On Tuesday, April 8, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed three bills that are of particular interest to the health care industry. 

SB560.  This bill brings Wisconsin regulations more in line with federal regulations in an attempt to alleviate the difficulties of complying with sometimes inconsistent state and federal law.  The full text of SB560 is available here.  As the legislature and industry experts continue to clarify several key aspects of this law, we will provide updates as details emerge.

AB453.  Under this law, a covered entity or a business associate of a covered entity that uses, discloses or requests disclosure of PHI in a patient health record or mental health treatment record is exempt from the confidentiality requirements of Wis. Stat. § 146.82 if the use, disclosure or request complies with relevant federal regulations and is made for the purposes of treatment, payment or health care operations, as defined by the federal HIPAA law.  The full text of the bill may be viewed here.

AB120.  As a part of the same legislative package, Gov. Walker signed 2013 Assembly Bill 120, the so-called “Doctor Apology” bill.  As drafted, the bill provides that a “statement, gesture or conduct” that expresses apology, benevolence, compassion, condolence, fault, liability, remorse, responsibility or sympathy to a patient or patient’s relative or representative is not admissible in any civil action or administrative hearing regarding the health care provider as evidence of liability.  The bill may be reviewed here.