WHA Physician Leaders Council (PLC) Provides Input on Key Advocacy Issues and WHA’s Future Physician-Focused Initiatives

October 24, 2019

WHA advocacy to reduce regulatory barriers impacting physician and clinical practice, and WHA physician engagement efforts were key discussions at the Oct. 14 meeting of the WHA Physician Leaders Council.

The Council discussed several ongoing advocacy efforts impacting WHA members’ physician workforce and regulatory burden, including:
  • WHA-proposed changes enacted in the state budget providing for sustainability and flexibility in the state graduate medical education grant program;
  • A WHA proposal to the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board to establish licensure processing metrics and other changes to address medical licensure delays;
  • WHA-developed legislation removing regulatory barriers in the Medicaid program that limit the provision of telehealth services;
  • WHA-developed legislation to address delays in transitions of care and fulfill patient advanced directives by enabling advanced practice clinicians with sufficient education, training, and experience to activate advanced directives with a concurrence by a physician;
  • WHA support for better aligning physician assistant supervision requirements under state law with CMS oversight requirements for physician assistants;
  • WHA’s opposition to legislation that would deviate from CMS requirements for nurse practitioners and remove physician collaboration requirements for nurse midwives that deliver babies outside of a hospital setting;
  • WHA’s opposition to legislation that would create unnecessary, redundant and burdensome new hospital discharge planning requirements;
  • WHA-proposed legislative amendments to provide enhanced criminal penalties for individuals that assault any health care worker; and
  • WHA-developed legislation to continue Wisconsin’s participation in the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact.
Council members particularly noted the work on addressing violence against caregivers and WHA’s efforts to propose metrics and process-based reforms to address the increasing delays physicians and hospitals are experiencing in the processing of Wisconsin physician licensure applications.

Physician leaders also provided valuable insights and perspective regarding WHA’s past, current and future physician engagement efforts. WHA Chief Medical Officer Mark Kaufman, MD, highlighted some of WHA’s 2019 physician engagement efforts including PLC membership growth, enhanced outreach to physician leaders throughout the state, work to reduce the EHR burden on caregivers including an ongoing collaboration with Epic, creating a Senior Physician Leaders track at the annual Kohler Physician Leadership Development Conference, and cosponsoring, with the Wisconsin Medical Society, a Health Care Workforce Resiliency monthly webinar series through the Duke University School of Medicine.

Going forward, PLC members endorsed four pillars for WHA’s physician engagement efforts:
1. Physician leader development
2. Education and learning
3. Physician Leaders Council evolution
4. Advocacy

More specifically, PLC members were enthusiastic about an enhanced focus on rural physician leaders, providing greater support for emerging physician leaders, and expanding efforts in the physician burnout and wellness space beyond the current and future work planned to reduce the EHR burden on physicians and other care team members. Physician leaders agreed that the planned update to WHA’s 2017 Physician and Engagement Toolkit should include a new section on “Maximizing Physician Wellness,” including a set of self-assessment questions and resources from the medical literature. Council members also discussed the opportunity to reduce redundant annual physician compliance training requirements when individual physicians care for patients at multiple hospitals and must take the same training at each hospital.

The PLC discussed and recommended some changes to its meeting format including rotating at least one meeting outside of Madison, shortening the meeting length, and piloting a “learning session” in 2020.

Physician leaders interested in learning more about the WHA Physician Leaders Council should contact Mark Kaufman, MD, at 608-843-6046.

This story originally appeared in the October 24, 2019 edition of WHA Newsletter