Wisconsin's "Doctor Day" Advocacy at the Capitol

Doctor Day provides a unique opportunity for physicians to come together to advocate on behalf of patients and the medical profession. It features a wide range of hosts representing state medical and specialty societies, county societies, health care organizations and strategic partners. 

Doctor Day 2022, again had to be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The day was emceed by Wisconsin Medical Society President, Alicia Arnold, MD and started with a keynote address from the State of Wisconsin Medical Examining Board (MEB) Chair, Sheldon Wasserman, MD.  Attorneys Guy DuBeau and Aneet Kau from the Axley law firm provided an update on the recent legal developments affecting healthcare.  JR Ross moderated the Policy and Politics discussion between Democratic Party of Wisconsin chair Ben Wikler and Republican Party of Wisconsin Chair Paul Farrow.  Finally lobbyist Ramie Zelenkova and Mark Grapentine shared an update on "Hot Topic" bills including efforts to extend Medicaid coverage and the APRN bill.  Dr. Arnold wrapped up Doctor Day encouraging attendees to get involved with their society's legislative committees and to find ways to build relationships with their State Senator and State Assembly Representative.   

Doctor Day 2021, just like most other events in the first half of 2021 was held virtually May 5, 2021.  the focus was on the priority issues of Telehealth and Medicaid.  Prior to virtual meetings with legislators attendees heard a keynote presentation from Dr. Susan R. Bailey, the 75th president of the American Medical Association, who presented on what healthcare will look like post COVID-19.  Members of the Joint Finance Committee, Representative Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam), Representative Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee) and Representative Greta Neubauer (D-Racine), participated on a panel moderated by Tim Stumm of Wisconsin Health News. Panelists discussed important budget topics for the 2021-2023 Biennial Budget.  The panel was followed by policy breakout sessions including topics on Public Health, Health Equity and Legal Updates.  There was a priority Issues Briefing before meetings with legislators.

Doctor Day 2020 focused on the priority issues of immunizations and the Clean Indoor Air Act. Prior to meeting with legislators at the State Capitol, attendees heard a keynote presentation from political pollster, Charles Franklin, PhD, who discussed polling data on Medicaid and Medicare, the upcoming elections and health care policy. Then, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz participated on a legislative leadership panel moderated by Tim Stumm of Wisconsin Health News. Panelists discussed the impacts of the divided government, e-cigarettes and youth vaping, the personal conviction waiver for vaccinations and prescription drug prices, among other topics. For the first time, Doctor Day 2020 included policy breakout sessions led by physicians and experts. Breakout session topics included Women’s Health, Public Health, Legal Update and the Surgical Collaborative of Wisconsin.

Doctor Day 2019 covered key issues of vaccines and the “personal conviction” exception to school vaccination law, as well as ensuring access to important Medicaid services by addressing historically low physician reimbursement rates. Nearly 400 physicians and students heard from Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm, and also participated in an issue briefing before heading to the State Capitol to meet with lawmakers. Gpv. Evers, who was introduced by his daughter Erin Schoenecker, MD, praised physicians for the care they provide and asked for their help in ensuring access to care.

Doctor Day 2018 brought more than 450 physicians and medical students from across the state to Madison to meet with legislators and their staffs. Key issues included a proposed Worker’s Compensation fee schedule, a bill allowing chiropractors to perform comprehensive sports physicals for high school and college athletes, and legislation removing the requirement for certain nurses to work in collaboration with a physician. Prior to meeting with legislators at the State Capitol, attendees heard from speakers including Gov. Scott Walker, who highlighted his Health Care Stability Plan to lower individual health care premium costs, provide seniors with greater health care stability, and protect those with preexisting conditions. He also discussed recent initiatives to combat the opioid crisis in Wisconsin. 

Doctor Day 2017 brought more than 400 physicians and medical students from across the state to Madison to meet with legislators and their staffs today. Key issues included the Heroin, Opiate Prevention and Education [HOPE] bills currently part of a special session of the state legislature, the potential for fundamental changes to the Medicaid program and promoting greater access to mental and behavioral health services. 

Doctor Day 2016 will be remembered for the increased interest and record attendance from physicians across the state. Over 350 attendees representing over 20 organizations attended the 2016 event at the Monona Terrace. Guest speakers included Lt Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, Dr. Tim Westlake and a panel of specialty society leaders presenting on their organization's legislative activities. Attendees shared their support of the legislature's HOPE (Heroin, Opiate Prevention and Education) Agenda.

Doctor Day 2015 was highlighted by a move to the Monona Terrace and the first time Governor Scott Walker presented to the group. "We believe the quality of health care in this state is a tremendous asset, not just to our quality of life but to economic development," Gov. Walker said, adding that access to quality health care is a "must" for businesses looking to grow in or move to Wisconsin. "It's a real premium...that's why we want to continue to partner with you and the systems and organizations you represent." The event also featured presentations and discussion with Legislative leaders Senators Leah Vukmir and Jennifer Schilling. The 250+ attendees ended the day with legislative visits to the Capital. Key issues discussed included proposed changes to Wisconsin's Worker's Compensation system, opposition to a proposal to expand the scope of and create independent practice for advanced practice nurses, and support of a proposal to implement an Interstate Licensing Compact - an optional, alternative pathway for qualified physicians to become licensed in multiple states in an expedited manner.

Doctor Day 2014 The first Doctor Day was held February 12, 2014. Over 150 physicians from a number of organizations started their day at the Overture Center in Madison. The event featured presentations by a variety of physician leaders - including Dr Eric Severson (Assembly Health Committee Chair) and Dr Ken Simons (Chair of the Medical Examining Board). Attendees proceeded to meet with legislators to discuss a variety of issues of shared interest.