WHA Physician Leaders Council Discusses Political Landscape, COVID-19, Physician Leadership Development

December 10, 2020

Incoming Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) Chief Medical Officer Christopher Green, MD, joined the Physician Leaders Council (PLC) meeting on Dec. 7 to discuss wide-ranging topics affecting Wisconsin’s health care system, including a potential physician leadership development program for WHA members.
WHA Senior Vice President of Government Relations Kyle O’Brien reflected on election results and their implications for health care and WHA members. O’Brien reviewed both the state Assembly and Senate election results as well as the various issues being adjudicated in the courts. He gave an overview of WHA’s leadership role in the “Stop the COVID Spread!” coalition and in encouraging politicians from both sides of the aisle to unite behind a shared message encouraging Wisconsinites to wear masks, physically distance and practice good personal hygiene. O’Brien expressed his appreciation for the many WHA member physician leaders who participated in the virtual Incident Command briefing that was open to legislators. Many participants expressed how helpful it was for them as policymakers to better understand the urgent clinical issues facing health care providers.
WHA staff including Senior Vice President of Workforce and Clinical Practice Ann Zenk, Vice President of Policy Development Laura Rose, Chief Quality Officer Beth Dibbert and Chief Medical Officer Mark Kaufman, MD, led a conversation on COVID-19-related issues facing WHA members and the health care workforce. Zenk discussed the changing guidance on health care workforce quarantine, the use of rapid antigen testing, the expanding clinical scope of the Alternate Care Facility in West Allis and the state’s efforts to increase staffing resources for hospitals and to continue licensure reciprocity for out-of-state licensed professionals. Rose summarized DHS’ efforts to increase funding for nursing homes as a way to facilitate the timely discharge of patients with COVID-19 from hospitals, as well as changes to the Medicaid program to do the same. Dibbert summarized the current and very dynamic status of what we know about federal and state plans for delivering and allocating COVID vaccines.
In follow-up to a discussion at an earlier WHA board retreat, WHA staff have been evaluating the potential to partner with an external entity to implement a physician leadership development program for WHA members. PLC members heard the outlines of one such program and provided feedback as to what would be most helpful to physician leaders in their organizations. Participants agreed that including non-physician colleagues in any such program would be the best approach. One PLC member suggested having separate cohorts for early physician leaders versus senior physician leaders.

This story originally appeared in the December 10, 2020 edition of WHA Newsletter