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In This Edition:

 Extraordinary Session: Assembly convenes to discuss bipartisan bill for COVID-19 relief...

 Wisconsin Hospital Association Dashboard: Do you wonder how our hospitals are doing? Find out here...

Visiting Loved Ones: windows to the world...

Quick Links: Helpful websites below...

 

 Extraordinary Session

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With many members of the Assembly voting remotely for the first time in history, the Assembly convened in an extraordinary session today to discuss and approve a bipartisan piece of legislation (Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimate here) that is aimed at providing relief from the effects of COVID-19 for Wisconsin citizens. 

“Today we passed common sense measures to help Wisconsin citizens and state government through this situation.  We are all anxious for a return to normal.  Until then, we will continue to monitor circumstances and adjust accordingly", said Rep. Allen.  

Working together, Assembly Majority and Minority leaders expressed the needs of constituents to the Governor's office, which also participated in crafting the legislation.  

The bill is expansive, working to assist citizens in applying for unemployment, easing occupational regulation for critical industries, and enabling the Wisconsin Economic Development Organization to craft a plan to support Wisconsin's industries and businesses. 

Here are three key points

1) Suspension of one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits: The bill suspends the application of the one week waiting period for benefit years that began after March 12, 2020 and before February 7, 2021. The change will be applied retroactively. 

2) Delay of property tax interest and penalties:Under this bill, a municipality may provide that a property tax installment payment due after April 1, 2020, that is received after its due date will not accrue interest or penalties if the total amount due is received by October 1, 2020. 

3) Fair health care pricing: The bill prohibits a health insurance network plan from requiring an enrollee of the plan to pay more for a service, treatment, or supply provided by an out-of-network provider.

This prohibition applies to any service, treatment, or supply necessity that is related to diagnosis or treatment for COVID-19. This prohibition also applies to any service, treatment, or supply that is provided by another entity because a regular provider is unavailable due to the public health emergency. The bill will require all Wisconsin health care insurers and health care providers to provide fair services to those who need medical care and services during the public health emergency.  

 

In addition, the legislation approved today also provides for the following:

  • Eases licensing requirements for health care professionals and emergency medical responders
  • Allows pharmacists to extend prescriptions
  • Expands SeniorCare to include coverage of vaccinations
  • Ensures no co-pays for COVID-19 testing
  • Provides the needed flexibilities to school districts to complete the school year online
  • Sets aside $75 million to address future, unexpected needs that federal dollars don’t cover
  • Requires the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to develop a plan to assist the state’s main industries (tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, construction and retail). 

What is next?

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration on Wednesday.


Wisconsin Hospital Association COVID-19 update

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Several days ago, the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) released this helpful dashboard that provides insight into how our health system is coping with the novel coronavirus outbreak. 

The website linked above provides up to date data and answers many of the questions that everyone has. Data includes: number of hospital beds available, number of ventilators available, and changes that have occurred over the last 24 hour period. 


Windows to the World

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Yesterday, April 13, 2020, the Wisconsin Board on Aging and Long Term Care issued a memo regarding communication with loved ones in care facilities. The board is now  retracting the Memo and has issued a revised Memo dated April 14, 2020. You can still visit your loved ones in care facilities and communicate through closed windows and via telephone. 


Quick Links 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Wisconsin Hospitals Association - Healthcare System Updates

COVID-19 State Services

Assembly Republican COVID-19 Resource Page 

Small Business Administration COVID-19 Resources

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Unemployment Insurance

WI DWD Unemployment Insurance Information in Spanish

American Red Cross

Local Dining Options