Gov. Evers Praises Health Care Workers, Announces Signing of Two Bipartisan Bills on Advocacy Day
“Hospital at home” and threats of violence bills signed into law
In remarks to Advocacy Day attendees, Gov. Tony Evers praised health care workers for their resilience during the pandemic and announced the signing of two important pieces of bipartisan legislation for Wisconsin hospitals and the patients they serve.
WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding welcomed Evers to the event, noting, “Since elected in 2018, WHA and our members have worked very closely with Governor Evers and his team, but especially during the past two years, partnering to marshal the needed resources and implement important regulatory reforms to better enable us all to both fight COVID and provide care during this pandemic.” Borgerding highlighted important collaborations between WHA and the Evers administration throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Borgerding took time to thank other key partners in his remarks.
“I want to extend our deepest appreciation to the men and women who serve in the Wisconsin National Guard,” said Borgerding, who credited the Guard with bringing critical relief to an overwhelmed public health infrastructure by providing testing and vaccination support in communities throughout the state. “And more recently, Guard members have voluntarily trained as certified nursing assistants to staff incapable nursing homes and relieve bottlenecked hospital discharges to free up much-needed hospital beds,” Borgerding said. “Those who serve in the Wisconsin National Guard are special people who give of themselves to others,” he noted.
Borgerding singled out DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake and Deputy Secretary Deb Standridge, “who, despite their lofty titles, have not shirked from getting down in the trenches side by side with WHA and our members in every stage and every aspect of this pandemic,” he said. “Thank you to Karen and Deb and so many others at DHS who have worked so hard these past two years,” Borgerding added.
Evers began his address—his third Advocacy Day appearance—acknowledging several examples of Wisconsin hospital and health system leadership over the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, including testing, contact tracing, vaccines and increased volume of patient care, all on top of hospitals’ standing mission of supporting the health of the communities they serve.
“On a normal day, the work that you do is heroic, but during these past two years, as you’ve navigated the most difficult periods of public health our state has ever faced, you have gone above and beyond your roles,” Evers said.
Evers acknowledged the critical role WHA and Wisconsin’s hospitals and health systems played in Operation Allies Welcome, the federal mission resettling Afghan refugees in the United States, which included clinical services to over 13,000 refugees.
Evers continued with the announcement of the signing of two important pieces of legislation. “This work is a powerful reminder of why Wisconsin’s hospitals and health systems are leaders in the nation, but we recognize the work has not always been easy,” he said. “I have had the fortunate chance to meet with many health care workers over these past months, and I have seen and heard firsthand what you have been up against. We hear your calls for change, and I am proud today to take that step forward.”
The bills, AB 960, protecting health care workers and their families from threat and acts of violence, and AB 679, enabling hospitals to deliver in-patient level care in a patient’s home, were signed into law by Evers moments before his remarks.
“Support from trusted organizations, like WHA and the state’s medical partners, made my decision to sign their bills quite simple, and that is the impact events like today have. By creating spaces where we can share dialogue about the issues facing your field and the people you represent, we open the door for making real, positive change for the people of the state,” Evers concluded.
This story originally appeared in the March 31, 2022 edition of WHA Newsletter