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.

Physician volunteers needed
The Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation (Foundation) is partnering with the Milwaukee Area Association of Retired People (AARP) and Walk With a Doc (WWAD) to recruit physician volunteers in Milwaukee. The mission of WWAD is to inspire communities through movement and conversation with physician-led walking groups.

Is your group disability insurance good enough?
May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month. This is the perfect time to evaluate your disability protection, determining if you’re adequately covered and address any potential holes or gaps in your coverage. A common theme I hear when talking with our members is, “I have disability insurance coverage as part of my employee benefits, so do I really need personal disability protection?”

Reminder: chaperone rule economic impact period open through June
The State of Wisconsin’s Medical Examining Board (MEB) has opened another Economic Impact Analysis (EIA) period for physicians to weigh in on the potential costs of a proposed administrative rule designed to promote the use of chaperones when performing genital, breast and rectal exams (or when those areas might be exposed during other procedures).

Reminder: state-wide behavioral health services for WisMed Members
The Wisconsin Medical Society (WisMed) is proud to offer behavioral health services option for our members state-wide. WisMed has partnered with Marvin to provide confidential counseling and coaching services with flexible hours.

Physician volunteers needed

The Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation (Foundation) is partnering with the Milwaukee Area Association of Retired People (AARP) and Walk With a Doc (WWAD) to recruit physician volunteers in Milwaukee. The mission of WWAD is to inspire communities through movement and conversation with physician-led walking groups. AARP Milwaukee recognizes that the pandemic amplified the disproportionate effect of health crisis in the black communities they serve and would like to connect black physicians in Milwaukee who are interested in serving as role models for healthy lifestyle practices and the development of long-term healthy living behaviors and social connectedness.

Once a month a walk will be held in a historically black community in Milwaukee and will open with a five-to-eight-minute health talk. Sample topics can be provided, or the physician volunteer can speak on any healthy living topic they like. After the talk, participants simply take a walk in the neighborhood together and get to know each other. To participate, contact Foundation Executive Director Elizabeth Ringle.

Around the State in 8 Districts

The Foundation is excited to partner with physicians and community organizations who share our mission to improve health equity and access in Wisconsin. To learn more about the Foundation visit foundation.wismed.org or support our mission by donating to our Around Wisconsin in 8 Districts campaign. One hundred percent of your donation goes directly to programs in your district.

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Is your group disability insurance good enough?

May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month. This is the perfect time to evaluate your disability protection, determining if you’re adequately covered and address any potential holes or gaps in your coverage. A common theme I hear when talking with our members is, “I have disability insurance coverage as part of my employee benefits, so do I really need personal disability protection?” For physicians and medical professionals, the answer is almost always yes!

Typical limitations of group coverage

First, there is a cap on the amount of benefits that will be paid out for a claim. If the maximum benefit amount is $10,000 per month and as a physician you’re earning $300,000 per year, you’re not even covering half of your income. Are you willing to roll the dice for a potentially devasting and dramatic lifestyle change?

Second, group disability coverage contains “offset provisions.” This means that if you are drawing payments from other sources upon incurring a disability, the benefits paid by the group policy will be reduced pro-rata. These sources could include things like social security, liability settlements, workers compensation payments, employer provided retirement plan replacement benefits and other accident or short-term disability plans. A properly designed personal disability plan will not contain such provisions.

Next, group disability plans are not portable. In other words, if you change your place of employment or go into practice on your own or as an independent contractor, you will lose the disability protection. If you have incurred some health issues, coverage then can be very expensive or not available to you at all. This is why it’s so important to get a personal disability plan in place as early in life as possible.

Benefits of personal disability insurance

With a personal disability insurance plan, there are many optional benefits available to you. It’s not a one size fits all plan like a group plan tends to be. You can elect additional coverages such as:

  • student loan payment coverage
  • inflation protection
  • catastrophic coverage
  • partial and residual disability coverage levels
  • future increase benefits (you can increase the amount of benefits as your income increases with no additional medical underwriting)

What I want you to take away from this article during Disability Awareness Month is this: take a few minutes and review your current disability protection. If you do not yet have a personal disability plan, get one as soon as possible. Don’t roll the dice with your biggest asset – your ability to earn a substantial income! As the independent insurance agency of the Wisconsin Medical Society, we can shop all of the major insurers, review your current group plan and design a plan that will fully protect you and your family for your lifetime.

As your financial partner, your WisMed Assure team is here to take care of your personal financial security so that you can take the best possible care of yourself, your family and your patients.

For additional information regarding disability insurance, contact WisMed Assure at insurance@wismedassure.org, complete this online form or call 866.442.3810.

Originally posted in The Antidote, May 12, 2022

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Reminder: chaperone rule economic impact period open through June

Advocacy Alert

The State of Wisconsin’s Medical Examining Board (MEB) has opened another Economic Impact Analysis (EIA) period for physicians to weigh in on the potential costs of a proposed administrative rule designed to promote the use of chaperones when performing genital, breast and rectal exams (or when those areas might be exposed during other procedures). The call for comments, including the language of the updated rule and the contact information for submitting comments, can be found here. The deadline to submit comments is June 13, 2022.

The EIA period is a required step whenever a state entity proposes an administrative rule – the assessment allows the body proposing the rule to better understand the fiscal ramifications of their proposal. Usually a cursory step, the initial EIA period for a previous version of the chaperone rule resulted in a finding that the state’s health care entities would face approximately $15 million in new costs the first year in order to properly comply with the rule. State law requires any administrative rule costing more than $10 million over two years to take a different approval path, involving legislative review and oversight. Seeking to avoid this fate, the MEB amended the proposal to its current form.

Under the updated rule language (see this April 21 Medigram story on the MEB’s work to amend the original version), the MEB is allowed to “make a rebuttable presumption in favor of any facts alleged in a complaint made under” an administrative code section related to sexual gratification unprofessional conduct. In order to avoid that presumption of guilt if a complaint is filed under this code section, physicians can show that a chaperone was used during the exam.

If the patient refuses a chaperone, the rule requires the patient to sign an informed consent document, and the medical record must detail how the patient was “adequately counseled” on the chaperone option and document the details of the counseling, decision, consent document, and detailed reasons.” If the patient refuses to sign an informed consent document after waiving the offer of a chaperone, the physician “may refuse to perform the examination. Physicians must document the details of the counseling, decision, and detailed reasons in the patient’s medical record.”

The Wisconsin Medical Society (WisMed) and other health care entities have raised concerns regarding the MEB’s intention to alter the usual presumption of innocence when a complaint is filed to a presumption of guilt, including that such a change may violate current state law. Concerns have also been raised about the cost of complying with the rule to avoid this new assumption of guilt, and how the new requirements could negatively impact already-stressed physician-patient interactions.

Once the current EIA period has expired, the Board will review comments and assess the potential costs. It will then decide whether to continue moving forward with the rule – if so, eventually a public hearing will be scheduled where physicians can share their opinions with the full MEB about the proposal.

Physicians using the WisMed Mobile App received an alert May 10 about the EIA period. Click here for information on how you can tap into this exclusive member benefit. Contact WisMed Chief Policy and Advocacy Officer Mark Grapentine, JD for more information.

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Reminder: state-wide behavioral health services for WisMed Members

Marvin - click here for flyer

The Wisconsin Medical Society (WisMed) is proud to offer behavioral health services option for our members state-wide. 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.

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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