October 09, 2015

 Medical Licensure Legislation Will Benefit Patients 

I recently put out a column providing an update on the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, a piece of legislation that I co-authored this session.

Medical Licensure Legislation Will Benefit Patients
State Representative Todd Novak (Dodgeville)

Since being given the honor to serve as your state representative, I have strived to focus on health care issues which are important to our communities. I’m pleased to provide an update on one piece of legislation that I coauthored this session, the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact.

The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact seeks to increase access to health care in our state by making more physicians available, eliminating unnecessary red tape and streamlining the licensure process for physicians. This common sense approach to increasing access to healthcare providers is fully supported by the State Medical Society, the Wisconsin Hospital Association, and the Academy of Family Physicians.

This measure came about in an effort to address the current patchwork of state-by-state medical licensing rules. Such variances present a costly and time-consuming barrier to the practice of medicine for physicians seeking to practice in multiple states. The Compact legislation aims to address this issue by allowing for expedited licensing for physicians that are already licensed in another state. With the Compact in place, physician licensure can take place in a more timely-fashion, while maintaining Wisconsin’s high standards and accountability, in order to help ensure providers have the staff on hand they need to treat patients.

One of the main benefits of this bill is that it has the potential to increase access to health care and help address the physician shortage that is impacting our state, especially in rural areas. This effort is especially important to areas close to the border, such as ours, where providers are more likely to be drawing from a pool of physicians from other states.

For example, when one of our hospitals or clinics in Southwest Wisconsin is in the process of hiring a physician, it currently can take months, due to redundancies and red tape, to gain approval to practice in our state. This translates into delays in patient care. Furthermore, this hinders the use of telemedicine – a technology we should be focused on promoting, as it allows patients to receive care in their communities rather than traveling great distances. With this in mind, the Compact legislation has the ability to expedite physician licensure and help to ensure patients get the care they need, sooner rather than later.

It’s also important to note that under this bill no changes are being proposed to Wisconsin’s high standards for physicians. This streamlined multi-state licensing process is entirely optional for physicians and doesn’t place any burden on taxpayers.

One of my priorities as your state representative is not only to ensure health care is available and affordable, but also to ensure that state laws and regulation make sense. I am confident this bill addresses both by streamlining physician licensing, reducing barriers to the practice of medicine, and expanding access to the care we all rely on.

At a time when politics have become too partisan and divisive, it’s a relief to see this legislation garner widespread support from members of both parties. I am proud to say this bipartisan effort recently passed with nearly unanimous support in the state Assembly and is now being considered by the state Senate. I’m hopeful that this legislation will continue to move forward and allow our communities to realize its benefits.


What's Been Happening

I recently gave the welcome address to the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association District meeting, the WMCA works to improve the administration of local government and to benefit the City, Town, or Village Clerk, Deputy Clerk or any official having similar duties. There were 129 clerks in attendance, it was great to see and talk with so many of you! 


Tuesday, October 6th, we held our Public Hearing for the Speaker's Task Force on Alzheimer's and Dementia.  Thank you to all those that gave testimony: John Sauer, President and CEO, LeadingAge Wisconsin; Wanda Plachecki, Administrator-Lakeview Health Center-West Salem; Brian Purtell, Attorney, DeWitt Ross Stevens Law Firm, Executive Director of Wisconsin Center for Assisted Living, and Legal Service Director for the Wisconsin Health Care Association; Dr. Dena Green, Medical Director, Agrace Hospice; Cory Marsh, Aging Specialist, Rock County ADRC; Sanjay Asthana, MD, FACP Director, NIA/NIH Wisconsin Alzheimer's and Disease Research Center and Professor of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health; Carey Gleason, PhD,Executive Administrator, NIA/NIH Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.


Yesterday afternoon, I testified on AB 357, a bill that I authored. This bill will make it a felony to expel or throw any bodily fluid at a prosecutor, a protection that is already in effect for other public safety officials such as EMT's, police and correctional officers.  Dodge County District Attorney Kurt Klomberg testified on behalf of the bill as well. Our prosecutors have a tough job should have added protection in these situations. This bill addresses that, and will help protect our prosecutors.

Today in Dodgeville, I spoke with the Southwest Wisconsin Association of Libraries at their annual Fall Conference.  It was nice to be able to talk with all of you and give the lunchtime remarks.  Thanks for having me!


Today in Dodgeville, and Monroe, I had the remaining two listening sessions that were planned over the last 4 weeks.  I had a series of 6 listening sessions for the 51st Assembly over the last 4 weeks. These sessions were intended to allow for more face-to-face sharing of ideas, concerns and input. These are always great opportunities to connect more with my constituents; get input from them regarding state issues, engage in shared dialogue, and keep them informed at what’s happening in Madison.  Thank you to those that joined Senator Marklein and I.  


Giving welcoming address at the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association District Meeting Testifying on AB 357 at the Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety.
Listening Session in Monroe Listening Session in Dodgeville



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E-Update, please feel free to contact me.

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State Capitol Room 304 North - PO Box 8953, Madison, WI 53708
(608) 266-7502
Email: Rep.Novak@legis.wisconsin.gov