Latest News

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   Next >  Last >> 
  • Wednesday, January 25, 2023 9:15 AM | WiSCAadmin (Administrator)

    Author: Hamilton

    Tony Evers Sworn in for Second Term as Governor

    Inauguration Day in Wisconsin took place on January 3. Democratic incumbents Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul began their second terms in office, while Sara Rodriguez was sworn in as the state’s new lieutenant governor. Gov. Evers spent the majority of his second inaugural address laying out his administration’s goals and policy priorities for the next four years, including the following statements:

    • “Fully fund our public schools, keep class sizes small, invest in kids’ mental health, and retain and build upon our talented education workforce” and “make quality childcare and early childhood education more affordable and accessible.”
    • Provide tax relief for “the middle class” and “working families,” not “big breaks to millionaires and billionaires.”
    • “Expand BadgerCare and work to ensure everyone has access to quality, affordable healthcare” and “lower the cost of medication and cap the cost of insulin.”
    • “Restore the freedoms that Wisconsinites had until June 23, 2022, the day before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.”
    • “Ensure that every Wisconsinite has access to clean, safe water… that means urgently addressing PFAS and lead and nitrates and getting those contaminants out of our water.”

    2023-24 Legislature Begins with 31 New Members

    Inauguration Day also marked the beginning of the 2023-24 Session of the Wisconsin Legislature, and 31 new members were sworn in, nearly 25 percent of the Legislature’s total membership. Republicans continue to control both chambers of the Wisconsin Legislature with strong majorities. Caucus leadership from both parties has remained mostly the same, while the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee will have five new members.

    In the 33-member Senate, there will be seven new members, five Republicans and two Democrats. Sen. Cory Tomczyk (R-Mosinee) will be brand new to the Legislature; the other new members of the Senate previously served in the Assembly. In the 99-member Assembly, there will be 24 new members, 16 Republicans and eight Democrats.

    This turnover was almost entirely due to legislators retiring or seeking other offices. Only Rep. Don Vruwink (D-Milton), who was moved into a differently numbered district due to redistricting, lost his bid for reelection. Shortly after the election, Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) retired, setting up a special election to select her replacement.

    Key Issues: State Budget and Tax Reform

    With another legislative session comes another biennial state budget bill, and Wisconsin is expected to have a surplus of $6.6 billion when the current biennium ends on July 1.

    Late last year, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said a top priority for him will be for the 2023-25 budget to cut taxes by at least $3.4 billion and possibly “significantly” more. The 2021-23 budget cut income and property taxes by that amount.

    During the 2022 election, Gov. Evers said that his upcoming budget proposal will include additional funding for K-12 education and an increase in shared revenue for municipalities. He also proposed an income tax cut of 10 percent for single filers at $100,000 or less and joint filers at $150,000 or less. Gov. Evers will present his executive budget proposal to a joint session of the Legislature on February 15.

    Recently, Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu proposed changing the state income tax to a flat rate of 3.25 percent for all taxpayers by 2026. Currently, Wisconsin’s income tax rates start at 3.54 percent and rise to a high of 7.65 percent. Speaker Vos has also indicated he would support a flat tax. Last month, Gov. Evers called a flat tax a “non-starter,” saying “we prefer a progressive tax system that we have now.”


  • Wednesday, January 25, 2023 9:14 AM | WiSCAadmin (Administrator)

    Sign-up to host a legislative tour of your ASC

    With the 2023-24 legislative now upon us – and legislators busy at work on critical health care policy – it is more important than ever for WISCA members to strengthen their relationships with their state lawmakers and educate them on the ASC model of care, the regulatory challenges we face, and the legislative solutions we need to increase access to affordable, quality care provided in the ASC setting. Remeber, decisions state legislators make in the Capitol building can have a significant impact on the ASC industry, your organization, and your profession.

    One of the best ways you – as a  WISCA member— can engage your local legislators is to invite them to tour your ASCs to illustrate firsthand the many benefits of surgery center care. These visits provide a tremendous advocacy opportunity, which is why WISCA members across the state have already hosted numerous successful legislative tours. But we need to maintain the enthusiasm for this critical grassroots advocacy program, and WISCA is excited and ready to set-up additional tours today.

    If you would like to host a legislative tour at your site, please contact the WISCA office at WISCA@badgerbay.co. We will work with you and your legislators to coordinate the meetings and will provide participating members with full support, including legislator bios, advocacy tips, issue briefings, and supporting documents.   


  • Wednesday, January 25, 2023 9:13 AM | WiSCAadmin (Administrator)

    ·         Legislative Session

    Both the State Senate and the State Assembly were on the floor this month, but only dealt with limited calendars. Both houses adopted an amendment to the constitution relating to bail imposed on defendants awaiting trial, as well as a resolution to create an advisory referendum to be held at the April non-partisan election on the issue of whether individuals receiving public assistance should be subject to a work requirement. The proposed constitutional amendment will also go before voters (to approve or deny) in April.

    ·         Protasiewicz with Early Supreme Court Fundraising Lead

    The first campaign finance reports for WI Supreme Court candidates were due earlier this month, and Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Janet Protasiewicz reported raising $756,000 in the last 6 months of last year, more than doubling her next closest competitors.  Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dorow raised $306,000, former Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly raised $312,000 and Dane County Circuit Court Judge Everett Mitchell raised $115,000.  The four face off in a primary in February, with the top two vote getters moving on to the April General Election.  While the Supreme Court is nonpartisan, its members do loosely line up along ideological lines, with Conservatives holding a 4-3 advantage. For Conservatives to maintain their majority, either Dorow or Kelly would need to win the April Election.

    ·         Legislative Republicans circulate Tax Proposals

    Legislative Republicans have proposed two bills early this session focusing on tax cuts, fulfilling campaign promises from last fall.  Earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu circulated a bill that would phase in a flat tax over the next four years.  The State currently has four income tax brackets, and if this bill were to pass, everyone in Wisconsin would be paying a rate of 3.25%, down from 7.65%, which is what taxpayers in the upper bracket are currently paying.  Governor Evers has said he does not support this proposal, although he is likely to introduce his own income tax relief proposal in his budget bill.

    Republicans have also re-introduced legislation to eliminate the personal property tax in Wisconsin.  While Evers vetoed a bill to repeal the personal property tax last session, Republicans hope a compromise on the issue can be reached this session.

    ·         Medicaid Budget Surplus

    The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) recently announced the state’s Medicaid program is now projected to finish the fiscal year with a $774.8 million surplus, roughly $270 million more than what was expected late last year. Former DHS Secretary Karen Timberlake, who stepped down from her post earlier this month, attributed the surplus to several factors, including the federal government’s continuation of enhanced reimbursement rates and reduced costs for prescription drugs. Given the nearly $300 million upper to the Medicaid fund, the state is expected to finish the current fiscal year with an overall budget surplus of close to $6.9 billion.


  • Wednesday, January 25, 2023 9:05 AM | WiSCAadmin (Administrator)

    WISCA works closely with our national association partner – the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA) – on advocacy and other issues important to our members. In fact, the WISCA Government Affairs Team joins a national ASCA state chapter call twice a month for a federal regulatory and legislative briefing and closely follows their published Government Affairs Updates. Here is the latest government affairs news from ASCA:

    • Public Health Emergency Expected to End in 2023:

    According to reporting by Politico, the Biden administration is considering ending the federal government’s formal declaration of a public health emergency (PHE) due to the COVID-19 pandemic at the end of the most recent renewal on January 11, 2023. The PHE was originally declared on January 31, 2020, by former US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, and has been renewed continuously since then. If the Biden administration chooses not to renew the PHE again, it is set to expire mid-April 2023. Numerous waivers that were introduced to ease administration of health services during the pandemic, including the Hospitals Without Walls initiative that allowed ASCs to bill as hospital outpatient departments (HOPD), would expire along with the PHE declaration.

    • What Procedures Should Be Added to Medicare’s ASC Covered Procedures List?:

    Help ASCA advocate for the expansion of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) ASC Covered Procedures List by completing a brief survey. The ASC-CPL contains codes that CMS considers clinically appropriate for ASCs to provide to Medicare beneficiaries. Participants must complete one survey for each procedure they would like added. For example, if you would like to see three procedures added, you would need to complete three surveys. Per 42 CFR §416.166 - Covered surgical procedures, unlisted codes (generally ending in 99) are not payable in ASCs. In addition, codes that are currently on the inpatient-only list may be recommended, but please note that it is generally a multiyear process for those codes to be considered for the ASC-payable list. Take the survey by Friday, February 10, 2023. Contact Kara Newbury with any questions.

    • ASC-1 through ASC-4 Data Collection Resumed January 1:

    CMS decided in 2022 rulemaking to resume data collection and reporting beginning in 2023 for ASC-1: Patient BurnASC-2: Patient FallASC-3: Wrong Site, Wrong Side, Wrong Patient, Wrong Procedure, Wrong Implant; and ASC-4: All-Cause Hospital Transfer/Admission. These measures were previously suspended as of January 1, 2019. Facilities do not report these measures on claims as was previously required. Instead, ASCs must collect data for these measures for all patients, not just fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare beneficiaries, and will submit the data in calendar year (CY) 2024 via the Hospital Quality Reporting (HQR) secure portal (also known as QualityNet). Data collected in 2023 must be reported through the HQR secure portal by May 15, 2024. For more information, read last week’s Digital Debut.


  • Monday, November 28, 2022 8:21 AM | WiSCAadmin (Administrator)

    Sign-up to host a legislative tour of your ASC

    With the 2023-24 legislative session right around the corner, it is increasingly important for WISCA members to strengthen their relationships with key state lawmakers and candidates for state legislative office and educate them on the ASC model of care, the regulatory challenges we face, and the legislative solutions we need to increase access to affordable, quality care provided in the ASC setting.

    One of the best ways to do that is for members to invite their local legislators to tour their ASCs to illustrate firsthand the many benefits of surgery center care. These visits provide a tremendous advocacy opportunity, which is why WISCA members across the state have already hosted numerous successful legislative tours. But we need to maintain the enthusiasm for this critical grassroots advocacy program, and WISCA is excited and ready to set-up additional tours today.

    If you would like to host a legislative tour at your site, please contact the WISCA office at WISCA@badgerbay.co. We will work with you and your legislators to coordinate the meetings and will provide participating members with full support, including legislator/candidate bios, advocacy tips, issue briefings, and supporting documents.   

  • Monday, November 28, 2022 8:20 AM | WiSCAadmin (Administrator)

    State Senator Alberta Darling has announced her resignation from the Wisconsin Legislature. After a career that spanned 32 in the State Capitol, she will step down from her seat on Dec. 1. Darling was initially elected to the Assembly in 1990, but only served a single two-year term. She was elected to the Senate in 1992.

    Following the Nov. 8 elections, and heading into the 2023-24 Legislative Session, the GOP was set to hold a 22-11 veto proof majority in the senate. With Darling’s retirement, Senate Republicans will be one seat short of a two-thirds supermajority, at least until Gov. Tony Evers calls a special election to fill the seat.

    The 8th Senate District, which Darling is vacating, covers portions of Waukesha, Ozaukee, and Washington Counties, including the municipalities of Mequon, Cedarburg, Germantown, and Menomonee Falls. The district leans Republican, but the special election could be competitive, especially if it is held in conjunction with the April general election that has a WI Supreme Court race on the ballot.

    Darling, who was the first woman lawmaker to co-chair the Legislature’s powerful Joint Finance Committee, helped to shape the state’s finances and budget policies for over two decades. She served on the committee for 22 years, including 12 years as the co-chair.

  • Monday, November 28, 2022 8:18 AM | WiSCAadmin (Administrator)

    The Wisconsin Department of Administration recently reported the state anticipates a record-high budget surplus of nearly $6.6 billion for the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30, 2023. Previous estimates set the surplus at just over $5 billion. In addition to the expected $6.6 billion surplus, the state also has $1.7 billion in its rainy-day fund.

    “Exceptional fiscal management, a positive GAAP balance, and a record high surplus are good news for Wisconsin as we get ready to close out 2022 and put the pandemic in the rear view,” said DOA Secretary-designee Kathy Blumenfeld. “Our financial outlook is strong, as is our Administration’s leadership and commitment to ensure a prosperous and resilient Wisconsin that works for all.”

    The record surplus will have a significant impact on the upcoming state budget process, which will begin next year after the Legislature reconvenes. Gov. Tony Evers will submit his two-year budget proposal in February, and the Republican-controlled Legislature will take the next several months to rewrite the spending plan before sending it back to Evers by June 30 for his signature and/or veto.

    Gov. Tony Evers said Wisconsin is in a strong financial position and, “This unprecedented surplus presents an unprecedented opportunity to make critical investments in Wisconsinites and the future of our state.”

    The GOP Co-Chairs of the Legislature’s powerful budget-writing committee – Sen. Howard Marklein and Rep. Mark Born – also applauded the historic surplus, saying “It gives us flexibility to fund the programs and agencies that are necessary for prosperity in Wisconsin while cutting taxes to benefit all Wisconsin taxpayers."

    CLICK HERE to read the full DOA budget report.

  • Monday, November 28, 2022 8:10 AM | WiSCAadmin (Administrator)

    In the weeks following the Nov. 8 general election, which saw Republicans increase their majorities in both the state Senate and Assembly, all four partisan caucuses met to elect their leadership teams for the 2023-24 legislative session. Please find below an overview of leadership elections:

    Senate GOP:

    There were not many changes in the Senate GOP Caucus. There entire leadership team stayed intact, except Sen. Joan Ballweg replaced retiring Sen. Kathy Bernier as Majority Caucus Vice-Chair.

    • Senate GOP Leadership:
      • Majority Leader – Devin LeMahieu
      • Senate President – Chris Kapenga
      • Senate President Pro Tempore – Patrick Testin
      • Assistant Majority Leader – Dan Feyen
      • Caucus Chair – Van Wanggaard
      • Caucus Vice-Chair – Joan Ballweg

    Assembly GOP:

    There was more of a shakeup in the Assembly Republican Caucus, as the retirement of former Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steinke caused a chain reaction, with Rep. Tyler August moving up from Speaker Pro Tempore to Majority Leader, and Rep. Keven Petersen moving up from Assistant Majority Leader to Speaker Pro Tempore. New leadership members filled the positions of Assistant Majority Leader, Caucus Chair, and Caucus Sergeant at Arms.

    • Assembly GOP Leadership:
      • Assembly Speaker – Robin Vos
      • Majority Leader – Tyler August
      • Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore – Kevin Petersen
      • Assistant Majority Leader – Jon Plumer
      • Caucus Chair – Rob Summerfield
      • Caucus Vice-Chair – Cindi Duchow
      • Caucus Sergeant at Arms – Treig Pronschinske

    Senate DEM:

    • Assembly DEM Leadership:
    • Senate Minority Leader – Melissa Agard
    • Senate Minority Assistant Leader – Jeff Smith
    • Senate Minority Caucus Chair – Chris Larson
    • Senate Minority Caucus Vice-Chair – Dianne Hesselbein

    Assembly DEM:

    • Assembly DEM Leadership:
    • Assembly Minority Leader – Greta Neubauer
    • Assembly Minority Assistant Leader – Kalan Haywood
    • Assembly Minority Caucus Chair – Lisa Subeck
    • Assembly Minority Caucus Vice-Chair – Jill Billings
    • Assembly Minority Secretary – Kristina Shelton
    • Assembly Minority Sergeant at Arms – Lee Snodgrass
  • Monday, November 28, 2022 7:59 AM | WiSCAadmin (Administrator)

    WISCA works closely with our national association partner – the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA) – on advocacy and other issues important to our members. In fact, the WISCA Government Affairs Team joins a national ASCA state chapter call twice a month for a federal regulatory and legislative briefing and closely follows their published Government Affairs Updates. Here is the latest government affairs news from ASCA:

    • 2023 OPPS/ASC Final Rule Released
    As ASCA alerted members, the 2023 hospital outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS)/ASC final rule was released on November 1. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized an effective update of 3.8 percent—a combination of a 4.1 percent inflation update based on the hospital market basket and a productivity reduction of 0.3 percentage points mandated by the Affordable Care Act. This is an increase of 1.1 percent from the proposed rule. Please note that this is an average and updates might vary significantly by code and specialty.

    CMS also finalized a policy to provide complexity adjustments for combinations of certain service codes and add-on procedure codes that are eligible for a complexity adjustment under the hospital OPPS. While add-on codes (N1) do not receive additional reimbursement when packaged into primary codes, the addition of the add-on codes to a primary procedure code often changes the complexity of the procedure, making it more costly to perform. As finalized in this rule, Medicare will now provide a “complexity adjustment” to adjust the payment rate for certain primary procedures to account for the cost of also performing certain add-on procedures. There are 55 new C-codes that represent these procedure combinations.

    Although ASCA provided a list of dozens of procedures that are performed safely on non-Medicare populations in the ASC setting for consideration to be added to the ASC Covered Procedures List (ASC-CPL), CMS added only four of the requested codes:

    ·         19307 (Mast mod rad)

    ·         37193 (Rem endovas vena cava filter)

    ·         38531 (Open bx/exc inguinofem nodes)

    ·         43774 (Lap rmvl gastr adj all parts)

    With regards to the Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality Reporting (ASCQR) Program, CMS finalized its proposal to suspend the mandatory adoption of ASC-11: Cataracts: Improvement in Patient’s Visual Function within 90 Days Following Cataract Surgery in the ASCQR Program. ASCA has been strongly advocating for this measure to remain voluntary.

    The final rule rate calculator is already available to members on our Medicare Payment Resources page, and we will continue to add to these resources in the coming weeks.

    • ASCA 2023 Fly-In Save the Date

    ASCA’s National Advocacy Day returns February 27-March 1, 2023, at the Washington Marriott Capitol Hill. National Advocacy Day gathers engaged members of the ASC community from across the country to advocate for their facilities and the high-quality care they deliver. It is an excellent opportunity to meet face-to-face with your members of Congress and their staff to educate them about the many benefits ASCs provide. CLICK HERE for more information and to register for this important event.

  • Monday, November 28, 2022 7:57 AM | WiSCAadmin (Administrator)

    By Andrew Engel – WISCA Lobbyist (Hamilton Consulting)

    Governor, Legislators Prepare for New Session

    After all the ballots were cast and counted, not much changed in the Wisconsin legislature. Governor Tony Evers will return for four more years after beating Tim Michels by over 90,000 votes.

    State Senate republicans picked up a seat to move their majority to a 22-11 advantage. This gives them a veto-proof majority.  Senator Devin LeMahieu was re-elected by his caucus as the Majority Leader and he is in the process of forming committees and naming Chairs.

    Republicans in the State Assembly also picked up seats moving their majority to a 64-35 advantage, just two seats away from having a veto-proof majority.  Speaker Vos was re-elected by his caucus as well and remains the longest serving Speaker in Wisconsin history. 

    In other Wisconsin state races Attorney General Kaul was re-elected by about 35,000 votes, Secretary of State Doug LaFollette was re-elected by less than 7,500 votes, and John Leiber (R) defeated Aaron Richardson (D) by nearly 40,000 votes to become the new State Treasurer

    Chaperone Rule Still in Flux at Latest Medical Examining Board Meeting

    Representatives of the Wisconsin Medical Society and Wisconsin Hospital Association spoke to the board during the hearing. Mark Grapentine (Medical Society) commented that his organization supports the revised rule, understands the board’s intent, and appreciates MEB’s willingness to compromise. He noted that WMS received an “inordinate” level of feedback from members concerning the original draft of the rule.

    Ann Zenk (Hospital Association) asked MEB Chair Dr. Wasserman to meet with the WHA Physician Leaders Council before the board votes on the latest version of the rule. She said that WHA members still have concerns with the rulemaking and want to discuss potential alternatives. She noted that her organization is also submitting written comments.

    Following the public hearing, MEB reviewed the Legislative Clearinghouse report, which identifies potential legal and technical issues in a rulemaking. Notably, the report indicated that MEB did not adequately explain its intent regarding the responsibility of hospitals and other employers of physicians and to explain the source of its authority to impose a requirement on anyone other than physicians. The report asked what MEB expects to happen if a hospital does not post a chaperone policy.

    The board agreed to add an explicit statement to the rule to the effect of, “Nothing under this rule is intended to impose a requirement on any person or entity that the board does not have jurisdiction over.” MEB member Dr. Goel commented that he was “disappointed” that some organizations responded to the board’s rulemaking in a “get off our turf” manner.

    The board also agreed to some minor language changes suggested by the Clearinghouse Report, but the overall language and effect of the rule will remain the same. Meanwhile, MEB Chair Wasserman said he would meet with WHA to discuss the organization’s concerns. The board will review a revised rule at its next meeting in December.

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   Next >  Last >> 

Association of Wisconsin Surgery Centers
563 Carter Court, Suite B Kimberly WI 54136
920-560-5627 I WISCA@badgerbay.co

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software