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  • March 02, 2020 10:51 AM | Anonymous

    On February 26, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers vetoed Senate Bill 821, which passed both the State Senate and State Assembly on February 20. Just two Democratic lawmakers, Rep. Steve Doyle of Onalaska and Nick Milroy of South Range, voted for the bill. Every Republican lawmaker supported the legislation. 

    The bill aimed to cut taxes by $250 million, which, according to estimates, would have reduced the average tax bill by over $100. The cut would have been funded by the positive revenue numbers reported earlier this year. 

    On February 26, Governor Tony Evers vetoed the legislation on February 26 citing concerns that the tax cuts were made at the expense of further investment in public schools. 

    In his veto message, Evers stated, “…[T]his bill fails to acknowledge or address the continued, inordinate burden that has been placed on our public schools, local governments, and Wisconsin families. Since 2011, nearly one million Wisconsinites have voted to raise their own taxes to support local schools. In 2018 alone, voters approved more than $2 billion in debt and revenue increases for local schools. This is not sustainable.” 

    The statement went on to say, “We do not have to choose between funding for our kids and our schools and providing property tax relief—we can and should do both.” The move was expected and consistent with Evers’ prioritization of education funding. 

    The Governor’s veto was met with criticism from Republican legislative leaders. “It seems that Governor Evers is obsessed with growing government more than addressing the needs of the middle class. This was a missed opportunity to do the right thing,” said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. 

    Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald also expressed discontent, saying, “While I’m disappointed in the governor’s actions, I’m not surprised – this is the second income tax cut he’s vetoed as governor.” 

    The State Assembly planned to make its February 20 floor date its last of the 2019-2020 session. As of this writing, there has been no indication that will change. The State Senate is planning on holding its last floor session in March. It’s unclear if the State Senate will attempt to override the veto. A successful override would be extremely difficult. It would take 22 votes to successfully override a veto. The Republicans currently have 19 seats. It’s doubtful they could pick up three Democratic votes.

  • March 02, 2020 10:31 AM | Anonymous

    Since the start of the year, a number of legislators have stated they will not be seeking reelection to their current positions. As of this writing, twelve legislators have announced they will not seek reelection. Six of those are retiring. The other six are running for higher office.

    The six retiring are as follows:

    • Sen. Dave Hansen (D – Green Bay): 30th Senate District
    • Sen. Mark Miller (D – Monona): 16th Senate District
    • Sen. Luther Olsen (R – Ripon): 14th Senate District
    • Rep. Deb Kolste (D – Janesville): 44th Assembly District
    • Rep. Bob Kulp (R – Stratford): 69th Assembly District
    • Rep. Mike Rohrkaste (R – Neenah): 55th Assembly District

    The six seeking higher office are as follows:

    • Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (R – Juneau): Running for Congress in the WI 5th Congressional District.
    • Sen. Tom Tiffany (R – Minocqua): Running for Congress in the WI 7th Congressional District.
    • Rep. Joan Ballweg (R – Markesan): Running for State Senate in 14th Senate District
    • Rep. Melissa Sargent (D – Madison): Running for State Senate in 16th Senate District
    • Rep. Rob Stafsholt (R – New Richmond): Running for State Senate in 10th Senate District
    • Rep. Amanda Stuck (D – Appleton): Running for Congress in WI 8th Congressional District

    These twelve announcements signal significant turnover in the next legislative session. More announcements are likely to come before legislators begin filing for candidacy in April. 

  • January 31, 2020 10:52 AM | Anonymous

    Putting Home Care First with the Power of One

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    2020 is still in its infancy, but this year will be historic for policy advocacy here in our nation's capital and around the country. 

    Big issues on the table concerning everything from immigration to health care and home health care and hospice services are an integral part of that debate. More and more Americans are choosing to receive care and services in the comfort of their own homes and to age in place. The home health care and hospice communities are struggling to meet the ever growing demand amidst nursing and caregiver shortages. For those of us in the Home Care and Hospice Party, our attention will be focused like a laser on solutions to the problems faced by the millions of Americans who provide and depend on quality health care in the home. 

    Here at the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), advocacy never sleeps AND never has it been more important for individuals to exercise their constitutional right to participate in the democratic process through advocacy; especially when it concerns the ability to receive quality health care and hospice services in the home. 

    We need you to join us in our advocacy effort to put
    "Home Care First" with the
    Power of One!

    Forward this email today to ONE friend, or colleague, and ask them to sign up as an advocate by clicking:

    If every person gets ONE other person to sign up, we will be more than 100K strong in just a week's time.

    2020 is new and full of possibilities and you can play an integral role helping us to build our army, strengthen our voice and the heartbeat of the industry.

  • January 05, 2020 10:55 AM | Anonymous

    Is your agency interested in COS-C Certification for your staff? WiAHC is exploring this potential interest for our members. Please share your feedback by January 31. 

    Take the Questionnaire Here 

     This potential workshop is designed to

    ·         Support the educational needs of home health clinicians in achieving comprehension and accuracy in OASIS data collection using guidelines established by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

    ·         Provide a preparatory review for candidates for the COS-C (Certificate for OASIS Specialist-Clinical) examination. Please note that if you plan to take the COS-C Exam, it requires an additional fee.

    ·         Supply the knowledge and tools necessary to boost clinical confidence while building a foundation of data collection precision.

    ·         Provide relevant nursing Continuing Education credit required for license renewal

  • December 31, 2019 10:12 AM | Anonymous

    Marquette University Law School released a new poll yesterday. The new numbers illustrate trends in Wisconsin voters’ opinions on the impeachment proceedings, thoughts on the Democratic presidential primary candidates, and approval of state elected officials. 

    The impeachment of President Donald Trump continues to be unpopular among Wisconsin voters. Fifty-two percent of respondents said the president should not be impeached. This is consistent with the November 20 Marquette University Law School Poll numbers. Despite weeks of impeachment proceedings, it seems Washington Democrats have not been able to move the needle on public opinion. Once again, however, fifty-two percent of respondents also said they do believe Trump asked Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political rivals, and forty-four percent believe he did something “seriously wrong” while only thirty-seven percent believe he did “nothing wrong.” 

    The poll does indicate some positive trends for Democratic primary candidates. In November, Trump lead the top four potential Democratic contenders in the 2020 election by three points or more. Yesterday’s poll shows former Vice President Joe Biden leads Trump by one point, and Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg trail Trump by two points or less. 

    The Democratic field also seems to be tightening in Wisconsin. In November, Biden lead Sanders by thirteen points, Warren by fifteen, and Buttigieg by seventeen points in the race for the Democratic nomination. Yesterday’s poll shows Biden now leads Sanders by four points, Warren by seven points, and Buttigieg by eight points. 

    The new poll numbers also indicate Governor Tony Evers’ job approval rating is back at the fifty percent mark after dipping below that number last month for the first time. 

    Other data includes:

    President Donald Trump Approval Rating:

    ·         Approve: 47%

    ·         Disapprove: 50%

    Democrat Senator Tammy Baldwin Favorability Rating:

    ·         Favorable: 42%

    ·         Unfavorable: 39%

    Republican Senator Ron Johnson Favorability Rating:

    ·         Favorable: 36%

    ·         Unfavorable: 34%

    The economy has:

    ·         Gotten Better: 44%

    ·         Gotten Worse: 21%

    ·         Stayed the Same: 37%

    In 2020, the economy will:

    ·         Improve: 32%

    ·         Worsen: 25%

    ·         Stay the same: 37%

    The poll, conducted among 80 registered Wisconsin voters, has a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percentage points.

  • December 17, 2019 10:14 AM | Anonymous

    The WiAHC education committee is busy making plans for 2020. Webinar topics that are being considered include telehealth, PDGM, medication diversion and various hospice topics. Conference topics may include PDGM, Medicare Advantage changes, care planning, profitability, back office structure, business intelligence, revenue cycle management and motivating employees. 

    Save the dates!

    WiAHC Spring Conference, June 4-5, 2020, Wilderness Resort, Wisconsin Dells

    WiAHC Fall Conference, November 5-6, 2020, Holiday Inn, Stevens Point

  • November 26, 2019 10:17 AM | Anonymous

    Earlier this month, the State Senate and Assembly passed legislation to allow Medicaid providers to seek reimbursement for services provided via telehealth. Telehealth, sometimes called telemedicine, is a healthcare delivery model in which technology is utilized for healthcare providers to remotely speak to, treat, and monitor patients. 

    The legislation passed both houses of the legislature earlier this month on unanimous voice votes. The bill was heavily bipartisan from its inception. 

    WiAHC actively lobbied in support of the legislation. The bill innovatively assists in addressing nursing workforce issues. Utilizing telehealth could increase access and utilization of home health care, which means agencies could take on more patients. Additionally, due to the ability to deliver services remotely, nurses could see more patients daily without the burden of drive-time. 

    On November 25, Governor Tony Evers signed the legislation into law at a bill signing ceremony in Richland Center. While the bill was signed into law, it will not go into effect until the Department of Health Services is able to begin making such reimbursements. The legislation provides DHS with a year to implement the reimbursements. However, DHS can begin payments as soon as it is logistically able to. Please stay tuned for updates. In the meantime, the legislative language can be found here.

  • November 26, 2019 10:16 AM | Anonymous

    On November 20, Marquette University Law School released its newest poll numbers forecasting the 2020 elections and gauging the state’s attitudes on a variety of issues and public figures. 

    The most significant numbers provide a glimpse into Wisconsin voters’ opinions on the impeachment proceedings. The new poll numbers found 40 percent of respondents favor impeachment of President Donald Trump while 53 percent do not. However, 52 percent of respondents said they do believe Trump asked Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political rivals. 

    Additionally, the poll indicates 42 percent of respondents say Trump did “something seriously wrong” while 38 percent say he “did nothing wrong.” 

    While the numbers indicate a majority of respondents believe Trump asked Ukraine to investigate political rivals and a plurality believe he did “something seriously wrong”, a majority of respondents still do not support impeachment. 

    In other presidential data, Trump now leads the top four potential Democratic contenders in the 2020 election. Previously polls showed him trailing former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. However, Trump now leads Biden by 3 points, Sanders by 3 points, and Warren by 5 points. 

    According to the poll, 28 percent of respondents indicated they usually think of themselves as Republicans, 28 percent said they think of themselves as Democrats, and 38 percent said they consider themselves Independent. Given the breakdown, this week’s poll numbers could indicate Trump seems to be polling better amongst self-described independents. 

    While Trump’s numbers are rising, Biden still remains the first choice for many Democratic Primary voters in Wisconsin. He leads Sanders by 13 points and Warren by 15 in the race for the Democratic nomination. 

    The new poll numbers also indicate Governor Tony Evers’ approval rating has dipped below 50 percent for the first time. The November data shows 47 percent of poll respondents approve of Evers’ job performance. 

    Other data includes: 

    The economy, over the last year, has:

    ·         Improved: 42 percent

    ·         Worsened: 18 percent

    ·         Stayed the Same: 37 percent

    In 2020, the economy will:

    ·         Improve: 35 percent

    ·         Worsen: 24 percent

    ·         Stay the same: 37 percent

    Chronic wasting diseases is a threat to the future of deer hunting:

    ·         Deer Hunters Responding: Agree – 65%, Disagree – 31%

    ·         Non-Deer Hunters Responding: Agree – 62%, Disagree – 18%

    The poll, conducted among 801 registered Wisconsin voters, has a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percentage points. 

  • November 21, 2019 10:22 AM | Anonymous

    Gov. Tony Evers vetoed a bipartisan plan Wednesday that would have reduced the number of required training hours to become a certified nursing assistant in Wisconsin. 

    Wisconsin requires 120 hours of training to become a CNA, including 32 hours of clinical training. The bill would have reduced that to the federally required minimum of 75 hours of training, including 16 hours of clinical experience. 

    Evers said he objected to providing less training for those caring for the state's most vulnerable. 

    “Research has shown that higher training standards result in better outcomes for patients, lower staff turnover and higher job satisfaction," Evers said in his veto message. "There are better ways to address the shortage of nurse aides than reducing the quality of training programs.” 

    Evers noted that he directed the Governor’s Task Force on Caregivers to develop strategies to attract and retain a strong direct care workforce. 

    Bill author Sen. Rob Cowles, R-Green Bay, said he doesn't believe that reducing training hours to the federal minimum would diminish quality. 

    "The governor disagrees with that, so we move on," he said in an interview Thursday. "That's the way it is." 

    He said he believes the nursing homes that told him the federally required minimum would be sufficient and help recruit more young people into the field. 

    "Having been in numerous homes, I believe the people around those facilities have credibility and they have passion and they're not trying to skirt anything," Cowles said. "They care about elderly, frail people." 

    Cowles also said that a bigger issue in addressing the workforce shortage is pay, noting that Republican lawmakers pushed for higher Medicaid rate increases that were included in the current budget. 

    "Hopefully that's enough to stem the loss and generate more people in the field," Cowles said. 

    A coalition of long-term care providers said in a statement that the state is facing a critical caregiver workforce shortage. 

    "This policy would have helped facilities have the staff to maintain and advance care quality," they said in a statement. 

    Mindy Meehean, director of nursing at Wausau Manor, said the bill would have made the CNA profession "more financially available for potential applicants." 

    "The current CNA hourly training requirement creates a financial obstacle that leads many interested candidates to look for jobs elsewhere," Meehean said in a statement. "It is disappointing that this bill was vetoed, as it was a needed change to help providers maintain quality care for our residents." 

    LeadingAge Wisconsin CEO John Sauer said having a higher required amount of training "stings a bit" for nursing homes along the Minnesota, Iowa and Michigan borders. Those states are at the federal minimum, making recruitment efforts more difficult for Wisconsin facilities, he said. 

    "We're facing unprecedented times in competing for workforce," Sauer said. "What we were hoping is that if we went to the national standard for training, that we might be able to attract and compete with other non-healthcare employers." 

    The bill faced opposition from advocates for seniors and those with disabilities, who warned it could hurt the quality of care. 

    "We think that a reduction in hours leads to a reduction in quality of care," said Helen Marks Dicks, state issues advocacy director for AARP Wisconsin. "This is not a solution to the problem of the workforce crisis." 

    She said that the Governor's Task Force on Caregiving is charged with addressing the workforce crisis and will probably discuss training. 

    Disability Rights Wisconsin warned the bill could have led to “unintended long-term consequences" that would diminish quality care. 

    The task force may recommend a reduction in training requirements, but at that point “it will be part of a carefully considered comprehensive plan to address the larger issue," the statement noted. 

    While the task force could take up the training requirements, pay is the number one thing, Cowles said. 

    "I think this whole field is going to be going through a lot of trauma in the years ahead," Cowles said. "There's going to be more closures, there's going to be more pain and more difficulty for families trying to figure out where grandma and grandpa are going to go. And that's something we have to pay attention to." 

    Sauer said the task force should consider innovative ways to address the caregiver shortage, including allowing people with prior experience as a caregiver count some of their hours served toward the required training. 

    "We need a lot of innovation," he said. "This is going to be a multi-faceted solution." 

  • October 31, 2019 10:28 AM | Anonymous

    On Wednesday, October 23, Marquette University Law School released its most recent poll results. The poll, which was conducted between October 13 and October 17 among 799 Wisconsin voters, sought public opinion on a range of state and federal topics. The poll indicated good news for Democratic Governor Tony Evers and less optimistic results for Republican President Donald Trump. 

    Evers’ job approval remains at relatively high at 52% with 34% disapproval. This number is down slightly from August, which indicated a 54% job approval rating. However, the new number is within the margin of error. Additionally, 53% of respondents said the state is headed in the right direction.

    Meanwhile, public support in Wisconsin for impeaching Trump continues to rise. In April, 29% of respondents said there was enough cause to impeach. Wednesday’s poll indicates 46% now believe there is enough cause. The number is certainly trending in a direction unfavorable to the President. 

    Additionally, the poll found Trump loses in head-to-head matchups with Democratic primary candidates former Vice President Joe Biden (Biden 50% - Trump 44%), Senator Bernie Sanders (Sanders 48% - Trump 46%), and Senator Elizabeth Warren (Warren 47% - Trump 46%).

    However, Trump’s job approval ratings has held relatively stagnant at 46% approval and 51% disapprove. 

    Other poll findings include: 

    Q: Do you support or oppose having a national health plan, sometimes called Medicare-for-all, in which all Americans would get their insurance from a single government plan?

    ·         Support: 51%

    ·         Oppose: 42%

    Q: In 2018, Wisconsin lost nearly 700 dairy farms. Do you think the federal government should financially support small farms that are struggling to stay in business, or is this not the job of the federal government?

    ·         Support small farms: 63%

    ·         Not the job of the federal government: 30% 

    Q: Would you support or oppose a mandatory buy back program in which the federal government would require assault weapon owners to turn in those weapons in exchange for payment?

    ·         Support: 42%

    ·         Oppose: 54%

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