During a meeting of the Assembly Health Committee on March 9, Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) President and CEO Eric Borgerding and other senior members of the WHA team testified in favor
of Assembly Bill 148
. The legislation, authored by Rep. Nancy VanderMeer (R-Tomah)—a former hospital board member at Tomah Health—would adopt five provisions intended to both support hospitals and providers while they continue the fight against COVID-19 and permanently remove regulations that have been barriers for care providers.
“We are pleased to note that all five provisions in Assembly Bill 148 have previously received support by Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature and Gov. Evers,” said Borgerding in remarks
to the committee. “And for good reason—they are proactive ideas largely born out of, or highlighted by, the pandemic, they leverage and apply lessons learned, and enable better utilization of resources by improving care.”
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, federal and state officials have provided health care providers with additional licensure and payment flexibilities that have removed unnecessary burdens on hospitals and helped to improve access while maintaining high-quality care for patients. The new legislation includes the following provisions:
- Permanently adopts, even beyond the public health emergency, temporary licensure processes established during COVID-19 for out-of-state providers with a valid, unrestricted license in another state;
- Provides payments to hospitals for Medicaid patients who are ready to be discharged from the hospital but await a post-acute care placement through Jan. 1, 2022;
- Provides payments to hospitals for certain outpatient care delivered to Medicaid patients outside the inpatient facility through Jan. 1, 2022;
- Clarifies the ability for hospitals to deliver hospital services in a patient’s home consistent with a Medicare-covered service, like those approved under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Acute Hospital Care at Home program; and
- Provides the WHA Information Center with Medicaid claims data, helping hospitals better understand how care delivered outside the walls of a hospital is impacting care outcomes inside hospitals to reduce unnecessary utilization and Medicaid losses for hospitals.
The legislation is scheduled to be voted on by the full Assembly on March 16.