TUE AM News: Panelists agree improving rural health care will take new technologies, workforce solutions; Wisconsin Medical Society highlighting report on drug monitoring

— Improving access to rural health care will require leveraging new technologies and improving the workforce outlook for providers in these areas, a panel of experts agreed.

“The concern with the urban rural split is the delay in care,” said Dr. Erik Gundersen, the incoming president of the Wisconsin Medical Society and medical director for Kwik Trip Center for Health.

He spoke Friday as part of a WisPolitics.com-WisBusiness.com event held in La Crosse, focused on the health care divide between urban and rural parts of the state. The event was sponsored by Health Tradition.

“For patients living in outlying areas of the state, there’s certain logistical problems getting from one place to another,” Gundersen said. “But then there’s also the manpower issue.”

Dr. Paul Mueller, a top Mayo Clinic executive, says new technologies “need to be leveraged” to make it easier for rural residents to connect to care.

Because these patients face transportation challenges as well as a general lack of qualified workers in the healthcare field, telemedicine tools were highlighted as one solution to both of these problems.

“That relates to the discovery and research that’s really important in medicine, including in rural medicine,” Mueller said. “We have to understand, what are the best models of care?”

He described a “care coordination” approach being undertaken at Mayo Clinic, in which nurses track patient vitals before and after they leave the hospital with remote monitoring. That lets providers keep up with measures related to diabetes, congestive heart failure and other conditions.

“There’s this continuous flow of data while the patient is in their home,” Mueller said. “That keeps people out of the hospital. It’s more cost-effective; they don’t need to travel.”

He said telemedicine monitoring could enable remote care for stroke patients, newborns and mothers, and other patient groups.

See more: http://www.wisbusiness.com/?p=1424528

— The Wisconsin Medical Society is highlighting a new national report showing Wisconsin in the top 10 off states nationwide for use of prescription drug monitoring programs.

These programs include data about opioids.

Registrations with Wisconsin’s enhanced prescription drug monitoring program, or ePDMP, increased ten-fold between 2014 and 2018. Over the same period, the number of queries in the system increased from around 230,000 to more than 7 million.

The tool can be used by public health officials, law enforcement agents, as well as physicians and other health care providers, according to a release.

“Wisconsin physicians continue to step up to the plate as strong partners in the efforts to reduce the opioid epidemic,” said Dr. George Morris, president of the Wisconsin Medical Society. “Working with a variety of stakeholders, we are grateful for the continued bipartisan support and partnership for our patients.”

On the national level, PDMP use increased from 61.4 million in 2014 to 462 million in 2018. Over a similar timeframe, opioid prescriptions went down 33 percent between 2013 and 2018, from 251 million to 168.8 million.

Prescriptions for the overdose reversal drug naloxone have increased 338 percent between 2016 and 2018, the report shows. And the number of care providers that have a federal waiver to prescribe buprenorphine — a treatment for opioid addiction — has risen by about a third in the past few years, reaching 66,000 in 2019.

See more of the national numbers: http://www.end-opioid-epidemic.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/AMA-Opioid-Task-Force-2019-Progress-Report-web.pdf

See the WMS release: http://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/190610-Wisconsin-Medical-Society.pdf

— The Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce and Herzing University-Brookfield have announced a new scholarship for members of the LGBT community working in health care in the Milwaukee area.

The Pride in Healthcare scholarship will cover half of tuition costs, up to $15,000, at Herzing University’s campus in Brookfield for LGBT-identifying employees of three organizations: Aurora Health Care, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, and Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin. All three are members of the chamber.

Applications are being accepted until Aug. 2. All applications will be reviewed by a committee that will then choose recipients. Those selected must apply to Herzing University-Brookfield for the fall 2019 semester, in one of the approved programs, which include nursing, physical therapy, insurance, health care business administration and several more.

See the release: http://www.wisbusiness.com/2019/wisconsin-lgbt-chamber-of-commerce-partners-with-herzing-university-brookfield-on-scholarship-for-lgbt-health-care-professionals/

See more and apply here: http://go.herzing.edu/pride-Scholarship

— Joint Finance Committee Co-Chair Rep. John Nygren is strongly denying the charge that the state’s budget panel is looking to “(smuggle) into the budget” an amendment that would put in place new regulations on so-called wedding barns.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty was among a coalition of groups that in a letter this morning asserted that “there may be an effort underway” to include language in the state budget that would force the venues to obtain a liquor license before allowing consumption of alcohol on the premises. The Department of Revenue currently does not require wedding barns to hold such permits.

But in a tweet yesterday, the Marinette Republican called the contention “a boldface lie” and suggested that WILL was “looking to fundraise on this issue.”

WILL later indicated the letter was not specifically targeting Nygren or JFC members. Rather, the group had heard from sources inside the Capitol that the Tavern League — a trade group representing bars, taverns and restaurants that has been staunchly opposed to unlicensed wedding barns — is pushing for the measure to be added through the 999 motion. That’s typically the final addition to the budget while it is before the finance panel.

“It’s unfortunate special interests have been considering a secret attempt to do so,” said WILL Executive Vice President CJ Szafir.

The letter, WILL said, was an effort to prevent that from happening. The conservative group indicated that Nygren’s tweet actually showed they were on the same page as the JFC.

The issue of regulating wedding barns has been brewing for some time, even drawing a last-minute attempt last session to change state law. But that effort was dropped, and a study committee on the topic didn’t get anywhere.

Outgoing AG Brad Schimel issued a nonbinding informal opinion late last year that wedding barns needed a liquor license, a break with longstanding state practice. But a spokeswoman for Gov. Tony Evers indicated in March that the administration would not support such a change.

Read the letter:



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