WiHPCA Government Affairs Report

November 27, 2023 12:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

By Hoven Consulting – WiHPCA’s lobbying firm

  • ·       Palliative Care Council Legislation to be Consider Under the Capitol Dome

State Representative Patrick Snyder (R-Schofield) and State Senator Jesse James (R-Altoona) have teamed up to introduce legislation (Senate Bill 703) that would create a state Palliative Care Council, which will help increase awareness of and need for palliative care in Wisconsin. WiHPCA worked closely with both legislators to craft this legislation, which our organization wholeheartedly supports. 

Unfortunately, there are currently barriers in place with respect to palliative care in Wisconsin.  For starters, there are simply not enough health care providers in our state who specialize in palliative care.  Also, there is a shortage of information on palliative care for practicing health care providers, patients, and their loved ones.   

Legislation to create a palliative care council would help improve these shortcomings. Under the bill, the council is charged with working with DHS on analyzing existing palliative care programs, as well as identifying ways in which health care providers could improve the quality of life for patients throughout our state.  The council would be comprised of 22 members representing diverse perspectives, including physicians, nurses, a spiritual care professional, palliative care patients or family members of such patients, a health insurance company representative with expertise in palliative care, and a bipartisan group of legislators.  The council would meet at least twice per year in various locations across the state.

Many other states have already taken the step of creating a palliative care advisory council or advisory group to increase awareness of access to this specialized type of care.  In fact, 25 other states from coast to coast have formed such entities. Wisconsin would be well-served in joining these other states to help improve access to palliative care for those Wisconsinites who could benefit from it. 

The WiHPCA Government Affairs Team will provide members with the latest development as the bill moves through the legislative process.

  • ·       State Senate Approves Bill Requiring Death Reporting Within 24 Hours of Presentment or Admittance – Including WiHPCA-Requested Exemption for Hospice

On November 7, the state Senate voted unanimously to approve Senate Bill 178, which would require all individuals or organizations that are currently required to report certain deaths to medical examiners or coroners to also notify these officials of all persons who have died within 24 hours of admittance or presentment to a hospital or other facility (including a hospice) – even deaths not currently included under existing reportable circumstances under existing state law. 

WiHPCA members already report deaths under certain circumstances – typically following a significant fall – to the appropriate county coroners or medical examiners as is required by existing state law.  However, WiHPCA is concerned that a requirement to notify the coroner or medical examiner regarding all deaths that occur within 24 hours of admittance or presentment would significantly increase the number of death notifications that would need to be submitted. 

As such, WiHPCA’s Madison lobbyists successfully advocated for an amendment exempting hospice from the death reporting requirements in Senate Bill 178, as well as the Assembly companion bill – Assembly Bill 189. 

The next step is for the full Assembly to vote on this amended legislation, now that the full Senate has approved it.  WiHPCA’s Madison lobbyists will continue to advocate for the approval of this legislation. 

Wisconsin Hospice and Palliative Care Association

563 Carter Ct, Suite B

Kimberly, WI 54136

Phone: 920-750-7726 | Fax: 920-882-3655

Email: wihpca@badgerbay.co

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