Bradley Burmeister, MD, Emergency Medicine Delegate to WMS
The Wisconsin Medical Society House of Delegates met on Sunday, April 7, 2019. Several Emergency physicians participated in the annual policy-making function of the society. Three resolutions introduced and sponsored by WACEP were discussed and accepted as policy.
The first resolution, Assessing Medical Stability of Patients with Acute Mental Health Needs in the Emergency Department, seeks to form consensus principles on the utility of the Emergency department to provide medical clearance and hopefully expedite the process to make it more patient-centered.
The second resolution, Addressing Mental Health Treatment Barriers Created by the Medicaid IMD Exclusion, asks the Society to provide information on the exclusion to interested membership and support a Medicaid waiver demonstration application that seeks to receive federal financial participation for Institutions for Mental Diseases services provided to Medicaid beneficiaries. The IMD exclusion is a decades-old law that was intended to pass the cost of mental health treatment to the states. It prevents federal Medicaid dollars from be utilized for certain inpatient psychiatric care. This exclusion has contributed to the challenges of financing, and therefore placement of inpatient psychiatric care for the Medicaid population.
The final resolution seeks to revise the Wisconsin Psychiatric Bed Locator. This portal is meant to provide up-to-date information on psychiatric bed availability; however the information available is not always up-to-date or accurate, and the system has not been utilized by most emergency departments. This resolution brings together psychiatrist and emergency physicians to help improve effectiveness of the application.
Lastly, the WMS Board presented an informational report outlining a proposed revision of the organization’s Constitution and Bylaws, whereby the policy-making body of the Society would transfer from the House of Delegates model to the Board of Directors. It was reported that several other states have successfully transitioned to this governance model. The new process would seek input from members throughout the year, rather than once per year as is done under the current model, and would provide a significant cost-savings to the organization. The proposal will be discussed and potentially voted on at the 2020 House of Delegate meeting next April.
If you have any interest in collaborating on behalf of emergency physicians at the Wisconsin Medical Society or beyond, or if you’d like further information on the items of business discussed at this year’s House of Delegates, please feel free to contact me.