*From Wisconsin Medigram (February 1)
Doctor Day 2018 brought more than 450 physicians and medical students from across the state to Madison to meet with legislators and their staffs on Tuesday. Key issues included a proposed Worker’s Compensation fee schedule, a bill allowing chiropractors to perform comprehensive sports physicals for high school and college athletes, and legislation removing the requirement for certain nurses to work in collaboration with a physician.
Prior to meeting with legislators at the State Capitol, attendees heard from speakers including Gov. Scott Walker, who highlighted his Health Care Stability Plan to lower individual health care premium costs, provide seniors with greater health care stability, and protect those with preexisting conditions. He also discussed recent initiatives to combat the opioid crisis in Wisconsin.
“Addiction knows no boundaries. It involves all of us,” he said. “Over the past four years I’ve had the honor of signing 28 pieces of legislation that have come out of the HOPE agenda, but there is still more work to be done.
“We can’t afford to have anybody on the sidelines, and that includes those suffering from addiction today,” he continued. “We need to get them healthy, back up on their feet again, and right back into the workforce where they can lead strong and healthy and safe lives and be a part of making this state even better going forward.” (Click here to watch Gov. Walker’s full address on Wisconsin Eye.)
In addition to hearing from Governor Walker and other speakers, attendees participated in an issue briefing before heading to the State Capitol to meet with lawmakers.
Now in its fifth year, Doctor Day is a partnership among the Wisconsin Medical Society and other key physician groups and physician-led organizations. The day-long event provides a unique opportunity for physicians from across the state to collaborate and share with policymakers facts and data on timely health care issues.
“As physicians, we have the privilege of caring for patients every day, and when we come together for Doctor Day, we are reminded how important it is to also have a voice outside the exam room,” said Society President Noel Deep, MD. “Doctor Day continues to grow each year, and it’s incredibly gratifying to see physicians from all specialties and practice types united to advocate on behalf of patients and the medical profession.”
Today’s participants represented 24 different physician organizations and partners: the Wisconsin Medical Society, Medical College of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Axley Brynelson, Association of Wisconsin Surgery Centers, Brown County Medical Society, Waukesha County Medical Society, Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians, Wisconsin Academy of Ophthalmology, Wisconsin Association of Hematology and Oncology, Wisconsin Chapter American College of Emergency Physicians, Wisconsin Chapter of the American College of Physicians, Wisconsin Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Wisconsin Dermatological Society, Wisconsin Neurological Society, Wisconsin Orthopaedic Society, Wisconsin Psychiatric Association, Wisconsin Radiological Society, Wisconsin Section-American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Wisconsin Society of Addiction Medicine, Wisconsin Society of Anesthesiologists, Wisconsin Society of Pathologists, Wisconsin Society of Plastic Surgeons, and Wisconsin Surgical Society.
WNS was proud to sponsor the 2018 WI Doctor Day, which drew over 450 physicians and medical students to the Capitol to improve patient care. WNS was amongst a variety of sponsors for the event that continues to grow, proving the medical community's unified commitment to advocating for issues affecting physicians and their patients. The multi-specialty nature of Doctor Day has quickly become one of the largest state Advocacy Day events for physicians in the country.
Doctor Day 2018 had more than 10 physicians who indicated neurology as their specialty in attendance, our highest number to date. We look forward to continued work on behalf of our members and our patients in 2018!
Closed-loop neurotechnology improves PTSD symptoms HealthDay News Service members and veterans show reductions in post-traumatic stress (PTS) symptomatology, insomnia, depression, and anxiety with use of high-resolution, relational, resonance-based, electroencephalic mirroring (HIRREM), a closed-loop, allostatic, acoustic stimulation neurotechnology, according to a study published online in Military Medical Research.
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.
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):
Register now (link).
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 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.”
A DHS spokeswoman said that Heifetz is "pursuing career opportunities" in the private sector. She did not respond to a question asking for more specifics.
Heifetz joined the department as Medicaid director in September of last year. He previously served as state budget director. Before that, he was vice president of governmental affairs at Dean Clinic and SSM Health of Wisconsin.
Heifetz has also left his position on the Group Insurance Board and was replaced by State Budget Director Waylon Hurlburt in October.
State Legislative Update
If you have any questions or would like to discuss how to improve your advocacy efforts, contact Grant Niver.
Federal Legislative Update
Stay up-to-date on #AANAdvocacy by reading the Capitol Hill Report and following the AAN’s Senior Legislative Counsel Mike Amery on Twitter at @MikeAmeryDC.
Medical Economics Update
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AAN Membership Update
Quality and Guidelines Update
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Wieske announced this fall the state is considering applying for a 1332 waiver from the law, which allows states to develop unique solutions for providing affordable healthcare coverage. Wieske will discuss the state’s next steps, as well as provide an update on open enrollment and the current insurance market.
Wieske has served as the state's deputy insurance commissioner since 2016. Before that he was the department's legislative liaison and public information officer for five years. He previously served as the executive director of the Council of Affordable Health Insurance.
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