July 2, 2015
Volume 59, Issue 26

Assembly, Senate Leadership Announce Final Changes to State Budget
Finance Committee expected to finish budget work this week

Legislative leaders in the State Senate and State Assembly have announced a final budget deal that will pull out some controversial topics from the two-year state budget, including public financing for a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks and a change to Wisconsin’s prevailing wage law, which sets wage rates for workers on public projects across the state. The Assembly and Senate have both indicated they will take up these issues as standalone legislation.

The state’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee (JFC) finished the bulk of its work in May, including action to fund the cost-to-continue in Wisconsin’s Medicaid program and make the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program a permanent and ongoing appropriation. WHA’s Government Relations team expects both of these provisions, along with several other WHA priorities, to be wrapped into the final version of the bill recommended by JFC when they meet July 2.

When the same party is in power in the Assembly and the Senate, it is normal for legislative leaders in those chambers to want the Joint Finance Committee’s final substitute amendment to be nearly finalized, resulting in sometimes delayed action by the Committee. While this may take more time with the Committee, it also results in fewer amendments from the majority party when the budget bill goes to the floor of the full Assembly and the full Senate.

The State Assembly is expected to take up the bill first after it comes out of the Joint Finance Committee. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) has indicated the Assembly will meet either July 7 or 8 to take up the bill. The Senate will be able to deliberate the bill once it passes the Assembly. Once both chambers of the Legislature have agreed to an identical version of the budget bill, the bill is sent to the Governor’s desk where he has the authority to line-item veto specific provisions from the budget.

The state budget bill is required to be balanced and passed by June 30 of every odd-numbered year. If the bill is not passed by that time, the budget from the previous biennium continues forward until a new budget bill is signed into law. This is different from other states, like Minnesota, where the government “shuts down” until a budget is passed and signed into law.

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GOP Legislators Introduce Bill Prohibiting Mandatory Flu Shot Policies
WHA says bill interferes with employment decisions best left to hospitals and health systems

State Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) and Sen. Frank Lasee (R-De Pere) circulated legislation (LRB 0428/4) June 24 that would, among other things, prohibit any employer from demoting, suspending or discharging an employee for refusing to be vaccinated against seasonal influenza. The legislation would also prohibit an employer from denying affiliation with a network of similar employers based on the employee or employers refusal to be vaccinated against seasonal influenza.

Similar legislation was introduced last session by Thiesfeldt in the Assembly. The previous bill had a public hearing in the fall of 2013, where WHA Chief Quality Officer Kelly Court testified against the legislation. Nearly 30 individuals either testified or registered against the bill, causing the legislation to never receive a vote in the Committee and thus stalled the bill for any future action.

WHA released a memo June 29 to all members of the Legislature asking lawmakers to refrain from signing onto LRB 0428/4. The memo portrayed the seriousness of the seasonal flu, which caused over 4,700 individuals to be hospitalized in Wisconsin during the latest flu season (2014-2015). More than 540 of those patients were sick enough to require care in a hospital intensive care unit.

The memo from Court and Kyle O’Brien, senior vice president, government relations, stated that WHA opposes the bill “because it prohibits businesses from implementing conditions of employment that protect employees and patients.” It went on to read that the “Legislature should not be interfering with important human resource policy decisions of employers that are based on clinical experiences and proven standards of quality patient care.”

Wisconsin hospitals and health systems have been very successful in attaining a high level of immunization among their employees. During the 2014-15 influenza season, Wisconsin hospitals and health systems achieved an average employee immunization rate of 94 percent. These results are a contributing factor to Wisconsin being ranked by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) as the second best state in the nation for overall health care quality. 

WHA’s Government Relations team has and will continue to educate lawmakers about the unintended consequences of this legislation and the rights of hospitals to choose which policies are best for their employees and the patients they serve.

For a copy of WHA’s memo to the Legislature, go to www.wha.org/pdf/WHAmemo-flushotpolicies-6-29-15.pdf.

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WHA 2015 Nominating Awards Committee to Meet in Early September

The 2015 Nominating Awards Committee will meet in September to consider nominating a WHA chair-elect, at-large members for the WHA Board and candidates for the Trustee and Distinguished Service Award (information on these two awards can be found on the WHA website at www.wha.org/award-program-information.aspx).

WHA members interested in being considered for an at-large WHA Board seat or the chair-elect position should contact either WHA President/CEO Eric Borgerding at eborgerding@wha.org or WHA Nominating Committee Chair Ed Harding at eharding@bamc.org.

Nominating Committee members for 2015 are:

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Register Today for WHA Member Forum on AP Hospitalist Programs 

This three-part webinar series will address the use of advanced practice clinicians in hospitalist programs in Wisconsin hospitals and will examine a variety of practical and legal issues that must be considered when implementing such a program.

This WHA Member Forum is intended for and limited to staff of WHA hospital and corporate members only, as a benefit of membership.

There is no fee for WHA hospital and corporate members to participate, but pre-registration is required.

More information and online registration are available at http://events.signUp4.net/2015HospWebSeries.

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Grassroots Spotlight: Children’s Hospital in Washington DC

Brian and Kelly Lynch and their daughter, Cailinn, participated in Children’s Hospital Association’s annual Family Advocacy Day in Washington, DC. While in DC, they met with members of Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation.

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Walker Signs Legislation Impacting Out-of-State Ambulance Service Providers

In a series of bill signings July 1, Gov. Scott Walker signed into law Senate Bill 182, which allows an out-of-state ambulance provider to make a maximum of ten patient transports per year that originate and terminate in the state of Wisconsin without requiring that provider to be licensed in Wisconsin. The bill was authored by Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and Rep. Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville). 

Novak and Marklein brought this legislation forward after constituents in their district requested that an Illinois ambulance service provider be able to provide a limited number of services for patients in southern Lafayette County. Novak said the state Department of Health Services had now determined the Illinois ambulance provider was not allowed to provide services to Wisconsin residents because of a licensure difference between the state of Illinois and the state of Wisconsin.

“We all know that in medical emergencies, time is of the essence. When a life is on the line, citizens shouldn’t have to wait for emergency care because of government red tape,” said Novak in a press statement following the bill signing ceremony in the state Capitol. “At the request of concerned constituents, I brought forward this bill to make sure emergency services can be delivered in a timely fashion.” 

The legislation was supported by Lafayette County Sheriff Reg Gill, but opposed by the Wisconsin EMS Association. The law will be published as 2015 Wisconsin Act 26.

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Workshop for Hospital Foundations Focuses on Building Pipeline of Donors
Complimentary workshop offered August 20

On August 20, WHA, the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health (WORH) and the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative (RWHC) are teaming up to offer a no-cost, one-day workshop exclusively for hospital foundation staff and boards. “Prescription for Success: A Workshop for Hospital Foundations” will take place at the Riverwalk Hotel in Neenah.

This year’s workshop will focus on moving donors along the continuum of philanthropy. Experts from McDonald Schaefer and Thompson & Associates will discuss pipeline-building strategies at all levels of giving, including annual giving, major gifts giving and planned giving.

Again, due to the partnership and support of WHA, WORH and RWHC, this annual workshop is available at no cost to hospital and hospital foundation staff; however, pre-registration is required. The day’s agenda and online registration are now available at http://events.SignUp4.net/Foundation15.

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Call for Nominations: 2015 Global Vision Community Partnership Award
Nominations due to WHA Foundation by July 15

The 2015 Global Vision Community Partnership Award, presented by the WHA Foundation, is a competitive grant award presented to a community health initiative that successfully addresses a documented community health need. 

The Award, launched by the WHA Foundation in 1993, seeks to recognize and support ongoing projects that support community health. 

Any WHA hospital member can nominate a community health project. The project must have been in existence for a minimum of two years and must be a collaborative or partnership project that includes a WHA member hospital and an organization(s) within the community. 

Nominations are due July 15, 2015. Nomination forms can be found on the WHA website at www.wha.org/global-vision-comm-partnership.aspx. For more information about the Award, contact Jennifer Frank at jfrank@wha.org or 608-274-1820.

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WHA to Offer Webinar on DOL Proposed Changes to White Collar Overtime Exemption Regulations 
Scheduled date/time to be announced

On June 30, the Department of Labor (DOL) released a 295-page Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), seeking public comments on proposed changes to the “white collar” overtime exemption regulations. Nearly every employer and likely all hospitals in the United States will be affected by these revisions. The NPRM, along with a Fact Sheet and FAQs, are available on the Department of Labor’s website.

As a heads up, WHA will offer a webinar on this topic during the week of July 20-24. To allow the webinar faculty time to fully review the proposed rules and adequately prepare for potential questions, the exact date and time will not be announced until the week of July 13-17. WHA members will be notified as soon as the date is set and online registration is open and available.

With these being some of the most significant changes to workforce in nearly 50 years, WHA will provide education to our member hospitals as quickly as possible regarding how this will affect their operations by two of the most knowledgeable individuals on the subject matter. Faculty for this webinar includes two of the most preeminent human resource legal attorneys in the country, both with the Littler Workplace Policy Institute™ in Washington, D.C. Faculty includes Tammy McCutchen, former administrator of the wage and hour division at the U.S. Department of Labor during the Bush administration and a leading authority on federal and state wage and hour laws. Faculty also includes Michael Lotito, one of the nation’s leading authorities on preventive strategies in the workplace. 

Again, WHA will be offering the “DOL Proposed Revisions to “White Collar” Overtime Exemptions” webinar during the week of July 20-24, 2015. Exact program date/time will be announced the week prior, July 13-17, 2015.

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Member News: Moundview Names Heinz CEO

Moundview Memorial Hospital & Clinics’ Board of Directors has named Don Heinz as chief executive officer effective July 1, 2015. Heinz has served as interim CEO at Moundview since October 1, 2014. 

Heinz has more than 40 years of senior executive experience in academic medical centers, community hospitals and regional integrated health care systems. His health care focus includes strategic, operational and financial development and management. 

Heinz received his master’s degree in health administration and a bachelor of business administration degree in accounting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He joined Moundview in 2009 as chief financial officer. 

“I am pleased to serve as Moundview’s CEO and appreciate the support of the board of directors,” said Heinz. “I have great affinity for this community, our organization and staff. Moundview’s future success is dependent upon the collective efforts of our medical staff, managers, staff and board of directors. I am honored to work with them to continue to provide quality health care and build upon the legacy that led to the establishment of Moundview in 1959.”

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WISHIN Participants Gain an eHealth Exchange Advantage

The eHealth Exchange is a national network of providers, hospitals, health information exchanges (HIEs), federal agencies, etc. that share clinical information using a secure, standardized approach. The Wisconsin Statewide Health Information Network (WISHIN) now has more than 1,100 sites of care (hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, etc.), contributing data to the HIE. WISHIN’s participation in the eHealth Exchange means all WISHIN Pulse participant organizations can easily access the following features: 

For more information, contact Jean Doeringsfeld at jdoeringsfeld@wishin.org or 608-274-1820.

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