Legislation repealing a sunset date originally inserted in 2021 Wisconsin Act 10 related to hospital-level services provided in a patient’s home cleared one milestone in the Assembly Health Committee by receiving unanimous, bipartisan support on Nov. 10. The legislation, Assembly Bill 679, was authored by Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton) and Sen. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield).
During a public hearing on the legislation, WHA Policy Counsel Laura Leitch and Senior Vice President of Government Relations Kyle O’Brien testified in support of this legislation. WHA said that the Acute Hospital Care at Home Program “remains a popular and important option for hospitals and their patients as hospitals continue to face capacity issues.”
Marshfield Clinic Health System Chief Medical Officer William Melms, MD, testified before the Assembly Health Committee on Assembly Bill 679 regarding the efficacy and success of Marshfield Clinic’s home recovery program. “Our patient satisfaction rate with home recovery is well over 90% positive,” said Melms. “While not a silver bullet, this program is popular with patients, providing them the choice to be closer to their family while receiving care, while also helping us alleviate higher patient volumes and capacity issues due to COVID-19 and delayed care that has occurred over the last few years.”
Gundersen Health System Vice President of Nursing and Patient Experience Andrea Hauser testified alongside Melms and Mayo Clinic Health System physician Dr. Margaret Paulson. “Our first patient actually was so excited about her experience that she shared her story with our local newspaper,” said Paulson about the first patient admitted into Gundersen Health System’s hospital at home program. “She shared that waking up at home, in her own bed, with her own food, helped her to heal more quickly. This patient shared with us that she was able to take the time to heal, in her own home, with the supportive help of our clinical team.”
Mayo Clinic Health System’s Margaret Paulson, DO, who serves medical director for the system’s hospital at home program, known as Advanced Care at Home, shared a story of a retired pastor in their community who had an infection that needed surgical intervention, but his family worried about his care at the hospital as the patient became delirious in settings outside his home. The care team, along with the patient and the patient’s family, all agreed that a hospital-at-home option would be best for this patient.
“When he came home, this man cried tears of joy as he was brought up the sidewalk to his house. His confusion melted away within a few hours,” said Paulson in her testimony to the committee. “We worked with his surgeon and team to ensure that this patient was getting all of the care he would receive in the bricks and mortar hospital, only in the comfort of his own home.”
Assembly Bill 679 will need approval by the state Assembly and state Senate before moving onto Governor Evers for final approval. If WHA members have questions about Assembly Bill 679 or state regulatory matters impacting acute care hospital at home programs, contact WHA Policy Counsel Laura Leitch