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WiAHC Government Affairs Report

July 27, 2022 1:40 PM | WiAHC Administrator (Administrator)

By Hoven Consulting – WiAHC’s lobbying firm

  • Uniform Death Reporting Standards Study Committee – First Meeting

The Legislative Council’s Study Committee on Uniform Death Reporting Standards held its first public hearing in Madison on Monday, July 18 at 10:00AM.  The meeting featured presentations by the state Department of Health Services, including from the State Registrar at the State Vital Records Office, a representative from a mental health organization and a children’s health organization, as well as the Chief Medical Examiner of Fond du Lac County.  A list of committee members, the full meeting agenda, as well as written presentations may be viewed on the legislature’s website.  

  • DHS Announces Annual Adjustment of Health Care Provider Fees for Patient Health Care Records

Effective on the first day of each July, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services publishes an updated schedule of the maximum fees that health care providers may charge for producing patient medical records.  These fees are based on the consumer price indices for the prior two calendar years.  The fees vary based on the number of pages and the type of file provided (e.g., paper documents, microfiche, x-rays, etc.).  This fee schedule may be viewed on the Legislature’s website. 

  • DSPS Secretary Dawn Crim Leaving Evers Administration

Earlier in July, Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) Secretary Dawn Crim announced that she will be leaving the Evers Administration on August 1, 2022.  The State Medical Examining Board and the State Board of Nursing are housed within DSPS, which also processes nearly all occupational license applications in Wisconsin, including licenses for physicians, nurses and other health care professionals.  Earlier this year, DSPS implemented an online platform for health care occupational license applications.  The agency will transition the remaining occupational licenses that they handle to their online platform in the future. 

Governor Evers has announced that DSPS Assistant Deputy Secretary Dan Hereth will be the DSPS Secretary-designee upon Secretary Crim’s departure. 

  • State Supreme Court Decision on Local Health Officer Authority

On July 8, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that local health officials have the statutory power to issue public health orders without first getting permission from elected officials in their respective jurisdictions.  This case started out as a challenge from Dane County businesses against the authority of Public Health of Madison and Dane County (PHM&DC) related to COVID-19 emergency orders that PHM&DC Director Janel Heinrich issued.  These plaintiffs contended that the only way that these emergency orders could be enforced would be for the Dane County board to vote to approve them.  The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled – with a 4-3 vote – that existing state statute includes the authority for local health officers to issue such emergency orders without the approval of elected officials in their respective jurisdiction.  The full decision may be viewed here. 

  • Governor Announces Over $5 Million in Healthcare Workforce Grants

On June 23, Governor Evers announced the award of more than $5 million in Workforce Innovation Grant Program funds to assist with healthcare workforce challenges in Wisconsin.  Specifically, up to $4.9 million will be awarded to the Wisconsin Community Action Program Association (WISCAP), which is the statewide organization that represents 16 community action non-profit organizations throughout our state.  These organizations focus on assisting low-income households.  With these funds, WISCAP will assist in paying for low-income individuals to receive training and education to become healthcare workers.  Up to $376,000 will go to the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay to assist in expanding the nursing faculty in order to train up to 152 nursing students. 

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