U.S. Congressman Mike Gallagher joined area health system and hospital leaders from the 8th Congressional District for a WHA health care roundtable discussion in Green Bay on Monday, November 5. The meeting was hosted by Aurora BayCare Medical Center and attended by representatives from Advocate Aurora, Ascension, Bellin Health, HSHS, the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative, and Thedacare.
The meeting covered a wide range of topics, with WHA members thanking Congressman Gallagher for his many actions this session to support Wisconsin health care. Members thanked Rep. Gallagher for his votes on opioid treatment reform, specifically, removing Medicaid’s ban on covering treatment in institutions of mental disease (IMDs), aligning patient substance use and mental health treatment records with HIPAA, and removing Medicare’s telemedicine geographic site restrictions for substance use treatment (see last week’s Valued Voice
for more information on these items). The group also discussed efforts to improve access to care in their local communities across the 8th Congressional District.
The 340B Prescription Drug Discount Program was another topic that WHA members thanked Rep. Gallagher for his support on, noting his co-sponsorship of HR 4392 which would reverse the more than $40 million in cuts made in the 2018 outpatient payment rule. WHA members provided updates on how savings from the 340B program have allowed them to add additional services in their local communities. Noting Congress’s desire for additional transparency on the program, they also mentioned the American Hospital Association’s work on Commitment to Good Stewardship Principles
(covered in The Valued Voice October 9, 2018
), which should give Congress a fuller picture of the benefit of the program nationally.
The meeting concluded with an update on the recently released 2019 Outpatient Payment Rule (see page 1). WHA members thanked Congressman Gallagher for signing onto a WHA-initiated letter to CMS expressing concerns over the proposal. They also asked for his continued support as WHA works to identify a legislative fix for CMS’s terribly misguided policy to reduce payments for clinic visits at off-campus hospital outpatient departments.
Congressman Gallagher thanked WHA members for keeping him updated on relevant issues and noted that he looks forward to continuing to work with WHA to identify solutions that improve health care for his constituents and the country as a whole.