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.
Physicians who were previously ineligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program may now qualify under a temporary opportunity announced yesterday by Federal Student Aid. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 has made possible limited funding on a first-come, first-serve basis for loan forgiveness of some or all payments of Federal Direct loans.
To find out if you are eligible, to learn more about the program or to apply, visit StudentAid.gov. Borrowers with questions also may contact FedLoan Servicing at 855.265.4038 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday.
WNS sends deepest condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Norman Clark Reynolds, who passed away earlier this year.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, April 14th, at 11:00 AM CT at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Milwaukee.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to St. Mark's Episcopal Churchwhere he dedicated much of his time in his post-retirement years.
Obituary for Norman Clark Reynolds , Jr. can be found here: http://www.coxgiffordseawinds.com/obituary/norman-reynolds-jr
Dr. Reynolds is pictured above when he was President of the WNS in 2008 at the annual meeting.
The Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund (Fund) Board this week approved a 10 percent decrease in Fund fees for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. This is the sixth decrease approved by the Fund Board in as many years.
Wisconsin’s excellent medical liability environment is good for your organization’s business: money not spent to obtain coverage and settle claims can be allocated to improve quality and the overall patient experience.
Your Wisconsin Medical Society (Society) continues to work vigilantly to preserve Wisconsin’s relatively stable medical liability environment, most recently by filing amicus briefs at both the appellate and Supreme Court level in Mayo v. the Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund—a case that has challenged the constitutionality of the state’s cap on noneconomic damages in medical liability cases. We are also maintaining our active involvement in the primary insurance market, working with our exclusive partner, ProAssurance. Additionally, the WMS Holdings Risk Purchasing Group and Captive are designed to help health systems decrease liability costs and improve quality and efficiency.
The Society was influential in obtaining this rate reduction through its participation on the Fund Board. This is a great example of how the Society’s advocacy efforts—which the profits generated by Wisconsin Medical Society Insurance & Financial Services help support—benefit the medical community in Wisconsin.
Don't hesitate to email me or call me at 608.442.3738 if you have any questions about this or for other insurance-related matters.
Very truly yours, Shawna Bertalot, President
Wisconsin Medical Society Insurance and Financial Services
Join WNS at the 2018 Annual Conference
at the Osthoff Resort, Elkhart Lake, WI
This year’s meeting promises to continue the tradition of offering high-quality education to neurologists while at the same time offering product representatives an opportunity to interact with health care providers in a relaxed atmosphere.
Exhibit displays include:
8’ skirted table with two chairs and electricity if requested.
Two representatives allowed per space. If more than two representatives wish to attend, additional registration badges may be purchased.
Non-competitive exhibitor viewing times.
Roster of attendees distributed at the time of the meeting.
Complimentary meals and refreshments during exhibit hours.
Inclusion in the exhibitor listing on the WNS website.
Attendance at the Friday evening reception.
$1000 Profit Organizations
$500 Non Profit Organizations
SAVE THE DATE for the 2018 Annual Conference at the Osthoff Resort, October 19-20, 2018. More details regarding speakers and presentations bringing you the most up to date information on our neurology practice coming soon! The 2018 Conference will again include the Forster Award and the Bennett Hiner Award - details here.
If you haven't, now is the time to join and support your Wisconsin Neurological Society! Be sure to get CURRENT with your professional state society! By joining or renewing today, membership provides a great member discount at the WNS Conference, and you are current until December 31, 2018! *Please note, WNS membership for residents has mid-year renewal.
The Society continues to work toward advancing the field of Neurology in Wisconsin through educational opportunities, creating a professional network, and the sharing of scientific information.
WNS current members - You can also login and renew using your username.
Need an invoice for payment or need to apply for 2018 membership? - Use the online application or download and fill out the paper application.
Thank you in advance for your membership with the Society! We look forward to a successful 2018 working with you.
LOCATION & LODGING for the 2018 Annual Conference
It's never to early to book your hotel room! Rooms are now available at the Osthoff Resort at the special group rate of $139 for one bedroom suites, and $159 for two bedroom suites. To guarantee this rate, and to ensure a room will be available, reservations must be made by September 19, 2018.
To make your reservation, please call 800-876-3399 and press prompt #1, state that you are with WI Neurological Society.
For driving directions please visit: www.osthoff.com/directions
Questions?If you have any questions regarding the WNS Annual Conference, please contact the WNS office at 920-560-5622 or email WNS@badgerbay.co.
563 Carter Court, Suite B, Kimberly, WI 54136
Phone: 920-560-5622 | Fax: 920-882-3655