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News & Press: State News

Legislation Introduced to Raise MA Rates and Allow for Telehealth

Friday, August 30, 2019  
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Erik Kanter, Hoven Consulting

 

In August, two separate pieces of legislation were introduced in the Wisconsin State Legislature aimed at allowing MA providers to seek Medicaid reimbursement for services provided via telehealth and increasing home health Medicaid rates. Both pieces of legislation have bipartisan support.

 

The first bill, authored by Representative Amy Loudenbeck (R – Clinton), Representative Deb Kolste (D – Janesville), Senator Dale Kooyenga (R – Brookfield), and Senator Janet Bewley (D – Mason), stipulates that any Medicaid services provider can seek Medicaid reimbursement from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) for services provided through telehealth technologies.

 

Of particular interest to home health care agencies, explicitly prohibits DHS from limiting reimbursement of a service provided through telehealth based on the location of a Medicaid recipient. In other words, a Medicaid patient can receive services through telehealth while in their home and home health agencies can seek reimbursement for those services.

Additionally, the bill requires DHS to reimburse services provided through telehealth at the same rate it reimburses the equivalent service if the service was provided in person.

As of this writing, the bill has not yet been referred to a legislative committee. WiAHC lobbyists are actively engaged in advocating for the bill and will continue to provide updates on the bill as it makes it’s way through the legislative process.

 

The second bill, authored by Representative Rob Brooks (R – Saukville), Representative Rob Summerfield (R – Bloomer), Representative Deb Kolste (D – Janesville), Senator Luther Olsen (R – Ripon), and Senator Tim Carpenter (D – Milwaukee), directs the Department of Health Services to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for home health services by ten percent. The bill would increase the rates from $85.54 per visit to $94.09 per visit.

 

WiAHC’s lobbying team spearheaded this effort in coordination with the bill authors. It is rare for Medicaid rates to be increased outside of the state budget process. If the bill does not make it through the legislative process this legislative session, it will increase awareness among the legislature on the need to increase rates for home health and put WiAHC in good position to pursue increases in the next budget cycle. WiAHC’s lobbying team will continue to provide updates on this bill as well and make members aware of opportunities to get involved in advocating for the bill. 


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