Latest News 

  • March 31, 2017 2:44 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    Wisconsin physicians are now required to follow an additional procedure before prescribing Schedule II, III, IV, and V controlled substances, or any other drug identified by the board by rule as having a substantial potential for abuse.

    Beginning on April 1, 2017, under Wisconsin Statute 961.385, Wisconsin practitioners must review a patient's records in the Wisconsin Prescription Drug Monitoring Program before the practitioner issues a prescription order for the patient.

    This requirement does not apply under the following circumstances:\

    • The patient is receiving hospice care.
    • The prescription is for a dosage that is intended to last 3 days or less and is not refillable.
    • The monitored prescription drug is lawfully administered to the patient.
    • Because of an emergency, it is not possible for the practitioner to review patient records before issuance of the prescription.
    • The practitioner cannot review records because the program is not operational or due to some other technological failure (if the practitioner reports the failure to the board).
    More information regarding Wisconsin's Prescription Drug Monitoring program can be found online at
  • March 30, 2017 1:19 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    ACEP President On the Ballot for Most Influential Physician Executives and Leaders 

    Voting Open Through April 28: Cast Your Ballot

    ACEP President Becky Parker has been nominated to be on the ballot for the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives and Leaders as recognized by Modern Healthcaremagazine.

    Becky has already made the cut for the top 150 people most nominated to be put on this ballot, which in itself is a tremendous accomplishment considering how many influential physician executives and leaders there are and that were no doubt nominated.

    The voting is open now for who will be the Top 50 recognized by this widely read publication. Cast your vote for Becky today! 

    Only one vote per device is allowed, but you may vote from your computer, your phone, your tablet, etc. Your vote will help Becky be recognized for her outstanding leadership, and this honor would be a great credit to Becky, ACEP, and our specialty.

  • March 29, 2017 12:13 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    March 20, Wisconsin Health  News

    Professional groups oppose a move by Gov. Scott Walker to eliminate state boards that regulate optometrists, radiographers and podiatrists as well as consolidate advisory councils and boards that oversee healthcare professions.

    Walker's 2017-19 budget would end the Radiography Examining Board, the Podiatry Affiliated Credentialing Board and the Optometry Examining Board and transfer their functions, rules and pending matters to the Medical Examining Board.

    The budget would also create a Medical Assistants Council, consolidating advisory councils on physician assistants and others. And it establishes a Medical Therapy Examining Board, ending boards overseeing physical therapists and others.

    "Currently, taxpayer dollars are going to provide administrative services to each of the boards that are proposed to be consolidated," Alicia Bork, Department of Safety and Professional Services spokeswoman, wrote in an email. "Merging these functions...will allow efficiencies that cannot be found when separate silos exist."

    The combined actions, along with other changes at DSPS, would cut state spending by $50,800 in program revenue over the next two fiscal years, according to the Legislature Fiscal Bureau. There were 1,172 optometrists, 424 podiatrists and 6,994 radiographers with active licenses in Wisconsin as of July 2016. 

    Peter Theo, executive vice president of the Wisconsin Optometric Association, said his members have "serious concerns" about the proposal as turning regulatory control over to another profession may hurt their ability to diagnose and treat eye diseases.

    "Optometrists are primary eye care providers whose regulatory independence is critical to maintaining the high standard of care needed to ensure the safe and competent practice of optometry," he said. 

    The Wisconsin Podiatric Medical Association raised concerns about not having representation on the Medical Examining Board. 

    "The Medical Examining Board cannot be expected to keep up with the advances in all of the professions that they are looking to be charged with," Dr. Bob Sage, the association's president, said in a statement. "It is unrealistic."

    Sandy Helinski, legislative committee chairperson for the Wisconsin Society of Radiologic Technologists, said the elimination of the Radiography Examining Board, established in 2010, would be an "indisputable step backward in the health of Wisconsin's patients." 

    "Anything that could possibly dilute the effectiveness of what we've been able to accomplish in these last seven years is of great concern to us," she said.

    Connie Kittleson, president of the Wisconsin Physical Therapy Association, opposes eliminating of the Physical Therapy Examining Board and the creation of a Medical Therapy Examining Board.

    She noted other states have tried consolidation in the past and have returned to independent boards.

    "The data out there shows it doesn't make things more efficient, it doesn't save money," she said. "But more importantly, it wouldn't be worth the risk to public safety to have people who do not have expertise or training in a particular field regulating professionals of another field."

    Reid Bowers, Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants' advocacy committee chair, raised concerns about the proposed Medical Assistants Council, saying it "would severely limit the ability of PAs to shape how they are regulated by the Medical Examining Board." 

    At a Medical Examining Board meeting last week, Chair Dr. Kenneth Simons said the budget would put them "in charge of things we have no expertise" in. Others raised similar concerns. 

    Tom Ryan, the board's executive director, said that the boards put under the authority of the Medical Examining Board meet three to four times a year. Doctors on the board could do "curbside consults," he said.

    "I don't think it's as formidable a challenge as you would think," he said.

    Mark Grapentine, senior vice president of government relations for the Wisconsin Medical Society, said the Medical Examining Board has to investigate complaints against physicians and regulate the profession.

    "If adding these non-medical professions to their duties takes away from that responsibility or makes fulfilling that duty less efficient, it's difficult to divine the upsides to the proposal," he said in a statement.  

  • March 17, 2017 5:23 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    Buoyed by the promise of better care and lower costs, health organizations are increasingly flocking to care coordination models. But they are not always easy to organize in today’s disjointed healthcare system and current payment structures often don’t reward the effort. Also, coordination among different programs is lacking.

    A panel of experts will share their experiences from the field. Find out what’s working, what’s not and what they see as the future of care coordination. Panelists:

    ·    Joy Tapper, Executive Director, Milwaukee Health Care Partnership
    ·    Tom Lutzow, CEO, Independent Care Health Plan
    ·    Jane Pirsig-Anderson, Director, Aurora Health Care Family Service

    The event is Tuesday, April 4 from 11:30am – 1pm at the Wisconsin Club in Milwaukee (900 West Wisconsin Avenue). Register now.

  • March 17, 2017 5:18 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    Leaders of the Wisconsin Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians were invited to join the Wisconsin Medical Society and a small group of key health care stakeholders last week in Madison to begin to address myriad issues related to mental and behavioral health.

    Representatives from the Psychiatric Association and the Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians were also part of the discussion. The group’s goal is to find ways for physicians to influence and improve three key areas: stigma, access and workforce.

    “Through this steering committee, we hope to reduce the stigma around mental/behavioral health both within the medical community and in the public at-large; expanding the workforce available to treat and deal with mental health issues; and increasing access for mental/behavioral health treatment particularly in rural, urban, and other health shortage areas,” said Molli Rolli, MD, chair of the Wisconsin Medical Society’s Board of Directors.

    The group plans to engage other stakeholders in the coming months and plans to develop a comprehensive strategy to achieve these goals.

  • March 17, 2017 9:22 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    March 10, Wisconsin Health News

    Two Assembly committees approved five bills that target the state's opioid addiction Thursday. The bills are part of the special session ordered by Gov. Scott Walker to fight the epidemic. 

    Most of the bills made it out of committee on bipartisan, unanimous votes. But a proposal providing $420,000 over the next two fiscal years to hire four investigators at the Department of Justice targeting drug trafficking passed 9-3.

    Reps. Jesse Kremer, R-Kewaskum; Fred Kessler, D-Milwaukee; and Rep. David Crowley, D-Milwaukee, voted against passage.

    "This means of course we're going to send up more people into prison," Kessler told members of the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety. "Because now we're going to investigate more, find more and prosecute more. You have to take that into consideration."

    Other special session bills that made it out of committee, including the Assembly Committee on Education:

    • bill allowing school district personnel to administer naloxone, an anti-overdose drug. Lawmakers also backed an amendment from Rep. Jill Billings, D-La Crosse, extending the bill to residence hall directors at colleges and universities.
    • bill that would continue providing $2 million annually s to fund more treatment and diversion programs in the state and provide $150,000 annually to expand the program and $261,000 annually for a pilot program for expanded efforts. Lawmakers voted down an amendment 8-4 on party-lines from Rep. Evan Goyke, D-Milwaukee, that would have added more funding to the bill.
    • bill that would allow the University of Wisconsin System to establish a charter recovery high school for up to 15 students with substance abuse disorders. Lawmakers backed two amendments.
    • bill that would provide funding to expand a substance abuse disorder screening tool used in public schools. Lawmakers amended the bill to provide $400,000 over the next two years, bringing the amount in line with the governor's budget.
  • March 16, 2017 4:11 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    March 10, Wisconsin Health News

    The Senate Committee on Revenue, Financial Institutions and Rural Issues approved a bill Thursday that would increase funding for rural broadband and add healthcare criteria the Public Service Commission should consider when awarding money.

  • February 28, 2017 4:57 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    February 24, Wisconsin Health News

    The Wisconsin Department of Justice has reached an agreement with Adapt Pharma to offer an anti-overdose nasal spray at a discounted rate when bought in bulk by police, first responders and state or local government agencies.

    Narcan Nasal Spray can reverse some of the effects of an opioid or heroin overdose. Under the agreement, approved entities that purchase the nasal spray in quantities of greater than 48 units can receive a 40 percent discount. 

    That reduces the price from $125 to $75 for two 4mg doses. The rate is set until Feb. 15, 2018. 

    Schimel earlier in February renewed an agreement with Amphastar Pharmaceuticals that established a rebate program for each of its naloxone syringe purchased by public entities in Wisconsin through Feb. 1, 2018.

  • February 28, 2017 3:00 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)
    Join Wisconsin Health News for a Newsmaker Event with Department of Health Services Secretary Linda Seemeyer, who will outline Gov. Scott Walker's 2017-19 budget and discuss department priorities.
    The event is being held March 21st from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm at the Madison Club, 5 E. Wilson St, Madison WI 53703.  Register now.
  • February 24, 2017 2:59 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    February 20, Wisconsin Health News

    More than 12,000 doctors and other prescribers have registered for the state's Enhanced Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, Department of Safety and Professional Services staff told the Medical Examining Board last week.

    That's about a third of the total number of expected eventual participants, said Andrea Magermans, PDMP analyst. More than 5,000 delegate users, which act on behalf of prescribers, have signed up too, she told board members last Wednesday.

    The registration process is different than under the older program, which has posed a challenge, she said.

    "There have been some customer service type of issues," she said. "We've been addressing them as they've come up."

    Magermans noted that getting used to the new format has posed a challenge for users as well. But once they're used to it, "it seems to be going well," she said. They've received positive feedback about the changes.

    Effective April 1, those prescribing controlled substances will have to review a patient's records before writing a prescription. Prescribers will also have to update the PDMP by end of the next business day after dispensing a controlled substance in most cases.

    Magermans said they hope to create a new category in the PDMP for medical directors by April 1, which will allow those overseeing prescribers to review their prescribing methods. By the start of April, DSPS also plans to add a component to the program so prescribers can review their own prescribing history. 

    DSPS is also in talks with health systems, including Aurora Health Care, Gundersen Health System, Marshfield Clinic Health System, ProHealthcare and UW Health, about pilot projects allowing health systems to integrate their electronic health records with the ePDMP, she said.  

    At least one pilot organization will be working on it prior to April 1, but Magermans didn't know how far they would be in the process.  

    Gov. Scott Walker's 2017-'19 state budget, released earlier this month, recommends $1 million to fund five positions "for the continued improvement" of the PDMP. Dr. Tim Westlake, vice chair of the Medical Examining Board, said the new positions should help with the rollout.

    But he said that a concern they should have is whether the board has the resources to prosecute the cases, in case there's a spike.

    "We want to make sure we have enough investigative resources to be able to prosecute the cases," he said. "If we get an extra 20, 30 or 50 opioid prescribing cases that can bog the whole system down."