June 4 – JFC Passes Medicaid Budget

JFC passed an omnibus motion on the Department of Health Services (DHS) budget, specifically addressing Medicaid, public health, FoodShare, behavioral health, and quality assurance.

Overall, the motion spends:

  • $187 million (in all funds) less than the governor’s proposal in 2019-20.
  • $1.6 billion (in all funds) more in 2019-20 compared to the base year doubled.

As anticipated, the omnibus motion does not expand Medicaid, as proposed by Gov. Evers. JFC removed the Medicaid expansion provision in their May 9 executive session. The committee also declined to include Gov. Evers’s proposal to require DHS to seek federal approval of a waiver to implement a community health benefit focusing on social determinants of health.

Specifically, the Medicaid provisions in the motion:

  • For Medical Assistance, increase base funding by $356 million GPR over the two-year budget to ensure adequate cost-to-continue funding.
  • For hospitals, provide an additional $30 million GPR per year for disproportionate share hospital payments, an additional $2 million GPR per year for rural critical access hospitals, and no increase to critical access hospital payments.
  • Regarding telehealth, expand the definition of telehealth to allow DHS to develop reimbursement policies for any Medical Assistance service rendered through telehealth technology (currently, only real-time interactions between a provider and a patient are eligible for reimbursement) and increase funding for telehealth reimbursement by $2.7 million GPR over the two-year budget.
  • Increase base funding by $89,900 GPR and $808,900 FED in 2020-21 for supportive services under the Medicaid medical home health benefit for persons with substance abuse disorders. DHS could make a request to JFC to use these funds for “hub-and-spoke” treatment model funding increases.
  • Maintain the current four-county dental Medical Assistance reimbursement pilot but do not provide an overall increase to dental MA reimbursements.

The DHS motion also includes $3 million for a grant program for nitrate testing in private wells and provides $100,000 GPR for the Division of Public Health to conduct a public outreach program on vaccination.

In the June 4 executive session, JFC also adopted an omnibus motion on the Department of Children & Families, increasing the DCF budget by $125.5 million in the 2019-21 biennium. Included in the motion is $3 million in total increases to the Family Foundations Home Visiting program.

  • Happy birthday, America! The Hamilton Consulting Group wishes everyone a safe and happy Independence Day.