Hospital, Health System Leaders Testify at Final State Budget Hearings

White, McKevett ask lawmakers to permanently reauthorize the Medicaid DSH Program

April 29, 2021

As the Legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee wraps up public hearings on the next state budget, two Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) board members testified before the committee in support of permanently reauthorizing Wisconsin’s Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program to avoid a $100 million cut in funding for Wisconsin hospitals.
“As a nurse leader at Mayo and as someone who donned PPE alongside our frontline staff, I am a firsthand witness to the commitment our hospitals, providers and staff made to serve the residents of Wisconsin throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayo Clinic Health System Northwest Wisconsin Region Chief Nursing Officer Pam White, testifying to the committee at its hearing at the University of Wisconsin-Stout on April 22.
“When there is nobody else to take care of you, there are hospitals,” said White. “We are the state’s health care safety net, just like we were your COVID safety net. But we cannot maintain this safety net without funding.” White said that if the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital program is not reauthorized, it would result in a $4.4 million cut to Mayo Clinic Health System Wisconsin hospitals during the next budget.
In a statewide virtual public hearing held on April 28, Beloit Health System President and CEO Tim McKevett testified on the impact of Medicaid reimbursement on Beloit Health System and how DSH funding helps offset these losses. “About 20% of our patient base is on Medicaid,” said McKevett. “On an annual basis, we lose $18 million below the cost of serving our patients on Medicaid.”
“On behalf of both Beloit Health System and the Wisconsin Hospital Association, I respectfully ask for your support to permanently reauthorize the Medicaid DSH program for all hospitals in Wisconsin.”
The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee has now completed its public hearings on the state budget and is expected to begin voting on the budget as soon as next week.

This story originally appeared in the April 29, 2021 edition of WHA Newsletter