Latest News

  • October 02, 2020 11:58 AM | Anonymous

    In response to the increasing COVID-19 cases, Governor Evers announced a new Emergency Order—EO-2.  Included in this new order are new provisions applicable to health care providers including interstate reciprocity, credentialing, and Telemedicine.  

    In addition, the provisions from previously released EO-16 related to physician assistants and nurses are included by reference.  The new order is effective immediately and unless suspended by the legislature or the courts, will remain in effect for the duration of the federal declared public health emergency.  

    View the Governor's press release

  • October 01, 2020 4:02 PM | Anonymous

    U.S. Department of Health & Human Services |

    Today, under the leadership of President Trump, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), is announcing $20 billion in new funding for providers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. Under this Phase 3 General Distribution allocation, providers that have already received Provider Relief Fund payments will be invited to apply for additional funding that considers financial losses and changes in operating expenses caused by the coronavirus. Previously ineligible providers, such as those who began practicing in 2020 will also be invited to apply, and an expanded group of behavioral health providers confronting the emergence of increased mental health and substance use issues exacerbated by the pandemic will also be eligible for relief payments.

    Providers can begin applying for funds on Monday, October 5, 2020.

    “HHS has worked to ensure that all American healthcare providers receive support from the Provider Relief Fund in a fast and fair way, and this new round helps ensure that we are reaching America’s essential behavioral health providers and takes into account losses and expenses relating to coronavirus,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “We’ve worked with all of the resources we have across HHS to ensure that America’s heroic healthcare providers know they can apply for support.”

    HHS has already issued over $100 billion in relief funding to providers through prior distributions. Still, HHS recognizes that many providers continue to struggle financially from COVID-19’s impact. For eligible providers, the new Phase 3 General Distribution is designed to balance an equitable payment of 2 percent of annual revenue from patient care for all applicants plus an add-on payment to account for revenue losses and expenses attributable to COVID-19.

    Further, HHS recognizes constraints such as the stay-at-home orders and social isolation have been particularly difficult for many Americans. A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report found the prevalence of symptoms of anxiety disorder in the second quarter of 2020 was approximately three times those that reported in the second quarter of 2019 (25.5% versus 8.1%); and the prevalence of depressive disorder was approximately four times that reported in the second quarter of 2019 (24.3% versus 6.5%). Our behavioral health providers have shouldered the burden of responding and confronting this expanded challenge triggered by the pandemic. When traditional face-to-face counseling was restricted and new telehealth flexibilities were put in place in response to the pandemic, many behavioral health providers invested in and adopted - PDF telehealth technologies to continue providing patient care. While some Medicare or Medicaid behavioral health providers have already received prior General Distribution payments, others have not. Working with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), HRSA developed a list of the nation’s behavioral health providers now eligible for funding, which includes, for example, addiction counseling centers, mental health counselors, and psychiatrists.

    Read more.

  • September 16, 2020 2:54 PM | Anonymous

    National Addiction Treatment Week is an initiative which promotes that addiction is a disease, evidence-based treatments are available, and recovery is possible. The week also highlights the need for clinicians to enter the field of addiction medicine. Join us October 19 - 25, 2020!

    The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) launched National Addiction Treatment Week in 2017 along with partner organizations in order to generate awareness of the disease of addiction and push for more medical professionals to enter the field of addiction medicine.

    Find more information on the website and stay tuned as WISAM shares information, resources and more leading up to and during this designated week!

  • August 19, 2020 4:17 PM | Anonymous

    On July 15, 2020, a final rule revising the federal regulations governing the Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records, 42 CFR Part 2 (Part 2), was released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The rule will go into effect on August 14, 2020. A SAMHSA fact sheet outlining the changes is here and the final rule here.  

    Between the time the Part 2 proposed rule was released and the final rule was promulgated, Congress included legislation to align 42 CFR Part 2 with HIPAA for the purpose of treatment, payment and operations in section 3221 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).  The legislation was originally introduced in the Senate by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) in the Protecting Jessica Grubb’s Legacy Act, and in the House by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) in the Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act.

    The CARES Act became law on March 27, 2020. SAMHSA will need to release new regulations to implement the law, which are required no earlier than March 27, 2021. The SAMHSA regulations going into effect on August 14, 2020 do not include provisions from the CARES Act. 

  • August 14, 2020 1:14 PM | Anonymous

    Open Record: Telehealth Trends | By Amanda St. Hilaire  | Fox 6 Milwaukee 

    "We all know the coronavirus has changed so much in our day-to-day lives and that includes our health care. Many people have shifted to seeing doctors and various specialists virtually. Telemedicine numbers have never been higher and experts say how we're treated by medical professionals could potentially be changed forever. In this episode of Open Record, FOX6 Investigator Amanda St. Hilaire shares a recent conversation she had with the medical director of Addiction Services at Ascension Wisconsin All Saints.

    David Galbis-Reig is also the president of the Wisconsin Society of Addiction Medicine. Amanda and David dive into an issue affecting everyone: How your health care has evolved in the era of COVID-19. One of the main topics of their conversation revolves around addiction -- from opioids to methadone."

    Listen to the full story here.

  • August 07, 2020 2:32 PM | Anonymous

    The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) hosted all-inclusive webinars last week to engage providers, provider associations, members, and member advocates in telehealth expansion. These webinars provided an overview of the telehealth expansion project and gathered input on permanent telehealth policy.

    Recordings of the webinars are now available on the telehealth webpage. You can also view and download the presentation slides on that page.
  • August 06, 2020 2:20 PM | Anonymous

    Wisconsin Health News

    A $2 million federal grant will help support the state’s behavioral health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Health Services said Wednesday. 

    DHS is partnering with seven counties identified as having the greatest need for behavioral health services relative to the COVID-19 pandemic. The counties are:

    • Brown County - $140,930
    • Dane County - $292,498
    • Kenosha County - $270,000
    • Milwaukee County - $320,000
    • Racine County - $122,512
    • Rock County - $212,702
    • Waukesha County - $168,833

    They’ll use it to develop programs to help those facing the greatest challenges during the pandemic. That could include addressing barriers to care, expanding services for those experiencing or at risk of homelessness and enhancing supports for foster care families.

    Other efforts include providing telehealth, substance-free housing, safe spaces for residential use treatment and peer specialists.

    Mental Health America of Wisconsin is getting $48,016 to provide treatment services to healthcare workers through telehealth. And Behavioral Consulting Services is getting $58,203 to provide treatment and recovery support to staff at long-term care facilities. 

    The remainder of the money is going to data collection and monitoring of the outcomes and efficacy of the projects. Grant funding is available through August 2021. 
  • July 30, 2020 3:38 PM | Anonymous

    Wisconsin Health News

    Gov. Tony Evers issued an emergency order on Thursday mandating that Wisconsinites wear masks when indoors starting Saturday.

    Evers issued the order by declaring a public health emergency. It’s the second public health emergency he’s declared during the pandemic.

    Under the order, which expires Sept. 28, Wisconsinites over the age of 5 will have to wear a face covering when indoors or in an enclosed space if they’re around people who aren’t members of their household or living unit. The order doesn’t apply to private residences.

    Face coverings will be recommended when outdoors.

    Evers said that local health departments “have been doing a heck of a job” responding to the pandemic, but there needs to be a statewide approach to fighting the virus.

    “While I know emotions are high when it comes to wearing face coverings in public, my job as governor is to put people first and to do what’s best for the people of our state, so that’s what I am going to do,” Evers said.

    View the full article here. 

  • July 28, 2020 2:57 PM | Anonymous

    As states reopen, many small and medium-sized healthcare and other businesses are struggling to sift through all the evolving guidance to create comprehensive, user-friendly return-to-work plans. Yet, having a thoughtful plan in place is critical to controlling the spread of COVID-19 as you increase activity in your workplace and mitigating liability should employee complaints arise.

    Badger Bay is pleased to announce that we have partnered with premier law firm Husch Blackwell LLP to offer members a special discount on an easy, quick, and affordable tool that your members can use to create customized Return-to-Work policies. Husch Blackwell’s new Return-to-Work Policy Generator enables businesses of all sizes to quickly create return-to-work plans, customized to their operations, without starting from scratch. Built-in are Husch Blackwell’s knowledge of health, safety and employment issues, and extensive experience helping clients navigate the COVID-19 crisis.

    The tool involves a 15-minute secure online questionnaire to learn about each company’s operations and policy needs. It generates a customized policy, which an attorney works to finalize directly with the company through an included consultation. Most policies are ready within a few business days.

    Through the tool, Husch Blackwell offers each policy for a flat-fee price quoted up-front based on the complexity of each company’s operations and needs. Members of your associations can enter a referral code (“BadgerBay”) while completing the questionnaire to obtain an additional 10% discount.

    To learn more, see a demo, and try the tool, visit the Return-to-Work Policy Generator here.

    What does it involve?

    1. Your member fills out a quick online questionnaire (approx. 15 minutes)
    2. After determining the scope of the policy, the company will receive a low, flat price (starting at $1,500)
    3. An attorney works with the company to finalize a customized draft

    This is great for lots of companies…

    • Especially small, mid-sized, and regional firms (DIY is overwhelming!)
    • Even those with essential workers (non-essential workers may be returning to work)
    • Especially those in multiple states (the policy pulls in relevant state requirements)
    • Even those that already returned to work (many reopened quickly but still need a policy)

    What’s special here?

    • Quick and easy guided online questionnaire
    • State-specific and federal guidance
    • Industry-specific provisions where applicable
    • Customized to each company’s operations/workplaces
    • Optional forms and links to CDC/OSHA posters
    • Upfront pricing with low, flat fee
    • Included one-on-one attorney review and client consult
    • Saves hours of time and lots of money
  • July 23, 2020 2:09 PM | Anonymous

    Wisconsin Health News

    The Department of Health Services said Wednesday that suspected opioid overdoses are up 117 percent since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the same time in 2019. 

    Preliminary data show 325 suspected opioid overdoses from March to July 13, compared to 150 suspected overdoses during the same time in 2019. 

    Paul Krupski, DHS director of opioid initiatives, said the pandemic has increased stress and anxiety. 

    “For individuals who have struggled with substance abuse and may currently be in treatment for that, this adds an extra layer to the challenges,” Krupski told reporters. “What we’re really trying to stress is to make sure that they know that there are healthy ways to cope with it. There are ways to make sure they continue down their path of recovery.”

    According to a DHS statement, calls to 211 Wisconsin that include request for information on behavioral health have also increased. Under additional funding from DHS, specialists with the Addiction Recovery Helpline are now able to follow up with people asking for help. 

    The department has launched its Resilient Wisconsin campaign during the pandemic, which promotes healthy ways of dealing with stress and trauma. Program Manager Robin Matthies, said the pandemic has increased anxiety. 

    “It’s just really important that folks are paying attention to how they feel and to how people they care about might be doing,” Matthies said. 

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