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  • May 28, 2024 2:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Now that the Legislature has adjourned their legislative session, the 2024 election cycle is in full campaign mode. Wisconsin’s state legislative and congressional district maps were finalized earlier this spring, which will create several very competitive races for control of the Wisconsin legislature. This, coupled with Milwaukee hosting the Republican National Convention in July and Wisconsin’s status as a key battleground state in the Presidential election and control of the U.S. Senate, will make for a very interesting 2024 election year. 

    State Legislative Elections

    Both houses of the Wisconsin Legislature currently have large Republican majorities (Assembly – 64-35; Senate 22 to 10 with 1 vacancy in a heavily Democratic district in Milwaukee). All 99 Assembly seats are up for election.  In the Senate, 16 of 33 seats are up – eight of these seats feature GOP incumbents and four of them are open seats. 

    The current political wisdom is that Assembly Republicans are in position to maintain control following the 2024 election due to the number of Republican seats that are viewed as safe or strong for the GOP, in addition to the high number of GOP incumbents.  However, due to 2024 redistricting, the number of highly competitive seats has increased under the new district maps.  As such, it is possible that Assembly Republicans may lose a small number of seats, but not enough to lose the majority. 

    Likewise, it is expected Senate Republicans will also maintain control of that body in 2024.  However, the GOP may also lose seats in this chamber due to the increase of competitive seats because of 2024 redistricting.  To take control of this chamber, 13 Democratic candidates would have to win Senate seats in November, which is unlikely.

    To read the more detailed memo regarding the 2024 election, please click here.

  • May 28, 2024 2:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In the coming months, WiHPCA will send a legislative priority survey to all members.  This will help WiHPCA leadership determine the policy priorities for the 2025-2026 state legislative session.  Please consider completing the survey once you receive it.  This will be a great opportunity to share your thoughts on the direction that WiHPCA should take with respect to advocacy. 

  • May 28, 2024 2:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In recent weeks, the Governor’s Task Force on the Healthcare Workforce launched its new website, which includes the following: 

    • An overview of the mission of the task force.
    • A list of names and titles of the task force members.
    • Schedule of future task force public meetings.
    Information related to prior meetings, including agendas and presentations.
  • May 28, 2024 2:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In mid-May, the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) announced the Accelerate Wisconsin initiative.  The intent behind this initiative is to streamline the occupational licensure process for recent nursing school graduates, so that they can begin practicing more quickly after graduation. Nursing students at participating schools will now be able to take the required NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) national nursing exam before they graduate.  Once certification of a nurse’s graduation has been provided to DSPS, the nurse will receive their occupational license from DSPS within three business days.  Furthermore, to assist employers with their hiring process, DSPS will provide nursing students who meet all criteria except graduation with a letter reflecting this.

    The following nursing schools are participating in this program:

    • Alverno College
    • Carroll University
    • Carthage College
    • Chippewa Valley Technical College
    • Edgewood College
    • Gateway Technical College
    • Madison College
    • Marian University
    • Marquette University
    • University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
    • University of Wisconsin-Madison
    • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
    • University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
    • Viterbo University
  • May 28, 2024 2:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On May 14, Governor Evers called for special elections for the following positions:

    • 4th State Senate District

    This heavily Democratic district in the City of Milwaukee is vacant as former State Senator Lena Taylor (D) was appointed to the Milwaukee County Circuit Court. This special primary election will occur, if needed, on July 2, 2024.  The special general election will occur on July 30, 2024.  It’s important to note that the winner of this special general election will hold this seat through the end of the term, which ends on January 5, 2025.  The 4th State Senate District will also be up for election during the normal August primary and November general elections this year.  The winner of that general election will take office for a full four-year term on January 6, 2025 (state legislative inauguration day).

    • 8th Congressional District

    This Republican-leaning district, which includes the Fox Valley and the Green Bay area, became vacant when former Congressman Mike Gallagher (R) resigned. The special primary election and special general election will occur on the same dates as the normal primary and general elections (August 13 and November 5 of this year) for this seat.  Therefore, the winner of the special general election would take office immediately after the November 5 election and hold the seat until January 3, 2025 (Congressional inauguration day).  The winner of the normal general election (also on November 5) will take office on January 3, 2025.

  • May 28, 2024 2:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The 2023-24 legislative has come to an end, and legislators have shifted their focus to the upcoming election season and the need to connect with voters. With that in mind, it is more important than ever for WiHPCA members to strengthen their relationships with their state lawmakers (and new legislative candidates) to educate them on the value of hospice and palliative care, the regulatory challenges we face, and the legislative solutions we need to increase access to care for patients and their families. Rember, decisions state legislators make in the Capitol can have a significant impact on the hospice industry, your organization, and your profession.

    One of the best ways you as a WiHPCA member can engage your local legislators is to invite them to tour your facilities to illustrate firsthand the many benefits of hospice and palliative care. These visits provide a tremendous advocacy opportunity, which is why WiHPCA members across the state have already hosted numerous successful legislative tours. But we need to maintain the enthusiasm for this critical grassroots advocacy program, and WiHPCA is excited and ready to set-up additional tours today.

    If you would like to host a legislative tour at your site, please contact the WiHPCA office at wihpca@badgerbay.co. We will work with you and your legislators to coordinate the meetings and will provide participating members with full support, including legislator bios, advocacy tips, issue briefings, and supporting documents.  

  • April 26, 2024 8:24 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Over the last few weeks, Governor Evers has taken action on numerous bills, including the following bills of interest to WiHPCA:

    • Signed - Senate Bill 178 – Creates a requirement, in certain circumstances, for physicians, authorities of various medical institutions, or other persons required to report deaths under current law to contact a medical examiner or coroner within 24 hours after an individual either has presented at or is admitted to a hospital or similar institution, whichever is earlier, to determine whether the medical examiner or coroner is required to investigate a death. Thanks to WiHPCA advocacy efforts, via an amendment we lobbied for, hospices were made exempt from the requirements of the new law.  The Governor signed an amended bill on March 22.
    • Vetoed - Senate Bill 158 – Proposed creating a preliminary health care credential that is available to individuals who have completed the requirements for the corresponding permanent or training health care credential while they await a decision from the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) regarding their application for the permanent or training credential. The Governor vetoed this bill on March 29, issuing the following statement in his veto message:
    • “I am vetoing this bill because I object to potentially reducing patient protections from individuals who have a disqualifying criminal background by allowing unlicensed individuals to receive preliminary healthcare credentials based solely upon their own attestations and employer-conducted background checks. The department would have no way to discern the veracity of an employer-conducted background check and no ability to hold employers accountable for false or neglectful attestations.”
  • April 26, 2024 8:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On April 4, the Governor’s Task Force on the Health Care Workforce held a public meeting in Madison.  Lt. Governor Sara Rodriguez, a registered nurse, chairs this task force.  The intent behind this task force is to craft health care workforce recommendations that may be included in the Governor’s FY2025-2027 budget request to the Legislature.

    The meeting started out with a discussion of the results of a survey that was sent to all 24 task force members, all of whom completed the survey.  The intent of this survey was to help determine the potential areas of focus for the task force. 

    With respect to specific profession areas, the survey found that the task force should focus on the following (in order of priority):

    1. Behavioral Health
    2. Nurses
    3. Direct Care
    4. Allied Health
    5. Physicians
    6. Oral Health
    7. Emergency Medical Services
    8. Other

    With respect to health care sectors, the survey found that the focus should be on the following (in order of priority):

    1. Behavioral Health
    2. Long term care
    3. Primary care
    4. Emergency Medical Services
    5. Oral Health
    6. Other

    With respect to health care workforce improvement strategies, the survey found that the focus should be on the following areas (while they are in order of importance, these were all ranked quite close to each other – therefore, the task force views these as effectively equal):

    1. Recruitment and Retention
    2. Education and Training
    3. Regulatory Policy

    Following this conversation, David Polk, who serves as the director of the Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards at the state Department of Workforce Development, discussed the various health care apprenticeships that are currently offered in the state.  These apprenticeships include medical assistants, pharmacy technicians, and registered nurses.  Immediately following that presentation, Bridgett Willey, the director of Allied Health Education and Career Pathways at UW Health, described their health care apprenticeship offerings.

    Next, Jessica Smith, who serves as the director of the Center for Inclusive Transition, Education, and Employment at UW Whitewater (UWW), presented on the Qualified Treatment Trainee (QTT) grant program at UWW.  A QTT is someone with a master’s degree in social work, counseling or marriage and family therapy, who wants to get a professional license for such counseling work.  These individuals perform counseling work under the guidance of a clinical supervisor.  This grant program is funded by the state Department of Health Services (DHS) and is administered by DHS, along with UWW.  Right after this presentation, Jill Baures, Psy.D., who serves as the Clinical Training Director for Pauquette Center for Psychological Services in the Madison area, discussed her agency’s experience with the QTT program.

    At the end of the meeting, the upcoming task force meeting schedule was discussed:

    • May 9 – UW La Crosse
      • During this meeting, the task force will identify additional strategies and opportunities.
    • June 6 – UW Milwaukee
      • During this meeting, they will start prioritizing all strategies and opportunities.
    • July 11 – UW Green Bay
      • During this meeting, they will review a draft set of recommendations.
    • August 8 – Madison (Hill Farms State Office Building)

    For further details about the task force’s April 4 meeting, you are welcome to review a more detailed summary.

  • April 26, 2024 8:22 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In early April, the state Department of Health Services (DHS) submitted a proposal to the Legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee requesting their approval for DHS’s plan for spending $36 million in settlement funds received from opioid litigation.  In summary, DHS proposes to spend these funds for the following purposes:

    • Tribal Nations:  $6 million
    • Community, Education, After-School Prevention:  $5 million
    • Family Support/Resource Centers: $5 million
    • Peer Support in Opioid Treatment Programs: $5 million
    • Narcan:  $3.5 million
    • Fentanyl Test Strips:  $1 million
    • Capital Projects:  $3 million
    • Room and Board: $2.5 million
    • EMS “Leave Behind” Programs:  $1.5 million
    • Public Health Vending Machines: $1 million
    • Law Enforcement Grants:  $1 million
    • Data Collection and Surveillance System Enhancements:  $1.5 million
  • April 26, 2024 8:21 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On April 11, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley announced that she would not run for re-election in 2025.  She is currently a member of the liberal majority of the court.  When she completes her term on July 31, 2025, she will have served 30 years as a justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  Prior to her service on this court, she served 10 years as a circuit court judge in Marathon County. 

    The primary election to fill her seat on the court will be held on February 18, 2025, and the general election will occur on April 1, 2025.  As this is written, former Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel – who currently serves as a judge in Waukesha County – is the only candidate who has announced a run for Justice Walsh Bradley’s seat on the State Supreme Court.

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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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