Wisconsin Health News
Gov. Tony Evers issued an emergency order on Thursday mandating that Wisconsinites wear masks when indoors starting Saturday.
Evers issued the order by declaring a public health emergency. It’s the second public health emergency he’s declared during the pandemic.
Under the order, which expires Sept. 28, Wisconsinites over the age of 5 will have to wear a face covering when indoors or in an enclosed space if they’re around people who aren’t members of their household or living unit. The order doesn’t apply to private residences.
Face coverings will be recommended when outdoors.
Evers said that local health departments “have been doing a heck of a job” responding to the pandemic, but there needs to be a statewide approach to fighting the virus.
“While I know emotions are high when it comes to wearing face coverings in public, my job as governor is to put people first and to do what’s best for the people of our state, so that’s what I am going to do,” Evers said.
As states reopen, many small and medium-sized healthcare and other businesses are struggling to sift through all the evolving guidance to create comprehensive, user-friendly return-to-work plans. Yet, having a thoughtful plan in place is critical to controlling the spread of COVID-19 as you increase activity in your workplace and mitigating liability should employee complaints arise.
Badger Bay is pleased to announce that we have partnered with premier law firm Husch Blackwell LLP to offer members a special discount on an easy, quick, and affordable tool that your members can use to create customized Return-to-Work policies. Husch Blackwell’s new Return-to-Work Policy Generator enables businesses of all sizes to quickly create return-to-work plans, customized to their operations, without starting from scratch. Built-in are Husch Blackwell’s knowledge of health, safety and employment issues, and extensive experience helping clients navigate the COVID-19 crisis.
The tool involves a 15-minute secure online questionnaire to learn about each company’s operations and policy needs. It generates a customized policy, which an attorney works to finalize directly with the company through an included consultation. Most policies are ready within a few business days.
Through the tool, Husch Blackwell offers each policy for a flat-fee price quoted up-front based on the complexity of each company’s operations and needs. Members of your associations can enter a referral code (“BadgerBay”) while completing the questionnaire to obtain an additional 10% discount.
To learn more, see a demo, and try the tool, visit the Return-to-Work Policy Generator here.
What does it involve?
This is great for lots of companies…
What’s special here?
Save the Date for the Wisconsin Medical Society’s Reference Committees, scheduled for 9 a.m. on August 8 via GoToWebinar. Virtual reference committees and the House of Delegates handbook are still available via WisMed Community. If you need login assistance, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
District 1, 2 and 8 caucuses were not held due to the pandemic declaration but are now being scheduled virtually. To see details on these events, view more information or register, click here.
The House of Delegates has been scheduled virtually for August 22. Additional information—including registration details—will be coming soon.
Watch for upcoming emails and future issues of Medigram for registration information and updates on these and other Society events.
Wisconsin Medical Society | Medigram
Yesterday, the Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund (Fund) approved waiving the upcoming fiscal year’s premiums for physicians, CRNAs and hospitals enrolled in the fund.
The Society has been working hard to find ways to assist its membership during these unprecedented times and approached the Fund with the idea of a premium holiday to provide some financial relief. "COVID-19 has posed unprecedented health and economic challenges to our state, and the health care industry is no exception," said Bud Chumbley, MD, MBA, a Fund Board member and the CEO of the Wisconsin Medical Society. "The premium holiday approved yesterday by the board will provide some financial relief to many of the Wisconsin medical professionals and providers who have been affected by the pandemic and who face ongoing challenges."
Full-time physicians will save between $382 and $2,521, depending on their specialty, with Residents saving $229 and part-time or retired physicians saving $95. The premium holiday will be in effect from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021. Additional details can be found in the Society's update or the Fund’s press release.
The percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 who are hospitalized continues to fall, a positive sign for the state’s fight against the pandemic, according to Medical College of Wisconsin CEO Dr. John Raymond.
As of Tuesday, the number of total hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the state was 2,904, an increase of 44 from Tuesday. The number of total positive tests was 21,308, an increase of 270 from Tuesday.
That put the total percentage of patients testing positive for the disease that were or are hospitalized at 13.6 percent, unchanged from Monday.
That’s an improvement from the beginning of the pandemic when the percentage was around 30 percent, Raymond said during a Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce webinar.
“I think that’s good news, probably emblematic that as our testing has grown, we’ve been able to diagnose people earlier in their illnesses and maybe even some asymptomatic individuals,” Raymond said. “I also believe that we know a whole lot more about how to give high quality supportive care to patients with COVID-19 and to triage them appropriately into the hospital, to home or into intensive care settings.”
Raymond said there’s adequate capacity at Wisconsin hospitals, and the number of those in inpatient settings or intensive care units is stable. He said most hospitals have been able to resume “some semblance of normal activity” with stable personal protective equipment supplies.
The most critical needs are goggles and gowns. N95 masks may also become a problem in southeast Wisconsin, he said.
“I can’t breathe.” These were the harrowing last words of an American, George Floyd, spoken as a system deprived him of life. The systemic racist structure failed the promise of life to this American. Racism is a constant threat to health, medical care and longevity in America. The Wisconsin Medical Society, driven by our mission of health to Wisconsinites, declares racism to be a Public Health Crisis and calls for equity in health.
Racism threatens health. Racism worsens the social determinants of health, including housing, employment, education, community and neighborhood, food and medical care. Poor housing, including homelessness, results in illnesses such as diabetes and asthma. Unemployment increases heart disease risks and overall mortality; poor education increases death from diabetes; physical space loss for exercise increases childhood obesity; and food deserts significantly increase African-American obesity. The greatest health threat faced today in COVID 19 has further revealed these profound disparities demonstrated by the disproportionate mortality in communities of color.
The human toll is destructive and untenable. To move forward, we must take a stand against racism. In doing so, we stand in solidarity with organizations across the state and our country condemning racism, injustice, and health disparities.
With the AMA, we know racism is detrimental to health in all its forms.
With ACOG, we acknowledge that people of color face threats to their health and well-being daily across Wisconsin and the United States.
With AAMC, we have seen that over the past three months, “the coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the racial health inequities harming our black communities, exposing the structures, systems, and policies that create social and economic conditions that lead to health disparities, poor health outcomes, and lower life expectancy.”
With APA, we stand “with the Black community and all those opposed to racism to protect and improve the lives of those who have experienced discrimination and the associated trauma.”
With the ANA, the AAFP, and other health care organizations, we consider racism a Public Health Crisis.
Black lives matter. To remain silent is to be complicit.
The Wisconsin Medical Society refuses to be complicit or indifferent on this issue. Daily, physicians see the tragedy of lost health from systemic racism in our community. We proclaim the “thoughts and prayers” approach to racism to be complicit with systemic racism. The Rabbi Abraham Joshua Hershel clarified the act of complicity well when he said, “The opposite of good is not evil, the opposite of good is indifference.”
Change requires action. As such, we are in solidarity with AAMC, and join them in the key actions outlined below:
As the voice of physicians in the state of Wisconsin, we resolve to make health equity a priority. The Wisconsin Medical Society stands with all Wisconsinites for healing and for the elimination of racism in all its forms.
For a full PDF of this statement, click here.
The Wisconsin Medical Society is hosting a 5-week series with new guest speakers each week in order to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and related topics. If you are interested in participating, please register here!
Remaining Dates:Wed, May 27, 2020 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM CDT
Wed, Jun 3, 2020 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM CDT
Wed, Jun 10, 2020 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM CDT
The Wisconsin Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians and the Wisconsin Hospital Association have partnered to spread the message that hospital emergency rooms and urgent care clinics remain safe, clean and ready to help give patients the care they need. We believe it is important to remind the public that hospitals are hard-wired to provide a safe environment and prevent infection spread. Along with a press release, two versions of an audio Public Service Announcement have been distributed:
On Wednesday, May 13th the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned the Evers Administration’s Safer at Home order effective immediately. The Court determined that the extension of the Safer at Home order under Emergency Order 28 went beyond the bounds of executive authority under section 252 of the state statutes and should have been submitted as a rule. Members of the Court had considered a stay of the ruling as requested by the Legislature but ultimately decided against it. Late Wednesday night, the Evers Administration stated it was going to be submitting a rule framework for new regulations in light of the Court’s ruling. The timing, duration and implementation of any new rule is unknown at this time and would incorporate elements from both the Governor and the Legislature.
While the Court’s ruling applies to the statewide order, multiple local municipal orders either remain in place or were announced yesterday. Prior to the Court’s arguments, the Society issued a joint statement with the AMA stating that “decisions about public health should be made based on science, evidence and data… [and] calling on all parties in the state… to put their differences aside and come together and work to improve the health and well-being of the people of Wisconsin.” The Society will closely monitor developments as they unfold.
Do you have questions? Contact HJ Waukau at the Wisconsin Medical Society.
The Wisconsin Medical Society is pleased to announce that Wisconsin health care practices can now order personal protective equipment (PPE) from a reputable and certified bulk PPE supplier through ActionPPE. The project was launched by the Charleston County Medical Society in South Carolina. The Society, along with other state medical societies are coordinating joint orders of products including KN-95 masks, disposable masks and gowns on behalf of our state physicians and their practices. The Society is looking to add other PPE supplies in the future.
These products may be procured by any Wisconsin physician, their practices and all state health care providers.
Information on the vetted vendor, certificates of items and ordering information is available here.
Contact WCMS563 Carter Court, Suite B, Kimberly, WI 54136
Ph: 920-560-5641 | Fax: 920-882-3655Email: WaukeshaCMS@badgerbay.co
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