WED AM News: Health care groups backing bill to overhaul psychology law; Baldwin plans to support USMCA

— Mental health care providers in Wisconsin are backing new legislation that would overhaul state law surrounding psychology and the board overseeing the practice. 

Dr. Heather Smith, an associate professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, says the bill would “greatly enhance” the ability of health care systems in the state to train and retain licensed psychologists. 

“AB 487 allows for updating of the Wisconsin psychologists law to bring it into accord with the psychology licensure laws of the majority of other states,” she said yesterday during a public hearing held by the Assembly Committee on Health. 

The proposed legislation has broad industry support including MCW, Marshfield Clinic, Rogers Memorial Hospital, the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division and the Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology. 

“As far as we can see, this has been a pretty popular bill,” said Dr. Greg Jurenec, a faculty member for the WSPP. He explained that several changes to state law over the years have lowered the standards for the state’s psychology license. 

“Starting in 2016 when the code was revised, we lost the ability to require a predoctoral internship, which was one of these core standards to practice in clinical psychology across the country,” he said. “The second thing that changed was the whole landscape of health care reimbursement.” 

He said insurers will no longer pay for services unless providers of counseling and other mental health services are officially licensed. According to Jurenec, an individual with a PhD in psychology who’s done an internship has significant experience and training. But since they don’t have a license, third-party payers often won’t pay for them. 

“That makes it hard to get a job, to get supervised and to reach the one-year post-doctoral experience,” he said. 

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— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin plans to support the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement when the Senate votes on the trade deal.

The proposal moved one step closer to ratification yesterday after the Senate Finance Committee voted 25-3 to send the version passed by the House in December to the full Senate floor.

Baldwin, who is not a member of that panel, in a statement yesterday said the initial deal negotiated by President Trump “fell short.”

But the Madison Dem lauded “improvements” made by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D.-Calif., and House Dems “to make this a better trade deal that I can support.” She cited the addition of labor enforceability standards as well as efforts to address “unfair” Canadian trade barriers and Mexico’s limit on the state’s cheese exports as factors in winning her support.

“I will vote for the USMCA, because it is a better deal for farmers, manufacturers, businesses and workers,” Baldwin said.

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— Wisconsin’s climate is expected to warm by up to 8 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050, according to Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts Co-chair Dan Vimont. 

“No matter how we evolve as a global society, by 2050, we can be planning for this,” he said during a recent meeting of the Governor’s task force on climate change, led by Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. 

Vimont noted Wisconsin’s climate has warmed by between 2 and 3 degrees Fahrenheit since 1950, roughly keeping pace with the global rise in temperature. As this trend continues, Wisconsin winters are expected to be up to 10 degrees warmer by 2050. 

Wisconsin has also become up to 20 percent wetter since 1950, and Vimont says the last decade has been “the wettest in the last 100 years, at least.” 

He told task force members “extreme precipitation events” are projected to increase by several measures, particularly the “really, really big events.” According to him, rain and snowstorms that previously came only once every several hundred years are likely to arrive every few decades by the end of the century. 

“Projections toward the end of the century suggest that today’s 100-year event will be more like a 20-year event,” he said. 

Still, he said the outlook for 2100 is inherently much more uncertain. 

Watch a recording of the meeting: 

— The Wisconsin Safety Council has launched a new website that covers training programs and safety services for companies in the state. 

The site also has details on member benefits and registration information including the group’s annual conference, to be held in Wisconsin Dells in April. 

See more event info and the new site here: 

— Summit Credit Union has opened a new location in Mount Pleasant, bringing its total number of branches in the state to 43. 

“We’re excited by our growth in this area of the state, and we look forward to helping new and current members with the services and resources they need to reach their financial goals,” said Summit CEO and President Kim Sponem. 

Summit is the state’s second-largest credit union, according to a release. The company has $3.7 billion in assets, more than 196,000 members and 636 employees spread across south-central and southeastern Wisconsin. 

See the release: 

— Madison-based Cellectar Biosciences has been granted orphan drug designation by the FDA for its cancer therapy drug in lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma,  the company recently announced. 

“The orphan designation from the FDA for LPL represents the sixth for CLR 131 and underscores Cellectar’s commitment to develop therapies for rare cancers with limited treatment options and high unmet need,” Cellectar Biosciences President and CEO James Caruso said in a statement.

Orphan drug designation provides Cellectar with seven-year market exclusivity benefits, increased engagement and assistance from the FDA, tax credits for certain research, research grants and a waiver of the new drug application user fee. 

The cancer therapy drug was previously granted orphan drug designation for the treatment of multiple myeloma, neuroblastoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, osteosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma in 2018.

See more at Madison Startups: 


# Breast surgery device by company with UW founders now in use

# Wisconsin loses 10 percent of state’s dairy herds as fallout from low milk prices continues

# Mass layoffs up in Wisconsin last year, most since 2015

# Logistics firm Trifinity moving 61 jobs to Kenosha from ‘triangle of taxation death’ in Illinois



– Badger State Ethanol surpasses one billion gallons of ethanol

– November cheese production rose in Wisconsin


– Wisconsin’s top SBA lenders recognized


– Beer garden, marketplace and Concourse E design on Milwaukee airport’s 2020 plan

– Work ramps up for Ascent mass timber tower in Milwaukee


– Baldwin supports new North American trade agreement


– Summit Credit Union opens Mount Pleasant branch


– Fond Du Lac hospital settles $10M federal lawsuit

– Dohmen acquires Delafield corporate wellness firm


– National media converge on Milwaukee ahead of Democratic National Convention: Slideshow


– ‘This is a key state’: Wisconsin officials reflect on importance of DNC

– Bill would create incentives to build in rural areas

– Democrats focus on Wisconsin for 2020 convention, election


– Arizona REIT acquires Mequon industrial building for $32.5 million


– Abbott gets FDA approval for less-invasive heart pump implant procedure


– This year’s ‘snow line’ across Wisconsin boosts winter tourism in the North


– Illinois-based logistics company relocating to Kenosha


– Margaret Krome: ‘Smart’ homes don’t seem so ‘smart’ to me

– Spencer Black: Tony Evers is establishing a strong — but not perfect — environmental record


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

Summit Credit Union: Opens full‐service branch in Mount Pleasant

WPS Health Solutions: Technology leader Teri Bruns joins WPS board of directors