Latest News

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  • 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!


  • July 15, 2021 8:41 AM | Maggie Gruennert (Administrator)

    WACEP Meet-up at ACEP21 | October 26, 2021
    Meet-up with WI Emergency Physicians in Boston!

    Harpoon Brewery
    306 Northern Ave | Boston, MA
    7:00pm-10:00pm

    RSVP

    Join your Wisconsin colleagues for beer and pretzels at this annual WACEP reception during ACEP's Annual Meeting.

    This year's event will take place at Harpoon Brewery, less than a mile from the Boston Convention Center. The event is complimentary, but please RSVP if you plan to attend.


  • July 15, 2021 8:40 AM | Maggie Gruennert (Administrator)

    WACEP President's Message, July 2021
    Bradley Burmeister, MD, FACEP

    Dear Members!

    The big news this month is that the Wisconsin legislature has completed its work on the state budget and the Governor signed it. What this means is a roughly a $4.4 million permanent increase annually for emergency physicians and other providers. At WACEP we are ecstatic about this increase as it is the first increase in well over 10 years and the first sizeable increase in decades. 

    Having ranked 50th in the country for reimbursement for Emergency care by the Medicaid program this is a giant step forward. From here, Wisconsin DHS will work to implement the budget with increase probably starting January 2022.

    This success would not have happened without YOU, the members of WACEP. There is no other organization in Wisconsin advocating for Emergency physicians. Without grassroot efforts from members across the state, the work of our board and legislative committee, and our advocacy consultants at HWZ this would not have happened. Hopefully this helps you rationalize your membership as this effort alone should cover a significant portion of your dues for years to come.

    Again thanks for your membership! We need you, our members, to continue to have success with these initiatives.

    Best,
    Brad


  • July 12, 2021 2:53 PM | Maggie Gruennert (Administrator)

    Pandemics and Behavioral Health: What we learned and what we need to know for next time
    Hosted by American College of Emergency Physicians
    7/15/2021 at 2pm CDT
    CME 1 Hours Approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™
    Register here

    The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of populations and mental health systems has been profound and will likely endure after the pandemic. In order to address the increased need for mental health services during and after the pandemic, it's important to carry lessons learned into the future. Join Dr. Tony Thrasher, current President of the American Association for Emergency Psychiatry and Dr. Mike Wilson, Chair-elect of the Coalition on Psychiatric Emergencies on July 15th for a discussion synthesizing what you've seen in all the headlines. This webinar will provide specific insight into how COVID has impacted behavioral health. The webinar will present the mental health situation during the pandemic, as well as its implications for the future, and offer recommendations for improving mental health responses to pandemics.

  • July 12, 2021 2:50 PM | Maggie Gruennert (Administrator)

    Concerned about your finances? Has COVID upended your plans? Dr. James Dahle, The White Coat Investor, has tips for emergency physicians in ALL stages of your career during this July 13 webinar.  Free for members, $49 for non-members.

    Sign up today & ask YOUR specific questions!


  • June 18, 2021 9:55 AM | Maggie Gruennert (Administrator)

    Greg Hubbard and AJ Wilson of Hubbard, Wilson & Zelenkova
    June 17, 2021

    It has been a busy few months in the State Capitol. The legislature has continued to meet regularly and the Joint Finance Committee wrapped up deliberations on the biennial state budget on June 18. The document now will head to the full legislature for approval and then to the Governor’s desk where he will use his powerful partial veto authority to make numerous changes but, more likely than not, sign the document into law.

    Below is a status summary on budget efforts as well as recently circulated legislation of concern to WACEP.

    I. BIENNIAL BUDGET
    We are pleased to report that per the Governor’s recommendation, the Joint Finance Committee adopted an increase to Emergency Physician MA reimbursement rates. The increase, beginning on January 1, 2022 will increase reimbursement by $4.4 million annually, which is the first of its kind in nearly 30 years. Thanks to all of you who contacted your legislators to assist in advocacy efforts. MA increase was the top priority for WACEP this budget cycle.

    Also on WACEP’s behalf, a great deal of work went into goals of the Emergency Psych Taskforce. The Joint Finance Committee approved funding for regional crisis service grants, a concept supported by the Taskforce. There is much more to be done on this front but willingness to address the shortfalls in the current system is improving.

    Finally, the Governor’s proposed budget originally included an out-of-network “surprise billing” prohibition. This proposal was substantially similar to the compromise “No Surprises Act” passed by Congress late last year but would have left more room for state customization. The proposal however was removed from the budget as non-fiscal policy and the State will instead focus on implementing the “No Surprises Act” this summer until its effective date of January 1, 2022.

    II. LEGISLATION
    HWZ is presently monitoring two proposals of concerns.

    • SB 394/AB 396 authored by Senator Testin, Rep. Cabral Guerra, and Rep. Magnafici is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse designation/licensure and scope expansion bill that was recently introduced. SB 394/AB396 is similar to a bill introduced last session but goes further in terms of scope. 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.
    • AB 407 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.


  • June 18, 2021 9:54 AM | Maggie Gruennert (Administrator)

    Thank you for being a valued member of the WACEP. It is important to the WACEP Leadership to collect feedback from our members to evaluate and improve WACEP membership and continue to offer benefits to our members.

    Please take 2-3 minutes to provide feedback in the Annual Membership Survey.

    Your feedback is important!

    BEGIN SURVEY


  • June 18, 2021 9:53 AM | Maggie Gruennert (Administrator)

    Happy Summer Everyone! Up here in NE Wisconsin at least we could use a rain dance!

    We are having an exciting summer at WACEP. We had our first in person board meeting in over a year and met at Lambeau Field — home of America’s Favorite football team. We had a great day and have a lot of ongoing advocacy work on behalf of you.

    Our most exciting news is that the Joint Finance Committee met on Tuesday and decided to include in their budget a raise for emergency services. This is our first MA rate increase in nearly 30 years (the last increase was a 1% increase). Though the final numbers are not yet complete this should be a significant, double digit increase accounting for at least $4m dollars per year from Medicaid to Emergency department professional fees. We anticipate the provision will be approved when the full legislature takes up the bill. Considering the Governor proposed the rate increase in his executive budget proposal, we expect a favorable result when it arrives at his desk. In the event that the Governor vetoes the entire legislative budget for other reasons, we will continue our advocacy armed with bipartisan support.

    As always our team continues to work on many other issues: psychiatric care, violation of the prudent layperson standard by denying claims for emergency care, balanced billing issues, and many more items.

    Thanks for being a member! Please know our next meeting is Tuesday, September 14th. Board meetings are open to anyone who may like to join. Also please save the date for the 2022 Spring Symposium, April 21-22, 2022 in Milwaukee, WI.

    As always, if you have any issues you would like us to take a look at please reach out!

    -Brad

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