Saying high quality and accessible health care are important for rural residents, Sen. Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) met with Tomah Memorial Hospital board members and hospital leaders February 20. It was Testin’s first visit to Tomah Memorial since elected to represent the 24th Senate District.
Following a tour of the hospital, Testin and hospital representatives discussed a number of issues, including the ramifications of possible changes to the federal insurance exchange, Medicaid reimbursement and a number of items including health care workforce training as part of the Rural Wisconsin Initiative.
Testin admitted there has not been much public discussion on health care issues during recently held listening sessions throughout his district.
“So far there has not been a lot of talk because even on the state side, we are in a holding pattern waiting to see what’s coming down from the federal government,” said Testin. He said most residents are concerned about fixing roads and redistricting legislative boundaries.
“Anytime that we can make health care more affordable and deliver better care, I think that’s a win,” said Testin, who is actively backing the Rural Wisconsin Initiative aimed at building the future of rural Wisconsin. He said it is a “high priority” to get legislation passed as part of the initiative. He also stressed the need to look at preventive measures as a way to address health issues before they become major problems.
Testin said he is looking forward to working with WHA along with hospital administrators across the state to enhance hospital and provider reimbursement through the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program. He said it is important to consider the needs of hospital leaders to “make sure those funds are allocated to where they need to be.”
He also stressed the need for enhancing broadband connectivity throughout the state including rural areas like Monroe and Jackson counties.
Testin said he is eager to weigh in and work with the Joint Finance Committee to make changes and adjustments to the state budget. “Hopefully we will be able to hash out some of those issues over the next couple of months.”