This week, I circulated legislation which
continues the fight against Alzheimer’s and dementia in Wisconsin. Last
session, I chaired the Speaker’s Task Force on Alzheimer’s and Dementia,
which traveled across the state listening to the concerns of Wisconsinites
regarding these diseases. This bill is a continuation of the work that was
done by the task force and it is part of a seven-bill package that was
Alzheimer’s and dementia affects hundreds of thousands of our fellow
Wisconsinites every day, and that number only continues to grow. From those
living with these diseases, to the countless caregivers who assist them on a
daily basis, we need to let these people know that there are resources
available to them.
LRB 4206 creates a $500,000 grant program at the Wisconsin Department of
Health Services where local community programs from rural and underserved
urban areas can apply for grants to help raise awareness for Alzheimer’s and
dementia throughout Wisconsin. During the Speaker’s Task Force on
Alzheimer’s and Dementia’s public hearings, legislators heard countless
times about the lack of knowledge surrounding the diseases themselves and
the lack of knowledge concerning the resources available.
Raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia is incredibly important
both for those living with these diseases and their caregivers. If more
Wisconsinites knew about Alzheimer’s and dementia, we would be able to
diagnose earlier and would also be able to provide family, friends, and
co-workers with knowledge about these diseases.
LRB 4206 was released today and will be available for co-sponsorship by
other legislators until next Friday, October 27th.
Alzheimer's and Dementia Awareness Grant (Rohrkaste):
A common theme surrounding Alzheimer’s and dementia is a lack of awareness.
Many Wisconsinites don’t know that they or their loved one is living with
one of these diseases, and if they do know, many don’t know where to turn.
There are many governmental and private resources throughout the state for
those living with these diseases and their caregivers. These organizations
offer different forms of assistance, but many of our fellow Wisconsinites
are not aware of all options. LRB 4206 directly addresses this problem by
allowing DHS to distribute up to $500,000 in grants to community programs
across the state to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s and dementia resources.
By raising awareness, we are hoping to catch these diseases sooner in those
living with them and also to raise awareness for caregivers, co-workers,
friends, and family about the resources available to them when caring for a
Palliative Care Advisory Council (Snyder):
This bill would establish a Palliative Care Advisory Council consisting of
doctors, healthcare professionals, advocates, hospital administrators, and
medical students. Wisconsin would join 21 other states in establishing a
similar council that is directed to consult with and advise the Department
of Health Services. The Palliative Care Advisory Council would meet to
positively impact the policies of DHS and the Legislature regarding
palliative care. The goal of the council would be to understand and evaluate
the impact palliative care has on families, experiences of families that
have used palliative care services, practices and protocols of doctors
within the palliative care field, and areas in which palliative care can be
improved. The board would be required to develop biennial legislative
reports and sunset after 10 years.
LRB 1243 The Silver Alert Fix (Skowronski):
This simple fix ensures that if a credible Silver Alert has been issued for
the driver, law enforcement must notify the Department of Transportation.
DOT must do a follow-up review to consider restrictions for that driver.
Individuals for which the silver alert has been issued and their guardians
are also referred to local aging and disability resource centers.
LRB 3913: Dementia Specialist Certifications (Skowronski):
This bill would create a 40-hour voluntary certification for CNAs, nurses
and assisted living center administrators with the goal of improving
caregiving for individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia, creating new
opportunities for professional development and helping facilities attract
and retain new workers. This bill would ensure that everyone using the term
“Certified Dementia Specialists” would have a standard knowledge base. Those
looking to place their loved ones in care facilitates would know that a
“Certified Dementia Specialist” completed a state-sponsored training
program. A certified dementia specialist would be trained in the challenging
behaviors and situations that often arise with a patient with Alzheimer’s
LRB 4231 The Caregiver Tax Credit (Skowronski):
Across the country, there are 40 million
people are caregivers for family members with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Of
those 40 million, caregiving is their primary responsibility as many have
left the workforce, or reduced the amount of time they are working to care
for a loved one with a significant illness. Family caregivers are unpaid,
but the economic value of their care is in the hundreds of billions of
dollars. Caregiving for a loved one is not just an incredible responsibility
and emotionally stressful but financially burdensome. Family caregivers who
leave the workforce could lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages and
benefits over their lifetimes. To help alleviate the costs associated with
caregiving, this bill offers a $1,000 tax credit to qualifying families for
expenses related to caregiving.
LRB 3615 Uniform Adult Guardianship Certifications (Skowronski):
The impact of dementia on a person’s ability to make decisions and without
other advanced directives, people with Alzheimer’s disease may need the
assistance of a court-appointed guardian. Once appointed that guardian may
make legal, economic, and personal well-being decisions for the individual.
However, in our increasingly mobile society, not all court-appointed
guardians live in the same state as the person to which they are assigned.
Differences in states’ adult guardianship laws and limited communication
between states and courts create a barrier to addressing end of life issues.
Adult guardianship jurisdiction issues commonly arise in situations
involving snowbirds, transfer of guardianship and long-distance caregiving.
Uniform Adult Guardianship in Wisconsin would simplify the process for
resolving a jurisdictional adult guardianship issue – allowing cases to be
settled more quickly, and provide more predictable outcomes. This bill
allows Wisconsin courts to communicate with other courts when a
jurisdictional issue arises.
LRB 3916 Virtual Dementia Tours (Tittl):
This bill increases funding to the Department of Health Services by $50,000
on a one-time basis to purchase virtual dementia tour licenses so virtual
tours can be made available at various locations throughout the state.
A virtual dementia tour involves wearing a headset, watching a computer
screen and performing various tasks as requested during the tour. At the end
of the tour, a person gains a better understanding of what it is like to
have dementia and struggle with routine matters. Following that experience,
people often remark that the tour was an eye-opening and helpful experience.
Take Back Day
Drug Take Back Day is October 28th this year.
There are several locations in our area where you can dispose of unwanted or
expired prescription drugs, including the police departments in the City of
Neenah, City of Menasha, City of Appleton, and the Village of Fox Crossing. We
all must safely dispose of these items; they should never be flushed or put
down the drain as they pose a contamination risk to our water supply.
For a complete list of drop off locations, visit the
Wisconsin Department of Justice Website.
Practice Registered Nurse Legislation
This week, along with Senator Devin LeMahieu,
I introduced legislation which updates state statutes to better reflect the
practice of Advanced Practice Nursing here in Wisconsin. We have worked with
multiple stakeholder groups to craft this legislation and have already
received wide bipartisan support.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) are registered nurses with
advanced knowledge and skill. They include Nurse Practitioners, Clinical
Nurse Specialists, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, and Certified
Nurse Midwives. In Wisconsin, these specialized nurses are currently defined
as either Advanced Practice Nurses, or Advanced Practice Nurse Prescribers,
depending on their education and certifications. The new umbrella title,
APRN, will provide clarity to their role and responsibility.
In order to be titled as an APRN, a person must have graduated from a nursing
program with a master’s degree or higher in one of the four roles above.
They must also obtain at least 16 hours of continuing education per
biennium. 2 hours per biennium must be in prescribing controlled substances.
It is important to note that this bill will not make it easier for a nurse
to obtain prescribing authority. They must earn the same certificate as they
would need under current law.
In Wisconsin, we have a serious provider shortage. In the APRN categories,
vacancy rates vary between 4 and 11 percent, according to a 2016 study by
the Wisconsin Hospital Association. This shortage is felt throughout the
state, but it is particularly difficult to cope with in rural areas, where
healthcare providers are even scarcer.
The APRN Modernization Act will bring Wisconsin in line with the National
Consensus Model of Advanced Nurse Licensure. This will provide clarity to
the scope of practice of these important healthcare providers in comparison
to other professionals in the state and their peers across state lines.
APRNs are recognized in states all across the country, including Minnesota
Recognizing APRN’s will help ease the provider shortage we feel all across
our state and make Wisconsin a more attractive place for these professionals
Klett Visits the 55th!
Picture left to right: Andrew Nussbaum, myself, Secretary Klett, Jane Lang,
Pam Siedl, Chris Haese
On Monday, Department of Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett visited the
55th Assembly District. Secretary Klett spoke before a group at the Neenah
Club, and then took part in horse-drawn carriage ride set up by the Neenah
Historical Society. It was fun to show the secretary around the district and
introduce her to some of the history of the Fox Cities.
incredibly important to Wisconsin's economy, bringing billions of dollars
into the state every year. As a state, we must continue to promote ourselves
to the rest of the country. Wisconsin is not only a great place to live and
work, but it is a great place to visit and have fun!
I would like to thank the Department of Tourism, as well as the
Historical Society, the City of Neenah, and the
Fox Cities Convention and Visitors
Bureau for helping to set up tours. It was the perfect day to showcase the
Fox Cities to Secretary Klett, and we are all hoping she will be able to
visit again in the future.
Have a great
If you are interested in learning more about
bills that I have authored, co-sponsored, or voted on, please
click here. This link will take you directly to my Wisconsin State
Legislative page. Also, if you are interested in viewing my office