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  • 03/28/2020 9:38 AM | Anonymous

    Governor Evers and Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm today exercised their authority under Article V, Section 4 of the Wisconsin Constitution and Sections 323.12(4) and 252.02(6) of the Wisconsin Statutes to simplify healthcare license renewals during the COVID-19 public health emergency and to encourage recently retired professionals with expired licenses to re-enter practice. This full order is available online (link).

    The order includes the following policy changes:

    • Interstate Reciprocity: allows any out-of-state health can provider licensed and in good standing to practice in Wisconsin without a Wisconsin credential. The order requires the out-of-state physician to apply for a temporary or permanent Wisconsin license within 10 days of first working at a Wisconsin health care facility; and the health care facility must notify DSPS within 5 days. The order temporarily suspends the visiting physician practice limitations in Med 3.04. 
    • Temporary License: Any temporary licensed to an out-of-state provider during the emergency will be valid until 30 days after the conclusion of the emergency. 
    • Telemedicine: Allows physicians licensed and in good standing in Wisconsin, another U.S. state or Canada to provide telemedicine services to Wisconsin residents. 
    • Physician Assistants: Suspends several current rules regulating the practice of PAs in Wisconsin. This includes: the requirement of PAs to notify the MEB of changes to their supervising physician within 20 days (order changes it to 40 days); the requirement that PAs limit their scope of practice to that of their supervising physician (the order allows them to practice to the extent of their experience, education, training and abilities. It also allows them to delegate tasks to another health provider); the physician to PA ratio of 4:1 (the order allows a physician to oversee up to 8 on-duty PAs at a time, but there is no limit on how many PAs a physician may provide supervision to over time. It also allows a PA to be supervised by multiple physicians while on duty). 
    • Nurse Training and Practice: The order suspends many rules related to nursing. This includes suspending a rule that prohibits simulations from being utilized for more than 50% of the time designated for meeting clinical learning requirements. It also suspends the requirement for nurses to submit an official transcript in order to get a temporary license and allows a temporary license to remain valid for up to 6 months. In addition, it suspends the rule requiring license renewal within 5 years. 
    • Advanced Practice Nurse Prescribers: Temporarily suspends the requirement that Nurse Prescribers must facilitate collaboration with other health care professionals, at least 1 of whom shall be a physician or dentist.
    • Recently Expired Credentials: Requires the state to reach out to individuals with recently lapsed credentials about renewal options. The order also suspends many of the late renewal fees and continuing education requirements for most health professions. The order temporarily suspends MED 14.06(2)(a) to allow a physician whose license lapsed less than 5 years ago to renew without fulfilling the continuing education requirements. It also suspends RAD 5.01 (1) and (2) to allow radiographers or LXMO permit holders who have let their license lapse renew without completing continuing education. 
    • Fees: The order also gives DHS the ability to suspend fees or assessments related to health care provider credentialing. 

    The order is effective immediately and will remain in effect through the duration of the public health emergency.

    The full version of the Governor’s press release is available online (link).

  • 03/27/2020 10:05 AM | Anonymous

    Governor Evers directed the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to temporarily order the suspension of evictions and foreclosures amid the COVID-19 public health emergency. The full order is available online (link).

    The order prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for any reason unless failure to proceed with the eviction will result in an imminent threat of serious physical harm to another person and mortgagees from commencing civil action to foreclose on real estate for 60 days. Wisconsinites who are able to continue to meet their financial obligations are urged to do so. This order does not in any way relieve a person's obligation to pay their rent or mortgages.

    The full press release is available on the Governor’s website (link).

  • 02/27/2020 1:38 PM | Anonymous

    February 27 - Wisconsin Health News

    State health officials are preparing in case coronavirus spreads in the state.

    The state has investigated 17 people for coronavirus, with 16 testing negative and one confirmed case.

    The immediate health risk remains low, Chuck Warzecha, Department of Health Services’ Division of Public Health deputy administrator, said in a Wednesday press call. 

    “We don’t believe it’s spreading currently,” said Dr. Ryan Westergaard, a DHS chief medical officer. “But our efforts are really increasingly focused on, ‘How can we prepare for the eventuality that it will in the future?'”

    Jeff Phillips, director of the DHS Office of Preparedness and Emergency Health Care, said they’re working with the Centers for Disease Control to understand surges of medical use and supplies. They’re doing outreach to ensure healthcare providers can handle outbreaks. 

    The agency is also working with CDC to conserve respirators to make the supplies last longer. And they're looking at whether telehealth can be used to direct people to the right level of care and to treat people remotely. 

    They’re also looking to release guidance to help ensure that the public and private sectors can operate in case of an outbreak with telework, flexible leave policies and information on how to respond properly when an employee gets sick. 

    And they’re looking at guidance for schools, daycares and colleges as well as universities to help them plan and prepare for pandemics. They’re working to educate the public on non-pharmaceutical ways to stop the spread of coronavirus. 

    Westergaard said that coronavirus appears similar to the seasonal flu in terms of transmission, a 10 percent hospitalization rate and a less than 1 percent mortality rate.

    There is no vaccine for coronavirus, which leaves fewer options for preventing the disease, Warzecha said. 
  • 01/30/2020 6:24 PM | Anonymous

    January 30 - Wisconsin Medical Society Medigram

    Doctor Day 2020 brought more than 300 physicians and medical students from across the state to Madison to meet with legislators and their staffs yesterday. Key issues included immunizations and the Clean Indoor Air Act.

    Prior to meeting with legislators at the State Capitol, attendees heard from the leaders in both the Senate and the Assembly and the keynote speaker and political pollster, Charles Franklin, PhD, who discussed polling data on Medicaid and Medicare, the upcoming elections and health care policy.

    Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz participated on the legislative leadership panel. Tim Stumm of Wisconsin Health News asked panelists about the impacts of the divided government, e-cigarettes and youth vaping, the personal conviction waiver for vaccinations and prescription drug prices, among other topics.

    In addition to hearing from the speakers, attendees participated in breakout sessions lead by physicians and experts. These breakout sessions included Women’s Health, Public Health, Legal Update and the Surgical Collaborative of Wisconsin.

    Now in its eighth year, Doctor Day is a partnership among the Wisconsin Medical Society and specialty associations. The day-long event provides a unique opportunity for physicians from across the state to collaborate and share with policymakers facts, data and personal accounts on timely health care issues.

    “Doctor Day brings physician expertise and passion for caring for their patients and communities to the legislators,” said Wisconsin Medical Society CEO Bud Chumbley, MD, MBA.

    View the article and photos here.

  • 12/19/2019 11:34 AM | Anonymous

    December 19 - Wisconsin Medical Society Medigram

    Wisconsin Medical Society staff continues to gather member feedback on proposed changes to the Society’s policy creation process. After hosting eight events across the state this fall and speaking with 77 individual physicians about the proposed changes, Society staff and member leadership will be heading out again in January and February for a second round of district meetings. While the first meetings were designed to gather a wide range of ideas, these meetings will provide a more tangible framework for the future of Society governance.

    Key to the future process is the development of a dynamic and accessible digital platform to facilitate submission and review of policy resolutions on a year-round basis. With the recent launch of WisMed Community, the Society now has the technological infrastructure to support this framework. Based heavily on the model used by Colorado Medical Society, the emerging process is designed to include more members in policy creation and allow for more timely review of developing state and federal policy.

    “It is an exciting time for the Society,” said Peter Welch, Chief Operating Officer, “Our investment in technology will ensure that we have more of today’s busy physicians engaged in the policymaking process right at their fingertips.”

    Over the next two months, Society staff will be traveling to each of the 8 districts to hear feedback on this process. Click here to RSVP for your district’s meeting. You can also fill out this form with your questions and concerns about these proposed changes.

    Contact Peter Welch with questions.

  • 12/05/2019 5:20 PM | Anonymous

    December 5 - Wisconsin Medical Society Medigram

    The Wisconsin Medical Society is excited to announce that WisMed Community – the new online community just for WisMed Members – will be live on Monday, December 9! This new member benefit will allow physicians to connect, collaborate and celebrate their successes.

    Initially, there will be two community groups: WisMed Members (for general discussions about things like tips and recommendations) and Share a Success (for you to share the great work you or a colleague is doing to advance health care). More community groups will go live in the coming months including Advocacy in Action, so be sure to check back often.

    Members will receive an email on Monday with information about how to get logged in and start connecting with colleagues. Please add to your safe sender list so you stay connected.

    Contact Anne Hauer with questions.

  • 12/02/2019 1:42 PM | Anonymous

    December 2 - Wisconsin Health News

    Health experts say Wisconsin can do more after a recent report found the state was average-to-above average in the treatment and diagnosis of lung cancer.

    The report, released by the American Lung Association, found Wisconsin as the fifth-best state in the nation for the percentage of high-risk patients who receive screenings for lung cancer. Just over 8 percent of those at high risk in Wisconsin were screened, compared to 4.2 percent nationally.

    Wisconsin also ranked above average with just 12.4 percent of cases not being treated, 11th lowest out of 46 states with available data. The national rate is 15.4 percent.

    The state ranked average in the report’s four other metrics, which were the number of new cases, early diagnosis rate, those who undergo surgery as part of the first course of treatment and the number of residents living more than five years after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

    While Wisconsin scored average or above in all metrics, Dona Wininksy, director of advocacy, grassroots and patient engagement at the American Lung Association of Wisconsin, said the state should be able to do better with all its available resources.

    “While we celebrate that more Americans than ever are surviving lung cancer, the disease remains the leading cause of cancer deaths, and much more can and must be done in Wisconsin to prevent the disease and support families facing the disease,” she said.
  • 11/22/2019 11:32 AM | Anonymous

    The Wisconsin Medical Society has partnered with the Medical College of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health to bring together experts on emerging health care trends within the transition zone of adolescents becoming young adults for the Society’s Annual Meeting CME Conference. Navigating the Transition Zone: From Adolescence through Young Adulthood,* will be April 17 and 18 at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, Madison, Wis.

    Saturday’s keynote, Childhood Adversity and Lifelong Health: The Science Behind Trauma-informed Care, will be presented by Pamela McGranahan, DNP, RN, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison School of Nursing, DNP Program Director.

    With a focus on mental and behavioral health, sexual health, adolescent lifestyles and complex diseases within the transition zone of adolescents becoming young adults, this conference is designed for physicians and other members of the health care team to gain valuable insight on topics that are relevant across specialties.

    Plan your weekend! The Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation’s Annual Fundraising Dinner and Silent Auction will be from 5 pm – 8:30 pm on Friday, April 17 and the Society House of Delegates meeting will be on Sunday, April 19.

    Contact Brianna Farwell at 608.442.3791 with questions.
    * This conference has been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ and AAFP Credit.

    Find more information here!

  • 10/21/2019 12:13 PM | Anonymous

    October 11 - Wisconsin Health News

    Hospital leaders weighed in on what health systems can do to cut costs and the role they should play in addressing the social determinants of health at a Wisconsin Health News panel this week.

    Panelists included:

    ·     Dr. Scott Rathgaber, CEO, Gundersen Health System

    ·     Damond Boatwright, President, SSM Health Wisconsin

    ·     Luke Beirl, CEO, Hayward Area Memorial Hospital

    Watch a WisconsinEye video of the event.

  • 10/21/2019 12:11 PM | Anonymous

    October 21, Wisconsin Health News

    The annual economic cost of binge drinking in Wisconsin is $3.9 billion, according to a new report from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

    The report called binge drinking a “critical public health concern" and said it leads to increased spending on healthcare, crime and other costs.

    “Everyone who lives and works in Wisconsin is affected by the health and economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption, including binge drinking,” the report noted.

    The prevalence of binge drinking in Wisconsin last year was 24 percent, compared to the median of 16 percent in the United States.

    Productivity losses contributed to 66 percent of the total cost of binge drinking, with 10 percent attributed to healthcare, 15 percent to criminal justice and 9 percent to other losses like motor-vehicle crashes. The annual cost per resident, including children, is $666.

    Local, state and federal governments pay for around 41.4 percent of total binge drinking costs, which is around $1.6 billion. 

    The state alcohol tax revenue in Wisconsin last year was $609 million, 1.6 percent of the total cost of binge drinking.

    The report noted limitations like the numbers being “substantially underestimated” due to gaps in data and by not including intangible costs like pain and suffering.

    Read more.
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