WISAM On-Demand Recordings
The Department of Health Services strives to protect and promote the health and safety of all people of Wisconsin through the efforts of a dedicated and diverse workforce. DHS works to ensure access to individuals, families, and communities to achieve positive health outcomes in the areas of abuse prevention, mental health, public health, family care, long-term care, and much more.
The Division of Care and Treatment Services (DCTS) is recruiting for a Human Services Program Coordinator-Senior position, also known as the Women's Substance Use Treatment Coordinator, within the Bureau of Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery (BPTR) in Madison, WI.
Click here for more information.
Wisconsin Health News
Lawmakers are considering establishing a centralized database for opioid and methamphetamine statistics that could help boost the fight against the state’s drug epidemic.
The Assembly Committee on Substance Abuse and Prevention approved the bill unanimously last week, and the Senate Committee on Health signed off on the measure in February. The bill would provide $1.5 million in the second year of the 2021-23 biennium to implement the data system.
The bill would direct the Department of Administration to work with a vendor to collect and analyze data on overdoses, drug trafficking and other measures. The state agency would also be charged with submitting reports to the Joint Finance Committee on data trends.
Committee on Substance Abuse and Prevention Chair Rep. Jon Plumer, R-Lodi, said different state agencies already collect the information that would be put into the database, but it’s not easily accessible.
“We need to be able to access that information more easily than we are now,” Plumer said. “This goes from a paper map to a GPS system. That’s how dramatic this change would be.”
Plumer said the measure would help not only with treatment, but law enforcement. He said law enforcement officials are more “reactionary” now to when substances appear in their area. The database would give them a “heads up” of what’s happening in other areas of the state, allowing them to target resources.
In testimony on the bill, Senate Committee on Health Chair Patrick Testin, R-Stevens Point, noted the state has recently seen an increase in overdoses and drug-related deaths. He said the bill would help assess the effectiveness of state initiatives.
The Assembly approved the bill last session, but it didn’t make it into law after the Senate canceled its final session.
The Joint Finance Committee removed a provision in Gov. Tony Evers’ budget that was similar to the bill when it removed a series of policies in early May. Evers included funding for a similar program in a bill that would expand Medicaid, which Republicans declined to take up last week.
WISAM is looking for individuals who are interested in becoming more involved in the Public Policy Committee. Our current Chair, Dr. Elizabeth Salisbury-Afshar, is ready to help lead a team with a keen interest in public policy matters around issues that affect addiction medicine, the practice of addiction medicine, and public policies that may impact the social determinant of health for our patients. Please contact us via the link below in order to get connected and learn more about the opportunities we have available to get involved.
Elizabeth Salisbury-Afshar, MD, MPH is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and is core faculty for the Addiction Medicine Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison Wisconsin. Dr. Salisbury-Afshar is board certified in family medicine, preventive medicine/public health and addiction medicine and her expertise lies at the intersection of these fields. Much of her work has focused on expanding access to evidence-based responses to the opioid overdose crisis. Past roles include serving as the Medical Director of Behavioral Health Systems Baltimore (a quasi-public entity that oversees all publicly funded addiction and mental health treatment), as the Medical Director of Behavioral Health at the Chicago Department of Public Health, the Director of the Center for Addiction Research and Effective Solutions at the American Institutes for Research, and Medical Director of Heartland Alliance Health (Chicago-based healthcare for the homeless provider). She has over ten years of experience working clinically in federally qualified health centers- providing direct patient care in both primary care and addiction medicine treatment. She currently serves as the Vice Chair of the ASAM Public Policy Committee and as the ASAM representative on the AMA Opioid Task Force.
Eleven communities in Milwaukee and Racine counties filed lawsuits this week against drug manufacturers and distributors for their alleged role in the opioid epidemic.
The cities of Cudahy, Franklin, Greenfield, Oak Creek, South Milwaukee, Wauwatosa and West Allis filed suit in Milwaukee County court. The villages of Mount Pleasant, Sturtevant, Union Grove and Yorkville filed suit in Racine County court.
South Milwaukee Mayor Erik Brooks said his city and other municipalities have spent an “enormous amount of resources to combat” opioid addiction.
“Opioids have taken an intensely personal toll on our community,” Brooks said in a statement. “Too many people have become addicted. Too many families have been broken. Too many have died. It is time for these defendants to answer these charges locally.”
Read the lawsuit.
The Wisconsin Society of Addiction Medicine has opened up the Call for Nominations for the following open positions:
These volunteer-positions within the leadership of WIASM are very important! We have a support system in place to give new individuals a chance to succeed in these roles and help grow the mission of the organization. Click here for more information on deadlines and to access the nomination form.
ASAM | Addiction Policy News
The new policy exempts eligible, DEA-registered practitioners from federal certification requirements related to training, counseling, and other ancillary services that are part of the process for obtaining a waiver to treat up to 30 patients with buprenorphine – a step toward helping Americans with opioid use disorder access evidence-based addiction care
Rockville, MD - The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) applauds steps to reduce barriers to patients accessing medications for opioid use disorder (OUD), including today’s announcement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Practice Guidelines for the Administration of Buprenorphine for Treating Opioid Use Disorder, which were posted for public inspection in the Federal Register today.
“The guidelines released by HHS create exemptions from enumerated X-waiver certifications with respect to certain practitioners prescribing buprenorphine for opioid use disorder, an important step toward improving our patients’ access to this medication,” said Dr. William Haning, president of ASAM. “We now look to Congress to take critical and necessary next steps, including securing a permanent elimination of buprenorphine-specific training requirements, patient limits, and DEA audits, as well as the separate X-waiver application, for DEA-registered prescribers, while ensuring these clinicians receive baseline training on treating patients with substance use disorder.”
From 1999 to 2017, nearly 400,000 people in the United States died from overdoses related to opioids – due in part to a critical misunderstanding of the substantial evidence for the safety and effectiveness of medications that treat OUD, as well as the historical separation of addiction treatment from mainstream medical care.
Specifically, the new HHS practice guidelines exempt eligible, DEA-registered practitioners from the certification requirements under 21 U.S.C. §823(g)(2)(B)(i)-(ii). The exemption, however, is subject to the limitations of the guidelines. For example, a practitioner utilizing this exemption will still be required to obtain a waiver by submitting a Notice of Intent to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration before treating patients with buprenorphine for OUD. Such a practitioner also will be limited to treating no more than 30 patients with buprenorphine for OUD at any one time, and time spent practicing under the exemption will not qualify the practitioner for a higher patient limit. Finally, while these guidelines change certain federal requirements, they do not govern possible state requirements that may be applicable.
ASAM notes that an elimination of the X-waiver should be combined with needed education about the identification and treatment of substance use disorder in patients seen in daily practice. Proper education increases clinicians’ willingness to administering life-saving, addiction care. ASAM commends HHS for recognizing that substance use disorder education is not yet uniformly integrated into medical education and that colleges of medicine and training programs are strongly encouraged to develop or to continue implementing comprehensive training in substance use disorder diagnosis and management as a component of their core, required curriculum.
“While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has wrought havoc on all, it has particularly jeopardized the health of vulnerable populations, including the more than 20 million Americans living with substance use disorder,” said Dr. Haning. “An elimination of the X-waiver coupled with increased addiction training has the potential to save thousands of lives and free DEA-registered prescribers of unnecessary barriers that have too long impeded them from helping their patients.”
WMS | Medigram
The Wisconsin Medical Society (Society) honored the accomplishments and contributions of two outstanding physicians during the Board of Directors meeting held virtually on April 17. The 2021 Director’s Award and Presidential Citation were presented to honor physicians who have made a difference to the Society and the profession of medicine.
The Director's Award was presented to Michael Miller, MD, Madison. Established in 1928, this award is the Society’s highest honor, given to recognize outstanding physicians who have served the medical profession with integrity and honor and who have made numerous and substantial contributions to the profession and the community.
Throughout his career, Dr. Miller has been involved with the Society in many ways, most notably as Speaker. Dr. Miller has also had longstanding commitment as an AMA Delegate/Alternate along with involvement in the AMA Council on Science and Public Health. He has also served as President and Board Chair of his national specialty society (ASAM), President and Board Chair of his county medical Society (Dane County) and as a Director of his specialty board (ABAM).
The Presidential Citation was presented to Ryan Westergaard, MD, PhD, MPH, Madison. The award was established in 1959 to recognize an individual who has made a significant contribution to medicine and to the public’s health.
Dr. Westergaard is the current Chief Medical Officer and State Epidemiologist for the Bureau of Communicable Diseases, Division of Public Health, at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Dr. Westergaard has been honored for his leadership in addressing the pandemic of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, exhibited by his communication with both Public Health Agencies and physicians, keeping them abreast of the most current scientific evidence, guidance and resources.
April 6, Wisconsin Health News
The premium holiday for Wisconsin’s medical malpractice fund will continue until mid-2022 to help offset impacts on providers from COVID-19.
Insurance Commissioner Mark Afable notified the Joint Finance Committee last week that he’s requesting that fiscal year 2022 rates for healthcare providers participating in the Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund remain the same as the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.
The committee has until April 15 to approve the request. Currently, the fund is waiving fees for participating healthcare professionals and providers, per a request from the Wisconsin Medical Society. The premium holiday is set to last until June 30, 2022.
OCI spokeswoman Sarah Smith said that the rates will remain the same because the fund won’t be charging due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mark Grapentine, chief policy and advocacy officer at the Wisconsin Medical Society, said independent clinics are still fighting COVID-19 related costs and lost revenue and keeping the status quo for now makes sense.
“We’re doing all we can to advocate for those independent clinics who provide such important care to their communities while being on the front lines of the pandemic,” he said in an email. “We’re very fortunate to have a fund that’s run prudently and is in a stable financial condition so that it can provide a little fiscal relief for physicians.”
The Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund covers claims beyond state-mandated insurance limits, which are set at $1 million by occurrence and $3 million by aggregate annually.
The State of Wisconsin’s Medical Examining Board (MEB) at its most recent monthly meeting advanced a proposed administrative rule that will extend for another biennium the requirement that most physicians obtain two credits of continuing education related to opioid prescribing. The requirement applies to physicians who hold a Drug Enforcement Administration registration number, with the two credits being part of the 30 credits required each biennium. Courses must be approved by the MEB in order to satisfy the subject matter requirement.
The Wisconsin Medical Society (Society) spoke in favor of the rule at the MEB public hearing March 17, noting how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated opioid abuse across the county. The Society also expressed appreciation that the rule widens the scope of qualifying coursework beyond opioid prescribing to include “other controlled substances.” This will allow physicians who hold a DEA number but may not prescribe opioids to access coursework more relevant to their practice.
The MEB also began to discuss whether to add a provision to the “unprofessional conduct” section of the MEB’s administrative code (MED 10) that could require physicians to offer patients a chaperone for certain sensitive physical exams. The idea comes from a January 2020 ACOG Community Opinion paper recommending that a chaperone be present for all breast, genital and rectal examinations. While the MEB discussed the issue only generally during its meeting March 17, it will review potential language at its April meeting.
Contact Society Chief Policy and Advocacy Officer Mark Grapentine, JD for more information.
Wisconsin Doctor Day - May 5, 2021
Opening Keynote Address Featuring AMA President, Susan R. Bailey MDDr. Susan R. Bailey, a distinguished allergist/immunologist from Fort Worth, Texas, is the 175th president of the American Medical Association. Doctor Bailey's presentation, What Will Healthcare Look Like Post COVID-19?, will touch on delivery of care, rebounding from physician stress, and the impact of the pandemic on the physician workforce.
Click here for more information!