President's Message, December 2019

December 18, 2019 4:54 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

Jeffrey Pothof, MD, FACEP
WACEP President

Dear WACEP members,

As we close out yet another year it seems a brief reflection of the previous year is the natural starting point as we start to focus on what we aim to accomplish in the upcoming year.  2019 was a busy year for Wisconsin emergency physicians. 

Top of my mind is that we lost a friend and colleague in Eric Jensen who passed away after a courageous battle with cancer.  His enthusiasm and passion to leverage his skill and talent to improve the lives of others was self-evident in the work and guidance he provided our organization and will not be forgotten.

Legislatively there were a multitude of issues we worked on to ensure patients had access to the great care all of you deliver while advocating for fair remuneration for our work while ensuring patients continue to receive high quality and safe care.  Most recently the call went out to contact your representatives about an out of network balance billing (insurance network inadequacy) legislation that would have been attached to the year end funding package.  This legislation was incomplete and unfavorable.  As of this writing it appears your engagement and advocacy was able to help us and others concerned about the impact of this language on patients put a hold on this so that all stakeholder have a chance to be heard and all implications understood.  Thank you to all of you who took the time to contact your legislators in Washington as your efforts were not in vain.

We continue to be engaged in proposed legislation that looks to address the mental health crisis that burdens our emergency departments and inhibits out ability to provide the care we think Wisconsin citizens deserve in our emergency departments.  We also continue to closely follow the CARES Act and have not slowed our focus on drawing attention and action to Medicaid reimbursement rates for emergency physicians as Wisconsin continues to maintain the record of worst in the United States.

We look forward to another exciting Doctor Day where your voice can be heard at the State Capitol in Madison. WACEP will be having a policy primer the evening prior, Tuesday,  January 28, which I promise will be informative and a great way to meet other emergency physicians passionate about our specialty. The main event will take place on Wednesday, January 29 before. For more information and to register, visit www.WIDoctorDay.org/schedule.

This spring will bring another WACEP Spring Symposium to be held in Madison.  The committee has secured top talent in emergency medicine to come speak, and I encourage you to drop by the research forum to see how impressive our EM residents in the state are as they look to advance emergency care.  You can learn more or register by visiting www.WisconsinACEP.org/WACEP2020.

As my time as WACEP president is drawing to a close I look forward confidently knowing that committed emergency physicians will continue to step forward to meet the challenges we face as a specialty and promote the interests of the patients whose lives we have the privilege of being part of.  Dr. Ryan Thompson, the incoming WACEP president, is a strong leader and certain to advance our organization.

In closing I can’t express how thankful I am for a WACEP board of intrinsically motivated and engaged colleagues and friends. Kudos to Badger Bay and Sally Winkelman for their commitment and leadership to our organization, and to all of you, the emergency medicine providers in our state who every hour of every day are there for anyone who needs our help without caveat or exclusion.  Thank you for everything you do.

~Jeff