Dear WSPS Member,
Since the last update over the summer we have had no healthcare legislation passed. It appears that Congress is having a difficult time defining priorities in a new healthcare bill. From all perspectives, a consensus is not on the horizon either especially after the underwhelming response to the Graham-Cassidy bill. ASPS’s stance includes a number of challenges to the current healthcare law as well as those proposed during recent months. Despite this uncertainty, insurance products in Wisconsin appear to be consistent as fears of widespread market withdrawal has subsided at least for the time being.
On that note, a recent threat to our state’s tort climate has presented yet another example that any future federal healthcare legislation needs to address tort reform on a national level. A Wisconsin appellate court’s ruling that the current cap on noneconomic damages ($750,000) is unconstitutional (Mayo vs Wisconsin Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund) now presents a challenge to what is considered a stable medicolegal environment. This ruling puts the WIPFCF in peril and opens a door for frivolous litigation with unchecked settlements that at the end of the day make the practice of medicine more expensive for everyone in the state. There is no evidence that removing caps on such settlements improves delivery or quality of health care.
Currently, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has not indicated whether they will hear the case but most feel that this will be announced imminently. WSPS, along with other subspecialty societies in the state, has committed to participating in the creation of an amicus brief outlining the concerns of these societies with the appellate court’s actions. The American Medical Society and Wisconsin Medical Society have jointly filed an amicus brief to the Court of Appeals.
The impact of the appellate court’s actions certainly presents an obstacle in how medicine is practiced in this state. Just talk to one of our colleagues in the state just south of us. Make your voice known! Regardless of your practice model or political preferences these legislative issues affect all our professional lives in a profound way!
On a lighter note, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Although we impact so many spheres of healthcare as plastic surgeons, our role in the treatment of breast cancer is front and center. It’s important that we support the local, regional and national organizations that educate and support our patients facing this diagnosis.
Just a reminder that the WSPS Annual Meeting is Friday, April 20th at the Milwaukee Marriott West. We are excited to have Dr. Dan Del Vecchio visit us from Boston, MA. We encourage everyone to attend as it will be a fruitful, intimate meeting. More details will be revealed in the next couple of months but please mark your calendars!