On March 26, Governor Tony Evers signed 14 pieces of legislation into law—among them key Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) priorities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and legislation sought for several years to reform physician assistant practice requirements in Wisconsin.
2021 Wisconsin Act 10, which garnered broad, bipartisan agreement in the Legislature, puts into law the following three provisions:
- Permanently adopting, 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;
- Providing 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; and
- Clarifying 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.
Speaking to a group of 100 lawmakers and staff in a legislative briefing (see story on page X) on WHA’s 2020 Health Care Workforce Report, WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding said the licensure provisions in 2021 Act 10 are a “huge improvement to get some of those specialists and professions we try to recruit to Wisconsin up and running and seeing patients while applying for their permanent license.”
2021 Wisconsin Act 23
makes several changes to the regulation and licensing of physician assistants in Wisconsin. Among other things, the legislation creates a separate physician assistant (PA) affiliated credentialing board rather than the current PA oversight structure, which is a council to the medical examining board.
Most importantly for hospitals and health systems, WHA worked diligently with the Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants and the bill’s authors to create a physician/physician assistant collaboration standard that aligns with Medicare’s payment requirements.
To give regulatory agencies the time to create a licensing board, review current rules and promulgate revised rules in alignment with Act 23, the legislation has a one-year delay in its effective date and will be in effect on March 27, 2022.
Rep. Nancy VanderMeer (R-Tomah), lead author of both bills, applauded the governor’s action on Friday and said in a press release
that the legislation will “directly and positively impact those seeking care from health care providers in their local communities.”
WHA will announce member education opportunities in the coming weeks on both pieces of legislation. In the meantime, WHA Vice President of Education and Marketing Leigh Ann Larson
can answer member questions about these and other planned education opportunities.