Assembly Health Approves Physician Compact, Advance Directive Legislation

October 31, 2019

The State Assembly Committee on Health on Oct. 30 overwhelmingly approved two bills that are part of WHA’s proactive health care agenda: 

Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (Assembly Bill 70)
Assembly Bill 70 eliminates a sunset clause in state law related to the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC) that would have removed Wisconsin from the successful 29-state agreement. The IMLC allows physicians to apply for medical licenses in multiple states without having to resubmit the same basic information every time. Wisconsin was the first state to process a license through the IMLC process; physicians may still apply for an individual state license through the traditional method if they choose. WHA testified on the bill in July, urging the Committee to keep the IMLC process as a licensing option for physicians. 

The bill has significant bipartisan support and is authored by State Assembly Reps. Nancy VanderMeer (R-Tomah) and Deb Kolste (D-Janesville) and State Sens. Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) and Patty Schachtner (D-Somerset). The Committee passed the bill on a unanimous 12-0 vote. Its companion bill, Senate Bill 74, passed the full Senate in June. 

While making Wisconsin’s participation in the IMLC more permanent, WHA is still hearing from members that certain professional license applications are suffering from long processing times – often to the point where a license is still pending after that applicant’s start date. That prevents physicians and others from treating Wisconsin patients, harming access and increasing health care costs. WHA continues to share these concerns with state officials.

Fulfilling a Patient’s Advance Directive Wishes (Assembly Bill 287)
Assembly Bill 287 addresses a regulatory bottleneck on Wisconsin’s health care workforce that is resulting in unnecessary delays in acting on a patient’s advance directive wishes for treatment. The bill helps address these delays by recognizing the education and training of nurse practitioners and physician assistants to make the medical diagnoses necessary to activate the patient’s written medical wishes. Under the bill a physician must still confirm the diagnosis. 

WHA strongly supported AB 287 at the bill’s public hearing Oct. 16. The committee approved the bill Oct. 30 on an overwhelmingly bipartisan 12-1 margin. The companion bill, Senate Bill 254, is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. 

WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding praised the broad support for the two bills in this press release, pointing out how both bills help fulfill WHA’s workforce adequacy strategy. “WHA’s two-pronged workforce strategy continues to emphasize both growing the number of providers in Wisconsin and also better utilizing our existing workforce by modernizing rules and regulations,” Borgerding said. “Today’s action also removes outdated regulatory barriers that will allow hospitals and health systems to better utilize our advanced practice clinicians in Wisconsin and allow them to increasingly practice at the top of their licenses.” 

Contact WHA Vice President of Workforce and Clinical Practice Ann Zenk (AB 70) or WHA General Counsel Matthew Stanford (AB 287) for more information.

This story originally appeared in the October 31, 2019 edition of WHA Newsletter