Recent legislative advocacy efforts by MCW faculty members

Dec. 03, 2013 College News - 2013 has been a busy year for everyone at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), and the last month has been no exception for MCW’s Office of Government & Community Relations (GCR).  The entire GCR team would like to take this opportunity to highlight the following MCW faculty members for their outstanding legislative advocacy efforts:

The Cancer Treatment Fairness Act

Recently, Dr. James Thomas and Dr. Douglas Rizzo, both MCW faculty members, participated in separate public hearings at the State Capital in Madison to advance health insurance coverage parity between intravenous and oral forms of chemotherapy.  

On Oct. 9, James Thomas, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine (Hematology and Oncology), testified before the Senate Committee on Insurance.  Dr. Thomas also is Section Head of Solid Tumor Oncology and Director of Clinical Investigation at the MCW Cancer Center. Dr. Thomas’ testimony was covered by Wisconsin Public Radio News.

On Oct. 29, Parameswaran Hari, MD, Professor of Medicine (Hematology and Oncology), discussed the importance of the Cancer Treatment Fairness Act in an interview with Fox/Channel 6 reporters.  The video of Dr. Parameswaran’s comments can be found here.

On Nov. 13, Douglas Rizzo, MD, MS, Professor of Medicine (Hematology and Oncology) and Associate Scientific Director of the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research, testified before the Assembly Committee on Health in favor of the Cancer Treatment Fairness Act.  Dr. Rizzo’s testimony was also covered by Wisconsin Public Radio News.

Child Psychiatry Consultation Program

On Oct. 22, Jon Lehrmann, MD, Chairman and the Charles E. Kubly Chairman Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, testified before the Assembly Committee on Health in support of the creation of a child psychiatry consultation program for the State of Wisconsin.

MCW’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, in partnership with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, jointly administer the Charles E. Kubly Child Psychiatry Access Project.  This project started in 2013 due to a generous gift from Michael and Billie Kubly, and is one of two child psychiatry consultation programs currently operating in the state.  This pilot program is designed to improve and expand mental health care to children by providing pediatricians increased access to child psychiatrists. 

Prior to beginning the project just over a year ago, 92% of the clinicians utilizing the project initially reported being unable to meet the needs of children with psychiatric issues, and also stated there were no easily accessible mental health resources in the Milwaukee region, creating frustration and a deficit of necessary care. A year later, however, these clinicians are reporting significantly increased levels of confidence in treating a variety of mental health care needs.

Dr. Lehrmann’s testimony highlighted the MCW/CHW successes through the Charles E. Kubly Child Psychiatry Access Project, as well as advocated for the important benefits of creating a similar program on the state level.  In recent weeks, the legislation unanimously passed the Assembly Committee on Health.  The legislation was then forwarded onto the full State Assembly for consideration, where it also received a unanimous vote of 94-0.  The bill is now under consideration by the State Senate.

Influenza legislation

On Nov. 13, the Assembly Committee on Health held a public hearing on Assembly Bill 247, legislation that would prohibit MCW and all other health care providers in the state from requiring influenza vaccinations for employees.  MCW faculty member Siddhartha Singh, MD, MS, Associate Chief Medical Officer and Associate Professor of Medicine, submitted written testimony to the Health Committee in opposition to this legislation. Dr. Singh’s testimony highlighted the public health importance and effectiveness of vaccination programs, along with its alignment with the ethical principles of the various healthcare professions.



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