Rep. Nancy VanderMeer to Hospitals: “Thank you for your commitment during ever-changing challenges”
Nursing home bottlenecks, discharge delays, licensure processing and insurance barriers discussed at PPC
Wisconsin State Representative and former Tomah Health board member Nancy VanderMeer (R-Tomah) joined a meeting of WHA’s Public Policy Council (PPC) on Sept. 1. During her comments, Rep. VanderMeer highlighted her appreciation for the work of the state’s hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic and her support of key funding and public policy initiatives supporting Wisconsin hospitals.
VanderMeer, who served as lead author of COVID-19 response legislation from earlier this year, discussed the importance of these provisions, especially those related to streamlined licensure processes for out-of-state health care providers and a provision that provides reimbursement to hospitals when they cannot locate a skilled nursing facility bed to place a Medicaid patient ready for discharge.
Related to workforce, VanderMeer, who has authored the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact and the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact in Wisconsin, told the PPC that she plans to continue this work with other health care professionals, initially with occupational therapists and speech pathologists.
VanderMeer, who represents the areas surrounding Fort McCoy, provided valuable information to council members about what she has heard from leadership at Fort McCoy regarding the Afghan refugee resettlement mission. VanderMeer appreciated hearing from hospital representatives who expressed concerns regarding care capacity, especially for complicated births. WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding led a conversation with Rep. VanderMeer regarding WHA’s engagement with both federal and state officials to share information from the state’s hospitals as they care for Afghan refugee needs that exceed any capacity that might exist at Fort McCoy.
Tia Meyer, operations administrator at Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse, discussed challenges her system’s hospitals are experiencing right now with discharging patients due to lack of nurse home capabilities, unnecessarily long insurance prior authorization and delays in county guardianship processes—in one instance causing a patient to have his discharge delayed by 55 days. Meyer talked about the impact that these delays have on patients and providers alike.
Policy Agenda Filled with Proactive Solutions to Address Key Challenges
WHA’s plate remains full going into the fall legislative session, driven by member concerns on various issues impacting patient access to care, provider licensure, insurance related burden and general hospital operations. WHA’s Joanne Alig and Kyle O’Brien led a discussion with council members regarding significant patient safety concerns being expressed by WHA members related to an insurance process called “white bagging.” According to a recent report, 83% of hospitals surveyed said that specialty medications delivered to them for patient administration through this process did not arrive on time, and another 66% of hospitals said that they have received the wrong dose.
In addition, WHA’s Laura Leitch discussed challenges heard from WHA’s Post-Acute Care Workgroup members regarding discharge delays related to the guardianship process in Wisconsin. Leitch discussed potential policy solutions that could help ensure patients receive the right care in the most appropriate care setting.
Finally, WHA’s Ann Zenk discussed recurring challenges that hospitals continue to experience related to processes for health care providers seeking to become newly licensed in Wisconsin. Zenk highlighted recent interactions and communications with the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) that have resulted in a new commitment by the department to prioritize health care provider licenses.
Zenk then outlined the strategies WHA is pursuing to sustain the long-term strength of the state’s health care workforce, including making 2010 Wisconsin Act 10 licensure provisions more visible to applicants and employers, working with DSPS on a software conversion to streamline health care licensure and creating better connection and understanding of the licensure challenges between DSPS and WHA members.
This story originally appeared in the September 09, 2021 edition of WHA Newsletter