Agnesian HealthCare leaders and volunteers joined nearly 1,000 employees, trustees and volunteers for the Wisconsin Hospital Association’s (WHA) Advocacy Day in Madison on April 17.
This annual event brings hospital advocates together to learn about key health care issues facing Wisconsin, and also provides an opportunity to meet with lawmakers to discuss how their policy decisions impact communities across the state.
Representatives from Ripon Medical Center, St. Agnes Hospital and Waupun Memorial Hospital were present for this annual event.
“Wisconsin is known for its high-quality, affordable and accessible health care, and it is important to educate our policymakers about the issues that directly impact our hospital, patients and communities. Advocacy Day is a time to speak with one powerful voice as hundreds descend upon the state Capitol to meet with our legislators in support of Wisconsin’s health care system,” according to DeAnn Thurmer, president and chief nursing officer with Ripon Medical Center and Waupun Memorial Hospital.
Tommy Thompson, former four-term Wisconsin governor and U.S. Health and Human Services secretary, started out the day with a discussion about Health Care Policy’s Progress and New Challenges with Eric Borgerding, WHA president and chief executive officer.
The crowd then heard from the popular bipartisan state legislative panel: Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee), Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee), Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green), and Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette).
Governor Tony Evers provided the luncheon keynote address focusing his remarks on the current state biennial budget process. Evers noted that he has heard from health care advocates across the state who are adamant that he delivers on his promises to invest in health care, which Evers believes is important to foster economic growth and stability in the state. Evers said his proposed budget is structured to improve access to medical care across the state.
In the afternoon, about 500 attendees met with elected officials in the State Capitol. They urged legislators to fund increases in Medicaid reimbursement which lags significantly behind the cost of caring for some of Wisconsin’s most vulnerable citizens, as well as treat telehealth the same as other Medicaid services to expand access to health care and keep up with the pace of technology. Advocates also expressed that Wisconsin hospitals are a vital asset for the state’s economic future and are woven into the fabric of rural, urban and suburban communities across the state.