Latest News 

  • May 03, 2018 11:00 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    Eight hours of training on medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is required to obtain a waiver from the Drug Enforcement Agency to prescribe buprenorphine, one of three medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of opioid use disorder. Providers Clinical Support System (PCSS)offers free waiver training for physicians to prescribe medication for the treatment of opioid use disorder. 

    PCSS uses three formats in training on MAT:

    • Live eight-hour training  
    • “Half and Half” format, which involves 3.75 hours of online training and 4.25 hours of face-to-face training.
    • Live training (provided in a webinar format) and an online portion that must be completed after participating in the full live training webinar (Provided twice a month by PCSS partner organization American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine) 
    Trainings are open to all practicing physicians. Residents may take the course and apply for their waiver when they receive their DEA license. For upcoming trainings consult the MAT Waiver Training Calendar. For more More information on PCSS, click here
  • May 03, 2018 10:57 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    Don’t Miss the Premiere Event for Emergency Medicine Advocates and Leaders!

    Attendees at ACEP's annual Leadership & Advocacy Conference will advocate for improvements in the practice environment for our specialty and access for our patients. First-timers will receive special training on how to meet and educate your Members of Congress while seasoned participants will build upon valuable Congressional connections. A new “Solutions Summit” has been added on May 23 where attendees will discover innovative solutions on key topics such as opioids and end-of-life issues that demonstrate emergency medicine's value and leadership. CME credit will be given for the Summit.

    Confirmed Speakers Include:

    • U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral (VADM) Jerome M. Adams, M.D., M.P.H. 
    • HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Bill Kadlec, MD will be presenting during the Public Policy Town Hall on Emergency Preparedness.
    • Amy Walter, National Editor for The Cook Political Report, will offer her predictions for the mid-term elections. 
    • Senator Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) 
    • Representative Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) 
  • May 03, 2018 10:54 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    Policy statements on Alcohol Advertising and Trauma Care Systems were recently revised and approved by the ACEP Board of Directors. Furthermore, four information papers and once resource paper were recently created by ACEP committees: 

    • Disparities in Emergency Care – Public Health and Injury Prevention Committee
    • Empiric and Descriptive Analysis of ACEP Charges of Ethical Violations and Other Misconduct – Ethics Committee
    • Fostering Diversity in Emergency Medicine through Mentorship, Sponsorship, and Coaching – Academic Affairs Committee
    • The Single Accreditation System – Academic Affairs Committee 
    • Resource: Opioid Counseling in the Emergency Department – Emergency Medicine Practice Committee

    These resources will be available on the new ACEP website when it launches later this month. In the meantime, for a copy of any of the above, please contact Julie Wassom, ACEP's Policy and Practice Coordinator.

  • May 02, 2018 2:40 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    Lisa Maurer, MD, FACEP, President of the Wisconsin Chapter, ACEP, is the 2018 recipient of the National ACEP Council Horizon Award. 

    This award is presented to an individual within the first five years of Council service who demonstrates outstanding contributions and participation in Council activities. Past award winners include Gary Katz, Nathaniel Schlicher, and Alison Haddock.

    Lisa's nomination stood out because her Council leadership, like her Chapter leadership, is exemplified by focus, hard work, and an ability to motivate others.

  • May 02, 2018 1:28 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield has announced it will not pay for emergency visits in six states—Indiana, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire and Ohio—if the company decides after the fact that patients were not having medical emergencies, even if they thought they were!  But how do you know?  Do you know the difference between a migraine and a brain aneurysm? 

    Unless stopped, this policy will be implemented in more states where Anthem "provides coverage," and it is likely more health insurance companies will follow with similar unlawful policies of their own. 

    On May 1st, ACEP launched a video campaign to continue exposing Anthem for denying coverage to emergency patients. View and share the videos, linked below, and visit for important information on how to put an end to Anthem’s unlawful policy.

    Video: Aneurysm or stomach cramps?

    Video: Chest pain or injured ribs?

  • May 01, 2018 9:07 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that 136.9 million people visited the emergency department in 2015 and only 5.5 percent of these visits were considered “nonurgent,” according to the latest CDC National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care (NHAMC) survey. 

    “Emergency care is a unique success story,” said Paul Kivela, MD, MBA, FACEP, president of ACEP. “No other medical specialty is the safety net for millions of patients with such a broad range of symptoms and conditions. The nation’s emergency physicians care for any patient, any time, regardless of ability to pay — and we play an increasingly integral role in our health system.”

    Wait times continued to improve, according to the report. Typically, about 35 percent of patients waited less than 15 minutes to see a provider and 68 percent were seen in less than one hour. The median wait time to see a physician or advanced practice provider is 18 minutes, and the median time spent in the emergency department was around 180 minutes, which includes time with the physician and other members of the care team and other clinical services.

    Injuries, stomach pain and chest pain top the list of conditions bringing patients to the emergency department. Various injuries accounted for about 28 percent of visits. Illness accounted for about 65 percent of visits, and mental health related conditions or other reasons made up the remaining 7 percent or so.

    Leading Reasons for Emergency Department Visits


    Number of Visits

    % Total Visits

    Stomach and abdominal pain, cramps and spasms

    12 million


    Chest pain and related symptoms

    7.2 million



    5.9 million



    4.5 million



    3.8 million


    The leading causes of injury were falls (10.6 million visits, 25 percent of injuries) and motor vehicle crashes (4 million visits, 9.6 percent of injuries).

    Among the highest users of emergency care, 15.6 percent of patients are senior citizens (age 65 or older) and 19.8 percent are pediatric patients (under age 15). 

    “Patients are living longer, managing more complex and chronic conditions and for many reasons may not always receive regular primary care,” said Dr. Kivela. “This means the emergency department is now more than ever the ‘front door’ to the hospital – our care and reimbursement models must continue to evolve to reflect this reality.”

    Nearly two in five (38 percent) of the 2.2 million emergency visits by seniors residing in nursing homes resulted in hospital admissions with an average length of stay reaching 5.5 days. And, a full two-thirds (67 percent) of hospital inpatients were processed through the emergency department, according to the Emergency Department Benchmarking Alliance, another source of performance data.

    Among patients presenting with chronic disease, the most frequent conditions reported were hypertension (23.6 percent), diabetes (10.9 percent), asthma (9.8 percent), substance/alcohol abuse (9.4 percent), depression (9.3 percent), and coronary artery disease (6 percent). Patients with a primary diagnosis of a mental disorder visited the emergency department 5.7 million times. Slightly less than half of those patients were seen by mental health providers while in the emergency department. 

    For the second year, Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) were the largest payment sources (34.8 percent).  Private insurance covered 34.3 percent of visits, followed by Medicare (17.7 percent) and the uninsured (9.8 percent).

    Some insurance companies continue to deny coverage for emergency visits that they do not deem to be emergencies, putting patients in the risky position of self-diagnosing, potentially delaying or avoiding necessary care.

    “Your insurance company is legally required to cover your emergency visit based on your symptoms, not the final diagnosis,” said Dr. Kivela. “Insurance that abandons you in an emergency is no insurance at all. With nearly 90 percent of urgent and nonurgent symptoms overlapping, insurers should not leave patients to figure out themselves if their symptoms are truly life-threatening.”

    The report also found that patients were transported to the emergency department by ambulance 23 million times in 2015. And, almost 60 percent of emergency care is delivered outside of traditional business hours (8am-5pm).

    The CDC National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care (NHAMC) survey is based on 21,061 emergency patient reports from 267 emergency departments. The data does not include freestanding emergency centers.

    Summary tables are available here: 

  • May 01, 2018 8:49 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    Mental Health America of Wisconsin has released "The Essentials of Suicide Prevention in the Emergency Department." This document includes links to resources, including the five core suicide prevention interventions for the ED. 

  • May 01, 2018 7:24 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    Brittaney Khong, a medical student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, received Honorable Mention in the ACEP 2018 National Outstanding Medical Student Award Program. 

    Four medical student awardees and two honorable mentions were selected from numerous submissions from across the country. The program recognizes medicals students who demonstrate humanism, professionalism, and clinical judgment; scholarly achievement; leadership and service to medical organizations with a focus on service and advocacy; community service; research and publications. 

    Khong's nomination was submitted with the following testimonials:

    “ On shift, we consistently saw BK exemplify the behaviour and attitude of a provider who carries herself with true compassion and empathy."

    "...when it came time for faculty to consider a student to nominate for this award, Brittaney Khong was the standout choice. She truly embodies the definition of this award, as she has demonstrated clinical excellence, dedication to patient care as a service opportunity, devotion to community service, and leadership experience.”

    Khong will receive a certificate of achievement as well as an invitation to the ACEP Academic Affairs Committee meeting and mentions in ACEP Now and on the ACEP website.

  • April 19, 2018 8:10 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    WMS Medigram, April 19

    The Wisconsin Supreme Court heard arguments this morning in Mayo v. Wisconsin Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund, a case involving a constitutional challenge to Wisconsin’s $750,000 cap on noneconomic damages in medical liability cases (Cap). The case could have far-reaching effects on Wisconsin’s well-balanced, relatively stable medical liability environment.

    On July 5, 2017 the Wisconsin Court of Appeals struck down the Cap, concluding that it violates the equal protection rights of plaintiffs in medical liability cases. The Wisconsin Supreme Court subsequently agreed to review the lower appellate court’s decision. On Jan. 18, 2018 the Society, along with the AMA Litigation Center, filed an amicus brief in support of the Cap, explaining its value to patients and the health care community alike. For more background on the Mayo case, see this article from the Oct. 9, 2014 Medigram.

    Today’s arguments provided the Court’s seven members with the opportunity to ask questions, follow up on points raised in briefs, including the Society’s amicus brief, and give an indication of their thinking.

    “It’s clear from the questions raised today that the Court understands the lengths the legislature went to create a well-balanced, comprehensive medical liability system that provides unique protections for Wisconsin patients and why the cap is essential to that system,” said Society General Counsel John Rather, JD. “We are encouraged with what we heard today and are hopeful the Court will restore the cap.”

    The Court spent a considerable portion of the arguments exploring the relationship of the Cap to controlling health care liability and overall health care costs, attracting and retaining physicians and protecting the viability of the Fund.

    A decision by the Supreme Court is expected by mid-summer. For more information, contact John Rather, JD. For an in-depth examination of the Mayo case and its implications for Wisconsin health care, listen to Episode 3 of WisMed OnCall, “The Mayo Case and Its Potential Impact,” available here.

  • April 18, 2018 12:41 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    Lisa Maurer, MD, FACEP

    Wisconsin is unique.  We use the word "bubbler."  We drink our Old Fashioneds with brandy.  And our process for Emergency Detention psychiatric holds is unlike most you’ll find in most of the rest of the country.  Yeah us!

    A big headline you need to know about is the recent passage of new WI law that changes the liability environment around ED holds for physicians.  We’ve enlisted help from an attorney to interpret this new law from the viewpoint of an emergency physician, so be sure to read his summary memo and FAQs.  This new law clarifies that if you have concern that a patient should be on an ED hold and notify the proper authorities, you are not responsible for involuntarily treating the patient or preventing them from leaving the hospital if the patient is not placed on hold.  What’s more, you are not liable for any harm done by the patient to him/herself or others thereafter. 

    One question that came up during our most recent WACEP board meeting was, "does this new statute mean that if we do not reach out to county officials for an ED hold that we are at increased liability risk for future harm done?"  Our legal counsel says "no."  As always, be sure to document your reasoning for why information available to you at the time of evaluation leads you to conclude there is not a substantial probability of harm.  

    Lastly, we asked for clarification of the language in this bill which protects physicians from liability in releasing personal health information (PHI) to third parties in good faith due to lessen a threat of future harm.  For example, a physician would be protected from liability if he/she shared information to a third party about a patient is homicidal toward a particular individual.  The question was whether this interpretation could be extended to cover liability for releasing PHI to friends or family members of a patient who accidentally overdoses on opioids, with the thinking that informing third parties may reduce risk of future self-harm by the patient. Legal counsel states there is a potential safe harbor in this law for doing so, but interpretation really hinges on whether you conclude that an accidental overdose translates to true risk of self-harm.  Since the risk of self-harm is your judgement to make as a physician, use this information to help protect you if you believe a patient is at clear risk for future self-harm; be sure to properly document that risk to be in compliance with federal, and now state HIPAA law. 

    Also, here at WACEP, improving the process for caring for our patients in psychiatric crisis is one of our top priority goals.  I’m so excited to let you know that we are actively working with the Wisconsin Psychiatric Association on removing barriers to shortening the length of stay for our patients in the ED on Chapter 51 holds.  We’re even discussing if there could be a statewide common-sense standard for “medical clearance” before psychiatric admissions, based on physician assessment of medical risk rather than predetermined cookbook protocols.  The sub-committee of physicians from both organizations working on this topic is looking to change your practice for the better, so please let us know if you have input.