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Wisconsin Association for Home Health Care Announces
2019-2020 “Friend of Home Health Care” Recipients
Designation bestowed on select group of legislators
(Madison, WI) – Today, the Wisconsin Association for Home Health Care (WiAHC) announced its 2019-2020 “Friend of Home Health Care” recipients. The designation is meant to publicly identify Wisconsin State Legislators that supported the expanded utilization of home health care as an effective, affordable option for post-acute care.
The 2019-20 “Friend of Home Health Care” recipients include the following legislators:
Rep. Jimmy Anderson
Sen. Dale Kooyenga
Rep. Chris Sinicki
Rep. David Bowen
Rep. Scott Krug
Rep. Ken Skowronski
Rep. Rob Brooks
Sen. Chris Larson
Rep. John Spiros
Rep. Jonathan Brostoff
Rep. Amy Loudenbeck
Rep. Mark Spreitzer
Sen. Tim Carpenter
Rep. Nick Milroy
Rep. Lisa Subeck
Rep. Dave Considine
Rep. Jeff Mursau
Rep. Rob Summerfield
Rep. Barbara Dittrich
Rep. Beth Myers
Sen. Lena Taylor
Rep. Steve Doyle
Sen. Steve Nass
Sen. Patrick Testin
Rep. James Edming
Rep. Warren Petryk
Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt
Rep. Jodi Emerson
Rep. Sondy Pope
Rep. Ron Tusler
Rep. Mary Felzkowski
Rep. Melissa Sargent
Rep. Don Vruwink
Sen. Dan Feyen
Sen. Patty Schachtner
Rep. Chuck Wichger
Rep. Cody Horlacher
Rep. Katrina Shankland
“These legislators were critical to our legislative success and championed our most important priorities,” said Lisa Kirker, Chair of the WiAHC Board of Directors. “Home health care agencies across Wisconsin are grateful for the support and partnership of these individuals.”
WiAHC was very active during the 2019-2020 legislative session in educating legislators on the workforce issues facing home health care agencies and how increasing MA reimbursement rates can alleviate financial burden as well as attract new staff. WiAHC was successful in advocating for the introduction of Assembly Bill 447/Senate Bill 416, which aimed to increase MA reimbursement rates by 10% for home health visits. The bill received a public hearing in the Senate Health Committee, and WiAHC is hopeful there will be continued interest in the legislation next session. WiAHC also successfully advocated for legislation that allowed all MA reimbursable services to be conducted via telehealth.
WiAHC is a membership-based association that represents home health care agencies and their staff. WiAHC helps to support the common interests of its members to promote home health care as a quality, cost-effective health care option in our state. Home health care services are not the same as personal care services. Home health care services are medical, skilled nursing services as opposed to personal care services administered by non-health care professionals.
Do you know a colleague who would be a great fit for the Board? Submit a nomination today!
WiAHC is run by a volunteer Board of Directors. Board members are elected annually to staggered three-year terms. Board members develop and manage affairs of the Association and are supported by Committee Chairs and staff. Positions include Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary/Treasurer, Regional and At-Large Representatives.
Positions serve a three-year term, starting January 2021. Those elected will also be invited to attend the final Board meeting of 2020.
To be eligible, a nominee's home health agency must be a current member of WiAHC.
How to Nominate
Nominating is easy, quick and simple! Submit a nomination using the form below.
The deadline to submit nominations is August 20, 2020.
In a 6-0 decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court reinstated a 2016 circuit court order prohibiting the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) from recouping Medicaid payments made to Medicaid providers “if the provider’s records verify that the services were provided and the provider was paid an appropriate amount for such services, notwithstanding that an audit identified other errors or noncompliance with [DHS] policies or rules.”
The Supreme Court labeled DHS’ recoupment policy for such services provided a “perfection policy” and held that such a policy was not consistent with Wisconsin’s Medicaid recoupment statute or administrative rules.
The case, Papa vs. Wisconsin Department of Health Services, involved the extent of DHS’ authority to require repayment from providers for previously paid claims based on failure to follow all documentation and other technical requirements contained in a confusing series of administrative rules in the Forward Wisconsin Provider Handbook, technical bulletins and other sources. In 2016, a Waukesha County Court found that DHS’ position that compliance with all technical and documentation requirements by providers as a prerequisite for payment amounted to a “Perfection Rule” that exceeded its authority to recoup payments otherwise properly made. However, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals overturned that decision in July 2019.
In today’s 6-0 decision, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals and restored the county court’s 2016 order limiting DHS’ authority to recoup payments, concluding that “so long as DHS can verify that a covered service was actually provided, the claim was appropriate, and the claim was accurate, DHS cannot recoup payments based on a record imperfection. A record imperfection alone is not an independent basis for recouping payments.” The decision provides clarity and greater certainty for physicians, who could otherwise face demands for repayment of thousands of dollars months or years after the fact based entirely on unintentional documentation errors.
Thursday, August 6, 2020
10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. CST
Post-acute care is key for accelerating hospital throughput to ensure beds are available during potential Covid-19 surges and for providing critical rehabilitation services for patients with and without a Covid-19 diagnosis. But the epidemic has upended the role post-acute should play, particularly the transition patterns between acute and post-acute providers.
Learn how each post-acute setting fits into a hospital’s updated discharge strategy and find opportunities to optimize relationships and support post-discharge care.
At the conclusion of the webinar, attendees will be able to:
CMOs, CNOs, Quality Leaders, Skilled Nursing, and Home Health
Jared Landis is the Executive Director over the Advisory Board’s post-acute research practice and a national spokesperson for the company—regularly presenting at industry conferences such as the American Health Care Association, National Association for Home Health and Hospice, and Leading Age. In 2010, he helped launch and continues to lead the Post-Acute Care Collaborative, which provides original research and dedicated resources to assist post-acute and long-term care providers, as well as hospital systems. Jared is a subject matter expert (SME) in post-acute market trends, post-discharge care management initiatives, and acute/post-acute alignment strategies. Jared is a 2005 graduate of Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.
For registration questions, contact Allison Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is no cost for this webinar.
On Monday, June 29, the Governor’s Task Force on Caregiving held a public listening session to gain input from stakeholders on the task force’s draft proposals. WiAHC members Leah Perras, , Executive Director of Transitions at Home, and Greg Von Arx, CEO of Recover Health testified at the listening session. Perras’ and Von Arx’s testimony was aimed at the task force’s failure to propose a Medicaid reimbursement rate increase for home health services despite previous testimony to the task force requesting such an increase.
“Wisconsin is lagging behind the nation in ensuring home health can adequately compete for staffing against other sectors of the healthcare industry despite growing demand for home health care services,” Perras said. “Due to Medicaid rates in Wisconsin, home health agencies pay below the state average for the same position across other sectors of the medical industry. As growth in the utilization of home health care services continue, today’s workforce challenges will only get worse.”
Perras explained that Wisconsin is well below the national average when it comes to RNs working in home health settings. RNs working in home health settings make up just 6% of the total nursing workforce in the state, according to the Wisconsin Center for Nursing. Nationally, RNs working in home health settings make up nearly 13% of the total nursing workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unfortunately, home health agencies regularly lose highly skilled nurses to other sectors, mostly due to compensation potential.
According to CMS, patients’ homes are considered the ideal care setting, which is causing rapid growth in the industry, faster than most other health care categories since 2013. Increased utilization will also be necessary for the aging Baby Boomer generation.
“While healthcare inflation has grown 32.3% and Low Utilization Payment Adjustment (LUPA) rates, which are federally averaged Medicare rates, have increased by 26%, Wisconsin’s Medicaid reimbursement rate for home health services has increased 0% over the last ten years,” Von Arx told the task force.
During the 2019-20 legislative session, WiAHC worked with a large bipartisan group of lawmakers on legislation to increase the Medicaid home health visit rate by 10 percent. The bill, Senate Bill 416/Assembly Bill 447, received a public hearing in the Senate Health Committee and had considerable support in both the Senate and Assembly. WiAHC is hopeful a recommendation from the task force would assist in increasing awareness on the urgency of the issue facing Wisconsin’s home health agencies.
WiAHC lobbyists are also submitting a memo to the task force and will continue to advocate for including a rate increase in the task force’s final proposal.
June 1 marked the official start of state legislative campaign season in Wisconsin. Candidates for state office turned their nomination papers into the Wisconsin Elections Commission and will now campaign ahead of the August 11 partisan primary. Candidates who win in August will square off in the general election on November 3.
The 2020 election will produce both change and consistency in the state legislature. With 7 open Senate Seats and 13 open Assembly seats, there will be plenty of new faces. At the same time, it is likely that Republicans will maintain control of both houses, extending their ten-year majority another two years.
The following seats are open due to retirements whether leaving to pursue higher office or leaving public service:
The current political wisdom is that Assembly Republicans are in position to maintain control following the 2020 election due to their large majority. They currently have a 63-36 seat majority. Should the election be favorable for Democrats, there is a chance they could win nine competitive seats currently held by Democrats. However, they would still be short of obtaining the majority. The nine competitive seats currently held by Republicans include:
Likewise, it is expected Senate Republicans will also maintain control of that body. Until recently, Republicans had a 19-14 majority. However, following the resignations of Republican Tom Tiffany (elected to Congress in May) and Democrat Jennifer Shilling (resigned to take a job in the private sector), Republicans currently have an 18-13 majority.
Of the open seats, it is likely, Republicans will maintain control of the 12th (Tiffany – Northern WI), 14th (Olsen – Central WI) and 28th (Craig – Southeast WI) Senate Districts. Likewise, it is certain Democrats will maintain control of the Madison-based 16th and 26th Senate Districts, which have both garnered large Democratic primaries.
Conversely, the open seats in the 30th (Hansen – Green Bay) and 32nd (Shilling – LaCrosse) Senate Districts could potentially go either way. Looking at the performance of Republican presidential candidates in the last two elections, Romney lost the Green Bay-based 30th Senate District with 47.7% of the vote and Trump won it with 55.6%. If Trump performs well again, then it is conceivable a Republican State Senate candidate could win the district.
While the 32nd Senate District in LaCrosse is typically a strong Democrat district, Trump did significantly better than Romney. Additionally, former 32nd District Democratic Senator Jennifer Shilling narrowly defeated her opponent, Republican Dan Kapanke in 2016. Kapanke, a former Senator from the area, is running again this year. Should Trump increase support in the LaCrosse area, Kapanke may have a chance.
Political spectators are also keeping a close eye on the 10th Senate District in northwest Wisconsin, which is held by Democrat Patty Schachtner. Schachtner handily won the seat by 10-percentage points in special election in 2018. However, Republicans hold all three Assembly seats that comprise the Senate district, and Trump won the district with 55.6% of the vote in 2016. Again, a Republican candidate’s success may rely on the district’s support for Trump.
If Senate Democrats have the opportunity to flip a seat, it could be the 24th Senate District held by Republican Patrick Testin (Stevens Point). The central Wisconsin district, which includes the city of Stevens Point and surrounding areas, was once considered a Democratic district. Romney lost the district in 2012 and Trump won it with 53% in 2016. In 2018, Republicans running for statewide office lost the district. If the district continues its swing left and support for Trump decreases, Democrats could flip the seat.
The 2020 election in Wisconsin will be somewhat unique because there is no race for statewide office (Governor, U.S. Senate) for the first time in several cycles, which should mean that success for Democrats and Republicans in the state legislature will rely solely on attitudes in the presidential race. However, while Wisconsin is considered one of the foremost battle ground states this year and Biden leads Trump in recent polling, the vast majority of Democratic voters reside in Milwaukee County and Dane County (Madison). Democrats already hold the legislative seats in these two areas. The reality of how voters are distributed in the state lends itself to the possibility that the Democratic nominee for president wins the state and legislative Republicans return with large majorities again.
Starting June 5, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) will be accepting applications from specific types of health care providers (listed below) for $110 million of funding provided to the state under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. These funds will be used to make payments to offset lost revenues and expenditures facilities and services incurred during March, April, and May 2020, related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Providers eligible to apply are:
Home and community-based service providers* that provide:
Assisted Living Facilities, including:
Nursing Homes, including:
Emergency Medical Service Agencies
Clinics/Health Centers, including:
* Only entities/organizations may apply for funding. Individuals such as those who are participant-hired workers or paid through a fiscal agent are not eligible.
On May 13, the Wisconsin State Supreme Court struck down the Safer at Home extension ordered by Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. While the Court did not rule on the legality of the Safer at Home policy, it did rule the process by which the policy was implemented was illegal.
The Court ruled that Secretary-designee Palm did not have the singular authority to extend the Safer at Home order to May 26 and stipulated the action required emergency rulemaking procedure, which was not executed by the Department.
At the heart of the issue was whether or not DHS can extend the Safer at Home order beyond May 11. Governor Tony Evers declared a public health emergency in March. By law, such declarations expire after 60 days. In this specific instance, the expiration date was May 11.
Emergency Order #28, issued by Palm, extended the Safer at Home order two weeks beyond the expiration date. Palm and DHS cited statute 252.02 as providing the department the authority to take actions to combat outbreaks of communicable disease outside the confines of a 60 day public health emergency declaration. Republican legislative leaders disagreed with the interpretation of that statute and filed the challenge in the State Supreme Court.
The ruling was decided on a 4 to 3 vote. One conservative member, Justice Brian Hagedorn, disagreed with his conservative colleagues, stating in his dissent, “The legislature may have buyer's remorse for the breadth of discretion it gave to DHS in Wis. Stat. § 252.02. But those are the laws it drafted; we must read them faithfully whether we like them or not.”
In the wake of the ruling, Wisconsin is now without a statewide strategy to combat COVID-19. While the Department of Health Services took direction from the ruling and submitted proposed emergency rules to the legislature for approval, it rescinded that proposal on May 18, after comments from Republican legislative leaders who want to leave ongoing strategies to local public health departments.
Dane County, for instance, issued its own Safer at Home order shortly after the Court’s ruling on May 13. Other counties followed suit, but some later rescinded after confusion over their legal authority to do so became unclear. This confusion caused Attorney General Josh Kaul to issue an opinion that nothing in the Supreme Court’s ruling affects the authority of local public health officials to issue Safer at Home orders for their jurisdictions.
There is, however, some public opposition to local orders. On Wednesday, May 20, a group of Wisconsin citizens filed a challenge against local orders on Constitutional grounds in federal court in Milwaukee. The challenge states that safer at home orders infringe upon rights to freely assembly and freely practice religion. There has yet to be any developments in the challenge beyond the initial filing.
WiAHC’s lobbyists continue to closely monitor the situation and will provide updates as they’re available.
On Thursday, May 21, Governor Tony Evers announced $100 million in grants to home and community based services, long-term care, and emergency medical services. The funds are made available from federal dollars allocated by the CARES Act.
According to the linked press release, the program will be administered in two parts: an initial release of funds to support immediate needs, and a second, targeted release for additional needs of individual providers. Both rounds of funding will be allocated to support expenses directly related to COVID-19 as well as expenses associated with the interruption of typical operations, such as overtime pay, changes to sanitation procedures, and disruption to the standard delivery of care.
“We recognize the significant burden the COVID-19 response has placed on these providers,” says Governor Evers. “We also recognize the integral role they play in ensuring the health and safety of some of our most vulnerable Wisconsinites and we want to support their efforts during this pandemic.”
WiAHC’s lobbyists have been told by DHS that additional specifics for distributing the funds are forthcoming. They will update members as more details are made available.
The WiAHC Spring Conference has moved to virtual! This gives you and your entire agency the ability to watch all conference sessions for one price. This is the first time you do not need to choose who attends each breakout session or who attends the WiAHC Spring Conference from your agency. Everyone can benefit, firsthand!
There are experts presenting from Florida, Missouri, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin. Five sessions are for new nurses presented by Teresa Northcutt, BSN RN COS-C HCS-D HCS-H, Senior Associate Consultant, Selman-Holman, A Briggs Healthcare Company. We have three sessions by Larry Prince, CEO and Managing Partner, Prince Health, LLC covering motivating employees and managing performance during times of change. Phil Ward, CHA, President of Hospice Operations, Community Hospice and Palliative Care presents on improving profitability of hospice GIP facilities and the evolution of business intelligence. Other topics include PDGM, infection control, revenue cycle management and many more.
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