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  • May 26, 2022 1:16 PM | Anonymous

    Grassroots advocacy is the most powerful tool WiAHC has at its disposal to shape public policy, and building relationships with lawmakers is the most important aspect of grassroots advocacy. In effort to capitalize on our greatest advocacy resource – our membership – WiAHC has established our Coffee Conversations with Legislators advocacy program.

    The initiative is designed  to help connect members with their local legislators. Under the program, the WiAHC Government Affairs Team will set-up in-district meetings between WiAHC members and state lawmakers who represent them in the Legislature. These meetings, which can be located at your facility, or a local coffee shop provide a tremendous opportunity for WiAHC members to build or strengthen their relationships with local legislators and to educate them on home health care and on policy issues important to home health care professionals and their patients.

    Obviously, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic can make it difficult for some in-person meetings, but depending on your comfort level with meeting face-to-face, WiAHC would encourage you to participate in this critical grassroots advocacy program.

    Please click here for more information on the program. Please contact the WiAHC office at wiahc@badgerbay.co if you’re interested in participating.


  • May 26, 2022 1:15 PM | Anonymous

    WiAHC is happy to remind members about and provide links to the latest articles and information from Home Health Care News , the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, and other publications:

    ·         Home Health Providers’ Referral Acceptance Rate Has Decreased by 15%

    Home Health Care News - By Joyce Famakinwa | May 19, 2022

    Patients being discharged from hospitals and into the post-acute space, including to home health providers, tend to be higher acuity and more complex than in the past. The findings are part of a new report from CarePort, a WellSky company. The report examines data from over 1,000 hospitals and 130,000 post-acute care providers and focuses on how the COVID-19 emergency has impacted care delivery. Read more…

    ·         Home Health Providers Believe Value-Based Contracts Will Represent Over Half of Business Soon

    Home Health Care News – By Andrew Nolan| May 19, 2022

    Value-based care remains a loaded term in the home health care industry. But nonetheless, its prevalence is growing by the day. Industry insiders have recently told Home Health Care News that likely less than 5% of industry business is conducted through value-based contracts. Contrasted with that is what 42% of providers say, which is that such contracts will account for over 50% of their business in the next three to five years. Read more…

    ·         Inflation Forcing Caregivers to Choose Wages Over Mission, Home-Based Care Providers Say

    Home Health Care News - By Patrick Filbin | May 12, 2022

    Strong reimbursement rates for Aveanna’s services in nearly half the states the company operates in have been a welcome change so far this year for the company. Its turnover and retention rates have also been in line with company projections, despite ongoing labor issues. Read more…

    ·         Home Care Action Alliance calls for collaboration to solve caregiver crisis

    McKnights Home Care – By Diane Eastabrook | May 19, 2022

    In a call to action Wednesday, home care industry leaders launched the Home Care Workforce Action Alliance to tackle the growing caregiver shortage. The National Association of Home Care and Hospice, the Home Care Association of America and Bayada Home Health Care kicked off their new alliance during a virtual press conference. The organizations called for a collaborative, multidimensional approach to attracting more workers to the home care industry. Read more…

    ·         NAHC: Congressional action on caregiver crisis looks bleak this year

    McKnights Home Care – By Diane Eastabrook | May 20, 2022

    A key leader of the newly unveiled Home Care Workforce Action Alliance doubts Congress will pass legislation this year that would funnel billions of dollars to home- and community-based services, and expand the direct caregiver workforce and improve the worker crisis. Read more…

    Home Health Care News, which is part of the Aging Media Network, is a leading source for news and information covering the home health industry. National Association for Home Care and Hospice is the largest professional association representing the interests of chronically ill, disabled, and dying Americans of all ages and the caregivers who provide them with in-home health and hospice services.


  • May 26, 2022 1:13 PM | Anonymous

    WiAHC recently established an exciting new legislative awards program to recognize and thank state lawmakers who showed support for policies that advance home health care in Wisconsin and are aligned with WiAHC’s mission.

    Going forward, WiAHC legislative awards will be given out every two years, following the end of each legislative session and will be broken down into two different award categories: 1) Champion of Home Health Care and 2) Friend of Home Health Care

    The selection process for lawmakers receiving a WiAHC legislative awards is based on several factors, including bills authored and co-sponsored, responsiveness to WiAHC issues, voting record on legislation important to WiAHC, and legislative leadership and key committee positions.

    Furthermore, legislators who who display exceptional support of WiAHC and home health care in Wisconsin are eligible for recognition as a Champion of Home Health Care. Legislators who display general support of WiAHC and home health care in Wisconsin are eligible for recognition as a

    Friend of Home Health Care.

    With that in mind, WiAHC is pleased to announce the following legislative award recipients for 2022:

            Champion of Home Health Care:

    • Sen. Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan)
    • Sen. Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma)
    • Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton)
    • Rep. Donna Rozar (R-Marshfield)
             Friend of Home Health Care:
    • Senator Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg)
    • Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green)
    • Rep. Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam)
    • Rep. Rick Gundrum (R-Slinger)
    • Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester)


  • May 26, 2022 11:02 AM | Anonymous

    Check your inbox… You recently revied an email from WiAHC with a link to our Legislative and Regulatory Priorities Survey that provides you – and every WiAHC member across the state –a great opportunity to provide your input on what policy issues are most important to you, your organization, and the Wisconsin home health care industry. The purpose of surveying the membership is to help association leadership develop the WiAHC policy agenda and determine what legislative and regulatory issues the organization should make a priority in 2023-2024.

    The survey, which will be left open through Monday, June 6, only takes a few minutes to complete and will collect valuable information used to help shape WiAHC’s advocacy priorities moving forward.

    The survey results will be presented to the WiAHC Legislative Committee and Board for further consideration. In addition to the member survey data, WiAHC leadership will consider the following criteria when finalizing the association’s policy agenda and issue priorities: 1.) The benefit to WiAHC members; 3.) The extent to which it will improve home health care in Wisconsin; and 3.) The likelihood of legislative/regulatory success.

    Once the WiAHC Board finalizes the policy agenda and issue priorities for 2023-2024, it will be presented to the full membership and used by the WiAHC Government Affairs team to  guide our advocacy efforts over the next two years.

    We value your input and encourage you to complete and submit the brief survey as soon possible.

    TAKE SURVEY


  • May 26, 2022 11:00 AM | Anonymous

    By Hoven Consulting – WiAHC’s lobbying firm

    • DHS Now Processing Higher Medicaid Reimbursement Rates

    WiAHC members are now reporting that they are finally receiving the following long-awaited payment increases from the state Department of Health Services (DHS): (1) the skilled nursing services payment increase included in the 2021-2023 state budget and (2) the additional five percent Medicaid reimbursement rate for home and community-based services, which was funded by the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).  In particular, DHS informed WiAHC on May 16 that they implemented these rate increases on April 29, 2022, for claims submitted on or after that date with a date of service of January 1, 2022, or after.  The agency is now processing adjustments for claims they received before April 29, 2022.  The processing of these delayed payments is a result of the WiAHC government affairs team’s advocacy before the state Department of Health Services (DHS). 

    If your home health agency has submitted such claims to DHS and has not received payment increases, please contact WiAHC Madison lobbyist Tim Hoven at tim@hovenconsulting.com or (414) 305-2011.

    • Real-Time Prior Medicaid Authorization Available for More Services

    As of April 5, 2022, the Department of Health Services implemented a real-time prior Medicaid authorization review and approval process for personal care services for Medicaid recipients who are 21 and older, as well as physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech and language pathology for Medicare recipients who are younger than six.  Once such a request is submitted to DHS, one of two things will occur:  (1) it will be approved automatically or (2) it will be reviewed manually.  While such a request could be denied after a manual review, a request will not be denied during the real-time review. 

    According to media reports, DHS is considering expanding real-time prior Medicaid authorization to other areas where prior authorization is needed. 

    • New Occupational Credentialing Application Website Unveiled

    On Monday, May 16, the state Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) unveiled its new online occupational credentialing portal – which is called “LicensE”.  This will replace their paper-based occupational credentialing application process.  At this time, most initial occupational credential applications in the health care field – including physicians, physician assistants, licensed practical nurses and registered nurses – will now need to be submitted via this portal.  The list of initial license applications that transitioned to LicensE on May 16 may be viewed here.  License renewals and other initial credential applications will move to the LicensE portal at a later time.

    • New Marquette Law School Poll Released

    On April 27, Marquette Law School released a new poll that surveyed Wisconsinites on their opinions of various national and statewide elected officials, as well as candidates for statewide office. 

    o   U.S. Senate Election – Democratic Primary 

    With respect to those voters who intend to vote in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senator Ron Johnson’s seat, Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes was the leading candidate with 19 percent, Alex Lasry followed with 16 percent, State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski polled at seven percent, while Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson followed with five percent.  The other candidates received one percent or less, while 48 percent of Democratic primary voters have not decided whom they will support. 

    o   Gubernatorial Election – Republican Primary

    In this poll, former Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch led her primary rivals with 32 percent of Republicans selecting her, former U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson polled at 10 percent and four percent selected State Representative Tim Ramthun.  However, 46 percent of these voters responded that they did not know whom they will support in the Republican primary.  This poll did not ask about recently announced Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels, as this poll was conducted between April 19-24 – before he entered the race.

    o   Current Elected Officials – Approval/Favorability Ratings

    At this time, Governor Tony Evers leads in popularity among elected statewide officials with 49 percent approving and 43 disapproving.  President Biden has a 43 percent approval rating and a 53 percent disapproval rating.  With respect to Wisconsin’s two U.S. Senators, 43 percent of poll respondents have a favorable view of Senator Tammy Baldwin and 36 percent have an unfavorable view, while 36 percent of poll respondents have a favorable view of Senator Ron Johnson and 46 have an unfavorable view of him.

    o   State Legislature Approval Rating

    In addition, the poll asked about views of the state legislature.  Poll respondents gave the state legislature a 38 percent approval rating and a 47 percent disapproval rating.


  • April 29, 2022 10:02 AM | WiACH's Office

    Grassroots advocacy is the most powerful tool WiAHC has at its disposal to shape public policy and building relationships with lawmakers is the most important aspect of advocacy. In effort to capitalize on our greatest advocacy resource – our membership – WiAHC has unveiled our Coffee Conversations with Legislators advocacy program.

    The initiative is designed  to help connect members with their local legislators. Under the program, the WiAHC Government Affairs Team will set-up in-district meetings between WiAHC members and state lawmakers who represent them in the Legislature. These meetings, which can be located at your facility, or a local coffee shop provides a tremendous opportunity for WiAHC members to build or strengthen their relationships with local legislators and to educate them on home health care and on policy issues important to home health care professionals and their patients.

    Obviously, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic can make it difficult for some in-person meetings, but as cases decline and depending on your comfort level with meeting face-to-face, WiAHC would encourage you to participate in this critical grassroots advocacy program.

    Please click here for more information on the program. Please contact the WiAHC office at wiahc@badgerbay.co if you’re interested in participating.


  • April 29, 2022 10:00 AM | WiACH's Office

    WiAHC is happy to remind members about and provide links to the latest articles and information from Home Health Care News and the National Association for Home Care and Hospice:

    ·       Home Care Providers Take Note as Medicare Advantage Grows, Creates Savings for Seniors

    Home Health Care News - By Joyce Famakinwa | April 23, 2022

    Compared to fee-for-service Medicare, seniors save close to $2,000 on average in total annual health care spending with Medicare Advantage (MA). That’s according to a new study — based on 2019 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey data — from Better Medicare Alliance. The study features an analysis conducted by the Washington, D.C.-based research and consulting firm ATI Advisory. Read more…

    ·       Home-Based Care Stakeholders Break Down ‘Uncertain’ Legislative, Regulatory Landscapes

    Home Health Care News - By Joyce Famakinwa | April 23, 2022

    With more eyes than ever on home-based care, there are a number of legislative and regulatory developments that will be critical for providers to stay on top of. For providers like Help at Home, which is working in the Medicaid space along with private pay, the short-term gains have been apparent. Read more…

    ·       What Innovative States Are Doing to Recruit, Retain Workers in Home-Based Care

    Home Health Care News - By Patrick Filbin | April 12, 2022

    Several states around the country are taking unique measures to combat the direct care workforce crisis in home-based care. And it would benefit other states and agencies to follow suit, according to a new report from PHI. Read more…

    ·       Bipartisan Push in Congress to Make Medicare Enrollment Easier

    National Association for Home Care and Hospice | April 25, 2022

    Legislation has recently been introduced that would work to improve the Medicare enrollment process for individuals nearing Medicare eligibility, aged 60-64. Longtime home care champions Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Todd Young (R-IN) are leading the charge for the Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification 2.0 (BENES 2.0) Act, (S. 2675). BENES 2.0 continues the theme of the original BENES Act, many provisions of which became law in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, in supporting individuals in their Medicare enrollment process. Read more…

    ·       HHS to Provide $110 Million in HCBS for Seniors & Disabled

    National Association for Home Care and Hospice | April 20, 2022

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it will offer more than $110 million to expand access to home and community-based services (HCBS) through Medicaid’s Money Follows the Person (MFP) program. Read more…

     Home Health Care News, which is part of the Aging Media Network, is a leading source for news and information covering the home health industry. National Association for Home Care and Hospice is the largest professional association representing the interests of chronically ill, disabled, and dying Americans of all ages and the caregivers who provide them with in-home health and hospice services.

  • April 29, 2022 9:59 AM | WiACH's Office
    • 2021-22 Legislative Session Recap: During the session that ended last month, 2,305 bills were introduced, 393 were passed by the Legislature, and 267 were signed into law by Gov. Evers. The governor also issued 126 vetoes, which sets the new record for most vetoes by a Wisconsin governor in a single session.
    • Wisconsin businessman Tim Michels recently announced his candidacy for Wisconsin governor, joining a crowded Republican primary for the state’s top elected position. Michels, who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2004, will face former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, businessman Kevin Nicholson, and current state Rep. Timothy Ramthun in the Aug. 9 primary.
    • Earlier this month, the Wisconsin Supreme Court adopted state legislative maps proposed by Republican legislative leaders, which was a reversal of the court’s earlier decision to accept maps submitted by Gov. Tony Evers. The reversal, which is likely to be the final decision on the state’s legislative maps for the next decade, came after the U.S. Supreme Court ordered Wisconsin’s high court to reconsider their earlier ruling.
    • The exodus of current state lawmakers from the WI Legislature continues, as Sen. Dale Kooyenga announced this week he will not seek reelection. Please find below a list of state legislators who won’t be seeking reelection this fall:
    • Wisconsin Senate:
      • Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls) – Retiring
      • Janet Bewley (D-Mason) – Retiring
      • Sen. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield)
      • Jon Erpenbach (D-West Point) – Retiring
      • Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) – Retiring
      • Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville) – Retiring
      • Roger Roth (R-Appleton) – Running for Lt. Governor
    • Wisconsin Assembly:
      • David Bowen (D-Milwaukee) – Running for Lt. Governor
      • Rachel Cabral-Guevara (R-Appleton) – Running for state Senate
      • Gary Hebl (D-Sun Prairie) – Retiring
      • Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton) – Running for state Senate
      • Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) – Retiring
      • Cody Horlacher (R-Mukwonago) – Running for Circuit Court Judge
      • Jesse James (R-Altoona) – Running for state Senate
      • Samantha Kerkman (R-Salem Lakes) – Elected as Kenosha County Executive
      • Mike Kuglitsch(R-New Berlin) – Retiring
      • Amy Loudenbeck(R-Clinton) – Running for WI Secretary of State
      • Beth Meyers (D-Bayfield) – Retiring
      • Nick Milroy (D-South Range) – Retiring
      • Sondy Pope (D-Mt. Horeb) – Retiring
      • Tim Ramthun (R-Campbellsport) – Running for Governor
      • Sara Rodriguez (D-Brookfield) – Running for Lt. Governor
      • Joe Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin) – Retiring
      • Ken Skowronski (R-Franklin) – Retiring
      • Mark Spreitzer (D-Beloit) – Running for state Senate
      • Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) – Retiring
      • Gary Tauchen (R-Bonduel) – Retiring
      • Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) – Retiring
      • Tyler Vorpagel (R-Pymouth) – Retiring
  • April 29, 2022 9:42 AM | WiACH's Office

    By Hoven Consulting – WiAHC’s lobbying firm

    The Wisconsin Legislature has adjourned for the 2021-21 and does not plan to reconvene until next year.  Although the session is over, WiAHC members can review the WiAHC Legislative Bill Tracker to look back at what happened in the halls of the State Capitol. The bill tracker lists and allows members to follow and learn more about the bills WiAHC lobbied on and monitored during the 2021-22 legislative session. The Bill Tracker, which you can find below, includes the bill number, a brief description of the bill, its final status, and WiAHC’s position on the proposal.

    ·        Bill: Assembly Bill 215 / Senate Bill 230

    ·        Description: Relating to visitation of a long-term care facility resident or hospital patient by an essential visitor or member of the clergy.

    ·        Status: Failed to pass this session.

    ·        WiAHC Position: Support


    ·        Bill: Assembly Bill 679 / Senate Bill 687

    ·        Description: Relating to hospital services provided in a home setting.

    ·        Status: AB 679 was passed by the full Assembly and Senate. The governor has signed the bill into law as 2021 WI Act 208.

    ·        WiAHC Position: Currently Neutral/Actively Monitoring


    ·        Bill: Assembly Bill 718 / Senate Bill 753

    ·        Description: Relating to prohibiting certain practices relating to insurance coverage of clinician-administered drugs (“white bagging” legislation).

    ·        Status: Failed to pass this session.

    ·        WiAHC Position: Support


    ·        Bill: Assembly Bill 729 / Senate Bill 700

    ·        Description: Relating to modifying administrative rules related to home health agencies.

    ·        Status: AB 729 was passed by the full Assembly on 02/23/22. It was not considered by the full Senate. Failed to pass this session.

    ·        WiAHC Position: Support


    ·        Bill: Assembly Bill 960/ Senate Bill 970

    ·        Description: Increases criminal penalties for battery or threat to a health care provider or staff member of a health care facility.

    ·        Status: AB 960 was passed by the full Assembly and Senate. The governor has signed the bill into law as 2021 WI Act 209.

    ·        WiAHC Position:Support


    ·        Status: AB 1030 was passed by the full Assembly and Senate. The governor has signed the bill into law as 2021 WI Act 208.

    • WiAHC Position: Support


  • April 29, 2022 9:29 AM | WiACH's Office

    By Hoven Consulting – WiAHC’s lobbying firm

    Governor Signs Several Health Care Bills of Interest to WiAHC

    In April, Governor Evers signed a number of bills that passed both chambers of the legislature earlier this year.  The following is a list of these bills of interest to WiAHC:

    • SIGNED - Assembly Bill 960 – This bill makes it a felony to threaten or physically attack a health care provider, a staff member of a health care facility or a family member of either, if the threat or attack is related to an official act of the provider or is related to an incident at the health care facility.  WiAHC supports this bill.  As such, it joined various health care organizations and sent a joint memo to the Legislature supporting this bill earlier this year.
    • SIGNED - Assembly Bill 1030 – This bill eliminates the requirement that home health services and products be provided in a patient’s home to be reimbursable under the Medical Assistance program.  This legislation was introduced at the request of the Department of Health Services.  WiAHC supports this bill. 
    Next Steps on Home Health Rules Legislation

    Rep. Donna Rozar (R-Marshfield) introduced Assembly Bill 729 and Sen. Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan) introduced the Senate companion bill (Senate Bill 700) at the request of WiAHC.  This legislation brings Wisconsin’s home health regulations in line with federal regulations by eliminating home health care professional advisory bodies but maintaining governing bodies.  Assembly Bill 729 passed the Assembly in late February.  The Senate Labor and Regulatory Reform Committee held a hearing on Senate Bill 700 in January.  Unfortunately, however, it did not pass the full Senate before the end of the 2021-2022 legislative session.  In the meantime, the WiAHC Legislative Committee is exploring alternative options to make this change through the regulatory process at the state Department of Health Services (DHS) and has requested an initial meeting with the appropriate DHS staff.  We will provide updates regarding these efforts in future WiAHC monthly newsletters. 

    DHS Payment Increase Delays – Update

    As of mid-April, WiAHC members have reported that they have not received either the skilled nursing services payment increase included in the 2021-2023 state budget or the additional five percent Medicaid reimbursement rate for home and community-based services, which was funded by the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).  As such, WiAHC followed up with the state Department of Health Services (DHS) to request a specific timeline for the issuance of these increased payments.  DHS informed WiAHC that any claims that home health agencies submit to DHS after April 29, 2022, will be paid out at the higher amounts.  If a home health agency submitted such a claim before the end of April 2022, DHS will make appropriate adjustments internally to increase such payments – DHS anticipates that they will send out such payments during the week of May 9, 2022. 

    In addition, please let WiAHC know if there are any specific home health care providers that are at risk of closure due to these delayed payments.  If so, WiAHC will make DHS aware of this and they will attempt to expedite processing. 

    Proposed Legislative Council Study Committees

    After the legislative session concludes in even-numbered years, the Legislative Council - the legislature's in-house, non-partisan group of attorney advisors - organizes study committees that perform in-depth reviews of various state policy matters facing Wisconsin.  Committees are comprised of both legislators and citizen members. 

    Study committees hold hearings, during which they hear public testimony – including from subject-matter experts – on state policies that may need to be fixed or updated.  Once a committee has completed receiving public testimony, it generally drafts legislation for possible introduction and consideration by the legislature.  In mid-April, the list of study committees was finalized.  The following proposed study committees may be of interest to WiAHC:

    • Study Committee on Occupational Licenses

    o   Sen. Rob Stafsholt (R-New Richmond) will be the Chair and Rep. Shae Sortwell (R-Two Rivers) will be the Vice Chair.

    • Study Committee on Uniform Death Reporting Standards

    o   Sen. Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan) will be the Chair and Rep. Jesse James (R-Altoona) will be the Vice Chair.

    •  Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) Update

    The state Department of Health Services (DHS) is thinking ahead to addressing electronic visit verification (EVV) with respect to home health services.  At this time, DHS's goal is to have a "soft launch" of home health EVV in January 2023.  As such, DHS has organized a group of external stakeholders to provide input.  Their intent is that this group of stakeholders would ultimately turn into their EVV Advisory Workgroup for Home Health.  At the request of DHS, several WiAHC representatives have attended a few initial meetings of this group.  We will provide updates about the work of this group in future WiAHC monthly newsletters.

    • Upcoming Blackout Period for Initial Occupational Credential Applications

    The state Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) will temporarily stop accepting initial applications for 72 types of occupational credentials starting at 12:00PM on Friday, April 29, and ending at 11:59PM on Sunday, May 15.  The list of such credentials may be viewed on the DSPS website and mostly includes professionals in the health care field, including physicians, physician assistants, licensed practical nurses and registered nurses. 

    This temporary blackout period will be put in place to allow DSPS to implement its new online occupational credentialing portal, which will replace its current paper application process.  This new portal will be unveiled on Monday, May 16. 


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