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News & Press: Advocacy News

WAND Government Affairs Update

Monday, June 19, 2017  
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Although state law requires the budget to be finalized by June 30, each passing day makes it look more and more like the budget will not be completed on time. While legislators strive to pass the budget by June 30, it does not always happen and it is actually fine because unlike the federal government, state government does not shut down if the budget is not passed. Instead, the state will operate under existing budget levels determined in the 2015-2017 budget.

There are many reasons for the delay, but the biggest reason comes down to the fact that the majority party in both houses of the legislature do not see eye-to-eye on some key issues like transportation and education funding. While it seems things are at an impasse for now, that can change quickly and the budget could still potentially be completed by June 30.

Along with monitoring the progress of the state budget, Hoven Consulting has been working on a bill to address changes made by CMS to Rule 42 CFR that allows RDNs to order modified and therapeutic diets in certain long-term care facilities for patients without direct permission from the attending physician. It is believed this change will bring efficiencies and reduced costs.

According to the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, current administrative code allows only physicians to order therapeutic diets in nursing homes and modified diets in facilities serving persons with developmental disabilities. To address the discrepancy, Hoven Consulting is working with legislators on a bill that would amend DHS administrative code to allow attending physicians to delegate prescribing a nursing home resident’s therapeutic diet and prescribing of a modified diet for a resident of a facility serving persons with developmental disabilities to a certified dietitian. The bill has been well-received and will be introduced in the coming weeks.

Other bills WAND has been monitoring so far this legislative session are Assembly Bill 78, Assembly Bill 215 and Assembly Bill 224. We have officially registered in support of these three bills with the Wisconsin Ethics Commission per recommendation from the WAND Public Policy & Advocacy Committee.

Assembly Bill 78 relates to replacing lead service lines and has received bipartisan support from lawmakers. This bill would allow water public utilities to provide financial assistance to private property owners who have service lines that contain lead. WAND is one of twenty-eight groups to register in support of this bill. An amended version that lowered the grant amount to be 50% of the total cost to homeowners passed out of the Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities on June 13. It is available for scheduling for a floor vote in the Assembly.

Assembly Bill 215 is a priority issue for WAND this legislative session. What is known as “The Nutrition Education Act” requires the Department of Public Instruction to modify its nutrition education standards to include knowledge of the nutritive value of foods and the role of a nutritious diet in promoting health. The bill also modifies prerequisite conditions for which a school board may award a high school diploma by requiring the inclusion of nutrition education into the 0.5 health education requirement that exists under current law. AB 215 will receive a public hearing in the Assembly Committee on Education in the coming months. Per Assembly rules, WAND will need at least 3 members to come to the Capitol and testify in support at that hearing. If you have any questions about the committee process and are interested in testifying, please contact WAND government affairs associate Dan Carpenter. Hoven Consulting will provide more updates regarding the public hearing as they are made available. Stay tuned!

Assembly Bill 224 provides grants for education and training for allied health professionals at hospitals, health systems and educational entities in rural areas. WAND registered in support of this bill because RDNs qualify under the definition of “allied health professional” and we know we need to get RDNs into rural communities. A minimum of five grants totaling $250,000 in each year of the 2017-2019 biennium will be awarded. The language for this bill was ultimately included in the budget through passage of Omnibus Motion #256. As long as the language stays in the final budget that is signed by the Governor, this bill will become law.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact Dan Carpenter via phone 608-310-8832 or email at dan@hovenconsulting.com with any questions related to the state budget, legislation or anything else related to Wisconsin State Government.

 


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