American Rescue Plan (ARP) – Iowa Allocation
The state of Wisconsin is projected to receive roughly $5.7 billion from the American Rescue Act, which is almost 2.5 times the amount distributed to Wisconsin through the CARES Act. While some of that is for health care, most is for economic recovery and individual assistance.
Legislature and COVID Response
Sitting on Governor Tony Evers’ desk is Assembly Bill 148. This bill passed due in large part to a big push by the Wisconsin Hospital Association. Of particular importance to Meriter is the reform to out-of-state health care licensure. This provision will make permanent the expedited temporary credential process put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This applies to health care providers who hold an unrestricted license in good standing from another state and enables the issuance of a temporary credential within 3 to 5 days while the traditional license application is pending. For physicians, wait times for approval of a traditional license application average between four to six months. In addition, care delivery flexibility was granted to provide (1) Medical Assistance reimbursement or supplemental payments to hospitals for nursing-facility level care when a nursing facility is not available to provide that care; or (2) hospital-associated services provided in a home setting that are otherwise covered when provided as inpatient hospital services without requiring certain hospitals to be licensed as a home health agency for those services. This second provision allows Wisconsin to implement Medicare-approved Acute Hospital Care at Home programs.
Last night, Governor Evers hosted the second of six public sessions on “Badger BounceBack”, the Governor’s 2021-23 biennial budget. This second session targeted health care budget proposals:
- Expanding BadgerCare & Improving Health Insurance Affordability
- Reducing Prescription Drug Costs
- Investing in Mental Health & Substance Use Treatment
- Expanding Telehealth Access
- Supporting Our Caregivers & Long-Term Care Community
- Promoting Health Equity & Addressing Disparities
- Strengthening Healthcare Infrastructure
In April, the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee plans to hold three in-person public hearings on Governor Evers’ $91 billion state budget proposal as well as one virtual hearing open to anyone in the state. After the hearings, the committee will hold agency briefings before taking committee votes on changes to Evers’ budget plan. It is the committee proposal which will advance to the full Legislature for final votes.
For more information on State of Wisconsin advocacy, legislative, policy and regulatory issues of impact to UnityPoint Health, please contact Cathy Simmons, executive director of government & external affairs for UnityPoint Health.