Assembly, Senate Wrap Up Fall Floor Session

WHA-led team-based care, behavioral health priorities move forward

November 10, 2017

Wisconsin’s Assembly and Senate wrapped up their work for this fall legislative session by approving two key WHA legislative priorities, including legislation to reform Wisconsin’s emergency detention law and legislation clarifying the ability for advanced practice clinicians and other providers to order services for Medicaid enrollees. The Legislature can come back in 2018 for three general business floorperiods in January, February and March before they adjourn the entire 2017-2018 biennial legislative session.

On the evening of November 7, the Senate unanimously approved Assembly Bill 529, legislation that clarifies a section of Wisconsin state law referencing the ability for providers to order services for Medicaid patients. The bill, which was drafted by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and is supported by WHA, provides better clarification to health care providers that Wisconsin’s Medicaid program recognizes orders made by physicians and non-physician providers alike. WHA led a coalition memo and testified in support of the bill at both the Senate and Assembly hearings. Months ago, WHA met with DHS to begin discussing solutions to address the concerns being addressed by this legislation.

The bill does not change any provider’s scope of practice and maintains the already recognized Medicaid policy acknowledging valid orders made within a provider’s scope of practice under statutes, rules and regulations governing the provider’s practice.

Prior to being approved by the Senate, Assembly Bill 529 passed through the state Assembly November 2. The bill will now be sent to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature—which is expected to occur in the coming weeks.

In addition, the Assembly unanimously approved Assembly Bill 538, a WHA-led bill reconciling Wisconsin’s emergency detention law with federal EMTALA (Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act) requirements for appropriate transfers of patients and providing additional liability clarity for health care providers treating patients during a mental health crisis. The bill has been in development for several years in conjunction with WHA, the Wisconsin Counties Association and in consultation with law enforcement organizations.

Assembly Bill 538 was led by a bipartisan group of four lawmakers: Reps. John Jagler (R-Watertown) and Eric Genrich (D-Green Bay) and Sens. Rob Cowles (R- Green Bay) and Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville). The bill passed unanimously out of the full Assembly November 9.

This story originally appeared in the November 10, 2017 edition of WHA Newsletter