Marijuana was among the big winners at the polls in November, with voters in counties across the state signaling their support for legalization. Backers also have a friend in Gov.-elect Tony Evers, who has said doctors should be able to use cannabis to treat patients.
Meanwhile, CBD, a cannabis compound, has been heralded as a cure-all for everything from seizures to chronic pain to better sleep. Lawmakers have approved its use, but questions over its health benefits - and legality - remain.
A Jan. 8 Wisconsin Health News panel in Madison will take a closer look at the legal and health issues around marijuana and CBD – and their future in the state.
· Dr. Mike Miller, American Board of Addiction Medicine
· Michael Queensland, Senior Staff Attorney, Wisconsin Legislative Council
· Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison
· Sen. Pat Testin, R-Stevens Point
The Wisconsin Medical Society has urged the state’s Medical Examining Board (MEB) to be flexible when approving courses related to opioid prescribing so that more physicians can receive useful education befitting their particular specialties. The input was given at a public hearing before the MEB on a new administrative rule related to an extension of the opioid prescribing continuing medical education (CME) course requirement until November 2021.
Current rules require physicians holding a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration number to complete two of the 30 required hours of CME per biennium in an MEB-approved course related to the state’s opioid prescribing guidelines. The current requirement expires in November 2019. The MEB is extending the requirement for another CME reporting biennium while broadening the subject matter scope to “an educational course or program related to opioid prescribing.”
The Society was the only organization to testify before the MEB on the rule proposal.
Flexibility in the types of courses that can gain MEB approval would make the requirement more relevant to certain physicians who, while not being active opioid prescribers, often take care of patients dealing with the aftermath of opioid addiction or abuse. The Society also suggested that the Board could incentivize physicians taking coursework in Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) by making those courses eligible to satisfy the requirement should they be submitted for CME approval. The MEB welcomed the comments and indicated that such flexibility would be useful as Wisconsin continues to grapple with this issue.
The MEB unanimously approved the rule proposal, which now moves on to standard Governor’s office and legislative review. Contact Mark Grapentine, JD, for more information.
Each of the webinars available in the Society’s opioid prescribing series has been approved by the MEB for fulfilling the 2018-2019 CME requirement, including two 2-hour webinars presented by Michael McNett, MD. The other programs vary in length and may be combined to satisfy the mandate. Click here to learn more.
MCW-affiliated concussion study gets more backing
*From Wisconsin Health News, 11/9/2018
A consortium studying concussions that includes the Medical College of Wisconsin recently received $22.5 million in new funding, according to a statement.
The money from the Department of Defense and NCAA will expand a concussion study that includes MCW, Indiana University School of Medicine, the University of Michigan and the Uniformed Services University.
The NCAA-DOD Concussion Assessment, Research and Education Consortium has collected data on more than 39,000 student-athletes and cadets at 30 colleges and military service academies.
That includes 3,300-plus who have had concussions, the largest sample of concussions researched in a single study.
A $30 million joint NCAA-Department of Defense grant funded the first part of the study, which focused on the acute effects of concussions.
The new phase, funded by $12.5 million from NCAA and nearly $10 million from a DOD grant, will look at the intermediate and cumulative effects of concussion and repetitive head impacts.
"What we learn from this research will advance the science of traumatic brain injury and improve our understanding of how to best support the health and well-being of student-athletes, not only during their collegiate athletics experience but beyond,” Dr. Brian Hainline, NCAA chief medical officer, said in a statement.
October 19-20, 2018Osthoff Resort, Elkhart Lake, WI
2018 brought yet another successful annual conference for the Wisconsin Neurological Society! We had 45 neurological physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, residents and others who practice in neurology in attendance. We also are proud to have a record breaking 30 exhibitors come to support the organization and display their technological advances in the field of neurology. Eight speakers presented on a vast array of neurological topics, as well as the traditional Forster Award Competition featuring four residents.
A special thank you to Dr. Jennifer Connelly, our CME Director for coordinating the presenters and educational activities. Our CME Sessions have had rave reviews with variations and advances in the field of neurology. If you have not had a chance to complete your evaluation, please be sure to do so in order to claim CME credit, also.
Our thanks to the following exhibitors for their support: Acadia Pharmaceuticals, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Allergan Neurosciences, Alnylam, American Academy of Neurology, Amgen, Aspirus, Aurora Health Care, Avanir, Biogen, Boston Scientific Deep Brain Stimulation, Chiesi USA, EMD Serono, Froedtert and The Medical College of Wisconsin, Genentech, Greenwich Biosciences, Grifols Therapeutics, Impax, Lundbeck, Mayo Clinic Laboratories, Medtronic, Neurocrine Biosciences, Neurotech LLC, Novartis, Pfizer Inc, Sanofi Genzyme (2 tables), Teva Pharmaceuticals, UCB, and US Worldmeds.
Our appreciation to Dr. Terrence Cascino, Dr. Chad Carlson, Dr. Natalie Wheeler, Dr. Staley Brod, Dr. Fallon Schloemer, Dr. Kathleen Shannon and Dr. Eric Adelman for your contribution to the success of the conference by presenting to our attendees.
Special congratulations to our Bennett Hiner Award Winner - Brett Fulleylove-Krause.
The Bennett Hiner Research Award, supported by the Bennett Hiner Memorial Fund at the Wisconsin Neurological Society, is awarded each year to a medical student enrolled and in good standing at a Wisconsin medical school.
The award commemorates Bennett Carroll Hiner, son of Dr. Bradley Hiner and Susan Carroll. Bennett, who found his place in medicine and took great joy in helping others, died unexpectedly at the age of 26 while enrolled at the University of Southern California School of Medicine. Award winners are selected based on a combination of their leadership in medical school and research in the neurosciences.
This year’s award will be presented October 20 at the WNS Annual Conference in Elkhart Lake - be sure to attend in order to hear more about the great work being researched! Interested applicants are encouraged to visit the WNS website to submit an application for consideration next year.
July 12, Wisconsin Health News
Workers’ compensation premiums for businesses are set to decline by 6.03 percent this October, according to a statement from the Department of Workforce Development.
That could result in an estimated $134 million in annual savings for businesses, the Tuesday statement noted. It’s the third year that workers’ compensation rates have declined, following an 8.46 percent decrease last year and a 3.19 percent decline in 2016.
“A safe workplace results in a more productive and profitable one for employers,” Ted Nickel, insurance commissioner, said in a statement. "Employers are recognizing the relation between their employees' safety and the savings that ensue as premiums continue to decline."
Mark Grapentine, senior vice president of government relations for the Wisconsin Medical Society, said the report shows that “good news keeps coming” for the state’s workers’ compensation program.
“We’re already a national model, with faster return to work, fantastic patient satisfaction and ready access to the highest-quality healthcare in the nation – all at a cost per claim that is below the national average,” he wrote in an email. “Another significant insurance rate reduction is just more evidence that Wisconsin’s system is win-win for both businesses and their employees.”
Grapentine added that there’s room for improvement, pointing to a need for the state’s on-the-job injury rate drop below the national average. He added that healthcare providers are “always striving to find better ways to improve care.”
Chris Reader, director of health and human resources policy, also lauded the announcement. He said the reduction follows a national trend as employers and workers have invested in and focused on safety. But he noted that costs for medical treatment for workplace injuries are on the rise.
“Had Wisconsin enacted a medical fee schedule like almost every other state, medical costs also would have been kept in check and the insurance reduction today would have been even greater," he wrote in an email.
Reader also argued that the rate reduction doesn’t mean much to fully-insured employers who don’t pay insurance costs and are left footing “incredibly high medical bills.”
Proposals to establish a fee schedule haven't gained traction with lawmakers.
The American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates annual meeting in Chicago wrapped up on June 13. The House of Delegates is the policymaking body of the AMA and is comprised of more than 600 delegates from state medical associations and national medical specialty societies. Delegates bring resolutions to the meeting on topics important to their states or specialties and the House debates them to determine which ones should be voted as official policy of the AMA.
It was a productive meeting for the AAN delegation, which co-sponsored four resolutions and participated in active debate on several Academy priorities. "The Academy and neurologists' presence was noticeable in this meeting," said delegation Chair Shannon Kilgore. "From working with other societies to craft language and cosponsor resolutions, to networking with our fellow neurologists representing state societies, to welcoming incoming and current resident neurologists to our deliberations, the AAN was able to extend the reach of our positions. As a small delegation, this collaboration was important to accomplishing common neurology goals." Dr. Kilgore represented neurology to the entire House of Delegates as Chair and Moderator of the Reference Committee on Public Health, and neurologist Joshua Cohen, MD, spoke to all delegates as Chair of the AMA Foundation.
A big thanks to the AAN delegation: Chair Shannon Kilgore, MD, FAAN; Delegates Nicholas Johnson, MD, FAAN, and Mark Milstein, MD, FAAN; Alternate Delegates Skip Davison, MD, FAAN, and Eddie Patton, MD, MS; Young Physician Delegate Ann Murray, MD; and Resident and Fellow Delegate Jonathan Santoro, MD.
The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce completed its markup of 57 bills relating to the opioid crisis last week. The wide-ranging bills authorize more than $1 billion in new funding to address the opioid crisis and include regulatory actions, data and reporting requirements, treatment protocols, treatment centers, grants and loan assistance. The bills also address changes for Medicaid, Medicare and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The new funding, which totals $1,060,500,000, is earmarked for the following:
The bills now move to the full U.S. House of Representatives for action, which is expected sometime this summer.
For more information on the individual bills, visit the Energy and Commerce site on opioid legislation, or contact H.J. Waukau, the Society’s manager of advocacy and regulatory affairs.
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