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.

DHS urges physicians to increase use of oral antivirals to treat COVID-19
When the FDA granted emergency use authorization for Paxlovid and molnupiravir in January, we gained powerful new tools in the fight against COVID-19. These medications can change the course of the pandemic by preventing serious illness among the most vulnerable patients. Paxlovid is highly efficacious and has been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death by 88% in clinical trials.

Society Annual Meeting agenda and registration
The Wisconsin Medical Society’s 2022 Annual Meeting will be held virtually on Saturday April 9, 2022 from 9:00 a.m. to noon. The agenda, below, includes the installment of the President and Treasurer and farewell message from Society CEO Bud Chumbley, MD.

Reminder: Email Gov. Evers to veto the nursing independence bill
There’s still time to ask Governor Tony Evers to veto legislation that would allow Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) to practice independently, with no interaction with physicians required.

Celebrate colleagues at Foundation awards event
Please join the Foundation virtually on April 21 at 6:30 p.m. as Patricia Téllez-Girón Salazar, MD, receives the Superhero of Medicine Award and Roger Kapoor, MD, MBA, FAAD, receives the Viste Young Physician Leadership Award.

WISMedPAC board has “new” leadership
On March 15, the WISMedPAC board met and voted on new officers. The elected officers are Chair Dan Bennett, MD, Vice Chair John Hartman, MD, and Treasurer/Secretary Paul Wertsch, MD.

Gov. Evers signs harm to health care workers bill
Governor Tony Evers signed a bill into law March 23 making it a Class H felony to cause bodily harm (battery) or threaten to harm certain health care workers or their families.

Lower health insurance costs with strategy and unique offerings
WisMed Assure, the Wisconsin Medical Society’s insurance agency, created the Wisconsin Medical Society Welfare Benefit Trust (WMSWBT) or the Association Health Plan (AHP) to help health care professionals manage health insurance costs. This year WisMed Assure negotiated with their carrier partner, WPS, to lower the rates for all new groups.

DHS urges physicians to increase use of oral antivirals to treat COVID-19

Article from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services

When the FDA granted emergency use authorization for Paxlovid and molnupiravir in January, we gained powerful new tools in the fight against COVID-19. These medications can change the course of the pandemic by preventing serious illness among the most vulnerable patients. Paxlovid is highly efficacious and has been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death by 88% in clinical trials. However, these medications are not being prescribed at the rates which we anticipated. Despite initial concerns that demand would outstrip the limited supply, utilization has been low. Of the 6,280 courses of Paxlovid distributed throughout Wisconsin, we still have 4,242 available, and we still have 13,699 of the 17,060 courses of molnupiravir on hand.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has worked to lower access barriers for these medications. Oral antivirals are now available at 239 pharmacies throughout the state, and DHS is rapidly expanding our retail pharmacy network to ensure these drugs reach every community. DHS is also partnering with the federal government on a new Test to Treat program as part of the National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. Through this program, patients will have access to “one-stop” test and treatment locations.

As Omicron BA.2’s spread accelerates and we face the possibility of future surges, it is critical that physicians are prepared to prescribe these medications. Patients at risk for progression to severe disease should be considered for treatment, particularly given the narrow window for benefit: both drugs must be started within five days of symptom onset. We highly encourage clinicians to review FDA’s guidance for Paxlovid and molnupiravir. To facilitate prescribing, we urge physician leaders to consider implementing clinical decision support tools within electronic health records.

To find pharmacies near you, visit the DHS COVID-19 therapeutics webpage. These medications can prevent severe disease, reduce hospitalizations and save lives. We urge you to consider using them when appropriate.

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Rogers Behavioral Health

Society Annual Meeting agenda and registration

Annual Meeting - Virtual - April 9, 2022 - 9 a.m. to noon

The Wisconsin Medical Society’s 2022 Annual Meeting will be held virtually on Saturday April 9, 2022 from 9:00 a.m. to noon. The agenda, below, includes the installment of the President and Treasurer and farewell message from Society CEO Bud Chumbley, MD. Society officer elections closed on March 10 and Don Lee, MD, was elected as President-elect for 2022-23 and John Cook, CPA, as Society Treasurer for 2022-23.

WisMed members can register via the events tab of the WisMed Mobile app or here.*

Annual Meeting Agenda will feature:

  • Past, current and incoming President addresses & installment of President and Treasurer
  • Introduction of new Society CEO, Mike Flesher & farewell message from Bud Chumbley, MD
  • Advocacy update & PolicyLink overview by Mark Grapentine, Chief Advocacy and Policy Officer

Watch future issues of Medigram for additional speaker announcements. Contact membership@wismed.org for questions or help registering.

*Please note that Zoom may require you to sign up for a free Zoom account before registering for the event. You will receive a confirmation email once your event registration is complete.

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Reminder: Email Gov. Evers to veto the nursing independence bill

Advocacy Alert

There’s still time to ask Governor Tony Evers to veto legislation that would allow Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) to practice independently, with no interaction with physicians required. Two weeks ago in Medigram we urged all members to email Gov. Evers’s office (at govinfo@wisconsin.gov), put “Please Veto SB 394” in the subject line and edit the suggested language to your liking.

 

While there has been tremendous physician response to this call to action, we recently heard that contacts to the Governor’s office are running 60/40 in favor of nurses requesting the bill to be signed into law. While there are many more nurses than physicians in Wisconsin, there’s still time to narrow this gap – and hopefully exceed the nursing number. If you haven’t yet done so, please email the Governor’s office with your veto request. And ask your peers if they have done so.

Thank you for your advocacy and for your WisMed membership. Contact WisMed Chief Policy and Advocacy Officer Mark Grapentine, JD for more information. 

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WisMed Financial - Meet your advisor

Celebrate colleagues at Foundation awards event

Patricia Téllez-Girón Salazar, MD
2022 Superhero of Medicine
Patricia Téllez-Girón Salazar, MD

Please join the Foundation virtually on April 21 at 6:30 p.m. as Patricia Téllez-Girón Salazar, MD, receives the Superhero of Medicine Award and Roger Kapoor, MD, MBA, FAAD, receives the Viste Young Physician Leadership Award. Click here to register for this free event.

Roger Kapoor, MD, MBA, FAAD
2022 Kenneth M. Viste, Jr., MD, Award Recipient
Roger Kapoor, MD

Foundation Board President David Galbis-Reig, MD, and Executive Director Marje Murray will help celebrate the recipients and their accomplishments. They both have been making a huge difference in their communities during the pandemic, so join in to learn what worked, what didn’t work and what might translate to your practices and communities.

Help recognize these outstanding physicians who not only had to pivot their work for the pandemic but have also lost the opportunity to receive their accolades in person.

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WISMedPAC board has “new” leadership

WisMedPAC - Click Here
Dan Bennett, MD
Dan Bennett, MD

On March 15, the WISMedPAC board met and voted on new officers. The elected officers are Chair Dan Bennett, MD, Vice Chair John Hartman, MD, and Treasurer/Secretary Paul Wertsch, MD. After many years of serving as Chair, Dr. Hartman stepped down to Vice Chair to allow for a change of leadership.

"Dr. Hartman has served Wisconsin physicians admirably in multiple leadership roles over many years, including his long service as chair of WISMedPAC. His leadership helped develop a truly nonpartisan PAC focused on the needs of Wisconsin patients and physicians. I'm grateful that I will continue to learn from him as he stays on our board as Vice Chair," says Dr. Bennett.

He continued, "We have faced challenges with fundraising in large part due to the pandemic's impact on our ability to meet in person, but the Society has maintained an active and effective voice in Madison thanks to our member volunteers and extraordinary work of our talented advocacy staff. Our PAC is poised to grow and help us build even stronger relationships with state legislators so that physicians' voices have even more impact inside our State Capitol."

John Hartman, MD
John Hartman, MD

This year's WISMedPAC board is comprised of nine elected physicians and the Society's CEO. The board meets quarterly and works to educate and provide political giving opportunities to fellow members.

2022 fall elections will clearly be important for the direction of our state and our country. If you plan on giving to a local, state or federal race, please consider doing that through our conduit, WISMedDIRECT or contribute to WISMedPAC. Contact Heidi Green, Director of Development and Political Giving, to learn more about political giving via the Society.

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Gov. Evers signs harm to health care workers bill

Governor Tony Evers signed a bill into law March 23 making it a Class H felony to cause bodily harm (battery) or threaten to harm certain health care workers or their families. The Wisconsin Medical Society was part of a broad health care coalition supporting Assembly Bill 960, which passed the State Assembly on a voice vote and the State Senate on a 31-0 tally.

Previously, state law generally classified battery as a Class A misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of up to a $10,000 fine and/or nine months imprisonment, with the penalty increasing to a Class H felony (a maximum $10,000 fine and/or up to 42 months in prison) for harm to nurses, emergency care providers and emergency department workers. The new law expands the enhanced penalty to battery against a health care professional, a staff member of a health care facility or a family member of a health care professional/staff member. The law also makes certain threats of violence a felony if that threat happens in response to a health care worker doing their job in an official capacity, or in response to something that happened at the health care facility. 

Contact Mark Grapentine, JD for more information.

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Lower health insurance costs with strategy and unique offerings

WisMed Assure, the Wisconsin Medical Society’s insurance agency, created the Wisconsin Medical Society Welfare Benefit Trust (WMSWBT) or the Association Health Plan (AHP) to help health care professionals manage health insurance costs. This year WisMed Assure negotiated with their carrier partner, WPS, to lower the rates for all new groups. This has shown significant cost reductions for groups by decreasing their premium rates (up to 40% for some areas).

One Milwaukee-area group enrolled with the rates seen here:

An example of rates for the Marathon County area:

To learn more about all the services, strategies and benefits available through WisMed Assure, reach out today. Even if your current health plan is in the middle of its cycle, we can still find savings for you and your employees (employees can even get deductible credits for health care dollars spent).

WisMed Assure can provide a no obligation quote with a preliminary rate within two days of receiving your census. WisMed Assure offers great rates, unique services and is the only Wisconsin agency that exclusively serves the health care community. Click here to schedule a time to talk with Chris Noffke.

WisMed Assure

 

For additional information regarding employee benefits or other insurance, contact WisMed Assure at insurance@wismedassure.org or call 866.442.3810.

Originally posted here March 10, 2022 

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