Physician Leaders Council Discusses Current Status Of COVID-19 Epidemic

March 12, 2020

WHA’s Physician Leaders Council met March 9 in Madison. The council reviewed the latest clinical information on COVID-19 infection from the World Health Organization, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Physician leaders shared what is happening in their communities. Ironically, at the start of the Physician Leaders Council meeting there was still only one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Wisconsin but, after the meeting adjourned, DHS reported the second confirmed COVID-19 case in our state (there are now seven active cases). WHA Chief Medical Officer Mark Kaufman, M.D. shared results of the two most recent weekly DHS surveys of health care facilities regarding what they are experiencing with respect to the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE). The latest survey generated more than 240 replies.
WHA Director of Federal & State Relations Jon Hoelter emphasized that WHA is staying in close contact with Wisconsin’s congressional delegation and the Wisconsin State Legislature. On March 6, President Trump signed an $8.3 billion emergency funding package into law. Nearly $1 billion will go to state and local public health with each state receiving a minimum of $4 million. Importantly, the bill allows the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to waive Medicare site restrictions for telehealth services.

Physician Leaders Council members discussed a number of other issues:
  • A continuation of the December 2019 council discussion of the Business Health Care Group’s physician profiling initiative.
  • WHA’s legislative agenda, including a review of WHA’s support and opposition on various bills impacting advanced practice clinician practice and regulation. A WHA Act Summary of Act 90 - WHA-developed legislation that modifies Wisconsin advance directive statutes to recognize advanced practice clinician practice – can be accessed by WHA members here
  • WHA’s 2020 Board goals.
In response to a recent Physician Leaders Council group email survey, the June council meeting will be held in Green Bay. The meeting will be adjacent to WHA’s Rural Health Conference, providing council members the opportunity to attend both meetings in-person if they wish.
For more information on the Physician Leaders Council, contact WHA General Counsel Matthew Stanford or Dr. Kaufman.

This story originally appeared in the March 12, 2020 edition of WHA Newsletter