Wisconsin Medical Society member Jerry Halverson, MD, testified about challenges in the state’s mental health system at the initial meeting of the State Assembly Speaker’s Task Force on Mental Health on Wednesday in Madison. A member of the Society’s Board of Directors, Dr. Halverson was the only physician invited to speak to the bipartisan group; he did so on behalf of the Wisconsin Psychiatric Association and the Society.
Doctor Halverson’s testimony focused on defining mental illness and sharing experiences he’s had with the state’s mental health environment. While Task Force Chair Rep. Erik Severson, MD, (R-Star Prairie) and Vice-Chair Rep. Sandy Pasch (D-Shorewood) both have extensive health care backgrounds, the other committee members have expertise in non-medical areas; and Dr. Halverson provided an easily understood general summary of Wisconsin’s mental health care environment.
Other speakers at Wednesday’s hearing included representatives from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and patient advocacy groups. The Task Force will meet several more times around the state before deciding on potential legislative proposals.
For more information, e-mail Mark Grapentine, JD, in the Society’s Government Relations Department.
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