We have great news to report! Governor Evers included a proposed budget increase of over $5.2 million annually in his executive budget to improve Medicaid emergency services reimbursement rates in Wisconsin. WACEP has been advocating for this increase for over 20 years since our last consideration of an increase.
As you probably know, the Wisconsin Medicaid program reimburses the worst in the country for our most commonly used E/M codes, and we have a lot of work to do to make this increase a reality. The budget proposal must go through the Joint Finance Committee and be approved by the full legislature over the next four months.
At this point, the budget provides an increase, however exactly how that increase would be operationalized (should it make it through the Legislature) would be determined by the Department of Health Services (DHS). We continue to work with the Administration to understand exactly what $5.2 million might look like to specific reimbursement coding. Obviously WACEP will continue to work with the state should this budget item make it through the earmark.
It’s important to know that while the Governor included this funding in his budget, it has a long way to go before it becomes reality. With certainty, we will need YOUR help over the coming months to contact your legislators to help ensure that this item remains in the budget.
As we learn more and work out details of the specific ask to your individual legislators, there are two things you can consider doing now. First would be to send a “thank you” to the Governor:
Mail: The Honorable Tony Evers, Governor of Wisconsin
115 East, State Capitol
Madison WI 53702
Second, please consider attending Doctor Day on May 5th, which will be virtual. While Doctor Day addresses issues pertinent to all physicians, this could be a great opportunity for you to meet with your legislators during what is anticipated to be a key time in the budget process. Notably, attending Doctor Day should not supplant other grassroot efforts (calls, meetings, letter writing) during the budget process, but the additional exposure and participation could be very helpful.
Finally, thank you for your membership in Wisconsin ACEP. You give a voice to Emergency Medicine in Wisconsin. Should you find yourself interested in helping our organization continue to build relationships please consider giving to our PAC or recruiting a colleague to ACEP/WACEP membership.
Please know that our physician legislative committee members and advocacy team are monitoring developments daily. Stay tuned for additional updates.
Brad Burmeister, MD, FACEP, WACEP President
Lisa Maurer, MD, FACEP, WACEP Legislative Committee Chair