The state of Wisconsin’s Medical Examining Board (MEB) voted unanimously to register its concerns over pending state legislation that would allow certain advanced practice nurses to provide patient care independently from physicians. Noting concerns over how the bill could affect the health and safety of the public, the motion also cites the MEB’s desire to “(remain) open to reasonable proposals to advance the state of health care for the citizens of Wisconsin.”
The action was taken August 18 at the MEB’s monthly meeting, held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bills in question are companion proposals Senate Bill 394 and Assembly Bill 396 – legislation that nursing organizations are terming “modernization” bills, but actually create new laws that could fracture our state’s successful physician-led, team-based system. The Wisconsin Medical Society (Society), numerous physician specialty societies and both state medical schools continue to strongly oppose the bills, which received public hearings in the State Assembly and State Senate health committees in late July (see this July 29 Medigram story for more).
The Society continues to urge all physicians to contact their state Assembly Representative and State Senator, asking them to support physician-led health care by rejecting SB 394/AB 396. Physicians can find their elected representatives’ contact information on the state legislature’s home page.
In other action, the MEB approved two new administrative rules:
- Extending opioid prescribing-related CME as part of physicians’ 30-hour biennial requirement for the November 1, 2023 license renewal date. For that upcoming license biennium, physicians must take at least two credits of MEB-approved courses. According to the updated rule, “(t)he subject matter of a course . . . shall pertain to responsible prescribing of opioids and other controlled substances, with an emphasis on informed consent of all patients on opioid therapy and other controlled substances.”
- Updating the timeline for when a physician must notify the MEB that they have been convicted of a crime. The new requirement makes it unprofessional conduct for failure to notify the state’s Department of Safety and Professional Services within 48 hours of an entry of judgement of a conviction of any crime.
In a bit of a surprise, the MEB did not discuss a possible rule requiring physicians to have chaperones when performing sensitive physical exams (as first reported in this April Medigram story). MEB chair Sheldon Wasserman, MD, said that he would like to have the MEB meet in person at their September meeting in order to facilitate a face-to-face discussion about the issue. If the MEB decides to move ahead with preliminary chaperone language, there will be an opportunity for public input at a future meeting before the MEB finalizes any decision.
Contact Society Chief Policy and Advocacy Officer Mark Grapentine, JD, for additional information.
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