Madison, Wis. — The Institute for Reforming Government (IRG) today, issued a summary white paper on emergency preparedness in Wisconsin. This white paper highlights the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on Wisconsin and bipartisan measures that were taken prior to the crisis that are helping to prevent the further spread of the virus. The white paper examines the current state of play in Wisconsin as well as the history of emergency preparedness in the state, it concludes more must be done to help Wisconsinites prepare in the future.

“Legislation that cut bureaucratic red tape prior to the pandemic is clearly paying off,” said Rob McDonald, Chairman of the Board for the Institute for Reforming Government. “Improving the ability for health care workers to work across state lines through the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact is a no-brainer, and there’s no time like the present to make us all aware that technology really is the future. Our leaders who put together bipartisan legislation to improve telehealth should be applauded for a step in the right direction. I hope that Wisconsin and our nation can continue to learn from COVID-19 and improve preparedness measures for the future.”

Highlights from Wisconsin’s Emergency Preparedness white paper can be found here:

Interstate Medical Licensure Compact:

  • In December of 2015, Gov. Walker signed legislation that entered Wisconsin into the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact.
  • In 2019, the legislation to reauthorize the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact was proposed in the Wisconsin State Legislature. This legislation, 2019 Senate Bill (SB) 74, was proposed by a group of bipartisan legislators led by Sen.Patrick Testin (R- Stevens Point) and Rep. Nancy VanderMeer (R-Tomah), and became 2019 Wisconsin Act 49 when it was signed into law. During his testimony on the legislation, Sen. Testin explained the benefits of eliminating redundant aspects of this bureaucratic licensing process,

“Since April 2017, nearly 400 physicians residing in other states have used the Compact process to become licensed and serve patients in Wisconsin…Wisconsin health care organizations have also utilized the Compact to reduce staff time spent on credentialing physicians and used the work done by other states, rather than duplicate government processes.”

Telehealth:

  • In 2019, legislation was introduced by a bipartisan group of legislators that were led by Sen. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield), Minority Leader Janet Bewley (D-Mason), Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton) and Rep. Debra Kolste (D-Janesville) in order to improve access to telehealth services. This legislation was introduced because, as the Wisconsin Hospital Association notes, there were “real-world barriers associated with Wisconsin’s current Medicaid telehealth policies.” This legislation was signed into law at the end of last year and became 2019 Wisconsin Act 56. However, as the bill authors noted in their testimony,

 “…Unfortunately, state laws and policies are not keeping pace with advances in technology and care delivery innovations and are preventing telehealth from reaching its true potential.”

Read IRG’s white paper summary on emergency preparedness here.

IRG has also issued policy papers on Wisconsin’s fight against expanding Medicaid under Obamacareregulatory reform, a policy proposal for state-based tax reform, manufacturing policy, and workforce development, property tax policy, and the economic impact of Act 10, and how farmers are affected during the COVID-19 crisis.  Each of these papers is based on successful policies not only in Wisconsin but across the country.

The Institute for Reforming Government is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that seeks to simplify government at every level by offering policy solutions to thought leaders in American government in the areas of tax reform, government inefficiency, and burdensome regulations.

Learn more about the Institute for Reforming Government here.

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