019 conference. Mark your calendars now for April 4-7, 2019 in Orlando, Florida.

    While in San Diego, several WISAM officers and members were interviewed by Ashley Luthern, a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who showed a real interest for, and an understanding of, the issues we face in treating the disease of addiction. View article.

    Also at the conference, we connected with our counterparts from Illinois (ISAM). Dr Raymond Bertino, ISAM President, plans to distribute our Wisconsin Chapter Annual Conference information to Illinois Chapter members, so we are hoping for a good turnout from colleagues to the south.

    The WISAM 2018 Annual Conference, Road to Recovery: The Science of Addiction and Practical Applications, is September 27-29 at the Pyle Center in Madison. Our conference committee has put together an exciting program, and registration is now open! The detailed registration brochure will be available soon.

    In other news, I’d like to express my thanks to WISAM member Britni Bolduc, who has volunteered to get our WISAM Facebook page up and running. Stay tuned for details on connecting with us on Facebook.

    WISAM is launching its four-part webinar series, Treatment of Substance Use Disorders in Primary Care, funded through a WMS Foundation educational grant. The topics and speakers are confirmed, and sessions are scheduled to begin June 20th. Each session in the series will be presented as a live educational activity at Meriter Hospital in Madison, and will be recorded for members to view on-demand for up to one year following the recorded presentation. 

    And finally, after an April break, our monthly teleconference series will resume on Thursday May 24th from 7:00 to 8:00 pm. Dr. David Galbis-Reig, WISAM President-Elect, will lead the discussion. Stay tuned for more information.

    Enjoy your spring!

    Matt Felgus, MD, FASAM
  • April 19, 2018 1:45 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    Aleksandra Zgierska, MD

    Approximately 65 people from Wisconsin attended the American Society of Addiction Medicine's Annual Conference in San Diego. Many of them were WISAM members but quite a few were not, and we welcome them to consider membership.Approximately 30 people attended the Wisconsin Chapter annual business meeting, which took place during the ASAM conference.

    ASAM has developed a toolkit that offers suggestions on how you can make most out of Addiction Treatment Week. Please spread the word through social media, as well as engagement with the community and the media. See below for more information!

    WISAM President Matt Felgus, MD and Immediate Past President Aleksandra Zgierska, MD holding the certificate signed by Governor Walker proclaiming the week of Apr 23-29 as Addiction Treatment Week.

  • April 13, 2018 10:12 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    In partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Wisconsin law enforcement agencies will again hold Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 28. Police and sheriffs’ departments will host events throughout Wisconsin as part of the event. 

    The goal of Prescription Drug Take Back Day is to provide a safe, convenient and responsible method of disposal for unused or expired prescription drugs. The events also educate the community about potential abuse and consequences of improper storage and disposal of these medications. 

    Drug take back days are held each spring across the country. The October 2017 Drug Take Back events in Wisconsin collected 63,941 pounds of unused medications, the largest fall drug take back collection to date. Wisconsin also had more law enforcement agencies participate than any other state in the country with 266 police and sheriffs’ departments hosting 130 events. Since October 2015, the Drug Take Back Day program has successfully collected and disposed of nearly 360,000 pounds of unused medications in Wisconsin alone. 

    In addition to the semiannual Take Back Day, there are 349 permanent drug disposal drop boxes throughout Wisconsin, providing citizens a convenient, environmentally friendly and anonymous way to dispose of unused medications all year. 

    For more information, including a list of accepted medications, visit the “Dose of Reality” website, which also features an interactive map to find a drug take-back location.

  • March 20, 2018 12:41 PM | Anonymous

    March 19, 2018

    Governor Walker recently signed a proclamation declaring April 23-29th as the 2018 Addiction Treatment Awareness Week throughout the state of Wisconsin.  This was at the request and in partnership with the American Society of Addiction Medicine and the Wisconsin Society of Addiction Medicine.

    National Addiction Treatment Week is an ASAM initiative that generates awareness that addiction is a disease, not a moral failing, promotes quality and evidence-based treatments for addiction, and focuses on the need for all medical professionals to treat addiction and save lives. A series of online events are scheduled for the week, including a webinar with ABPM and SAMHSA discussing the importance (and pathways) for physicians to enter the field of addiction medicine and Treat Addiction to Save Lives. 

    A copy of the Governor’s proclamation is attached (link).  For more information on addiction treatment, please visit the ASAM website (link).

  • February 08, 2018 3:06 PM | Deleted user

    MD Magazine
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has classified kratom, a botanical substance widely used as a painkiller despite agency approval, as an opioid. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb released a statement referencing the FDA's concerns about the plant substance and its health consequences, which they said include death. Since they've been keeping tally, there have been 44 deaths reported that are considered associated with kratom, an increase from the 36 that had been reported in a November 2017 FDA advisory document. 

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