Latest News

  • March 18, 2020 11:15 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    AJ Wilson, Greg Hubbard, Ramie Zelenkova
    Hubbard Wilson Zelenkova, Lobbyinig & Legislative Services Firm for WACEP

    WPA in partnership with its lobbying firm, Hubbard Wilson Zelenkova, has been tracking Wisconsin DHS efforts to expand Telehealth services in response to COVID 19.   In line with efforts at the federal level, Wisconsin DHS is currently reviewing what can be done under existing policies and authority and what flexibilities could be put in place moving forward, particularly as more federal guidance is provided.  As of this post:

    • For currently covered telehealth services, DHS will expand 'originating site’ to allow services to be provided regardless of the member location. 
    • DHS will not make changes to originating site fee policy at this time. 
    • DHS will allow coverage of e-visits, certain phone visits, and certain Medicare-allowable telehealth services. While there is variation in electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) capabilities and use, the majority of Wisconsin Medicaid hospitals, providers, and pharmacies have the technology to support e-prescribing.  

    DHS will provide policy details and guidance in a forthcoming ForwardHealth provider updates.  For your reference, view existing Telehealth guidelines in Wisconsin. 

  • March 18, 2020 8:17 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    CMS Administrator Seema Verma and agency leaders will discuss 1135 waivers, the agency’s latest telehealth guidance, & other updates. There will be audience Q&A and the call will be recorded if you are unable to join on Wednesday, March 18 from 7:00–8:00 PM EST.
    Dial-In: 888-603-8935
    Access Code:321077

  • March 17, 2020 10:57 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    WACEP President’s Message, March 2020
    Ryan Thompson, MD, FACEP

    “I have no idea what's awaiting me, or what will happen when this all ends. For the moment I know this: there are sick people and they need curing.”

    When I read Albert Camus’s novel The Plague in high school, I imagined that plagues and epidemics were a thing of the past. Surely I would never see one in our modern world! Twenty years later, there is no doubt that we are living with a pandemic, and it is now here in Wisconsin. I see this not as a reason to panic, but an opportunity to use our training and expertise to help as many people as we can get through this with as little damage done as possible, much as Dr. Rieux did in Camus’s story. 

    Each of us has taken an oath to treat the sick, and it’s important that we arm ourselves as best as possible to prepare for the flood that may be coming our way. For up-to-date information and recommendations, including practical clinical guidance, I recommend the national ACEP COVID website. For more local information, the best resource is the WI Department of Health Services, which has up-to-date State guidelines and a county-by-county case tracker.

    As you work with your hospital to prepare your department, Jeff Pothof, former WACEP president and Chief Quality Officer for UWHealth, offers these questions as guidance for discussion with administrators:

    1. What are our criteria to test someone for COVID19? (These are changing almost daily)
    2. What PPE should I be wearing if I’m going to take care of a COVID19 patient? Do PPE requirements differ for aerosolizing procedures such as NIPPV or intubation?
    3. Where will a COVID19 patient be admitted in my hospital because other hospitals may not have capacity?
    4. How are we securing our PPE so it doesn’t get stolen?
    5. Can I travel right now, either professionally or personally?
    6. If I care for a patient with COVID19 will you furlough me?  If so, in what situations, for how long, and what will employee health be doing? If I am quarantined, will I be paid?
    7. Are we looking at off-site testing centers so worried patients don’t flood our EDs and Urgent Cares?
    8. Is our incident command open and meeting daily to ensure we can meet the needs of our community when we get cases?
    9. Is our hospital communicating our PPE and equipment needs to the State so we can ensure a steady supply?

    It is imperative that we are given the resources we need to protect our patients and ourselves. Contact your federal representatives and encourage them to pass legislation to boost the availability of PPE and support the front-line healthcare workers facing this growing crisis here

    Finally, remember to take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Keep up the good work in caring for our patients – what you do matters!

  • March 17, 2020 10:51 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    View ACEP's redesigned COVID-19 Clinical Alert page: www.acep.org/COVID-19The robust site makes it easy for ACEP members to quickly find resources and updates.  

     


  • March 16, 2020 10:38 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    The WACEP 2020 Spring Symposium, scheduled for April 15-16 in Madison,  has been CANCELLED due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    Guests who made hotel reservations at the Madison Marriott West are requested to cancel their reservations individually via the hotel's central call line at 888-745-2032. Your patience is appreciated as wait times may be longer than usual. 

    WACEP is exploring the option of offering sessions from the Symposium as online, on-demand courses. Details and registration information will be shared as available. 

  • March 06, 2020 3:26 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    The ACEP committee application process is now open to any member interested in joining a committee. The deadline to apply is May 1, 2020.

    ACEP has more than 35 committees and task forces working on issues such as ethics, emergency medicine practice, pediatric emergency care, disaster medicine and more. Please consider volunteering—ACEP and emergency medicine need your experience and expertise. Committees provide important leadership to ACEP members, its Board and Council.

    EMRA members who are interested in serving as that organization's representative on an ACEP committee should also apply. The process is the same for resident and active members and you can expedite the process by using the online application. Residents and candidate applicants may provide a letter from their program directors and/or mentors as well.

    The majority of committee work is accomplished through e-mail and conference calls. Committee members are expected to attend the organizational meetings at the annual meeting in Dallas, TX, October 26-29, 2020.  

    Those not currently serving on a national ACEP committee will be required to submit a current CV to volunteer for a committee. Please attach your CV to the online form or mail it to ACEP headquarters. You may also want to submit a letter of support from the Wisconsin Chapter, ACEP.  

    Review the online application for details and to begin the process.  After completion of the form, you should receive an acknowledgement that your committee interest form has been submitted. Mark S. Rosenberg, DO, MBA, FACEP, ACEP's President-Elect, will finalize committee appointments in late June. If appointed to an ACEP national committee, your appointment will not be considered final unless a completed Conflict of Interest form is submitted by the deadline. 

    Each Committee is appointed by the President to assist with activities for the year. Committee members serve for a specific period of time and are accountable to the President for achievement of assigned objectives. Task forces operate much like committees, but once their work is complete they are deactivated. 

    Questions may be directed to Mary Ellen Fletcher, CPC, CEDC, at 800-798-1822, ext. 3145, or mfletcher@acep.org. 

  • March 04, 2020 3:03 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    March 4, Wisconsin Health  News

    Gov. Tony Evers signed into law four bills on Tuesday that target substance use disorder and opioid use in Wisconsin.

    Evers said more needs to be done to expand access to healthcare across the state and bolster treatment and recovery services.

    “Folks have seen firsthand how substance use disorder—especially opioid use—has torn apart families and communities across our state, and we need to get serious about tackling this issue in Wisconsin," Evers said in a statement. "I am proud to sign these bipartisan bills into law today that are a step in the right direction, but we know that there is more work we have yet to do."

    The bills are part of Marinette Republican Rep. John Nygren's Heroin, Opioid Prevention and Education Agenda. The four bills bring the total number of HOPE Agenda laws to 34.

    “While there is always more work to be done, more lives to save, and more avenues to recovery that need opening, today’s actions are another arrow in the state’s quiver to combat substance abuse," Nygren said in a statement.

    Nygren also called on the Senate to act on two more bills that passed the state Assembly.

    One bill would repeal a sunset for a law that provides some legal immunity for aiders who help a person experiencing an overdose as well as overdose victims. 

    The other would create a Medicaid benefit for acupuncture and increase rates for chiropractors and physical therapists.

    The bills signed by Evers will:

    • Allow county jails to enter into agreements to obtain naloxone and training and require the Department of Health Services to study the availability of medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder in county jails and prisons.
    • Prevent state employees from being disciplined for using or possessing a controlled substance if they're using it as part of their treatment, require DHS to maintain a registry of recovery residencies and mandate that the residencies allow residents to participate in medication-assisted treatment.
    • Extend a sunset date on a mandate that prescribers check the prescription drug monitoring program before issuing a prescription order through April 1, 2025.
    • Create a Medicaid benefit for peer recovery coach services and mandate that DHS establish a program to coordinate and continue care following an overdose. 

    Evers also signed into law additional healthcare-related bills that will:

    • Allow medication or treatment records administered at a recreational camp to be maintained electronically.
    • Allow for changes in the supervision of physical therapy and physical therapy assistant students.
    • Increase the amount of funding for an award grant program for retired volunteer firefighters, first responders and emergency medical technicians.
    • Allow physician assistants, registered nurses and nurse anesthetists to perform official duties of the armed services or federal health services in Wisconsin without being licensed by the state.
    • Clarify that reimbursement of patient-incurred expenses in cancer clinical trials aren't considered undue inducement to participate.
    • Require the DHS to implement a diabetes care and prevention plan.
    • Update state law for respiratory therapists.
    • Create a Lyme disease awareness campaign.
    • Allow municipalities to increase levy limits to pay for charges assessed by a joint emergency medical services district.
  • March 04, 2020 10:59 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Policy Priorities

    As anticipation grows for more widespread community transmission of COVID-19 in the United States, emergency physicians will be on the frontlines of caring for those affected. In order to help ensure our health care system is prepared, a number of policy changes will need to be implemented to address the unique needs of this growing public health emergency.

    Ensuring access to care for those infected or suspected infected

    • Consider implementing alternative testing sites for faster, more cost-effective testing while freeing up hospital capacity for those who need it most and allowing those infected to self-quarantine, should they test positive.
    • Alternative sites of care for respiratory patients to reduce contamination of other patients, and to reduce the need for PPE
    • Public education on when and where to seek testing (including alternative testing sites mentioned above), when and where to seek care, self-quarantine procedures, home care if infected (including supplies to have on hand, etc), etc.
    • Ensure production of medications relevant to treatment of Covid-19 is prioritized and their distribution directly to relevant sites of care is emphasized.

    Securing an adequate workforce

    • Prioritize availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) for emergency workers and other frontline personnel responding to the epidemic (including EMS, clerical staff, nurses, emergency physicians, etc.).
    • Temporarily loosen restrictions on hospital privileging and removing barriers that impede workforce movement across state lines, such as licensure and liability protection.
    • Ensure health care workers who become infected receive treatment quickly and readily.

    Ensuring adequate resource allocation

    • Ensure full coverage of testing and diagnosis by payers without patient cost-sharing.
    • Temporarily remove the originating site limitation under CMS telemedicine rules, and add emergency telehealth services to the list of approved Medicare telehealth services.
    • Ensure federal and state emergency funding is targeted and distributed beyond hospitals, such as for EMS and emergency and other relevant hospital-based specialty physicians who are not hospital employed.
  • March 03, 2020 10:17 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    March 3, Wisconsin Health News

    The Wisconsin State Laboratory State Lab and City of Milwaukee Health Department are now able to test for the new coronavirus, health officials said Monday.

    Positive test results will be presumed positive and forwarded to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation, according to a statement from the Department of Health Services.

    Jeanne Ayers, state health officer and administrator of the DHS Division of Public Health, said the ability to test in the state will allow for faster results to let people with symptoms of the disease know if they have it. 

    “Faster test results will also help our epidemiologists and local health departments monitor people suspected of having the virus and other people who may have been exposed to it,” she said in a statement.

    She added that the risk remains low.

    So far, there’s only been one confirmed case in the state. They were released from isolation last Friday after testing negative for the virus twice.

    The agency has investigated 21 state residents for the virus. Eighteen tested negative, and two test results were pending as of Monday afternoon.

    Tom Haupt, respiratory disease epidemiologist and influenza surveillance coordinator, told reporters that the flu season is also peaking in Wisconsin, with more than 500 hospitalizations in the last week. He called that “amazing for this time of year.”

    “We want people to be aware not only of the COVID-19, but also the influenza virus that’s currently circulating,” he said on a conference call.

  • February 24, 2020 4:53 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    The first few minutes after a major medical emergency are critical for survival, and emergency personnel aren’t always the first ones on the scene.  To educate the general public on basic life-saving skills, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) created Until Help Arrives, a one-hour training course taught by emergency physicians in their local communities.  More than 470 certified instructors are now participating across the country. 

    Visit ACEP's Until Help Arrives website at untilhelparrives.org, which is being developed as a helpful tool for instructors as they prepare to plan for and host trainings.  Instructor resources are currently being distributed by Simulab through an instructor portal.