By Hoven Consulting – WiAHC’s lobbying firm
With the holidays right around the corner, the halls of the State Capitol will be relatively quiet through December. But despite the fact there will not be much visible legislative activity until the new year, plenty is going on behind the scenes as lawmakers work to shape their remaining legislative priorities before the session ends in April.
Similarly, WiAHC continues to position itself for the rest of the current session and future legislative success. One significant step in that direction was our Virtual Legislative and Policy Forum held on Nov. 8 where members learned how they can be effective grassroots advocates and had an opportunity to hear from and ask questions of key policymakers, including WI Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Debra Standridge, DQA Administrator Otis Woods, and two state lawmakers – Rep. Rick Gundrum (R-Slinger) and Rep. Donna Rozar (R-Marshfield).
While we are looking forward to holding an in-person WiAHC “Day at the Capitol” in the future – which will allow us to have a much bigger advocacy impact – the virtual legislative and policy forum provided great value and helped raise our profile and increase our influence in the Capitol and among state government officials.
Speaking of strengthening advocacy efforts, WiAHC’s legislative committee and lobbyists have spent a considerable amount of time over the last year refining legislation to make modest but impactful changes to DHS 133, the administrative rule chapter regulating home health agencies. We are pleased to report the bill has been officially introduced as Senate Bill 700.
The impetus for the changes began as an effort to bring Wisconsin’s administrative rules in line with the federal government’s elimination of requirements for professional advisory bodies. The final version of the legislation will eliminate DHS 133.05 (2) in its entirety regarding advisory board requirements, as they are no longer compatible with federal law.
The legislative committee also recommended several other changes to Chapter 133 which would have created additional efficiency to patient care. After sharing those recommendations with the Department of Health Services and previously receiving their support, the agency raised concerns regarding these proposed changes late in the legislative drafting process. With an eye on the legislative clock, we chose to move forward with the scaled-down version that DHS does support and not jeopardize a potential veto.
Our Government Affairs Team worked with Representative Donna Rozar (R-Marshfield) and Senator Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan) to introduce the legislation and will work to advance the proposals through the legislative process before the legislature adjourns in Spring 2022. Please watch for opportunities coordinated by WiAHC to engage your legislators and request their support for the bill.
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