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State Senate closes book on 2015-2016 biennium

The Wisconsin State Senate’s floor session Tuesday was likely the final time either state legislative house will be active for the 2015-2016 biennium. While the moments leading up to a sudden adjournment were contentious due to an attempt to pull to the floor legislation that would legalize cannabidiol possession (Assembly Bill 228), things were much calmer earlier when the body approved another round of legislation aimed at fighting opioid and illegal drug addiction.

Society CMO Donn Dexter, MD, and Rep. John Nygren are among those looking on as Gov. Scott Walker signs AB 364 and 365—part of Rep. Nygren’s HOPE Agenda—today in Eau Claire.Included in the second round of State Assembly Rep. John Nygren’s Heroin, Opiate Prevention and Education (HOPE) Agenda and approved by voice vote in the Senate Tuesday were two Society-supported bills:

  • Assembly Bill 660 allows the Medical Examining Board (MEB) to post controlled substances prescribing guidelines. Those guidelines, when posted, are likely to be a key element in the MEB’s plan to require Wisconsin-licensed physicians to take prescribing-related CME as part of the biennial requirement. That requirement—details which the MEB is still developing—will be developed over the next few months.
  • Assembly Bill 766 establishes data reporting requirements for the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), including prescriber and dispenser satisfaction with the PDMP, a breakdown of prescriptions issued by morphine milligram strength levels and other controlled substance-related issues.

Governor Scott Walker signed those and other HOPE Agenda bills into law this afternoon (Thursday) at various locations across the state. Society President Jerry Halverson, MD, and Chief Medical Officer Donn Dexter, MD, were on hand at two sites to represent the Society. Doctor Halverson’s theme during his presidential year focused on the scourge of opioid abuse and the need to tackle how physicians prescribe pain medication.

Now that the latest HOPE bills have been enacted, the hard work begins to prepare physicians for new requirements, such as checking PDMP information before prescribing certain drugs to patients. The Society’s Medical Education and Professional Development Department is already working with physician experts on these preparations.

Contact Mark Grapentine, JD, in the Society’s Government and Legal Affairs Department for more information.

Back to March 17, 2016 Medigram