WI Hospital Leaders Urge State Budget Committee to Increase Medicaid Rates

Hospital leaders speak at Oak Creek and River Falls

April 16, 2019

With the state’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee (JFC) traveling across Wisconsin to hear from the public on Governor Evers’ proposed budget, hospital leaders have gone out to meet them, urging lawmakers to make Medicaid rate reimbursement increases part of the Legislature’s budget.

On April 10, Seth Teigen of Ascension St. Francis and Franklin hospitals, Steve Francaviglia of Aurora Sinai and St. Luke’s hospitals, and Juliet Kersten of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin addressed the finance committee in Oak Creek, a city just outside Milwaukee. The group thanked Committee members for meeting with them locally and submitted a letter signed by leaders of 12 hospitals and health systems from southeast Wisconsin that urged the Committee to fund increases in Medicaid reimbursement rates that would help offset Wisconsin’s $1.1 billion hidden health care tax.

“More resources from the state Legislature through Medicaid reimbursement means more access to primary and specialty care for our patients—allowing us to expand efforts to treat the sickest of the sick while also investing in preventive care to keep parents and children out of the hospital,” said Kersten.

On April 15, Bruce Craven of River Falls Area Hospital and Steve Massey of Westfields Hospital & Clinic appeared before JFC members at UW-River Falls. “Wisconsin’s hospitals are committed to providing the best health care in the country and have successfully met that measure, ranking within the top four states for health care quality in 11 of the last 12 years,” said Craven. He and Massey delivered a letter signed by 31 hospital CEOs in western and northern Wisconsin that asked the Committee to find a way to include the positive health care investments from Governor Evers’ budget in the budget the Legislature will soon begin work on.

“While there continues to be a debate in the Legislature about how to fund these important priorities—we are glad that both parties have understood that Medicaid reimbursement rates are a problem that needs to be addressed,” concluded Craven.

The finance committee will wrap up its public hearings on the Governor’s proposed budget next week on April 24 at UW-Green Bay, and more area hospital leaders will be there to advocate for these important health care priorities.

This story originally appeared in the April 16, 2019 edition of WHA Newsletter