During a public hearing before the Assembly Health Committee, WHA testified
in favor of Assembly Bill 296, legislation to protect telehealth from being regulated differently than in-person care by Wisconsin’s professional licensure boards. This legislation is identical to Senate Bill 309, which WHA spoke in favor of
in a May 26 Senate Committee on Insurance, Licensing and Forestry hearing. WHA General Counsel Matthew Stanford again joined Gundersen Health System Clinical Manager of Virtual Care Jessica Easterday to highlight the importance of ensuring state statutes and policies align so that they do not unintentionally hinder the ability of telehealth to continue to flourish as another option for patients and health care providers.
Stanford noted that WHA’s telehealth workgroup members had recently participated in a public hearing with the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) Occupational Therapists (OT) Credentialing Board in which members voiced concerns about numerous proposed policies that would create additional hurdles for telehealth OT services that do not exist for in-person services. Easterday, who is also a member of WHA’s telehealth work group, expressed concerns that other boards could also create new regulations that lead to a patchwork quilt of inconsistent and differing standards that produce barriers to timely patient care. The two noted that work continues on an amendment to the legislation that would provide a common standard among all DSPS health care licensing boards to guard against this, while still retaining those boards’ lawful ability to apply the same requirements for in-person services to telehealth.
In addition, the Assembly Health Committee heard testimony on Assembly Bill 128, legislation that would require hospitals to have and enforce a policy requiring written and verbal consent to be obtained before any person may perform a pelvic examination on a patient who is under general anesthesia or unconscious. WHA, along with the state’s two medical colleges and the Wisconsin Section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists provided written comments
to the committee, outlining the current process in Wisconsin hospitals and expressed concerns with the legislation as drafted.
The provider and medical school coalition stated it will work with the legislative author of AB 128 and committee members to “ensure the bill is consistent with informed consent practices in Wisconsin and that the legislation does not cause unintended consequences for hospitals, care providers, health care student learners and patients.”