WHA Physician Leaders Council Reviews COVID-19, Vaccines and More

March 11, 2021

Tom Voelker, chair of the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) Physician Leaders Council, introduced a varied discussion at the council’s March 10 meeting, starting with an update on the COVID pandemic in Wisconsin. This included a discussion led by WHA Chief Medical Officer Chris Green, M.D., on the falling number of new infections in Wisconsin, the increasing availability of vaccines vaccine hesitancy and the emergence of COVID variants in Wisconsin. The council had an energetic dialog about staff burnout, quality improvement challenges in the context of the COVID pandemic, vaccine supply and behavioral health issues during the pandemic.
Vaccine demand varies throughout the state, as noted by participants in the call. It has dropped sharply in some regions, while rural areas report continued high demand among patients aged 65 and older. While vaccine hesitancy is a concern, systems are seeing high levels of acceptance among physicians and medical staff, but lower adoption among food service workers, for example. Members expressed enthusiasm for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which can easily be taken into the community through churches, community centers and other public spaces due to its common refrigeration requirements.
Next was a discussion of physician leadership, education and wellness by Dr. Green and a conversation about the health care workforce led by WHA Senior Vice President of Workforce and Clinical Practice Ann Zenk.
WHA Senior Vice President of Government Relations Kyle O’Brien then reviewed facility billing, placement of patients in skilled nursing facilities, the status of professional licensure reform and the Wisconsin state budget. WHA General Council Matthew Stanford next provided an update on initiatives related to emergency detention and telehealth and advocacy related to Suboxone/buprenorphine.
WHA Vice President of Advocacy Kari Hofer presented information on the upcoming WHA Advocacy Day taking place virtually on April 14.
Finally, WHA Vice President of Education and Marketing Leigh Ann Larson provided details on the WHA Physician Leadership Conference coming up on March 12, the Wisconsin Rural Health Conference scheduled for June 3 and the development of the WHA Leadership Academy. The latter will be presented in greater detail at the next Physician Leaders Council meeting on June 9.


This story originally appeared in the March 11, 2021 edition of WHA Newsletter