• February 12, 2024 8:57 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Wisconsin’s Rainbow Community Care and Viewpoint with Dennis Quaid have collaborated on a television project designed to educate and inform audiences about the importance of hospice, palliative, and guided care. 

    The public television story will be distributed to 170+ affiliate stations across the country on February 26th and they will have up to one year to broadcast it.

    The 1-minute commercial is airing this month on CNN, CNN Headline News, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News, Fox Business Network, TLC, Travel and Discovery in the Madison and Milwaukee television markets.

  • January 29, 2024 10:31 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On January 17, the Assembly Committee on Health, Aging and Long-Term Care voted unanimously (16-0) to recommend approval of Assembly Bill 736, which would create a state Palliative Care Council to advise the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and provide recurring reports to the Legislature.  State Representative Patrick Snyder (R-Wausau Area) and state Senator Jesse James (R-Eau Claire Area), working in conjunction with WiHPCA, introduced Assembly Bill 736, as well as Senate companion legislation (Senate Bill 703) in late 2023.  Senate Bill 703 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Government Operations. 

    One week prior to the approval of this bill – on January 10 – the Assembly Committee on Health, Aging and Long-Term Care held a hearing on Assembly Bill 736.  At this hearing, numerous individuals testified regarding this bill.  In addition to state Representative Patrick Snyder (R-Wausau), who is the author of this legislation, the following individuals testified in favor of the bill:

    • Danielle DiGennaro, Director of Supportive Care, Agrace
    • Najmus Liang, MD, Medical Director – Wisconsin, VITAS Healthcare
    • Sara Sahli, Government Relations Director-Wisconsin, American Cancer Society
    • Chad Spitz, Son of a patient who received palliative care at VITAS Healthcare
    • A number of letters of support were submitted from physicians, APRNs and RNs.

    The primary intent of this legislation is to improve awareness of and access to palliative care.  That is because there are not enough health care providers who specialize in palliative care in Wisconsin.  Furthermore, there is a shortage of information on palliative care for practicing health care providers, patients, and their loved ones.   

    The proposed palliative care council would work 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 members of the Legislature.  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. 

    WiHPCA’s government affairs team continues to lobby the Legislature to continue to move this bill through the legislative process. 

  • January 29, 2024 10:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On January 16, the state Assembly unanimously approved 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 – even deaths not currently included under existing reportable circumstances under existing state law.  The state Senate unanimously approved this bill in November 2023. 

    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, particularly from hospices.

    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. 

    Now that both the Assembly and Senate have approved this legislation – including an exemption for hospice – it will go to the Governor for his consideration.

  • January 29, 2024 10:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On January 16, the full Assembly approved several bills supported by WiHPCA that attempt to streamline the state occupational licensing process:

    • Assembly Bill 90:  A bill allowing a third-party contractor to process occupational credentialing applications for occupational therapists and occupational therapist assistants.  This will help expedite the processing of these applications, as many of them are stuck in a continuing backlog of credential processing at the state Department of Safety and Professional Services.   
    • This bill passed the Assembly by voice vote on January 16 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.
    • Senate Bill 158:  In order to help expedite the occupational credentialing process for new college graduates in the health care field, this bill would require the state Department of Safety and Professional Services to grant preliminary occupational credentials to those who have recently completed the requirements to obtain a health care credential, submitted a license application, and have been engaged by a health care employer. 
    • This bill passed the Assembly by voice vote on January 16.  Also, on June 14, 2023, the state Senate approved this bill on a party-line basis (22 in favor, 11 against). 
    • As the Assembly also amended this bill on January 16, the bill goes back to the Senate for further consideration.  This amendment would enter Wisconsin into the national Social Work Licensure Compact (allowing Wisconsin-licensed social workers to work in other states that have also approved this compact). 
  • January 29, 2024 10:28 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On Friday, Jan. 26, Gov. Tony Evers appointed State Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) to the Milwaukee County Circuit Court. Taylor immediately resigned from the Senate and will fill her new role starting on Jan. 30.

    Taylor, 57, was first elected to the state Assembly in 2003 and has served in the Senate, representing the 4th Senate District, since 2005. Her departure from the Senate creates a vacancy, with Republicans now holding a 22-10 majority in the 33-seat legislative body. Evers said he will call a special election this spring to fill Taylor’s seat, which leans heavily Democratic.

  • January 29, 2024 10:27 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On December 22, 2023, the State Supreme Court issued a ruling that Wisconsin’s state legislative district maps are unconstitutional and the maps for each such district must be redrawn before the 2024 elections.  State Supreme Court justices voted 4-3 in favor of this ruling.  The decision focused on specific state legislative districts that include non-contiguous portions of land, which the court found violated the state constitution.

    Specifically, the court ruled that the legislature must redraw the boundaries for each state Assembly and state Senate district in advance of the August 2024 primary election.  If the legislature and Governor Evers are not able to agree on legislation creating new district boundaries, the court noted that it will decide on the new boundaries.  As a practical matter, the state Elections Commission has stated that new district boundaries will need to be finalized by March 15, 2024. 

    After the December 22 decision, Legislative Republicans asked the State Supreme Court to reconsider its decision. The State Supreme Court rejected that request.  Subsequently, the State Supreme Court requested that parties to the lawsuit submit new suggested district maps.  Seven such maps were submitted to the court on January 13.  At this point, two consultants hired by the court will review all these proposed new maps and submit their recommendations to the court by February 1.  At that point, the court will select the new state legislative maps, unless the Governor signs a bill creating new maps. 

    In an unexpected twist, the GOP-controlled Senate and Assembly passed legislation the week of Jan. 22 to create new maps, giving little notice to legislative Democrats of Evers. Republican leadership said the new maps were very close to maps previously proposed by Evers with some small changes to ensure political fairness. Democrats blasted the maps and Evers indicated he would veto the legislation.

    Assuming the State Supreme Court ultimately selects the new maps, it is possible that this case will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.  

  • January 29, 2024 10:26 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On January 8, state Assembly Republicans unveiled their draft bill permitting registered patients to access medical cannabis. 

    Under the legislation, all prescribers who have a bona-fide relationship with a patient would be able to certify if a patient has a qualifying condition (prescribers are not mandated to make certifications if they choose not to for whatever reason). Qualifying conditions include cancer, HIV or AIDS, seizures and epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, glaucoma, severe chronic pain (narrowly defined in the legislation), severe chronic nausea, severe muscle spasms, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, chronic motor or vocal tic disorder, Tourette syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and any terminal illness with a probable life expectancy of less than one year.

    After receiving a certification, the patient would register with the newly created Office of Medical Cannabis Regulation (OMCR) within the Department of Health Services (DHS). The OMCR would issue patients and caregivers (up to 3 chosen by each patient) “registry identification cards”. These cards would allow the patient or caregiver to go to one of the five state government-operated medical cannabis dispensaries where a licensed pharmacist will consult on dosage and dispense medical cannabis to a patient or caregiver.  The bill allows medical cannabis concentrates, oils, tinctures, edibles, pills, topical forms, gels, creams, vapors, patches, liquids, or forms administered by a nebulizer. The bill does not allow smokeable cannabis. All forms of cannabis would need to be dispensed in child/tamper proof containers. 

    As of the writing of this newsletter, this bill has not yet been introduced.  However, it is likely that the full Assembly – and possibly the full Senate – will vote on this bill before the end of the 2023-2024 legislative session.

  • January 29, 2024 10:25 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Delivering his sixth State of the State Address on Jan. 23, Gov. Tony Evers focused on what his team is messaging as the Administration’s achievements, saying that Wisconsin “has never been in a better fiscal position than we are today better than last year, better than when I took office, and better than any year in Wisconsin’s 176 years of statehood.”

    He also touched on the political battle occurring in the state as it relates to reproductive rights, as well as the state’s ongoing workforce shortage crisis. In fact, during his speech, Evers announced he will issue an executive order to establish the Governor’s Task Force on Healthcare Workforce. 

    According to the governor’s office, the task force will be charged with studying the workforce challenges facing the state’s healthcare system, including recruitment and retention, identifying ways to improve patient care and alleviate the burdens on the healthcare workforce. The task force will also explore educational and training pathways to grow a sustainable healthcare workforce, and to create an action plan with solutions related to workforce development, industry innovation, education, and training.

    Task force members will include representatives from institutions of higher education, medical providers, individuals from various levels of government, and patient advocacy organizations. 

  • January 29, 2024 10:24 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In mid-January, the state Department of Health Services (DHS) announced their recommendation that young children living in Wisconsin should have their blood tested for lead.  Specifically, DHS recommends that all children between the ages 1 and 2 should receive this test.  Also, DHS recommends that any child between the ages of 3 and 5 who has not been tested, should be tested.  Further, any child under the age of 6 who lives in the City of Milwaukee may need to be tested, according to the City of Milwaukee Health Department guidelines.  For further information, please go to the DHS website

  • January 29, 2024 10:24 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In December 2023, the state Department of Health Services (DHS) announced that it would extend its free telehealth service to ensure rapid access to COVID-19 antiviral drugs through April 10, 2024.  With this service in place, any Wisconsinite 18 years of age or older who tests positive for COVID-19 is able to receive a telehealth consultation with a health care professional seven days a week during the hours of 8:00AM – 8:00PM.  If the patient is eligible for treatment, the patient will receive a prescription for a COVID-19 antiviral drug that may be filled at a pharmacy.  If the patient does not have access to a pharmacy, the prescription drug will be shipped overnight to the patient.  For more information, go to the DHS website

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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