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.

Submit feedback on Board policy actions by Friday
The Wisconsin Medical Society (WisMed) Board of Directors recently acted on five policy proposals that had been submitted through the WisMed PolicyLink platform. Members can weigh in on those decisions via advisory referendum through Friday, September 29.

GO PAC GO heating up
Congratulations to Team 2 for taking the lead in the second quarter of GO PAC GO. Tom Joles, MD, District 7 is the MVP of Q2!

Opening doors for future physician leaders
The Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation (Foundation) is proud to help support the development of future physician leaders through the Cyril “Kim” Hetsko, MD Trainee Leadership Fund. This fund was established to defray meeting expenses for physician trainees to allow them to participate in Wisconsin Medical Society (WisMed) and American Medical Association (AMA) meetings.

Get involved – apply by January 3 for a Medical Society office
Applications are being accepted for several Wisconsin Medical Society (Society) offices, and all nomination materials are due to the Society’s Nominating Committee by Wednesday, January 3, 2024.

Science Fest bourbon tasting in Eau Claire to support the Foundation
The Western Wisconsin Medical Society, HyVee and 45th Parallel Spirits, are hosting a bourbon tasting on Tuesday, October 3 from 5-7 p.m. at the HyVee in Eau Claire. The event will include tastings, sales and prize drawings.

Fed skips rate hike but may not be done
As some anticipated, the Federal Reserve (Fed) held interest rates steady at its September policy meeting. The Fed had raised its benchmark federal funds rate at their July 2023 meeting to a range between 5.25% and 5.5%, a 22-year high.

State seeks physicians for Work Comp advisory group
The state of Wisconsin’s Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC) is seeking to fill three vacancies for physicians on the Health Care Provider Advisory Committee (HCPAC), which advises the state on worker’s compensation-related treatment standards.

MIPS program changes may lead to penalties in 2024
On August 10, CMS made available 2022 MIPS performance feedback, which determines whether physicians will receive a positive, neutral or negative payment adjustment on Medicare services furnished in 2024. The AMA has heard alarming reports of physicians facing MIPS penalties in 2024 for the first time since the program started.

Health equity education available from AMA, National Academy of Medicine
Two new health equity education resources are available for physicians and health care professionals.

Submit feedback on Board policy actions by Friday

Help shape WisMed Advocacy - share your policy proposals

The Wisconsin Medical Society (WisMed) Board of Directors recently acted on five policy proposals that had been submitted through the WisMed PolicyLink platform. Members can weigh in on those decisions via advisory referendum through Friday, September 29.

The topics of those proposals include:

  • Advancing Weight-Inclusive Healthcare and Health Education
  • Opposing Abortion Care Restrictions in Wisconsin
  • Prohibiting Adolescent Access to Indoor Tanning
  • Improving Access to Menstruation and Feminine Hygiene Products
  • Updating WisMed’s policy related to Firearm Possession and Safety

Members can provide an advisory “thumbs-up” or “thumbs-down” on the Board’s conclusions – a process ensuring physicians across the state have ample opportunity to weigh in with their opinions. This policy cycle’s advisory period will run from Friday, September 22 through the close of business on Friday, September 29.

To participate in the comment period:

  1. Visit policylink.wismed.org
  2. Login with your WisMed username and password*
  3. Click “Comment on Proposal” in the top menu
  4. Select “Vote on Board Action”
  5. Click on a blue proposal title – you will see the original proposal, the Policy Review Committee’s recommendation and the Board action
  6. When ready, click on agree, disagree, or neutral in regards to the Board's action and submit any comments if desired in the text box
  7. Click “Submit Comment” button at the bottom of the page

Have a policy that you want to submit for consideration?

Members have perpetual access to submitting their own policy proposals, 24/7/365. While in PolicyLink click on “Submit Proposal” (in the menu bar at the top of the page) and enter your proposed policy. Policies submitted during this period will fall into the next submission funnel to be posted on November 17, 2023.

Contact WisMed Chief Policy and Advocacy Officer Mark Grapentine, JD for more information.

*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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GO PAC GO heating up

GO PAC GO Quarter 1
Scoreboard

Congratulations to Team 2 for taking the lead in the second quarter of GO PAC GO. Tom Joles, MD, District 7 is the MVP of Q2! Congratulations and thank you to Dr. Joles for his contribution and support!

We’re in the middle of the third quarter and it’s anyone’s game! The funds from our WISMedPAC (our political action committee) allow our advocacy team to be players on behalf of the Society, often playing offense but having to jump in with a strategic defense on issues which would negatively impact your practice.

Politics is often referred to as a game, and having a strong WISMedPAC ensures Wisconsin physicians aren’t just spectators.

Please take a minute and contribute here today. Any amount will help keep your Medical Society healthy and in the game!

Thank you to all that have contributed over the first half of GO PAC GO! The Packers win over the Saints on Sunday shows what can happen in the last quarter of a game.

Please contact Heidi Green at 608.358.6116 with any questions.

$1,000 - $1,499
Tom Joles, MD, District 7
Don Lee, MD, District 1
Paul Wertsch, MD, District 7

$500 - $999
Michael Becker, MD, District 1
Corey Cronrath, DO, District 7
Mike Flesher, CEO, District 2
David Hoffmann, MD, District 3

$1 - $499
Jade Anderson, MD, District 2
Joel Charles, MD, District 3
John Cook, District 2
William Henry Johnston III, MD, District 4
Kenneth Klein, MD, District 2
Sophie Kramer, MD, District 2
Kieren McAvoy, MD, District 1
Elizabeth Ringle, District 2
Nestor Rodriguez, MD, District 2
David Tylicki, MD, District 1
Tosha Wetterneck, MD, District 2
Michael Witkovsky, MD, District 2

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Opening doors for future physician leaders

The Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation (Foundation) is proud to help support the development of future physician leaders through the Cyril “Kim” Hetsko, MD Trainee Leadership Fund. This fund was established to defray meeting expenses for physician trainees to allow them to participate in Wisconsin Medical Society (WisMed) and American Medical Association (AMA) meetings. It honors the life and legacy of Cyril “Kim” Hetsko, MD, and his many contributions to patient care and organized medicine. The following article is by Kya Vaughn, a University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health student and recent recipient of these funds.

Kaya Vaughn speaking at AMA meeting

As a first-year medical student, the world of medicine seems endlessly full of possibilities. There seems to be a distinct path for everyone to accommodate every interest and goal. The hard part is finding your path. Coming to medical school, I didn't know what my path was, at first. However, I found my home in medicine through the work of policy and advocacy. My first semester of medical school, I quickly became involved with the Wisconsin Medical Society Medical Student Section, and shortly after, I became involved with advocacy on a national level through working with the AMA Medical Student Section. This past spring, I had the honor of being selected to represent the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health at the AMA Annual Conference in Chicago, an opportunity that I am forever grateful for, as it solidified the work I want to do going forward in my career.

This conference opened a door for me. Not only did I get to see how advocacy work manifests on a larger scale, but I also was inspired by the countless hours that medical students and physicians had put in to create policy that would benefit the patients that we serve. This conference was also a significant learning experience for me. As I attended each day, a mug of coffee always in hand, and voted on the fate of each proposal resolution, I learned the inner workings of policy advancement. I got to hear and share testimonies, listening to students defend their work. I got to witness the joy of one’s policy passing and the sadness for those whose policies did not. And most of all, I got to contribute to these decisions, a task that was far more involved than I had thought; there were so many things to consider before choosing to support or oppose a resolution, and I am fortunate to now know what the process entails, as I can now better appreciate the magnitude of these organizations taking such stances.

Since the conference, I have continued to work within the Wisconsin Medical Society and Medical Student Section, working with colleagues on planning community civic engagement activities, resolutions and brainstorming new policy ideas. I am thankful for the Cyril "Kim" Hetsko award, as it allowed me the opportunity to get a glimpse into my future. Attending this conference made me realize my path in medicine, and that was made possible through the support offered by the Hetsko award. I hope I am able to continue to honor his legacy through the work I will do in the future.

Your support to the Cyril “Kim” Hetsko, MD Trainee Leadership Fund helps grow a legacy of physician leadership by supporting trainee opportunities to participate in valuable mentorship and advocacy efforts. Please donate here. If you have questions about the fund, please contact Elizabeth Ringle at elizabeth.ringle@wismed.org. If you are a trainee delegate interested in applying to attend the AMA Interim Meeting of the House of Delegates in November or the 2024 National Advocacy Conference in February 2024, please contact Jaime Craig at jaime.craig@wismed.org.

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WisMed Assure - Insurance Solutions for the health care community

Get involved – apply by January 3 for a Medical Society office

Applications are being accepted for several Wisconsin Medical Society (Society) offices, and all nomination materials are due to the Society’s Nominating Committee by Wednesday, January 3, 2024.

Candidates are sought for the following offices:

  • President-Elect for 2025-2025
  • AMA Delegate for 2025 and 2026 (two positions) – Tosha Wetterneck, MD, of Madison (incumbent, eligible for reelection; 2025 and 2026); Barbara Hummel, MD, of Milwaukee (incumbent, eligible for reelection; 2025 and 2026)
  • AMA Alternate Delegate for 2024, 2025 and 2026 (three positions) – Corey Cronrath, DO of Eau Claire (incumbent, eligible for reelection; 2025 and 2026); Tony Thrasher, DO of Milwaukee (incumbent, eligible for reelection; 2025 and 2026); vacant position open for 2024 and 2025

All candidates must submit:

The Nominating Committee will meet Friday, January 19, 2024, at 4 p.m. via Zoom. The Committee will interview and evaluate the candidates for Society offices and prepare a slate of nominees for presentation to the membership.

Those serving on 2023-2024 Nominating Committee are:

  • District 1—Arthur Angove, DO; Jesse Ehrenfeld, MD; David Galbis-Reig, MD; Joshua Gershtenson, MD; Cynthia Jones-Nosacek, MD; Anthony Rieder, MD; Robert Ripenhoff; David Tylicki, MD; Katheryn Hope Wilkinson
  • District 2—Delaine Anderson; Amy Doherty, DO; Michael Grajewski, MD; Sophie Kramer, MD; Natalie Wheeler, MD
  • District 3—Hilary Bingol, MD; Michael White, DO
  • District 4—Lopa Kabir-Islam, MD; Michele Montgomery, MD
  • District 5—Joanne Pasiuk, MD
  • District 6—Bradley Burmeister, MD; Kenneth Pechman, MD
  • District 7—Brandon Hidaka, MD, PhD
  • District 8—Leo Bay, MD
  • Specialty Sections—Leslie Abitz, MD
  • Resident/Fellow—Isha Jain, MD
  • Medical Students—TBD, Medical College of Wisconsin; Greigory Dimailig, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Communications to the Nominating Committee should be addressed to Mike Flesher, CEO, Wisconsin Medical Society, PO Box 1109, Madison, WI 53701. Communications also can be emailed to Stephanie Taylor. Access the candidate questionnaire for AMA Delegate and AMA Alternate Delegate or President-elect and the conflict of interest form.

Note: The Society will post the completed candidate questionnaire and cover letter on the Society’s website. The Society will post the conflict-of-interest form of all candidates selected by the Nominating Committee as nominees on the Society’s website after nomination by the Committee.

For questions or more information, email Stephanie Taylor.

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Science Fest bourbon tasting in Eau Claire to support the Foundation

The Western Wisconsin Medical Society, HyVee and 45th Parallel Spirits, are hosting a bourbon tasting on Tuesday, October 3 from 5-7 p.m. at the HyVee in Eau Claire. The event will include tastings, sales and prize drawings. There will also be flyers with the lineup for the Wisconsin Science Festival taking place the week of October 15-23.

Bourbon Tasting
Tuesday, October 3
5-7 p.m. (Happy Hour 3-6 p.m.)
HyVee, 2424 E Clairemont Ave, Eau Claire

Happy hour is from 3-6 p.m. with half price appetizers and beer and $4 glasses of wine. Order food at Wahlburger’s for the chance to enter select raffles, and a percentage of food sales will be donated to the Foundation. There will also be a raffle for a bottle of Blanton’s Bourbon.

If you have any questions, please contact Elizabeth Ringle at elizabeth.ringle@wismed.org.

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Fed skips rate hike but may not be done

Illustration of man increasing interest rate

As some anticipated, the Federal Reserve (Fed) held interest rates steady at its September policy meeting. The Fed had raised its benchmark federal funds rate at their July 2023 meeting to a range between 5.25% and 5.5%, a 22-year high. Fed Chairperson Powell suggested that they were prepared to raise rates one more time this year, at either of their two remaining meetings, to combat inflation.

Fighting Inflation
While inflation is well down from last year’s 9.1% peak, it’s still higher than the Fed’s target. Their projection for annual core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, is 3.7% for the fourth quarter, above their 2% target.

Since rates may be raised again, economic pundits have called the Fed’s latest decision to hold rates steady a “skip” instead of a “pause.” 

Rates Higher for Longer
The Fed has been lifting rates since March 2022 to cool the economy without causing a recession. It’s a tough act to pull off. In his press conference, Powell said, “a soft landing is our primary objective.” But if inflation remains stubbornly high, he added, “the worst thing we can do is to fail to restore price stability.” With economists lowering their calls for a recession in 2024, Powell may be able to thread the needle.

However, with 2023 economic growth stronger than anticipated, most Fed officials expect they will need to keep interest rates near their current level through next year. The median projections showed the federal funds rate being lowered to around 5% by the end of 2024. That implies two rate cuts next year if the Fed hikes again this year. Additional rate cuts may be pushed into 2025. 

Contact Us to Discuss Your Ongoing Portfolio Strategy
On Wednesday, September 20, 2023, the stock market reacted negatively to the Fed’s update. But since 1984, when the Fed stopped its rate-hiking cycles, stock prices have trended higher. The medium returns of the S&P 500 for the 3, 12 and 30-month periods after the Fed’s tightening cycle ends were +7.7%, +19.1% and +62%, respectively. Of course, past performance is no guarantee of future results.

WisMed Financial
Mark Ziety

For personalized help with your financial plan, please contact Mark Ziety, CFP®, AIF® 608.442.3750.

Mark Ziety, CFP®, AIF®
WisMed Financial, Inc. part of the Wisconsin Medical Society.  

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as financial or tax advice. Please consult with a qualified financial advisor or tax professional before making any financial decisions.

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State seeks physicians for Work Comp advisory group

The state of Wisconsin’s Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC) is seeking to fill three vacancies for physicians on the Health Care Provider Advisory Committee (HCPAC), which advises the state on worker’s compensation-related treatment standards. The 14-member committee includes at least six physicians and the state is seeking physicians who treat injured workers as part of their practice. Ideal candidates would be:

  • a surgeon treating work comp injuries,
  • a pulmonary specialist (the work comp system continues to see lung injuries due to silica, asbestos and other toxic exposures,
  • a pain management specialist or
  • an occupational medicine physician

The HCPAC meets four times per year, scheduled approximately quarterly. The meetings are held on Fridays and usually last between two to three hours. While the positions aren’t paid, the state can reimburse members for mileage incurred for any in-person meetings (although most meetings over the past few years have been virtual) and you can share your expertise in a way that benefits the nation’s oldest state worker’s compensation program.

The HCPAC advises the state’s worker’s compensation division and the WCAC about modifications to the treatment standards contained in the worker's compensation treatment guidelines (DWD 81 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code). Those treatment guidelines are factors used under state law when determining necessity of treatment disputes in our state’s work comp system. In modifying DWD 81, the HCPAC is to consider clarifying the description of the work comp treatment guidelines, update the guidelines to include new modalities of treatment, procedures and treatment options for classes of injuries included in the guidelines and expand the guidelines to cover new types and classes of injuries.                       

Anyone interested in an appointment to the HCPAC should send a copy of a current résumé or CV by email to Steve Peters, Administrator of the Worker's Compensation Division. For any questions about membership on the HCPAC, contact the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s Jim O’Malley via email or telephone 608.267.6704.

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MIPS program changes may lead to penalties in 2024

On August 10, CMS made available 2022 MIPS performance feedback, which determines whether physicians will receive a positive, neutral or negative payment adjustment on Medicare services furnished in 2024. The AMA has heard alarming reports of physicians facing MIPS penalties in 2024 for the first time since the program started. We strongly encourage you to view this information as soon as possible for two reasons:

  1. If there are any errors, you should consider submitting an appeal, also called a targeted review. For more information about how to request a targeted review, please refer to the 2022 Targeted Review User Guide (PDF). The deadline to submit a targeted review is 8 pm ET October 9, 2023.
  2. You can help us advocate against Medicare physician payment cuts in 2024 by sharing this information. If you feel comfortable, you can share de-identified score and corresponding payment adjustment information. This will inform our understanding of the impact of MIPS on physician payment in 2024 and can help us in our conversations with the administration and Congress about ensuring physician payment supports high-quality care to Medicare patients. Please share your information by emailing the AMA Advocacy staff at ama.advocacy@ama-assn.org.

Physicians can view their 2022 MIPS Performance Feedback information on the Quality Payment Program (QPP) website using their HCQIS Access Role and Profile (HARP) credentials. The CMS Payment Adjustment User Guide (PDF) walks through the process of accessing and downloading performance feedback.

Questions? Please contact Jennifer Hananoki jennifer.hananoki@ama-assn.org or Koryn Rubin koryn.rubin@ama-assn.org.

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Health equity education available from AMA, National Academy of Medicine

Two new health equity education resources are available for physicians and health care professionals. The AMA is presenting a National Health Equity Grand Rounds virtual event, on Tuesday, October 10 and the National Academy of Medicine created a series of recordings of public health leaders reflecting on how systemic and structural racism perpetuates health inequities while offering opportunities for change.

The AMA is hosting a National Health Equity Grand Rounds virtual event, Creating Accountability Through Data on Tuesday, October 10 from 2:00-3:30 pm ET, to learn from experts as they discuss using data to advance health equity and identify the unique needs of historically excluded populations.   

National thought leaders will challenge us to reimagine how we use qualitative data to shape equity work, how research relates to power structures, and how we can use data to drive institutional change to eliminate racial inequities.

The National Health Equity Grand Rounds series is developed by the American Medical Association, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education and RespectAbility with support from the ABIM Foundation, Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, American Medical Association Ed Hub™, American Society of Addiction Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Council of Medical Specialty Societies, HealthBegins, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, RUSH, Sinai Chicago, Social Mission Alliance, The Hastings Center and The Joint Commission. Click here to learn more and register. Health care professionals may receive free continuing medical education (CME) credit by attending.

Additionally, the National Academy of Medicine created a series of recordings of public health leaders reflecting on how systemic and structural racism perpetuates health inequities while offering opportunities for change. Five prominent public health researchers and advocates share their insights on how systemic and structural racism perpetuates health inequities.

Hear their compelling perspectives and insight and be part of the conversation for positive change. In order to promote health equity, it's essential to confront the underlying drivers of inequity and health disparities embedded within our systems. Click here to learn more.

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