Another year brought another Doctor Day, although under a slightly different format. Given the constraints of the pandemic, the May 5th event took place in an entirely virtual format. While Doctor Day organizers had some concern the success of the day would be hampered by its virtual presentation, post-event surveys showed attendees drew genuine value from the day’s programming. Family physicians again showed up in force with over 60 attendees, more than any other specialty.
The event began with a keynote address from American Medical Association President Susan R. Bailey MD, who discussed the importance of advocacy as well as the work done by the AMA at the federal level and through its member chapters in the states.
Members from the legislature’s budget-writing Joint Committee on Finance then joined for a panel discussion moderated by Tim Stumm of Wisconsin Health News. The panel focused on health proposals in the 2021-23 biennial budget, which the committee is currently constructing. Issues primarily focused on Medicaid Expansion, telehealth, and Medicaid rates.
After that, the event broke into three breakout sessions generally equally attended. The first provided an update on legal issues facing physicians. This session was presented by attorneys Guy DuBeau and Aneet Kaur of the Axley law firm. Both attorneys focus their practice on legal issues within the medical industry and have helped write amicus briefs on behalf of physician organizations.
The second was a presentation from Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson, who provided an overview of the actions local health departments took during the last thirteen months and how they can be better prepared for major public health crises in the future.
The third breakout session was about addressing health disparities in communities across the state, which was presented by Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes and Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. All three breakouts received high marks from survey respondents with a large majority of attendees considering them good or excellent.
The programming ended with an issue briefing from lobbyists for WAFP, the Wisconsin Medical Society, and the Wisconsin Chapter of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to prepare attendees for their afternoon legislative meetings. The issues included policy changes to encourage expanded use of telehealth and advocating for closer parity between Medicaid and Medicare rates.
In the afternoon, attendees met with the state senators and representatives virtually. Surveys indicate there were no bad legislative meetings, which is important in illustrating just how eager legislators are to hear from their constituents even if they have a difference of opinion.
While it was certainly a different format, Doctor Day 2021 was still a success with 100% of survey respondents indicating they would recommend the event to their colleagues in the future.
Organizers have already secured Tuesday, February 8 for Doctor Day 2022. Given the current forecast for the pandemic, the plan is to hold the event in person in Madison. So, mark your calendars and we’ll see you in February!
Contributed by Hoven Consulting.
Registration for Doctor Day 2021 is now open. Join your physician colleagues from across the state on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in Madison to learn about the latest policy issues facing Wisconsin’s medical community and meet with legislators. This annual event is important in showing Wisconsin regulators how much the physician community cares about protecting their patients and their profession.
On Wednesday, May 1, members of the Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians (WAFP) joined nearly 400 of their physician colleagues at the state capitol for Doctor Day 2019. The annual event brought together nearly 20 physicians’ organizations to advocate on behalf of patients and the health care field.
“Family physicians need to be advocates for our patients both inside and outside the clinic,” stated Dr. Lisa Dodson, President of the Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians. “When 400 doctors walk into the Capitol, it sends a strong message to lawmakers that physicians care deeply about the policies that affect our patients and our profession.”
Doctor Day gives physicians the opportunity to meet with their legislators and discuss issues within their field. This year, physicians discussed the current insufficient funding for Medicaid reimbursement rates and the importance of vaccinations in schools.
“Family physicians represented the largest portion of attendees among all physician specialties at Doctor Day 2019,” Dodson said. “I encourage all family physicians to attend this fantastic event next year. Establishing relationships with legislators is one of the best things we can do in ensuring the health of our patients well into the future.”
The WAFP is a statewide association of Family Medicine physicians striving to promote excellence within the health care field and working to improve the health of the people of Wisconsin through the advancement of the art and science of Family Medicine. With over 3,000 members, the WAFP is the single largest physician specialty group in Wisconsin. In addition to practicing physicians, the WAFP also supports education and research programs for medical students.