Position Statements

WAFP's Position Statement on Racism is a Public Health Crisis

Approved by the WAFP Executive Committee: July 6, 2020

The Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians (WAFP) supports and stands with our members of color and other minorities during this difficult time, and always. We also support and stand with our minority patients and communities. The WAFP affirms the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) statement, which reads in part:

“The American Academy of Family Physicians is deeply concerned about the prevalence of discriminatory and racist acts that are resulting in unwarranted deaths and marginalization of people of color. Family physicians across the nation are grieving with and for their communities, and we join with our members in speaking out against all forms or institutional racism. What is happening in our communities today, and what has been happening in our country for decades, is unacceptable.

Family physicians are uniquely woven into the social fabric of their respective communities. We take seriously our mission to ensure that all of our patients and their families feel valued and respected as equal members of society. We support family physicians in their efforts to actively dismantle implicit racist and discriminatory institutional practices in their communities.”

The WAFP and AAFP supports the recommendations outlined in President Barack Obama’s 2015 Final Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The WAFP and AAFP particularly agree with the statement that “law enforcement agencies should adopt and enforce policies prohibiting profiling and discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, gender, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, immigration status, disability, housing status, occupation or language fluency.” The WAFP and AAFP supports the universal adoption of evidence-based de-escalation techniques and use of the lowest level of force when force becomes necessary to maintain safety.

Racism is a public health crisis and action is required to establish equity in health.

·      We must acknowledge and speak out against all forms of racism, discrimination, and bias in our environments in our institutions, communities, and society.

·      We must stand in solidarity with the black community and speak out against unjust and inhumane incidents of violence.

·      We must demonstrate empathy and compassion and acknowledge the pain and grief that the families and the communities of these victims are experiencing.

·      We must take the lead in educating ourselves and others to address these issues head on.

·      We must be deliberate and partner with local communities, public health agencies, and municipal governments to dismantle structural racism and end police brutality.

·      We must employ anti-racist and unconscious bias training and engage in interracial dialogues that will dispel the misrepresentations that dehumanize our black community members and other marginalized groups.

·      We must move from rhetoric to action to eliminate the inequities in our care, research, and education of tomorrow’s doctors.

Racism has no place in our communities or at the WAFP. We stand united against violence, discrimination, and injustice. We will continue to listen and look at new ways to improve as we work toward inclusion and addressing socioeconomic disparities. Our shared values will lead us forward: health equity, respect, compassion, and humanity.

Statement Supporting Wearing Face Masks to Slow Spread of COVID-19

With the continued spread of COVID-19 in our state and across the country, the Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians supports the continued and expanded use of face masks. The proper use of face masks is vital to slowing the spread and avoiding further illness.

Family physicians play an important role in promoting the use of facemasks and combating the disease within their communities. The WAFP supports the CDC recommendations that everyone wear a cloth face mask when in public spaces. In addition to wearing face masks, we encourage all of our members and the general public to continue to refer to the CDC and your local public health department for current guidance on the use of masks, as there may be important regional differences in physical distancing and other regulations.

Some important reminders about virus safety and the use of face masks:

  • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
  • Cloth face masks may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.
  • CDC recommends that people wear cloth face masks in public settings and when around people who don't live in your household, especially when other physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
    • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face mask is not a substitute for physical distancing.
    • Cloth face masks should NOT be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • Non-healthcare workers should NOT use a face mask meant for a healthcare worker. Surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and first responders.

WAFP’s Principles for Reform of the U.S. Health Care System

The Principles for Reform of the U.S. Health Care System call for the following actions:

  1. Health care coverage for all is needed to ensure quality of care and to improve the health status of Americans.
  2. The health care system in the U.S. must provide appropriate health care to all people within the U.S. borders, without unreasonable financial barriers to care.
  3. Individuals and families must have catastrophic health coverage to provide protection from financial ruin.
  4. Improvement of health care quality and safety must be the goal of all health interventions, so that we can assure optimal outcomes for the resources expended.
  5. In reforming the health care system, we as a society must respect the ethical imperative of providing health care to individuals, responsible stewardship of community resources, and the importance of personal health responsibility.
  6. Access to and financing for appropriate health services must be a shared public/private cooperative effort, and a system which will allow individuals/employers to purchase additional services or insurance.
  7. Cost management by all stakeholders, consistent with achieving quality health care, is critical to attaining a workable, affordable and sustainable health care system.
  8. Less complicated administrative systems are essential to reduce costs, create a more efficient health care system, and maximize funding for health care services.
  9. Sufficient funds must be available for research (basic, clinical, translational and health services), medical education, and comprehensive health information technology infrastructure and implementation.
  10. Sufficient funds must be available for public health and other essential medical services to include, but not be limited to, preventive services, trauma care and mental health services.
  11. Comprehensive medical liability reform is essential to ensure access to quality health care.

Additional Principles adopted by Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians:

  1. Reimbursement reform should recognize changes in providing health care services consistent with the Medical Home concepts
    • Any comprehensive health care reform needs to emphasize the patient-centered medical home. The patient-centered medical home delivers the safest and highest quality care of any currently studied model. The resulting coordination of care minimizes waste and maximizes value through a relationship based on trust and enhanced by use of technology. To function, this system requires payment reform that will attract new physicians into primary care and retain those already practicing in Wisconsin.
  2. Incentives for obtaining and providing coverage such as tax advantaged premiums for individuals and businesses as well as Health Savings Accounts, Medical Savings Accounts, Health Reimbursement Accounts, Flexible Spending Accounts, etc. should be considered.
  3. Health Care Reform packages should include incentives for wellness, preventive care, and appropriate management of chronic conditions.
  4. Primary Care Physicians should be partners in assuring that Quality Initiatives, Health Promotion, and Health Prevention are encouraged for the entire population.
  5. Health Care Reform should retain a pluralistic health care system that promotes competition based on quality and cost.

WAFP Position Statements

The Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians actively pursues and supports legislation to:

  • Increase access to affordable, quality and comprehensive health care.
  • Successfully address the severe shortage of primary care physicians in Wisconsin.
  • Significantly improve the overall health of Wisconsin and its citizens.

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