Medigram, the Wisconsin Medical Society’s electronic newsletter for physicians, features timely news, upcoming events, answers to frequently asked questions and the information you need to make your practice run more efficiently. Topics include legislative updates, legal information, practice management information, government regulations, and much more. Medigram is delivered via email on Thursdays.

If you have a Medigram story idea or would like to offer feedback, please email us or call 866.442.3800.

Gratitude for my colleagues from WisMed President Wendy Molaska, MD, FAAFP
At this time of year, we start to hear and perhaps engage in more gratitude practices. And while we know, and research shows, that we should be practicing gratitude throughout the year, let’s take this moment to again focus on all that we are grateful for.

Society testifies on MEB chaperone rule
After working for more than a year to provide physician feedback to the State of Wisconsin Medical Examining Board (MEB) concerning a proposed administrative rule regarding chaperones, the Wisconsin Medical Society (Society) provided testimony supporting a new version of the rule that reflects physician feedback by limiting the proposal to informing patients of chaperone policies.

Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation volunteers for Madison Marathon
Madison Marathon presented by SSM Health took place this past weekend in Madison, Wis. This event draws in more than 4,000 runners from across the Midwest.

Member review needed for Board action on interhospital transfers policy proposal
A Wisconsin Medical Society (Society) policy proposal related to interhospital transfers is available for member review following a recommendation by the Society’s Board of Directors to adopt pertinent AMA policy in this area as the Society’s.

Celebrate your colleagues – nominate a 2023 Physician Citizen of the Year
The Wisconsin Medical Society (Society) is accepting nominations for its 2023 Physician Citizen of the Year Award. First established by the Society in 1982, the award recognizes and encourages Wisconsin physicians who volunteer their time and talents through civic and cultural activities—helping to improve the health and well-being of their communities.

Discounted behavioral health services for WisMed members
Everyone needs help sometimes. The Wisconsin Medical Society (WisMed) is proud to offer behavioral health services options for our members. WisMed has partnered with Marvin to provide confidential counseling and coaching services with flexible hours. Board certified psychiatrists and licensed psychologists are available via teletherapy when you need them.

Graded premium disability – coverage to protect yourself and your family
Tom Strangstalien, a WisMed Assure insurance advisor, recently worked with a young physician to set him up with personal disability protection to provide some financial security if life throws him and his family a curve ball. Prompting this planning was that one of his peers in the general surgery specialty sustained a serious hand injury, ending his ability to perform hands-on surgery.

Myriad effects of COVID-19 explored in latest issue of WMJ
The most recent issue of WMJ includes a collection of papers that delve into many of the myriad ways COVID-19 has affected the delivery of care, various health conditions and outcomes, clinician mental health and more.

WisMed mourns the loss of Cyril "Kim" Hetsko, MD
We would like to celebrate the life and legacy of Cyril “Kim” Hetsko, MD, as we remember his many contributions to the Wisconsin Medical Society. Dr. Hetsko joined WisMed in 1975 and served in a number of leadership roles, including Society President (1991-1992), AMA Delegation Member and Nominating Committee Member.

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Gratitude for my colleagues from WisMed President Wendy Molaska, MD, FAAFP

WisMed President Wendy Molaska, MD, FAAFP

Dear Colleagues,  

At this time of year, we start to hear and perhaps engage in more gratitude practices. And while we know, and research shows, that we should be practicing gratitude throughout the year, let’s take this moment to again focus on all that we are grateful for. I am grateful for the many privileges I have had throughout my life to get me to where I am - a clinic owner, family medicine physician and President of the Wisconsin Medical Society. In no small part, my white, middle-class upbringing helped me get here. Let us each be thankful for our privileges and acknowledge that many of our colleagues have faced struggles and continue to face struggles in their careers and personal lives. With so many divisive things occurring in society currently, let us come together to remember what we all have in common - our humanity, our profession and our deep caring for our patients. I am honored to help represent the physicians of Wisconsin and am grateful for our diverse physicians throughout Wisconsin and your dedication to helping make our patients the healthiest in the nation. 

Warm regards,
Wendy Molaska, MD, FAAFP

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Society testifies on MEB chaperone rule

After working for more than a year to provide physician feedback to the State of Wisconsin Medical Examining Board (MEB) concerning a proposed administrative rule regarding chaperones, the Wisconsin Medical Society (Society) provided testimony supporting a new version of the rule that reflects physician feedback by limiting the proposal to informing patients of chaperone policies.

The testimony was provided at a public hearing November 16 during the MEB’s monthly meeting, held virtually. Under the new rule, employed physicians could be disciplined for failing to follow their employer’s chaperone rules. Self-employed physicians will need to post their chaperone policy in a prominent place where patients are likely to view it. There is no requirement to have a specific chaperone policy – in fact, a clinic posting a policy that it does not offer chaperones is acceptable.

Proposed as a way to combat situations where no third party is present to corroborate or refute patient complaints against a physician for inappropriate touching during a physical exam, an earlier version of the rule would have flipped the burden of proof to the physician to prove their innocence if facing a complaint when no chaperone was present or offered. Physician opposition to that version of the rule was widespread, mostly on due process grounds, but also on the potential cost of compliance. Society President Wendy Molaska, MD, FAAFP, shared those concerns with the MEB in October 2021. After further deliberations, the MEB eventually decided to pivot to a much less onerous version of the rule, while maintaining physicians’ existing due process rights.

The Society’s testimony thanked the MEB for hearing Wisconsin physician concerns to alter the proposal to the current version and emphasized that “The Society stands with the MEB in the desire to eliminate inappropriate encounters in the exam room; even a small number of violators can unfairly tarnish the profession’s overall reputation.”

The MEB will take the Society’s and other public comments into consideration and discuss how to move forward at its December 21 meeting. Contact Society Chief Policy and Advocacy Officer Mark Grapentine, JD for more information.

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Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation volunteers for Madison Marathon

group of society staff at Madison Marathon volunteering

Madison Marathon presented by SSM Health took place this past weekend in Madison, Wis. This event draws in more than 4,000 runners from across the Midwest.

Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation was excited to volunteer to help the Madison Marathon prepare for their event. Elizabeth Ringle, Mark Ziety and Mikaela Powers spent time on Friday preparing swag bags for pick up later that day. A variety of promotional information and healthy tips and items were dispersed in each bag.

group of society staff with boxes volunteering

“Volunteering for an event that people prepare months getting ready for is so exciting,” stated Mikaela Powers. “It’s inspiring to know that people dedicate their time and the past months to become healthy enough to run a marathon.”

Madison Marathon offers volunteer roles for non-profit organizations and then gives a monetary gift to the organization to thank them for their volunteer time.

Stay up to date on our community involvement by checking out our social media channels: FacebookInstagramLinkedIn and Twitter. With your help, Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation can make the greatest impact in 2023 – please share our Giving Tuesday posts throughout November. We hope you, your friends, colleagues and family will consider supporting Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation this giving season.

Be sure to join us for these upcoming events!

District 6 Family Friendly Mixer
December 7, 6:00 p.m.
3 Sheeps Brewing
1837 North Ave.
Sheboygan, WI 53083
Register
Sponsored by WisMed Assure & WisMed Financial

District 1 Family Friendly Mixer
December 8, 6:00 p.m.
Milwaukee, location TBD
Register
Sponsored by Milwaukee County Medical Society

Contact Mikaela Powers for additional information.

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Member review needed for Board action on interhospital transfers policy proposal

Help shape WisMed Advocacy - share your policy proposals

A Wisconsin Medical Society (Society) policy proposal related to interhospital transfers is available for member review following a recommendation by the Society’s Board of Directors to adopt pertinent AMA policy in this area as the Society’s. This is the second time the Board has reviewed this proposal; initially the Board recommended not adopting the proposal, but member feedback on that decision prompted the Board to reexamine the issue and offer a new recommendation.

The proposed AMA language to be adopted:

Interfacility Patient Transfers H-130.982

Our AMA:

  1. supports the following principles for interfacility patient transfers:
    (a) all physicians and health care facilities have an ethical obligation and moral responsibility to provide needed medical care to all emergency patients, regardless of their ability to pay;
    (b) an interfacility patient transfer should be undertaken only for appropriate medical purposes, i.e., when in the physician’s judgment it is in the patient’s best interest to receive needed medical care at the receiving facility rather than the transferring facility; and
    (c) all interfacility patient transfers should be subject to the sound medical judgment and consent of both the transferring and receiving physicians to assure the safety and appropriateness of each proposed transfer.

All members can weigh in on the Board’s action. Simply go to the PolicyLink* page, sign in with your member credentials and select “Vote on Board Action” under the “Comment on Proposal” pulldown menu. You may vote to agree or disagree with the Board’s action and have the option of adding any comments. The feedback period for this proposal is open through Thanksgiving weekend.

This is the latest example of improved policymaking transparency via the Society’s PolicyLink system, available to all Society members at their convenience. Unlike the former once-per-year system where a small number of delegates would spend two days debating and voting on policy proposals, PolicyLink allows all members an easier way to introduce and weigh in on policy proposals. The system also allows for members to weigh in on Board actions related to proposals, with the Board taking that feedback into consideration when determining if additional actions are needed.   

Contact Society Chief Policy and Advocacy Officer Mark Grapentine, JD with any questions.

*PolicyLink requires your WisMed username and password. Click here to retrieve your username or password, or call 866.442.3800 or email membership@wismed.org for assistance.

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Celebrate your colleagues – nominate a 2023 Physician Citizen of the Year

The Wisconsin Medical Society (Society) is accepting nominations for its 2023 Physician Citizen of the Year Award. First established by the Society in 1982, the award recognizes and encourages Wisconsin physicians who volunteer their time and talents through civic and cultural activities—helping to improve the health and well-being of their communities.

Please nominate a friend, colleague or personal physician for this award. Click here to complete the nomination formThe nomination deadline is December 31, 2022.

Previous Physician Citizen of the Year recipients include Michelle Clark-Frosting, MD of Alma Center (2021); Jose Ortiz, MD of Eau Claire (2020); Kenneth Gold, MD of Beloit (2019); Gloria Halverson, MD of Milwaukee (2018); Paul Durbin, MD of Racine and Tim Westlake, MD of Oconomowoc (2017); Michael Ostrov, MD, MS of Madison (2016); Steven Manson, MD of La Crosse (2015); and Gordon Haugan, MD of Green Bay.

For more information, contact Stephanie Taylor.

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Discounted behavioral health services for WisMed members

Marvin pdf

Everyone needs help sometimes. The Wisconsin Medical Society (WisMed) is proud to offer behavioral health services options for our members. WisMed has partnered with Marvin to provide confidential counseling and coaching services with flexible hours. Board certified psychiatrists and licensed psychologists are available via teletherapy when you need them.

Initial feedback from Marvin users has been positive. One member noted, “Good speaking with the therapist, helpful.” While another said, “Great scheduling and availability of a female therapist.”

WisMed members can register online to get started or call with questions. Members may choose to pay out of pocket at a special WisMed discounted rate or have the services billed to their insurance. Your initial appointment will be within 72 hours of your outreach. 

To reach Marvin, call 424.322.6881, visit meetmarvin.com/wisconsin or scan the QR code on the flier.

LifeBridge Physician Wellness Program

Additionally, members of Dane County and La Crosse County Medical Societies can access LifeBridge Physician Wellness Program. This completely confidential offering provides up to six free coaching/counselling sessions per year with a psychologist. Appointments are available via telemedicine and are scheduled within 72 hours.

Members of LCMS and DCMS can learn more and access this member benefit here. For information on how to launch Lifebridge Physician Wellness Program in your county, please contact Jim Lorence.

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Expert financial advice designed for physicians - WisMed Financial

Graded premium disability – coverage to protect yourself and your family

injured hand signing paperwork

Tom Strangstalien, a WisMed Assure insurance advisor, recently worked with a young physician to set him up with personal disability protection to provide some financial security if life throws him and his family a curve ball. Prompting this planning was that one of his peers in the general surgery specialty sustained a serious hand injury, ending his ability to perform hands-on surgery.

He didn’t have personal disability protection, and although his group benefits offered some benefits, it fell well short of what he envisioned for himself and his family of four. Though he had looked into coverage in the past, he thought that it was too expensive at this point in his career. Why not wait until his income was more substantial and coverage was more affordable? Unfortunately, waiting changed his financial world forever.

Perhaps if our physician member had explored graded premium disability insurance, he would have elected to purchase the protection at a very affordable price, thereby protecting his income throughout his lifetime.

What is graded premium disability insurance?

The premise is that as your income increases, your premium increases. Premiums start at a much lower price early in your career, compared to traditional level premium coverage. Each year, premiums will increase slightly. When you’re on a tighter budget, it enables you to put the amount of coverage needed in place, and it can never be taken away. Making graded premium disability coverage more beneficial is that you can elect to lock in your premiums at any time you choose! In other words, you can convert to a level premium policy when your income and budget allows you to do so.

When working with our residents, fellows and young physicians, we always look at graded premium plans as an option. We almost always package this with a future insurability option, so you are guaranteed to increase your benefits in the future, with no medical underwriting, as your income increases. You can put disability protection in place by using a graded premium plan, where you otherwise wouldn’t be able to do so. You always want to acquire the most coverage you can, and as early in your career as possible!

WisMed Assure

As a young member in the medical profession, don’t make the mistake of assuming your budget does not allow you to purchase disability protection. Yes, you can! Life happens and it truly throws us curveballs. Reach out to Tom Strangstalien and the WisMed Assure team at insurance@wismedassure.org, complete this quick online form or call 866.442.3810, and let’s determine if a graded premium disability plan can protect your financial world!

WisMed Assure is the Wisconsin Medical Society’s insurance agency – profits earned support the mission of the Medical Society.

Originally posted in The Antidote October 27, 2022

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Myriad effects of COVID-19 explored in latest issue of WMJ

cover of magazine

The most recent issue of WMJ includes a collection of papers that delve into many of the myriad ways COVID-19 has affected the delivery of care, various health conditions and outcomes, clinician mental health and more. Read the full articles here.

Subscribe to WMJ and submit a manuscript here.

WMJ (the Wisconsin Medical Journal) is a peer-reviewed, indexed, scientific journal published quarterly and online ahead of print each month.

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WisMed mourns the loss of Cyril “Kim” Hetsko, MD

headshot of Cyril Hetsko, MD

We would like to celebrate the life and legacy of Cyril “Kim” Hetsko, MD, as we remember his many contributions to the Wisconsin Medical Society. Dr. Hetsko joined WisMed in 1975 and served in a number of leadership roles, including Society President (1991-1992), AMA Delegation Member and Nominating Committee Member. Dr. Hetsko was an avid supporter of WisMed and WISMedPAC throughout his career and retirement. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends as we join them in mourning his passing.

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