Members of WHA’s West Central Region welcomed Rep. Gae Magnafici to its meeting at Amery Hospital & Clinic on May 23, which was hosted by Amery Hospital CEO Deb Rudquist. Rep. Magnafici worked as a nurse in many different settings throughout her career and said these experiences motivated her to run for the state Assembly so she could make a difference on issues, including health care. Some of the health-related legislation she has worked on in her first legislative session include changing the number of training hours required to become a certified nursing assistant, eliminating the expiration date for the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, and licensure of dental therapists. The hospital CEOs who attended were able to directly share with Rep. Magnafici some of the challenges and issues they face as rural hospital leaders.
WHA’s Director of Federal and State Affairs Jon Hoelter presented information on current issues that WHA is working on with the state Legislature and U.S. Congress. Those issues include the state budget and Medicaid funding, surprise billing, site neutral payments, dental access, and the 340B program.
Following the presentation, the region members discussed recent developments with Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) designations. Recent re-drawing of HPSA boundaries has moved some of the region’s hospitals out of HPSAs, and they are working with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to resolve this issue. Also discussed were issues around rural health clinic reimbursement of dental care, and expansion of telehealth to provide better access to services such as behavioral health.
WHA regional in-person meetings provide a valuable connection point between WHA staff and their members throughout the state. For more information on the West Central Region, contact region liaison WHA Vice President for Policy Development Laura Rose