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By Hoven Consulting – WiAHC’s lobbying firm
To prepare for the 2023-2024 state legislative session, WiAHC conducted a membership-wide survey in May to seek member feedback on potential WiAHC legislative and regulatory priorities. Based on the survey, the following topics were identified as the top three policy issues:
The WiAHC Legislative Committee and leadership will continue to work to finalize the policy agenda. Once that is completed, it will be shared with the full membership in a future newsletter.
As mentioned in a prior WiAHC monthly newsletter, the legislature organizes study committees in even-numbered years to hold public hearings and perform in-depth reviews of various state policy matters facing Wisconsin. Legislators and members of the public are members of these committees. Once these committees complete their series of public hearings in late 2022 or early 2023, they will draft legislation to address these policy areas and submit them to the legislature for possible consideration.
Two of these committees will likely be of interest to WiAHC members: the Study Committee on Occupational Licenses and the Study Committee on Uniform Death Reporting Standards. In early June, the legislature selected members of both committees. The Occupational Licenses committee includes two members from the health care field – a senior vice president from the Wisconsin Hospital Association and the director of business development from a rural community clinic. The Uniform Death Reporting Standards committee includes two medical examiners and a public health nurse.
These committees will likely hold their first meeting later this summer. The committees will hold public, in-person meetings in Madison once per month until they have completed their work. It is likely that these committee meetings will be streamed live on Wisconsin Eye. Of course, the WiAHC government affairs team will monitor the work of these committees.
In May, the state Department of Health Services announced their “Moving Forward Together Grant Program”. This program is intended to improve equity with respect to COVID-19 vaccination in Wisconsin. Various community organizations are eligible to apply for grant awards, which are capped at $400,000 per grant, to improve COVID-19 vaccination rates in Wisconsin, particularly in underserved communities. DHS will accept grant applications on a rolling basis until funding is no longer available. However, it is important to note that grant expense reimbursement will occur through November 30, 2022. More information is available at: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/moving-forward-together-grant.htm
In early June, the state Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) announced that the agency is no longer charging fees to integrate the Enhanced Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (ePDMP) into electronic health record systems managed by health systems and other health care entities. The intent is to simplify access for health care organizations, as well as increase wider participation within the health care community. To apply for a no-monthly fee ePDMP integration or for more information, go to the ePDMP website.
The WiAHC Spring Conference took place June 2-3 at The Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells. It was a great success! There were 70+ participants. National speakers included William A. Dombi, Esq. President, National Association for Home Care & Hospice; Teresa Northcutt, BSN, RN, COS-C, HCS-D, HCS-H, Consultant, Teresa Northcutt LLC; Aparna Gupta, Vice President of Quality, National Hospice and Palliative Care Association; and Michelle Horner, Manager Post-Acute Education, Netsmart/McBee.
Here is what the attendees shared about their experiences.
I enjoyed the conference very much!! Great Venue-polite, helpful staff, comfortable accommodations. The content was helpful. Speakers were knowledgeable and delivered the content proficiently and kept me engaged. Thank you! ~ Michelle Esser, Upland Hills Health Home Care & Hospice
The WiAHC conference always brings in quality speakers!
Thank you to the Spring Conference exhibitors!
The Internal Revenue Service announced yesterday an increase in the optional standard mileage rate for the final six months of 2022. Taxpayers may use the optional standard mileage rates to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business and certain other purposes.
Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service (HCS) announced the 2022‑2023 Home Care and Hospice Salary & Benefits studies are now underway. The studies are published by HCS in cooperation with the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC).
The Reports are recognized as the authoritative source for comprehensive marketplace data for home health + hospice agencies. Last year’s Home Care Report contained data from 1,011 home health agencies. The Hospice Report had data from 734 hospice agencies.
New to both studies–Questions on staffing issues, nursing vacancy + turnover rates, and how sign-on bonuses are being used by agencies to attract new employees. The results cover job data by salary, hourly, and per visit rates with job data breakouts by auspice, revenue size, region, state, and CBSA. Regional data for 21 fringe benefits, planned salary increases, productivity, caseload, and shift differential data are also covered.
The Wisconsin Association for Home Health Care (WiAHC) was thrilled to present Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton) with the organization’s 2022 Champion of Home Health Care legislative award for her leadership on policies to advance home health care in Wisconsin and strengthen the delivery of patient care provided by home health professionals. The award was presented to Loudenbeck at the WiACH 2022 Spring Conference held on June 2-3 in Wisconsin Dells, WI.
“Representative Loudenbeck was a strong voice for home health care during the 2021-22 legislative session, and she was instrumental in the successful effort to increase the Medicaid reimbursement rate for skilled nursing provided in a home health setting,“ said WiAHC Board member Tyler Baures, who presented the award to Loudenbeck. “Her leadership on this critical initiative cannot be understated and will help strengthen the state’s home health care workforce and expand access to home health services for the state’s Medicaid population.”
The Champion of Home Health Care award is presented at the end of each two-year legislative session to state lawmakers who exemplify WiAHC’s mission of promoting, protecting, and advancing the highest quality health care at home for Wisconsin patients. In 2022, WiAHC is presenting the award to only four legislators, including Loudenbeck. These lawmakers exhibited an exceptional commitment to supporting home health care based on several factors, including voting record, sponsorship of legislation, and responsiveness to critical home health issues during the 2021-22 session.
Loudenbeck, who was first elected to the Wisconsin Assembly in 2010, represents the 31st Assembly District, which includes portions of Rock and Walworth Counties and serves as the Vice-Chair of the state Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee. She is currently running for Wisconsin Secretary of State.
“Home health professionals provide quality care and peace of mind to individuals and families across Wisconsin. I am happy to support their important work,” said Loudenbeck.
The Wisconsin Association for Home Health Care (WiAHC) is a statewide membership-based organization that represents the interests of home health care agencies and their employees. Through education, best practices, and advocacy, WiAHC advances the common interests of its members and their patients, and promotes home health care as a high-quality, cost-effective health care option.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in participating.
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.
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:
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.
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 email@example.com or (414) 305-2011.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
563 Carter Court, Suite BKimberly, WI 54136Phone: 920-560-5632 | Fax: firstname.lastname@example.org