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News & Press: Legislative & Policy Updates

WPA Legislative Update, Fall 2019

Friday, November 1, 2019  
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Jerry Halverson, MD, FACPsych, DFAPA
WPA Legislative Chair

As you may have heard, our long-time public affairs councilor Eric Jensen was lost to cancer in September of this year. Eric worked on the behalf of Wisconsin’s psychiatrists and their patients and we deeply appreciate his leadership, his friendship and all of his efforts on our behalf.

Another legacy that he left us is the annual Doctor Day.  Eric was integral in the development of the annual multi-stakeholder nature of Doctor Day, which has been so good for advocacy visibility and the policy goals of Wisconsin physicians and their patients.

Prior to Eric’s untimely death, he had worked with WPA leadership on a succession plan that left WPA prepared and ready to contract with experienced Madison-based lobbyists Greg Hubbard and AJ Wilson from the lobbying firm of Hubbard, Wilson & Zelenkova LLC.  We have met Greg and AJ and followed through with the succession plan; WPA is fortunate to be solidly represented under the Capitol dome.

It is important that WPA have representation as there is always something going on at the Capitol, even when the legislature is not in session.  As an example, and something many of you have heard, a Speaker’s task force was formed to look at the issue of suicide. The task force released nine bills that they hope will decrease suicide in Wisconsin. Our WPA legislative committee is discussing the bills and the positions WPA should take.  We have also been involved with a Chapter 51 initiative with the Attorney General’s office that is likely to be a great opportunity for us to be able to improve the emergency care of patients in Wisconsin. These are just a couple of the examples of what we are working on.

Doctor Day 2020, it will be held on January 29 in Madison. Your participation is important. Please visit for information and to sign up. There is no cost, but registration is requested in order to facilitate the scheduling of legislative visits. I hope to see everyone there.

If you have interest in these legislative issues or anything related, please contact me or any member of legislative committee, which currently includes:

Jerry Halverson, MD. Chair
Angela Janis, MD
Jackie Landess, MD
Jeff Marcus, MD
Mara Pheister, MD
Ken Robbins, MD
John Schneider, MD
Justin Schoen, MD
William Swift, MD
Tony Thrasher, DO

You may also contact the WPA office at if you would like to personally be involved.