Capitol Update

by Senator Howard Marklein

August 25, 2023


Funding Healthcare in the State Budget

There are nine different hospitals, 20 nursing homes, dozens of clinics and thousands of healthcare providers who take care of us in the 17th Senate District. Thank you to everyone who cares for us and our loved ones. You are critical and essential in our communities.
Our state budget made significant investments in healthcare across Wisconsin by investing $3.1 billion in healthcare initiatives. This includes $838 million in general purpose revenue (GPR).
Healthcare remains one of the largest and most important elements in our state budget. Nearly every person, certainly every family, is affected by the investments our state makes in healthcare. Whether a person receives medical treatments through the state-supported Badgercare program, a family seeks home-health services for a loved one or a child is provided sealants at a school-based Seal-A-Smile clinic, families throughout Wisconsin are touched by these investments.
We invested $387 million more for hospitals, including:

  • Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments: $123,938,000
  • Rural Critical Care Supplement: $11,571,000
  • Primary Care Reimbursement Increase: $132,650,300
  • Behavioral Health Unit Reimbursement: $30,019,000
  • Complex Patient Pilot Program: $5,000,000
  • Emergency MD Reimbursement: $15,356,000
  • Base rates: $68,148,800

We invested $195 million more for nursing homes, including:

  • Nursing Home Support Services: $146,400,000
  • Nursing Home Incentives: $31,200,000
  • Nursing Home Ventilator Dependent Rate: $10,000,000
  • Personal Needs Allowance: $2,060,000
  • Complex Patient Pilot Program: $5,000,000

We also allocated $41 million toward meeting Wisconsin’s mental health needs and $38 million more for personal care workers. Read more about our work on mental health in my July 28, 2023 column – Meaningful Work on Mental Health. An archive of my columns are available on my website: www.legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/17/marklein/
We provided significant reimbursement rate increases for Home and Community Based Services, primary care physicians, emergency room doctors, and more. We increased funding for Family Care and Personal Care workers while maintaining funding for direct care workers in nursing homes. We provided additional funding to Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) and the Alzheimer’s Family and Caregiver Support Program and much, much more.
In addition, I have heard about the challenges many healthcare providers face when obtaining or renewing licenses through the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS). Last year, we were contacted by several doctors who were waiting months for license-approvals. They could not see patients without license approval and were delaying care for people in our communities!  We worked with DSPS to resolve the issues, but these unacceptable occurrences shed light on a major problem.
In response, our budget provided additional licensing support staff, call center staff, and made investments in the online licensing and renewal system in order provide additional assistance to DSPS to help eliminate the backlog and reduce processing times. If, however, you experience a delay in licensing or renewal, please contact my team and we will work with DSPS to resolve your issues.
Overall, I am proud of our work to provide resources and support for healthcare in Wisconsin. Our rural healthcare providers take care of our unique needs and protect our wellbeing on a daily basis. Again, thank you to everyone who works in healthcare in our communities. I appreciate you!
As always, please do not hesitate to connect with me to provide input, ideas or to seek assistance.  Send an email to sen.marklein@legis.wisconsin.gov or call 608-266-0703. I want to hear from you.