By Hoven Consulting – WiAHC’s lobbying firm
On Wednesday, February 15, Governor Tony Evers unveiled his budget bill proposal for the Fiscal Year 2023-2025 budget biennium. The budget bill outlines how the State of Wisconsin will administer tax dollars, program revenue, and federal aid dollars over the next two years. In total, the budget aims to spend $103.8 billion ($52.1 billion in FY2023-2024 and $51.7 billion in FY2024-2025) on state government programs. For fiscal year 2023-2024, that's a $7.9 billion increase (17.9 percent) over the budget proposed by Evers in 2021.
The most significant increase in state tax dollar spending is in the following state agencies/areas:
LARGEST BIENNIAL GPR (General Purpose Revenue) INCREASES OVER 2021-2023 FUNDING LEVELS
· Department of Public Instruction: $2.809 billion
· Shared Revenue and Tax Relief: $1.099 billion
· Department of Administration: $1.019 billion
· Public Service Commission: $755 million
· Department of Health Services: $716 million
· Department of Children and Families: $512 million
· Department of Workforce Development: $265 million
· All Other Changes: $1.656 billion
· TOTAL: $8.831 billion
The bill has now been sent to the Wisconsin legislature where it will be reviewed by the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC). The committee will review and amend the budget bill after having several public hearings across the state at which citizens may testify. After JFC has passed the bill, it will then be sent to the State Assembly and Senate for passage, likely in June.
It's important to note that Republican legislative leaders have stated publicly that they do not support the Governor's budget proposal. Republicans control both houses of the legislature and major changes to the proposal are expected.
On January 27, WiAHC’s lobbyists sent an introductory letter to all Wisconsin state legislators. In the letter, we provided background information on what exactly skilled home health care is and shared WiAHC’s state legislative agenda for the 2023-2024 legislative session. WiAHC provided legislators with a “legislative leave-behind” document that includes this information.
On January 26, WiAHC Board Chair Jayne Thill sent a letter to DHS Deputy Secretary Deb Standridge – the most senior DHS official on that date – requesting that the department update an outdated administrative rule relating to professional advisory bodies for home health agencies. In particular, WiAHC requested that they bring state regulations in line with federal regulations by eliminating professional advisory bodies but maintaining governing bodies along with regulatory oversight for ensuring the quality of care and patient safety. We requested that they make this change in their biannual comprehensive list of regulatory updates.
On February 2, DHS released its 2023-2027 State Health Improvement Plan. Under state law, DHS is required to craft a public health agenda for the state at least once per decade – this plan meets that requirement. Further, this plan helps maintain DHS as an accredited state health department, per the requirements of the Public Health Accreditation Board.
In summary, the report recommends the following three “foundational shifts” in how Wisconsin addresses public health:
· Institutional and systemic fairness
· Representation and access to decision-making
· Community-centered resources and services
Also, it highlights the following priority areas – areas that are critical to ensuring the wellness of Wisconsinites:
· Social and community conditions
· Physical, mental, and systemic safety
· Person and community centered health care
· Social connectedness and belonging
· Mental and emotional health and well-being
The full report may be viewed on the DHS website.
DHS will hold an online public forum on Thursday, March 2, 2023, from 1:00 – 3:00PM addressing the electronic visit verification (EVV) requirement for home health care services. During this forum, DHS representatives will discuss the federal requirement to implement EVV for Medicaid-covered personal care and applicable home care services and answer any questions that attendees may have. Attendees may submit questions in advance to DHS by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on this public forum, including the Zoom meeting link and call-in number, please go to the DHS EVV Forum page.
563 Carter Court, Suite BKimberly, WI 54136Phone: 920-560-5632 | Fax: email@example.com