Madison- Today, following votes in the Wisconsin State Assembly and the Wisconsin State Senate, three bills authored by Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton) are heading to the governor’s desk for final action.

Senate Bill 673, which received votes in both chambers today, is co-authored with Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green). It creates a Geographical Information System (GIS) grant program to assist counties with the cost of data preparation, data gathering, data creation, geographic information system staffing, data preparation and collection contracts, and training. Local governments will need to prepare and enhance their GIS data in order to meet the technical requirements to enable Next Generation 911 (NG-911).

NG-911 is a digital or Internet Protocol (IP)-based 911 system, which is a major upgrade from the original analog technology that most 911 systems were built on, and in many cases still use today. Once upgraded, NG-911 will allow Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) to easily transfer calls to other call centers, re-route calls in case a PSAP experiences call overload, increase data sharing by receiving photos and videos and assist with more accurate location detection.

NG-911 implementation is dependent upon the development and maintenance of GIS data, including street centerlines, address points, and emergency response boundaries. Standardized geospatial data is a pivotal piece of NG-911, helping to accurately locate 911 calls and efficiently route responders via dispatch.

“In Wisconsin, work is well underway to upgrade the current 911 System to NG-911. During the 2021-2023 budget process, we continued to invest in NG-911 infrastructure at the state level, and the passage of this bill will continue to help local units of government move forward with upgrading their 911 infrastructure to ensure a reliable 911 system statewide,” said Loudenbeck.

Senate Bill 491, co-authored with Sen. Kathy Bernier (R-Lake Hallie) changes the payment structure for subsidized guardianship placements by having the state pay for the program instead of the individual counties.

“Guardianship is one of three legal permanency options for children placed in out-of-home care, along with reunification and adoption,” said Loudenbeck. “A subsidized guardian is responsible for the child and able to consent for the child’s every day events such as school activities, health care needs, and family vacations.”

Under subsidized guardianship, it is possible for a relative, a person who is like-kin, or a foster parent (in certain circumstances) to become the permanent legal guardian and receive a monthly payment. The payment amount is based on the Foster Care Rate Setting Policy. The rate can be the same or less than the final foster care payment for the child, but it cannot be more. Payments generally continue until a child reaches the age of 18 and the child continues to receive medical coverage through Medicaid (Title XIX).

Assembly Bill 679, co-authored with Sen. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) removes the sunset provision created in 2021 Wisconsin Act 10, which was the Covid relief bill, to allow hospitals to seek federal Medicare reimbursement for certain services provided in a home setting. Current law sunset the program on January 1, 2022.

Over the last several sessions, the Legislature has worked with stakeholders from across the health care industry to improve access to quality healthcare by increasing opportunities for innovative and cost effective programs. By allowing this innovative program to continue, these regulatory flexibilities will create additional capacity options and allow hospitals to provide a high quality of care in a patient’s home prior to discharge from an impatient service.

“Now more than ever, technology and innovation have proven to be a vital lifeline Wisconsinites seeking quality health care options that meet their needs. Delivering the right care, at the right time, in the right place is a good goal for policymakers and health care providers alike; COVID has really underscored how important it is for us to work together to advance new and forward thinking ideas,” said Loudenbeck.

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