During a recent meeting of the WHA Post-Acute Care Workgroup, Cassie Stremer, team leader for post-acute care for Bellin Health, and Mandi Pericak, manager for post-acute care for Gundersen Health System, provided the workgroup with an informative overview of their early experience with the current Wisconsin National Guard deployments aimed at decompressing hospitals. For a variety of reasons, nursing homes across the state have not been admitting some patients who are ready to be discharged from a hospital but need nursing home services post-discharge, creating a bottleneck for patients in the hospital and affecting hospital capacity.
Stremer and Pericak described working with their local nursing homes that have newly expanded capacity to accept discharges from hospitals. Over the last several weeks, National Guard service members have received nurse aide training and are being assigned to one of several nursing homes that have identified to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) a significant number of closed beds in their facility that could be opened with additional staffing. Regarding the deployments, the workgroup also heard about the DHS Jan. 13, 2022, webinar that included information about the Wisconsin National Guard volunteer force, training and assignments. A recording of that webinar is available here
The workgroup discussed its priority issues and goals for 2022, including the annual WHA Post-Acute Care Conference scheduled for August. Workgroup Chair Diane Ehn, vice president of post-acute care for Froedtert Health, led discussions about identifying placement barriers and expectations for care transitions. Finally, the workgroup received updates about the DHS agency staffing assistance, Medicaid payments for prolonged stays, acute hospital care at home legislation and WisCaregivers 2.0.