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  • 02/19/2018 12:18 PM | Anonymous

    February 19, 2018 

    Milwaukee's mental health system is in flux. The county is moving forward with overhauling the way it delivers care, with an emphasis on community supports rather than institutions. It's also working with healthcare providers and others to study how to best provide emergency care for patients. 

    Experts will weigh in on the system's transformation at a Wisconsin Health News panel in Milwaukee on Tuesday, March 13. 


    Barbara Beckert, Disability Rights Wisconsin Milwaukee Office Director

    Mike Lappen, Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division Administrator 

    Joy Tapper, Milwaukee Health Care Partnership Executive Director

    Register Here

  • 01/02/2018 12:11 PM | Anonymous
    December 20, 2017 - Wisconsin Health News

    An Assembly committee is planning to take up a bipartisan bill Wednesday that would allow providers in free and charitable clinics to apply for a loan forgiveness program that now targets those working in underserved areas.

    The Wisconsin Office of Rural Health administers the program for those who practice in federally-designated shortage areas for healthcare providers or for federally qualified health centers. The bill would add workers at free and charitable clinics to that list.

    Under the program, physicians and dentists working 32 hours a week for three years are eligible to have up to $50,000 of their loans repaid. Physician assistants, certified nurse midwives, dental hygienists and nurse practitioners who work the same amount of time may receive up to $25,000 in loan forgiveness.

    Sara Nichols, executive director of Open Arms Free Clinic in Elkhorn, told lawmakers at a public hearing last week that they recently received a federal grant to hire a dentist and dental hygienist.

    “We can’t hire a hygienist,” she said. “We can’t find them. We have no carrot to wave because we have no loan forgiveness program.”

    Lake Area Free Clinic in Oconomowoc recently opened its own dental clinic and is planning to hire two full-time dentists, according to Medical Director Dr. Peter Geiss.

    “We’re not really competitive right now, and it’s difficult for us to hire dentists as well as dental hygienists,” he said. The bill “would help us dramatically,” he said.

    Katherine Gaulke, Wisconsin Association of Free and Charitable Clinics executive director, said they pursued the legislation in part because the Department of Health Services ended a waiver that allowed dentists to volunteer and serve BadgerCare patients in free clinics without having to be certified by the program.

    “We just want to get on an even playing field with the other partners in the safety net,” she said.

    The program now serves around 20 out of 50 applicants a year, said John Eich, director of the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health.

    The proposal doesn’t add new money to the program, and Eich said that additional applicants would be judged “on equal footing” with existing applicants.

    He doesn’t anticipate seeing many additional applicants under the bill as it’s “very unusual” for providers to volunteer that amount of time or be paid by a clinic. 

  • 12/27/2017 7:47 PM | Anonymous

    December 20, 2017  

    Brown County Medical Society Evening with Wisconsin Supreme Court Candidates
    Registration Now Open! 

    Join us on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at the Titletown Brewing Company Tap Room - William Larsen Event Hall for dinner and an evening with Wisconsin Supreme Court Candidates! 

    This event is scheduled just prior to the February primary for the Supreme Court candidates. It will be a great opportunity to hear updates on issues affecting issues affecting physicians, patients, and the practice of medicine. Don't miss this unique event to interact with your fellow BCMS members and enjoy dinner at the Titletown Brewing Company. This event is open to BCMS members and their guests.    

    Candidates invited include: 

    • Judge Rebecca Dallet 
    • Mr. Tim Burns 
    • Judge Michael Screnock

    (subject to change)
    6:00 pm - Reception
    6:45 pm - Dinner
    7:30-9:00 pm - Program with Candidates 

    Register Here.

  • 12/11/2017 1:32 PM | Anonymous

    December 11, 2017 

    As the integration of dental care and healthcare steams ahead, access remains an issue for many low-income and special needs populations. A Wisconsin Health News panel will examine what’s being done to address the challenge, as well as the implications of unmet oral health needs.

    Confirmed Panelists (additional panelists to be announced soon):

    • Matt Crespin, Associate Director, Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin
    • Greg Nycz, Executive Director, Family Health Center of Marshfield

    Register now (link).

  • 12/11/2017 1:30 PM | Anonymous
    December 11, 2017 - Wisconsin Health News

    The Department of Health Services has accepted the resignation of Medicaid Director Michael Heifetz, who is leaving for the private sector, according to a Tuesday, December 6 statement.

    Heifetz, who also serves as administrator of the Division of Medicaid Services, will leave the department Dec. 13. Deputy Administrator Casey Himebauch will serve as the division's interim leader.

    “Michael has been invaluable in his role as Medicaid director, representing Wisconsin’s vision for the future in the national spotlight,” DHS Secretary Linda Seemeyer said in a statement. “We will greatly miss his leadership and insight, as well as his candor and energy.”

  • 12/11/2017 12:34 PM | Anonymous

    December 11, 2017

    The Wisconsin Medical Society's House of Delegates (HOD) will convene Saturday, April 14 as part of the Society's 2018 Annual Meeting. The HOD is the Society's primary policy-making body and provides members an opportunity to influence policies that will shape the Society's mission and position on important matters of healthcare in Wisconsin and beyond. Please consider serving as a Delegate for BCMS to this important event! Contact us if you wish to be a delegate. 

    Additionally, any Society member may submit resolutions for consideration by the HOD to help shape Society policy on important medical issues. All resolutions must be submitted by 4:30pm on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018 to be considered. Learn more here

  • 12/11/2017 12:23 PM | Anonymous

    December 11, 2017

    Doctor Day 2018 is fast approaching and it’s important that physicians like YOU participate in our annual advocacy event in Madison on Tuesday, Jan. 30.

    It’s a full day of speakers, issue briefings and a visit to the Capitol to advocate on behalf of your profession. The day will conclude with a reception at DLUX.  The tentative schedule and online registration can be found at The event is free to all physicians and medical students thanks to very generous support from sponsorship organizations.

    Each year, Doctor Day attendees hear from some of the leading voices in Wisconsin politics and health care policy. We’re awaiting final confirmation from speakers, but physicians attending Doctor Day 2018 will enjoy the same high-level experience. Also, our speakers will update physicians on health care issues still under debate in the State Capitol. The January 30 meeting date coincides nicely with the final days of the state legislature’s activity, and therefore puts physicians in policymakers’ offices at the best time to maximize impact on the issues physicians care about.

    Physicians also will hear the latest regarding Wisconsin's cap on noneconomic damages in medical liability cases—currently being heard by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. One of the state’s top medical liability attorneys, Guy J. DuBeau, will explain how a lone case—tried in Milwaukee County—left Wisconsin with no limit on noneconomic damages and what physician organizations are doing to fix that problem.

    Staff and committee members will take care of every detail—from breakfast, briefings, speakers, lunch and scheduling your visits with legislators to the reception at the end of the day!

    Please consider joining us for a great day of advocacy on behalf of your profession and your patients!  

  • 11/27/2017 3:10 PM | Anonymous

    November 27, 2017 - Wisconsin Health News

    The state’s Supreme Court agreed last week to review a lower court’s decision striking down a cap on how much patients can receive for some malpractice claims.

    An appeals court ruled in July that a state law capping awards for noneconomic damages at $750,000 was unconstitutional. Noneconomic damages seek to compensate patients for pain and suffering.  The Wisconsin Hospital Association and the Wisconsin Medical Society have raised concerns about the court’s decision and its potential ramifications for providers and accessibility to healthcare.  In her opinion striking down the decision, Judge Joan Kessler said the law placed an “unfair and illogical burden only on catastrophically injured patients, thus denying them the equal protection of the laws.”

    The case involves Ascaris Mayo, who lost her limbs after providers at a Milwaukee-area emergency room failed to notify her she had an infection. A jury awarded Mayo and her husband $16.5 million for noneconomic damages, which the state sought to reduce.

  • 11/27/2017 3:08 PM | Anonymous

    November 27, 2017

    Numerous state and national organizations across the country are asking the Senate to join the House in voting to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) before the end of the year.

    There is a broad and growing bipartisan consensus, in Congress and across states that IPAB should be repealed. Senate bills introduced by Senators Cornyn (R-TX) and Wyden (D-OR) have proposed repeal of IPAB.  These bills have over 51 co-sponsors from both parties.  The FY2017 omnibus spending bill agreed on in May eliminated funding for IPAB.  And both the House and Senate FY2018 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations proposals eliminate this funding as well.

    Concerns over IPAB include both its purpose and the board’s composition.  The board is charged with developing proposals to reduce Medicare spending, but its membership is comprised of individuals appointed by the President with no Senate confirmation. This combination creates the very real possibility that the future of Medicare may be determined by a small number of unelected bureaucrats.

    Contact your Senator today and urge them to repeal IPAB: Senator Ron Johnson (email) and Senator Tammy Baldwin (email).

  • 11/27/2017 3:08 PM | Anonymous

    November 27, 2017

    The legislature is considering legislation based on proposals from the Workers Compensation Advisory Council.  The proposals were developed Labor and Management representatives on the Council.  But not all of the proposals share the support of the Council’s health care representatives, including a recommended fee schedule.  Health care organizations will need to be even more active this session than last to again defeat the fee schedule proposal.

    It is important to note that works compensation premiums have dropped – without a government mandated fee schedule.  This year alone, employers received an 8.46 percent reduction in their worker’s compensation insurance premiums, saving employers an estimated $170 million.  At the same time, Wisconsin’s health care system continues to lead the nation in outcomes with injured employees returning to work a full three weeks earlier than the national average.  And health care costs per worker’s comp claim lower than the national average.

    Your calls are needed to both the State Assembly and State Senate to explain why the proposed health care fee schedule could harm Wisconsin’s model worker’s compensation system.  You can find your legislators contact information on the state legislature’s website.

    Let your State Representative and State Senator know you are a physician in their district, serving patients who are also constituents and that you are opposed to an artificial fee schedule for a worker’s compensation system that provides the nation’s best care at a below-average worker’s compensation cost.  Thank you for your time and action on this important issue.

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