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  • November 17, 2021 10:28 AM | Maggie Gruennert (Administrator)

    Wisconsin Health News
    November 17, 2021

    U.S. Reps. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, and Glenn Grothman, R- Glenbeulah, recently joined 150 other lawmakers in urging the federal government to revise the interpretation of its surprise billing rule.

    In a letter sent to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Martin Walsh and Department of the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the lawmakers said the administration’s interpretation does not “reflect congressional intent” when the No Surprises Act passed Congress in December 2020. 

    Specifically at issue is the administration’s use of the median in-network rate as the primary determining factor in payment disputes between providers and payers during the independent dispute resolution process established in the law.

    "This approach is contrary to statute and could incentivize insurance companies to set artificially low payment rates, which would narrow provider networks and jeopardize patient access to care – the exact opposite of the goal of the law,” they said in the letter. “It could also have a broad impact on reimbursement for in-network services, which could exacerbate existing health disparities and patient access issues in rural and urban underserved communities.”

    The law, effective Jan. 1, states that patients are held harmless and will not be responsible for medical bills higher than what they would pay an in-network provider. If providers or insurers believe an out-of-network medical bill or payment is unreasonable, either party may initiate the independent dispute resolution process
  • November 15, 2021 10:13 AM | Maggie Gruennert (Administrator)

    Congratulations to WACEP President, Dr. Brad Burmeister, for being inducted into ACEP's Young Physicians Leadership Society. This Annual Award program recognizes attending emergency physicians who have demonstrated exceptional leadership within the specialty. Dr. Burmeister was recognized during the Young Physicians Leadership Section Leadership Summit at ACEP21 in Boston. He will also be recognized in the YPS "What's Up" newsletter, on the YPS website and in ACEP Now magazine.

    “Since joining the WACEP Board two years ago, Dr. Burmeister has been incredibly active, taking the reins of the Membership Committee and going above and beyond in recruiting new members to ACEP around the state, and improving our retention numbers with personal outreach… As the current president of our chapter, he continues to grow and diversify our board beyond the Madison/Milwaukee area and has been a great proponent of rural outreach, helping our rural colleagues get education focused on the care of the patients that they see in resource-limited settings.”

    Congratulations Dr. Burmeister! We are proud to call you our own!

  • November 15, 2021 10:11 AM | Maggie Gruennert (Administrator)

    Members,

    What is your mission?

    Our mission at WACEP is to “support quality emergency medical care and to promote the interests of emergency physicians.”

    We do this in many ways. At WACEP, I think that the foundation of our work is advocacy at the state level. We are the only physician-based organization representing emergency medicine in Madison and we have a strong and growing voice there. Outside of advocacy, we also strive to provide educational opportunities for our members and to connect each other as a social function.

    What is your mission? What is your purpose in this career? Emergency medicine is challenging, but people come to you because they need some sort of help. I like to think that it is my job to try and make people’s lives just a little bit better. For some this means perhaps trying to change the trajectory of their life. Whether it is to perform a life-saving intervention or to give them some medical advice to alleviate their concern that’s my purpose. When things are tough in the department, I try to remind myself that I have a mission and make sure that everything I do aligns with this.

    --

    As far as current things WACEP, in Madison things have been a little less busy than they were earlier this year during the budget process. In terms of working with ACEP, we just returned from the Scientific Assembly in Boston where we had several representatives on the ACEP Council where the priorities of ACEP are developed for the coming years. Lastly, the American Medical Association is currently meeting (or has just concluded) and as Emergency physicians via ACEP we have a growing presence there. Though things seem quiet right now a lot of work is happening to set our foundation for the future. I’m really happy as I follow along with this work and things look great.

    Anyway, have a great early winter!

    Best,
    Brad

  • October 19, 2021 9:11 AM | Maggie Gruennert (Administrator)

    Sally Winkelman, former Executive Director of the Wisconsin Chapter, ACEP, was nominated by the WACEP Board and selected as the 2021 recipient of the ACEP Honorary Membership Award. The award is annually presented to an individual who has rendered outstanding service to the College or to the specialty of emergency medicine. Sally's name will be inscribed on a master plaque at ACEP Headquarters. The recipient is considered a lifelong member of the College, is not required to pay any dues, and cannot vote or hold office but receives all other benefits and privileges of membership.

    Sally, who received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in management and marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, spent most of her career working with non-profit professional membership organizations. Prior to retirement, she served for eight years as an account executive with Badger Bay, a Wisconsin-based association management company, where she was the executive director for the Wisconsin Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians and several other statewide medical specialty associations. She is grateful to have been part of a professional community of ACEP chapter executives who support each other and serve their state chapters with unwavering dedication and professionalism.

    Congratulations Sally!


  • October 19, 2021 9:09 AM | Maggie Gruennert (Administrator)

    It’s starting to feel like fall!

    In just over a week your representatives from Wisconsin will be meeting at representing your voice at the ACEP Council. A diverse group of Emergency physicians from around the country which essentially considers new proposed policies (called resolutions). This is where the agenda for our national organization comes from. It helps to determine what things are we going to care about over the coming years and where should we put our collective resources. This year there are over 70 resolutions that will be considered during this process. They can be found here: https://www.acep.org/what-we-believe/actions-on-council-resolutions/council/action-on-2021-resolutions/. Should you have interest in policy, or being a member of our board, our meetings are always open and we can always use your help. At the same time, your membership is important no matter how active you care to be as your voice makes us stronger!

    Thanks!
    Brad


  • October 07, 2021 10:10 AM | Maggie Gruennert (Administrator)

    Congratulations to WACEP's own Dr. Lisa Maurer for being honored as one of EMRA's 25 under 45 Influencers in Emergency Medicine!  Dr. Maurer is a leader in WACEP serving on the Board of Directors in multiple capacities over the years including President (2018), Secretary/ Treasurer, and currently serves as the Legislative Committee Chair.   

    "Advocacy is a language Dr. Maurer speaks fluently. She championed improved Medicaid reimbursement and fought for budget increases for reimbursement in Wisconsin. She was instrumental in the fight to allow independent emergency physicians to apply for state CARES act dollars. Her ability to network, motivate her peers and work across interest groups to accomplish goals is powerful voice for emergency physicians."

    The EMRA 25 Under 45 campaign to recognizes young emergency medicine physicians who are changing the world.

    Congratulations Dr. Maurer! We are proud to call you our own! 


  • September 29, 2021 11:29 AM | Maggie Gruennert (Administrator)

    Greg Hubbard and AJ Wilson of Hubbard Wilson & Zelenkova
    September 12, 2021

    The state budget was signed into law in early July.  The legislature has not been in session since but there has been an unusual amount of legislative activity for the summer months, including bills of significant concern to WACEP. 

    BUDGET WRAP UP

    The biennial state budget process wrapped up at the beginning of July and included the first increase in MA reimbursement for emergency services in over two decades.  While the Governor did propose a greater increase, the legislature settled on a 15% in rates going forward.  We are working with DHS at present to provide input on how the additional funding will be allocated among emergency department codes.  

    The final budget also included provisions that were supported by the Emergency Pscyh Taskforce that will support an increase in crisis stabilization services. 

    Funding for regional crisis services grants was included by the Legislature and signed by the Governor, but the funding was a bit less than originally proposed.  

    The legislature also enumerated $5million in bonding to North Central Health Care to renovate the existing mental health facility in Marathon County that will provide 16 inpatient psychiatric beds, five beds for emergency stabilization and five beds for detoxification and substance abuse treatment.  It will serve Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Oneida and Vilas Counties.  

    In addition, the legislature’s budget included $15 million in bonding for the Eau Claire County psychiatric bed expansion but the Governor vetoed the language and kept the appropriation so that those funds could be used across the state.   We are presently working with DHS and other stakeholders on how best to utilize those funds and seek legislative authorization to do so. 

    LEGISLATION

     HWZ is presently engaged on two proposals of significant concern and presently monitoring a third.  

    • SB 394/AB 396 authored by Senator Testin, Rep. Cabral Guerra, and Rep. Magnafici is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse designation/licensure bill that also includes significant scope expansion.  This legislation is similar to bills introduced in previous sessions, but goes much further.  The bill proposes to designate and license nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists as APRN. It proposes to eliminate requirements for these APRNs to collaborate with physicians; codifies in state statute, the ability for an APRN to assess, diagnose and treat patients, including prescribing most drugs independently from a physician; mandates that the state "opt out" of federal certified registered nurse anesthetist supervision requirements; and eliminates current law requiring certified nurse midwives to have a collaborative arrangement with a physician who has experience with obstetrics. WACEP is registered against this bill, HWZ has been engaged against this bill on WACEP’s behalf.  Additionally, we will be circulating a memo from WACEP to committee members in the near future.
    • SB 532/AB 529, introduced by Senator Kathy Bernier of northwestern Wisconsin and Rep. Jesse Rodriguez of Oak Creek / Milwaukee County area would create a regulatory framework for naturopaths.   Naturopaths are not regulated at all in WI.  While regulatory framework for naturopaths may make sense, this bill has troubling provisions in it in addition to creating the framework for regulation.  The bill allows prescribing - not all prescriptions and not narcotics - but it does allow prescribing;  It creates a “naturopathic medicine examining board” and gives it the power to determine the scope of  practice for “naturopathic medical doctors” going forward. Finally, it also authorizes the title “NMD”- naturopathic medical doctor - which is troubling. WACEP has registered against this bill as has WMS and several other physician groups.
    • SB 407/AB430 authored by Senator Darling and Rep. Zimmerman removes the exemption under current law that allows physicians to prescribe opioids without checking the ePDMP.  As a result, providers will need to consult the ePDMP even when prescribing opioids in quantities of three days or less.  The WMS Council on Legislation voted to oppose the bill.  This bill has had no action taken. 

    ADMINISTRATIVE RULES:  State Implementation of the federal “No Surprises Act”

    WACEP was engaged in discussions regarding out of network / surprise billing legislation during the budget process.  Thankfully, the legislature inevitably deferred to the federal law that will come on line in January 2022.   Since that time, WACEP, working with the anesthesiologists’ and radiologists’ associations, have met with the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance regarding state rules on implementation.   Most recently an interim rule was released on the federal level.  WACEP along with other stakeholders will continue to work with OCI to ensure that its point of view is recognized for state rulemaking and implementation purposes.  


  • July 29, 2021 11:59 AM | Maggie Gruennert (Administrator)

    WACEP signs a joint letter with the Wisconsin Medical Society, the Medical College of Wisconsin and associations in the state that represent family physicians, ophthalmologists, pediatricians, dermatologists, psychiatrists, radiologists and anesthesiologists in opposition to the 2021 Senate Bill 394.

    Read the full letter here


  • July 29, 2021 11:51 AM | Maggie Gruennert (Administrator)

    Six Wisconsin Emergency Medicine physicians traveled to Washington, DC this July to meeting with the offices of your legislators. This team met with the staff for Senators Baldwin’s and Johnson’s office and then representatives Pocan and Gallagher and the staff from Representative Fitzgerald’s and Moore’s office. While initially the plan was to once again have in person meetings for the first time since the pandemic began, the delta variant interfered with these plans and legislative meetings ended up happening from hotel rooms---though we had many additional talks and networking opportunities making it an all-around great experience!

    This year we had three items to discuss:

    1. Avoid the Impending Medicare Payment Cliff – You may recall last year we had a outreach campaign as there was an impending Medicare rate cut. While we avoided this, it was really just kicked down the line for another year. For those who remember SGR we are sort of finding ourselves in the same situation again. This year due to the sequestration cut (2% annually) a “PAYGO” cut which is an additional 4% and then a budget neutrality cut for Emergency physicians we are looking at a potential 10% cut should Congress not do something. Thankfully most everyone is supportive avoiding any cut, the exact mechanics of how this will be avoided are what is under discussion… it’s still infrastructure week but with an impending cliff we anticipate by the end of the year there will likely need to be additional grassroot efforts on this matter. Of note, physicians for decades have been advocating to avoid rate cuts due to Congress’s anti-inflationary policies. We have not kept up with consumer prices and that of many other health care sectors rates.
    2. Improving access to Addiction Treatment (HR 1384/S 445) – Essentially here we are seeking congressional action to remove the X-waiver to prescribe medication assisted treatment for opioid use disorder. There are over 84 co-sponsors for this legislation with Representative Glenn Grothman form WI signing on as co-sponsor prior to our meeting. While many of those that we met with were favorable to legislation like this, we will be seeking and asking for additional co-sponsors as we follow up with staff.
    3. Caring for Our Frontline Health Care Professionals (the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, HR 1667/S610). This act is named after an Emergency physician who died by suicide early in the COVID pandemic after caring for patients in New York after their peak census in the city. We all probably know someone who has been impacted by mental health in the workplace or are aware of the stigma that mental health has on physician and other health care professional’s wiliness to seek help when needed. This act seeks to provide grants and training to promote evidence-informed strategies to reduce and prevent burnout, suicide, and substance use, improve support programs for health care professionals suffering from mental and behavioral health challenges, and commission a federal study into reasons health care workers do not seek appropriate care and other factors leading to burnout and how to address them. Senator Baldwin was an original sponsor of this act. Mark Pocan is a co-sponsor of the house bill where it has over 100 bipartisan co-sponsors at this point.

    So, in short, we did some great work in DC this year and it was great to be back. We value building these relationships and having conversations with our representatives and their staff. We would love to have you join ACEP's LAC next year in DC. Save the date for May 1-4, 2022 and feel free to email the WACEP Office or Dr. Brad Burmeister so we can keep you updated moving forward!


  • July 21, 2021 8:22 AM | Maggie Gruennert (Administrator)

    Research Forum - Special Edition: COVID
    August 2 - August 6, 2021
    Virtual

    Join ACEP for its FREE inaugural Special Edition Research Forum highlighting COVID research. You'll hear from experts in the field, get the latest on research related to clinical-care, hear from a physician with Long COVID and so much more, including abstract presentations you know and love. Also featured will be an on-demand Virtual Poster Hall.

    A special Theater of War event will also be held in conjunction with the Special Edition Research Forum.

    Learn more and Register!


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