Two WHA-Supported Bills Signed into Law

February 06, 2020

Governor Tony Evers signed two WHA-supported bills into law Feb. 5, continuing WHA’s successful advocacy for proactive, bipartisan health care legislation during the 2019-20 state biennial session.

Utilization of Advanced Practice Providers to Activate Patient Advance Directives-Based Care (Act 90)
Developed and advanced by WHA, Assembly Bill 287 addresses a regulatory bottleneck in Wisconsin’s health care workforce that results in unnecessary delays in acting upon a patient’s advance directive wishes for treatment. The new law, which was enacted as 2019 Wisconsin Act 90, helps address these delays by recognizing the education and training of nurse practitioners and physician assistants to make the medical diagnoses necessary to activate the patient’s written medical wishes. Under the law, a physician must still confirm the diagnosis, and a patient retains the option of requiring two physicians to complete any needed assessments.

“Removing outdated regulatory barriers and allowing our advanced practice clinicians to help patients with their treatment wishes makes good sense,” WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding said in a statement thanking Governor Evers and legislative authors for the new law. “This legislation is good for Wisconsin families, patients and providers, and it’s another in a growing list of examples of health care and elected officials working together in Wisconsin to enact sound health care policy,” Borgerding said.

The bill had bipartisan support from its inception, including Reps. Patrick Snyder (R-Schofield) and Steve Doyle (D-Onalaska) and State Sens. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville). The bill passed both legislative houses on bipartisan voice votes.

Harm to a Health Care Worker – Maximum Possible Criminal Penalty (Act 97)
Governor Evers signed into law as 2019 Wisconsin Act 97 a bill increasing the possible maximum penalty for intentionally harming a health care worker from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class H felony. Introduced as Senate Bill 163 by State Sens. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) and Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee), and Reps. Gae Magnafici (R-Dresser) and Cindi Duchow (R-Town of Delafield), the bill was originally drafted to cover harm involving nurses. At WHA’s urging the proposal was amended to apply to acts committed against any licensed health care professional working in a hospital. The bill passed both houses on bipartisan voice votes.

“In the face of increasing violence against health care workers, it is encouraging that a large bipartisan group of legislators and the Governor are coming together and agree that such actions are unacceptable,” Borgerding said in a statement following the bill signing, “especially when perpetrated against the dedicated women and men who care for our families and loved ones.”

This story originally appeared in the February 06, 2020 edition of WHA Newsletter