Grassroots Spotlight: Wisconsin Rural Health Delegation Visits Congress
In conjunction with the National Rural Health Association’s Policy Conference, a group of rural health advocates met with Wisconsin’s congressional delegation February 7 in Washington, D.C. to discuss several topics of significant concern to rural hospitals and health care providers. The Wisconsin Hospital Association, Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative, Wisconsin Office of Rural Health, and UW School of Medicine and Public Health emphasized the importance of renewing funding for Medicare Extenders; restoring cuts to the 340B drug pricing program; preventing swing bed reimbursement cuts; reauthorizing and extending the Conrad 30 J-1 Visa Waiver program; and restoring funding for community health centers.
Rural hospital CEOs Mary Beth White-Jacobs from Black River Memorial Hospital and Bob Van Meeteren of Reedsburg Area Medical Center, COO Dan DeGroot from HSHS St. Clare Hospital in Oconto Falls, and Heather Erickson from Amery Hospital and Clinic all provided examples of how savings from the 340B program have been used to supplement other programs such as behavioral health that are essential to the community but for which reimbursement is low. Considering the recent House Ways and Means Committee report that suggested significant swing bed reimbursement cuts as a way to pay for Medicare extenders, both Van Meeteren and DeGroot stressed the importance of retaining current cost-based reimbursement for swing beds, which provide high-level rehabilitative post-acute care for patients in their home communities.
This story originally appeared in the February 09, 2018 edition of WHA Newsletter