2020 WACEP President’s Report
Ryan Thompson, MD, FACEP
(Excerpted from the 2020 WACEP Business Meeting, September 15, 2020)
This has been an unprecedented year, with a myriad of challenges. COVID-19 has upended our state and our world in ways we couldn’t have dreamed of a year ago. So first I would like to thank each and every one of you for what you have done this year. Emergency physicians in our state stepped up in every conceivable way to face this challenge. Your ability to continue to provide incredible care to Wisconsinites despite the challenges of PPE shortages, despite the risks to your own health, and that of your families, even while facing budget shortfalls, constantly shifting guidelines, and a mountain of uncertainty, has been absolutely incredible. So thank you all!
This year of my presidency has certainly not been what I expected. My background is as an educator, and I was excited to bring that energy to this year’s Spring Symposium and continue to expand our Rural Outreach educational program. However, events conspired to cancel both of those events, and our focus by necessity shifted to advocating for our members and patients during a pandemic. I will be forever in the debt of my fellow physicians on the WACEP Executive Board and Board of Directors. Without their expertise and hard work, none of what we have accomplished this year would be possible. If you know any of these folks, please reach out to them with a hearty thank you!
I am happy to report that we have been able to have a big impact during COVID. We advocated for liability protections during the Emergency order, and were also able to convince the state to include emergency groups in eligibility for CARES funds. WACEP joined other medical societies in supporting common-sense masking and social distancing, and collaborated with the Wisconsin Hospital Association to produce a PSA reassuring Wisconsinites about the safety of our Emergency Departments despite the pandemic.
Beyond COVID, we’ve had great success in other areas as well, including state level advocacy, membership retention, and collaborative efforts to improve mental health care in Wisconsin. Despite the challenges of the year, I feel good about what WACEP has achieved, and I look forward to what we will continue to accomplish in the year to come.
Advocating for EM physicians and our patients requires us to have the means to get our ideas and advocates in front of Wisconsin politicians. Each of our board members has committed to donating to our PAC, and I would encourage all of our members to make a contribution as well—our PAC is what allows us to advocate for substantive change in the state. There are great things on the horizon in our state, but also significant challenges. A strong PAC will allow us to face those challenges head-on. If you feel that WACEP has improved your practice environment, please consider making a contribution today!