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State Senate approves Society-supported bills

The Wisconsin State Senate overwhelmingly approved two Society-supported bills during floor session Wednesday at the State Capitol in Madison. Both bills passed the full State Senate on voice votes.

Senate Bill 74 ensures Wisconsin will remain a member of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC). The IMLC, currently 29 states strong, eases administrative burdens for physicians who wish to acquire medical licenses in multiple states. Wisconsin passed a law in December 2015 to join the IMLC – SB 74 removes a sunset provision from state law that would remove Wisconsin from the Compact in December 2019.

Wisconsin was the first state to issue a medical license via the IMLC pathway, which has been well-received by the medical community. The bill has broad bipartisan support – its main authors are State Assembly Reps. Nancy VanderMeer (R-Tomah) and Debra Kolste (D-Janesville) and State Senators Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) and Patty Schachtner (D-Somerset).

Senate Bill 26 clarifies health insurance company procedures related to “step therapy.” The bill, authored by Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), establishes clearer requirements insurers must follow when they create a step therapy protocol and requires certain exceptions to be granted when a prescriber submits complete, clinically relevant written documentation supporting the patients’ request.

The bills now go to the State Assembly for further action.

Earlier today the Society testified at the Senate Health and Human Services Committee in favor of Senate Bill 28, which clarifies state law to make it clear that physician-patient Direct Primary Care agreements are not considered to be insurance. The Society created a new policy in this area at the 2019 House of Delegates meeting. The bill is authored by Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) and Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin).

On Tuesday the Society registered support for Assembly Bill 118, which increases funding for the Child Psychiatry Consultation Program (CPCP). The CPCP allows primary care providers to access information and referral support for children and teens with behavioral health issues. The bill, authored by Rep. Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) and Sen. Darling, allocates more funding than what the Joint Committee of Finance passed as part of its budget actions on Tuesday evening; at this time it’s not clear which funding increase will prevail, but a committee vote for AB 118 that had been scheduled for next week was cancelled this afternoon.

Contact Mark Grapentine, JD or HJ Waukau for more information.

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