Stoughton Health representatives and volunteers joined nearly 1,000 hospital and health system employees and trustees to engage with elected leaders on topics of critical importance to maintaining Wisconsin’s high-quality health care at the Wisconsin Hospital Association’s (WHA’s) Advocacy Day on March 23.
“Stoughton Health welcomes the opportunity WHA’s Advocacy Day affords us to share our experience and perspective with the state’s policymakers in order to chart the best path forward,” said Dan DeGroot, Stoughton Health President & CEO. “We’ve learned some valuable lessons over the course of the past two years that we hope will lead to productive discussions about how hospitals across Wisconsin can continue to best meet the health needs of the communities they serve.”
WHA’s Advocacy Day featured a keynote discussion between former U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb and WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding focused on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and strategies that can be employed now to strengthen the state’s and the nation’s public health preparedness. Gov. Tony Evers also addressed the group and signed two important pieces of bi-partisan legislation for Wisconsin hospitals and the patients they serve at the event. Assembly Bill 679 permanently enables hospitals to deliver in-patient level care in a patient’s home. Assembly Bill 960 protects Wisconsin health care workers and their families from threats and acts of violence.
WHA’s Advocacy Day also featured a bi-partisan legislative panel discussion hosted by WHA Senior Vice President of Government Relations Kyle O’Brien which included Sen. Joan Ballweg (R-Markeson), Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee), Rep. Tony Kurtz (R-Wonewoc) and Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee).
The half-day virtual event was followed by virtual meetings between hospital representatives and their legislative representatives in the afternoon, which continued on March 24. Stoughton Health and others thanked lawmakers for enacting public policies that help Wisconsin hospitals, providers, staff and their patients, including critical Medicaid funding, removing regulatory barriers for innovative care delivery model, and protecting health care workers from acts and threats of violence. Other key priorities highlighted included workforce challenges and hospitals’ important role in serving their communities.