You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

You are using an outdated browser.

To ensure optimal security, this website will soon be unavailable on this browser. Please upgrade your browser to allow continued use of ACP websites.

You are here

Wisconsin Governor's Newsletter March 2018

Wisconsin Chapter Banner

Mark Belknap, MD, FACP, ACP Governor, Wisconsin Chapter

Mark Belknap, MD, FACP, ACP Governor, Wisconsin Chapter



I'm writing this newsletter after my return from an enjoyable and fascinating vacation in Kenya, where my wife and I went on several safaris and toured Lamu, an island on the Swahili coast, as we visited our son, who lives and works in Kenya. As in previous issues, I will use this issue to bring you up to date on activities of the Wisconsin Chapter and the larger ACP organization.



Internal Medicine 2018

The dates of this year's meeting, April 19 – 21 in New Orleans, are fast approaching. If you are still able to make time in your schedule to attend by the time that you receive this newsletter, but haven't yet made arrangements, I strongly encourage you to do so. Pre-courses are held April 17 – 18. This meeting provides the opportunity to learn from high quality faculty from around the country and to earn MOC points and CME credits. New Fellows and Masters from the Wisconsin Chapter and other chapters will be formally inducted at the Convocation Ceremony on Thursday evening. Click here to access the 2018 Annual Meeting webpage.

Each year, a highlight of the meeting for many of us who attend the meeting from Wisconsin is the Wisconsin Chapter Reception, which this year will be held at Arnaud's, which is near the Convention Center meeting site, on Thursday, April 19 just following the Convocation Ceremony. Arnaud's is a well-known restaurant featuring Creole cuisine. The reception is a chance to get together with colleagues from around the state, to renew old friendships and to meet new acquaintances, and to do this in a relaxed, welcoming environment. We always have a good turnout of practicing physicians and residents from Wisconsin, as well as a few who drop by who have roots in Wisconsin. This will also be an opportunity for you to meet Dr. Noel Deep, our incoming Governor of the Wisconsin Chapter who will begin his term at the close of this annual meeting.

I hope that many of you will plan on attending the meeting and that we see you at our reception.



Take the Pledge to Reduce Firearm-related Harm

What can we do to help protect our patients, their families and our communities from firearm-related harms? We can recognize risk factors, and when present ask our patients about firearm safety. It's what we do all the time: we recognize risks to our patients, ask questions, and aim to help.

Please consider joining me and your ACP colleagues by pledging that, “When risk factors for harm to my patients or others are present, I will ask my patients about firearm ownership and safety.”

You may do so at this link.

See the names of colleagues who have made the pledge at the “comments” tab to the left of a concise paper explaining why it's so important (or at “Jump to” on a smart phone).

And, you can learn to recognize risks and how to talk to patients in a recent, concise paper published in Annals.

We can do something. As physicians we must. Talking to our patients at risk for harming themselves or others about firearms is the right thing to do, it's legal, and it's supported by ACP's positions.

If we each take action when we encounter a patient at risk for harming her/himself or others, we might save a life or lives. What could be more important?

Thank you!



Chapter Awards

We believe in the importance of our chapter awards to acknowledge contributions to our chapter and to the community, to inspire and support each other in our endeavors, and to increase our sense of community within our chosen specialty of Internal Medicine

We are very interested in receiving nominations of highly deserving internists from around Wisconsin for our state chapter awards, of which there are several in various categories. These awards are presented at the George Magnin Awards Luncheon, which is part of our Chapter Meeting in September. Our hope is that we can increase the geographic diversity of award recipients. Please take a look at the list of awards via the link below and the give serious thought to which internist(s) in your community is/are deserving of one of the awards and then make use of the form on the website to submit the nomination(s). The deadline for submitting the awards this year is March 21, 2018.

Click here to access the ACP-Wisconsin Chapter Awards Nomination Website.



Opportunities for Involvement in Chapter Activities

In my most recent communication with you, I promised to review opportunities for involvement in activities of the ACP Wisconsin Chapter. For many of us, involvement in the chapter early in our careers, whether Wisconsin or elsewhere, was by presenting during the resident portion of the annual chapter meeting, and this is still an important way to contribute to the chapter. We are in the process of exploring additional ways that residents can involve themselves in chapter activities, and we are also looking at how we can encourage the transition from ACP membership and involvement as a resident or fellow to participation as early career internists. We are working to develop a more active Residents and Fellows Committee, and we are asking for input from you on how that committee should function and what activities it will pursue. We are also looking for increased involvement of our members early in their practices by involvement on the chapter Council of Early Career Physicians. Additionally, we hope to encourage the transition from participation on the Residents and Fellows Committee to involvement in the Council of Early Career Physicians, and we welcome your input on this topic as well.

There are several other chapter committees that welcome new members who wish to be active in their work and activities, and these are open to members at all stages of their careers and into retirement. These committees include: International Medical Graduates, Health and Public Policy, Women's, Membership, Awards, Hospitalists', Finance, and Resolutions. Please contact me if you are interested in being involved in any of these committees. Serving on a committee is one way of being involved in the chapter and engaging with colleagues with similar interests. Of course, attending our annual chapter meeting in the fall is another very good way to be involved in the chapter.



ACP Takes on Physician Well-being and Professional Satisfaction in New Initiative

A new ACP initiative on Physician Wellbeing and Professional Satisfaction aims to address the goal of creating a culture of wellness, improving practice efficiencies, enhancing individual physician well-being, and reducing administrative burdens.

ACP has convened a Physician Wellbeing and Professional Satisfaction Task Force to help focus efforts to address this complex problem. January's ACP Internist President's Column features a guest column on the issue by Susan Thompson Hingle, MD, MACP, Chair of ACP's Board of Regents and chair of the Task Force.

As part of the initiative, ACP established its Wellbeing Champion program and continues to expand it by training Champions to be deployed through their chapters to assist local and regional chapter members, practices, and organizations in combatting burnout and promoting wellbeing and professional satisfaction. We in the Wisconsin Chapter have the good fortune to have two chapter members who have agreed to step into the role of Wellbeing Champions for our chapter, and they will receive their initial training in New Orleans in conjunction with the Annual Meeting. They are Martin Muntz, MD FACP of MCW—Milwaukee and Margaret Paulson, DO FACP of the Mayo—Red Cedar Clinic in Menomonie.

ACP Practice Advisor recently launched a related module, “Making the Case to Address Clinician Burnout,” geared to help users recognize clinician burnout within their practices/programs (registration required). ACP is also collaborating with other organizations that are addressing physician wellbeing issues.

Visit ACPonline for a comprehensive collection of resources around this issue.



Thank You for Helping ACP Achieve Big Advocacy Wins in the Budget Agreement

In a rare stroke of bipartisanship, Congress passed a budget agreement in early February that delivers on many of ACP's top advocacy priorities. This came after a brief government shutdown, the second of the year that fortunately did not result in much of a disruption. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which has since been signed into law, extends short-term government funding through March 23, creates a multi-year framework to secure and increase funding for essential health programs, reduces administrative burdens on clinicians, and expands Medicare coverage for services provided to patients with multiple chronic diseases. But, it does even more than that! Read ACP's reaction to passage of the bill.

Key ACP Policy “Wins” in the Budget Agreement:

  • Extends CHIP: Reauthorizes the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for another four years, in addition to the 6-year extension already enacted by Congress; thereby, funding the program for a total of 10 years.
  • Allows Greater Funding for Health Programs: Increases budget caps (statutory dollar limits on how much Congress is allowed to spend) in 2018 and 2019 for both domestic spending and defense spending, with billions of dollars more being specifically directed to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and programs to address the opioid epidemic.
  • Extends Key Workforce Programs: Reauthorizes for two years the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) program, and Community Health Centers (CHCs)-all of which provide valuable resources for vulnerable communities across the nation and help train the next generation of primary care physicians.
  • Improves Coverage for Chronic Care and Telemedicine Services: Extends the Independence at Home Medical Practice Demonstration Program, which provides a home-based primary care benefit to high-need Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions; allows Medicare Advantage plans to offer a wider array of targeted supplemental benefits to chronically ill enrollees; expands coverage of telemedicine services by Medicare Advantage Plans and Accountable Care Organizations; and beginning in 2021, payments will be authorized to physicians furnishing telehealth consultation services in all areas of the country for the purposes of diagnosis, evaluation, or treatment of symptoms of an acute stroke, eliminating current geographic restrictions.
  • Reduces Administrative Burden: Eases Medicare's regulatory burdens on clinicians, removing the mandate that EHR meaningful use/Advancing Care Information standards become more stringent over time. It also makes several other important improvements in Medicare's Quality Payment Program.

These wins for internists and your patients resulted from many months of intense advocacy by ACP and our allies, and especially, the phone calls, emails, meetings and other efforts from our Advocates for Internal Medicine members like yourself! Of note, the agreement delivers on 4 of our top priorities from last year's Leadership Day on Capitol Hill: reducing Administrative Burdens: Advancing Chronic Care Management; addressing the Opioid Use Epidemic; and Supporting Funding for Essential Health programs. We couldn't have achieved so much without you.

As much as you and we accomplished in the budget agreement, ACP is disappointed that the final agreement did not ensure that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients (including medical student and IM resident members of ACP) would be allowed to continue their studies and employment and have a path to citizenship; the agreement contains a substantial cut to the Prevention and Public Health Fund; and no policies were included to help stabilize the insurance markets. ACP will continue to advocate for these and other priorities; we know we can continue to count on you to do your part!



Free Access to DynaMed Plus Has Been Extended

Through an agreement with EBSCO Health, ACP members will continue to receive free access to DynaMed Plus through December 31, 2018. DynaMed Plus provides accurate, evidence-based content to help busy clinicians at the point of care. Seamless access is available from on-site, remote, and mobile devices.

ACP members should take full advantage of this benefit and sign up for their free account or reauthorize an existing account.



Innovations in Healthcare Education Research Conference

MCW is hosting Innovations in Healthcare Education Research Conference on April 26. Medical educators from Wisconsin and neighboring states will be presenting recent innovations and researches in medical education. The key note speaker this year is John S. Andrews, MD, associate dean for graduate medical education at the University of Minnesota Medical School.



In Closing

This closes the last issue of the ACP Wisconsin Chapter newsletter that I will write, as my term ends at the end of the Annual Meeting in New Orleans in April. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as your Governor for the past four years. Thank you for giving me this opportunity. It has truly been an enriching and rewarding experience to be able to work with a wonderful group of committed internists both within our Wisconsin Chapter and in the larger international ACP organization. I truly appreciate the support and counsel that I have received from my colleagues in Wisconsin, and I want to acknowledge the tremendous work that our Chapter Executive, Jenni Kilpatrick, has done and continues to do to support the high level of functioning of our chapter. We are fortunate as a chapter to have Noel Deep, MD FACP of Antigo as our next Governor. He begins his term with a deep understanding of the workings of our chapter and of the larger organization from his long and extensive involvement in both levels of the College.