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Society priorities advance in State Budget Committee action

The Wisconsin State Legislature’s budget-writing committee continues to make changes to Gov. Tony Evers’ 2019-21 biennial budget proposal this week, and some of the Society’s priorities for the state’s Medicaid program were approved Tuesday evening.

The bicameral, bipartisan Joint Committee on Finance (JCF) voted to add $24 million in base reimbursement for physician and behavioral health services as part of actions related to the state’s Department of Health Services. The Society teamed with physician specialty groups in advocating for Medicaid reimbursement increases in areas where Wisconsin has lagged behind the rest of the nation.

Other items of note approved Tuesday night include:

  • $6.8 million added for telehealth reimbursement services.
  • An almost $900,000 increase in funding for the “hub and spoke” substance abuse treatment model, aimed at supporting people in recovery for opioid use disorder. The JFC motion would also allow opioid treatment programs to seek grants from the state for methadone treatment.
  • Adding $500,000 in funding for the Child Psychiatry Consultation Program.
  • $100,000 for DHS’s Division of Public Health to help conduct a statewide, “science-based” public outreach/education campaign on vaccinations.

 
A full summary of the omnibus DHS-related Finance motion Tuesday night can be found here on the state Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s website.

The JCF is scheduled to continue its work on the budget next week, with a goal of sending the amended budget proposal to Gov. Evers by the end of the month. Upon receiving the bill, the Governor can use his strong line-item veto powers to make changes to what the Republican-controlled legislature submits or could issue an outright veto of the entire bill.

Contact Lisa Davidson, Mark Grapentine, JD or HJ Waukau for more information.

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