Medigram, the Society’s electronic newsletter for physicians, features timely news, upcoming events, answers to frequently asked questions and all the information you need to know to make your practice run more efficiently. Topics include legislative updates, legal information, practice management information, government regulations, and much more. Published weekly, 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.

Settlers Bank to assist physicians and clinics with SBA/PPP applications
Settlers Bank is a Wisconsin business focused on serving the needs of physicians and clinics throughout the state. In order to best serve those needs during this time, they will assist physicians and clinics with questions regarding the SBA/PPP loan application process – even if they are not a current client.

Complimentary access to well-known attorney now available to Society members
Wisconsin Medical Society (Society) members can now access the assistance of a familiar and trusted health care and business attorney to help them better understand legal issues and financial resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Considerations for reopening practice
The Wisconsin Medical Society compiled guidelines to assist with reopening your practice from resources developed by leading organizations throughout the country, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, State Medical Societies, Specialty Medical Societies and ProAssurance.

COVID-19 policy update
On Tuesday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) responded on behalf of the Department of Health Services (DHS) to the Legislature’s lawsuit seeking to overturn the extension of Governor Evers’s Safer at Home order.

Taking the fight to COVID-19
Jim Yong Kim, MD, emphasized in last week’s relevant reading that it is not too late to go on the offensive in fighting COVID-19.

Special election only a few weeks away – make a contribution now
On Tuesday, May 12, voters will elect a new representative to serve out former Congressman Sean Duffy’s term for the 7th Congressional district. Duffy retired in September due to family matters.

Fast track to financial independence: ‘Live Like a Resident’ – New WisMed OnCall
After scrimping for years of medical school and residency, it’s completely understandable to want to enjoy your hard-earned salary once you become an attending.

Facts you need about Medicare Supplement Insurance
The best time to explore and understand Medicare Supplement Insurance is well before you turn age 65.

Settlers Bank to assist physicians and clinics with SBA/PPP applications

Settlers bank logo

Settlers Bank is a Wisconsin business focused on serving the needs of physicians and clinics throughout the state. In order to best serve those needs during this time, they will assist physicians and clinics with questions regarding the SBA/PPP loan application process – even if they are not a current client.

To use Settlers Bank for the SBA/PPP loan application process, a physician or clinic is simply required to open an operating account and have a conversation about their overall banking needs. Settlers Bank also works closely with the clinic’s CPA to help determine the qualified loan amount as well as financial modeling.

Settlers Bank offers a one-call approach to the medical community, because they understand that now more than ever time is of the essence. 

Anne Fink, CFP® is a private banker specializing in working with physicians. Contact Anne at afink@settlerswi.com or 608.842.5025. To learn more about Settlers Bank click here.

Settlers Bank is MEMBER FDIC

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Complimentary access to well-known attorney now available to Society members

Neider & Boucher, S.C. logo

Wisconsin Medical Society (Society) members can now access the assistance of a familiar and trusted health care and business attorney to help them better understand legal issues and financial resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Attorney John Rather, former Society General Counsel and current business and health care attorney with the Madison law firm Neider & Boucher, S.C. is available to provide complimentary resources to Society members concerning legal issues that physicians and their practices are facing due to COVID-19.* This includes:

  • Financial assistance for physicians and their practices
    • SBA programs (including the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Grants)
    • Federal Tax Credits (including the Employee Retention Tax Credit and Families First Coronavirus Response Act)
  • Other business and employment issues

“These are unprecedented and confusing times for everyone, especially in health care. Physicians and their practices need to understand their options and how to properly execute on a coordinated strategy,” John noted. “I’m proud to have been a trusted resource for Society members and I look forward to the continued opportunity to be part of their support network.”

Email John or call 608.441.2522 with questions. Please also visit Neider & Boucher’s COVID-19 Resource List for more information. 

Neider & Boucher, S.C. is a full-service business law firm focused on the needs of small businesses and their owners. Neider & Boucher also provides individual services including estate planning, real estate transactions and tax planning.

*Please Note: John is available to provide limited complimentary legal information and resources to Society members and their practices. Legal advice and answers to specific questions based on individual circumstances are beyond the scope of this free service. If you need legal counsel, please contact John or another private attorney.

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Considerations for reopening practice

The Wisconsin Medical Society compiled guidelines to assist with reopening your practice from resources developed by leading organizations throughout the country, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, State Medical Societies, Specialty Medical Societies and ProAssurance. As you consider reopening your practice, we hope you will find these guidelines practical, thought-provoking and useful.

The Wisconsin Medical Society appreciates the compassion and dedication of the medical community. We are here for our members and the community. The Society has been working to help physicians and health care teams during the pandemic; we have compiled COVID-19 resources, coordinated with Settlers Bank to assist clinics with the SBA/PPP loan application process, secured access to a trusted legal resource and assembled additional financial resources.   

Please contact Jim Lorence with questions.

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COVID-19 policy update

On Tuesday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) responded on behalf of the Department of Health Services (DHS) to the Legislature’s lawsuit seeking to overturn the extension of Governor Evers’s Safer at Home order. Ryan Westergaard, MD, PhD, MPH, the state’s epidemiologist, and DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk also submitted supporting affidavits. DHS holds that the extension of the Safer at Home order on April 16 is within the bounds and intent of the law while the legislature contends that it is executive overreach. The Supreme Court is expected to move quickly on the case, and it is unknown at this time when a verdict will be determined. The Wisconsin Medical Society will closely monitor the situation.

Earlier this week Governor Evers lifted restrictions on some businesses allowing for increased operations provided there are curbside pick-ups that are scheduled in advance. This particular provision applied to animal, food and service businesses. Restrictions were also lifted on outdoor recreation rentals and car washes. Additionally, state parks will reopen beginning on May 1 with reduced operating hours and social distancing requirements.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced on Monday that it is reevaluating its accelerated payment program and suspending its temporary advance payment program. Beginning on April 26, CMS will no longer accept applications for its “advance payment program, and CMS will be reevaluating all pending and new applications for Accelerated Payments in light of historical direct payments made available through HHS’s Provider Relief Fund.” It should be noted that the accelerated and advance payment programs are a loan and not a grant. Funds have to be paid back over a specified period. According to guidance from CMS, “providers and suppliers are typically required to pay back the funding within one year or less, depending on provider or supplier type.” In addition, Congress may be pursuing a fourth round of COVID-19 legislation potentially focusing on state aid and liability protections for health care workers.

Please contact HJ Waukau with any questions.

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Taking the fight to COVID-19

Jim Yong Kim, MD, emphasized in last week’s relevant reading that it is not too late to go on the offensive in fighting COVID-19. In his article, Dr. Kim emphasized five elements for containing COVID-19: social distancing, contact tracing, testing, isolation and treatment.

South Korea and Germany have thus far proven successful at flattening the curve and point to their ability to quickly create, produce and administer high volumes of SARS-CoV-2 tests. Testing was pursued in tandem with quick isolation and social distancing protocols. Recently, Anthony Fauci, MD, announced that the United States was going to be able to double its current testing capacity over the coming weeks.

A key component in testing strategy is the creation and administration of serology tests. The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) states that serology (antibody) tests “may be better suited for public health surveillance and vaccine development than for diagnosis.” However, serology tests are only one component, and the IDSA cautions that the “current antibody testing landscape is varied and clinically unverified, and these tests should not be used as the sole test for diagnostic decisions.” Adding to the difficulty are reports that a number of recently approved tests are resulting in false-positives. It should be noted that Wisconsin is nearing the Department of Health Services stated goal of 12,000 tests per day, although issues with access and awareness of available tests persist.

Contact tracing is also prominent in the fight against COVID-19. Earlier this week, a bipartisan coalition of former Bush, Obama and Trump administration officials called on Congress to scale up contract tracing and self-isolation capacity in the United States. Multiple health officials are emphasizing contact tracing as a major component of not only slowing the spread of COVID-19 but also for beginning to relax safer at home orders and reopen the economy. The coalition estimates that “the necessary contact tracing workforce needs to be expanded by 180,000 until such time as a safe, effective vaccine is on the market.” Additionally, they emphasized the need to ensure the health of primary care practices. Along with increased isolation capacity the coalition estimates, the proposal requires $46.5 billion in additional funds from Congress to achieve the level of contact tracers necessary. Current CDC Director Robert Redfield has also called for substantial expansion of contact tracing, and former CDC Director Tom Frieden estimates the overall need is 300,000 contact tracers. Last week, DHS announced its intention to hire an additional 1,000 contact tracers.

Treatment so far remains the most elusive component in the fight against COVID-19. Multiple clinical trials are beginning to produce their first results albeit with inconclusive, anecdotal or controversial conclusions. Remdesivir, chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin have been the most frequently mentioned possible treatments. Additionally, vaccine development is proceeding at a pace in tandem with clinical treatment trials. Multiple vaccine trials for COVID-19 are still in development or only recently begun, however a study from Oxford University is optimistic about having a vaccine ready by September. Pfizer also announced this week it hopes to have a vaccine ready by the fall.

Such trials and announcements are promising, but until an appropriate treatment and/or vaccine is developed, social distancing, testing, tracing and isolation will remain the best tools for fighting COVID-19 and flattening the curve.

Please contact HJ Waukau with questions.

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Special election only a few weeks away – make a contribution now

On Tuesday, May 12, voters will elect a new representative to serve out former Congressman Sean Duffy’s term for the 7th Congressional district. Duffy retired in September due to family matters. State Senator Tom Tiffany, a republican, and attorney Tricia Zunker, a democrat, won the primaries for this race. Check out their websites and make a choice.

Tom Tiffany has served in the State Senate since 2013 and is a former businessman.

Tricia Zunker is an attorney, President of the Wausau School Board and sits as an Associate Justice of the Ho-Chunk Nation Supreme Court.

This is considered a strong republican seat, however, without an incumbent, it’s up for grabs. It’s a great time to make a contribution to the candidate you prefer – even if you’re not in the district. Both candidates are working hard to win this seat and most likely will go on to win it again in the fall. Your support can help the candidate of your choice keep their ads on the air. 

The fate of the House of Representatives will be determined in November and the winner of this congressional race will have to run again, possibly in a primary on August 11 and then again on November 3 in the general election. As of April 2020, the Democratic Party is in the majority holding 232 seats to Republicans' 196 seats, with one seat held by an independent and six vacancies. All 435 seats in the House will be up for election on November 3.

If you live in the district, we urge you to vote via absentee ballot. The deadline to request a ballot is May 7. Go to www.myvote.wi.gov to request a ballot and return it by May 12. 

If you’d like to make a contribution to either candidate, please contact Heidi Green, Director of Development and Political Giving, heidi.green@wismed.org or 608.442.3720.

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Fast track to financial independence: ‘Live Like a Resident’ – New WisMed OnCall

WisMed OnCall podcast logo

After scrimping for years of medical school and residency, it’s completely understandable to want to enjoy your hard-earned salary once you become an attending. But, how you manage your money will determine how big your payback will be for all those years of hard work.

In this second podcast in the series, third-year medical student Rufus Sweeney and former Wisconsin Medical Society COO Peter Welch explore how living "like a resident" can help you become financially independent in 10 to 12 years.

You can subscribe to Wisconsin Medical Society's podcast in iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

Related blogs by Rufus Sweeney:
Financial Wellness Matters
Is Your Money Unemployed? Replace budgeting with goal setting and give your money a job

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Facts you need about Medicare Supplement Insurance

WisMed Assure is the Wisconsin Medical Society's insurance agency. Profits earned directly support the mission and vision of the Society. Www.wismedassure.org

The best time to explore and understand Medicare Supplement Insurance is well before you turn age 65.

Medicare Supplement Insurance is health insurance that pays some of the health care costs that Medicare doesn’t cover. This includes costs like coinsurance, copayments and deductibles, among others.

The ins and outs of Medicare and supplement insurance can be confusing, and it is best for you to seek advice from an insurance expert who takes the time to fully understand your current situation and the future needs of you and your family.

Because WisMed Assure is the only insurance agency in Wisconsin working exclusively with physicians and the health care community, we may be your best choice when it comes time to figure out what you need to do about Medicare and Medicare Supplement Insurance.

Our knowledgeable staff understands Medicare and supplement insurance. Even more importantly, we hold ourselves accountable for giving you everything you need to make the best decisions and feel confident while doing so.

A starting point in decision-making is to pick the right company to work with. At WisMed Assure, we partner with Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation, commonly known as WPS, to provide what we feel are the very best supplement insurance options.

WisMed Assure and WPS have common roots. We were both started by the Wisconsin Medical Society: WPS in 1946 and WisMed Assure in 1981 (we were originally known as Wisconsin Medical Society Insurance and Financial Services, Inc. before we took on our new name in 2019).

Here are some important facts for you to consider:

  • Medicare alone is not enough; you need to make sure you have a supplement to fill in the gaps that Medicare leaves.
  • Medicare Supplement Insurance can be used anywhere in the US, so there is no worry of having “out of pocket” charges.
  • Coverage begins on the first of the month that you turn 65 and/or enroll in Medicare Part B, or on the effective date you request up to three months in the future.
  • If Medicare covers it, so does the supplement!
  • WPS has a local customer service center to help out if needed and they give you the help you need, quickly and accurately because they only work with supplements.
  • WPS offers a 7% discount to households with two members on a WPS Medicare Supplement.
  • In 2019, WPS Health Solutions was named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies® for the 10th year in a row by the international Ethisphere® Institute.
  • Optional Dental Coverage is available
  • Silver & Fit program is available on base plans which provides discounts to local gyms as well as discounts on fitness products.
  • All WPS Medicare Supplement Insurance plan customers receive access to the EyeMed Vision Care discount program at no additional cost. EyeMed offers substantial savings on eye care and eyewear at thousands of provider locations nationwide.
  • Hear in America program is also available to all WPS Medicare Supplement Insurance plan customers, offering discounts on hearing aids (which are not covered by Medicare).
  • Profits earned by WisMed Assure directly support the mission and vision of the Wisconsin Medical Society.

If it is time for you to explore, understand and make the best possible decisions about Medicare and Medicare Supplement Insurance, it’s time to call WisMed Assure.

Laura Kinart

Account Executive
Wismed Assure
414.238.6106
laura.kinart@wismedassure.org

Facts you need about Medicare Supplement Insurance

Click here to visit the WPS website.

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