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    Improve the health of the people of Wisconsin by supporting and strengthening physicians' ability to practice high-quality patient care in a changing environment.

This week’s state government update

Meeting with state’s DSPS regarding physician licensing processing times

The Wisconsin Medical Society has been hearing growing concerns about how long it sometimes takes for physicians to obtain a Wisconsin medical license from the State’s Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS). These delays often jeopardize the ability for a newly-hired physician to start taking care of patients, as a valid license is required before any services can be administered.

The Society met this week with DSPS leadership to talk about these concerns and to begin dialogue on ways to help improve the system. DSPS shared its willingness to work with all parties affected by this administrative delay and is already discussing improvements in technology, staffing and sharing common problems that could be avoided by an applicant. The Society will continue to collaborate with DSPS, the state’s Medical Examining Board and other stakeholders to spur improvement and better access to physician care.

If you or your credentialing staff are experiencing problems in this area or have suggestions on how to improve the process, please contact Mark Grapentine, JD in the Society’s Government Relations department.

Assembly Health Committee public hearing

The Society registered its support for two bills at Tuesday’s Assembly Committee on Health public hearing at the State Capitol:

  • A bill ensuring that the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact will remain a potential path for obtaining a medical license in Wisconsin continues to enjoy strong Society support. Assembly Bill 70, primarily authored by State Assembly Rep. Nancy VanderMeer and Senator Patrick Testin and enjoying broad bipartisan support, eliminates a “sunset” clause included in the original 2015 law that was designed to automatically remove Wisconsin as a Compact participant in December 2019. The clause was a failsafe in case the state wished to exit an ineffective program. Fortunately the Compact has proven to be a valuable option for licensing, with hundreds of Wisconsin licenses approved via the Compact pathway.
  • Assembly Bill 178 would expand the ability for physicians who practice in free and charitable clinics to access loan assistance programs through the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health in the University of Wisconsin System. The bill enjoys broad bipartisan support.

 

Worker’s Compensation update

The state’s Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC) met on Tuesday in Madison, with the Labor and Management groups almost immediately heading to closed caucuses to gather information and exchange further proposals with one another in search of an “agreed-to” bill proposal for the current state legislative session. The Society is one of four health care liaisons to the WCAC who are available at the meetings for input on how any proposals could potentially affect the health care aspects of the state’s Worker’s Compensation (WC) program.

The two sides caucused into the evening but adjourned without reaching an agreement. Indications are that the Management side, led by powerful business lobby Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, continues to demand inclusion of an artificial fee schedule for health care services – despite the fact that similar provisions have scuttled agreed-to bills in two of the last three legislative sessions and that businesses continue to see dramatic reductions in WC premiums. The WCAC’s next meeting is scheduled for August 15.

Contact Mark Grapentine, JD for more information.

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