DELAFIELD, WI – An IRG Action supported bill, Assembly Bill (AB) 541, to allow Wisconsinites greater options to access telehealth providers from out of state, has passed the legislature. The future of the bill is up to Governor Evers now: whether or not it will be signed into law.

WHAT IT IS: IRG Action helped over 100 Wisconsin residents urge Governor Evers to support AB 541 which will make mental health care more accessible for Wisconsinites across the state by allowing people to access treatments across state lines (aka tele-mental health).  

WHY DOES IT MATTER: The bill had strong bipartisan support in the Senate and Assembly. That’s because Wisconsin state government temporarily allowed the practice to occur during COVID.

But the mental health problem has obviously not gotten better, with Governor Tony Evers calling it a “crisis” and dubbing last year, “The Year of Mental Health.”  

This is largely because Wisconsin has a shortage of mental health providers.  Consider that Wisconsin only has one mental health provider for every 420 Wisconsinites – ranking in the bottom half of the country.  However it’s much worse in rural Wisconsin; in Buffalo County, there is one provider for every 13,300 residents. 

QUOTE“Now is the time for Governor Tony Evers to deliver a bipartisan win for mental health. Wisconsinites all across the state recognize that AB 541 is a common sense solution that will change lives by expanding the number of providers for critical mental health treatments.”  –IRG CEO CJ Szafir 

Learn More: 

  • Drew’s Story: Drew Tidwell shares his story of seeing his Virginia based therapist while he is in Florida via telehealth. 
  • IRG Action’s Testimony in the Assembly: Our Executive Vice President, Chris Reader, along with Benjamin Garbedian were in the Capitol on November 8, 2023 testifying in favor of greater access to mental health care for Wisconsinites via telehealth.
  • IRG Action’s Testimony in the Senate: Our Director of State Budget and Government Reform, Alex Ignatowski, along with Benjamin Garbedian were in the Capitol on November 28, 2023 testifying in favor of the Senate version of the legislation. 
  • Wisconsin State Journal Op-Ed: Our former student fellow, Benjamin Garbedian writes that AB 541 is a bipartisan, commonsense bill that would improve access to mental health care in Wisconsin. Governor Evers should sign it.

For questions, contact Courtney Mullen: cm@reforminggovernment.org

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