WisPolitics, WisBusiness Health Care Report for June 23

WisPolitics, WisBusiness Health Care Report for June 23

Assembly lawmakers have approved along party lines a bill that would put in place guidelines on how the state should handle lawsuit settlements from opioid manufacturers.

The bill would require any settlements on the suit between the attorney general and local governments and opioid manufacturers, marketers or distributors to first be approved by the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee. It would also require 30 percent of the settlement to go to state coffers, with the remaining 70 percent split between local governments.

Dem AG Josh Kaul in 2019 joined a multi-state lawsuit against opioid manufacturers alleging they’re responsible in part for the deadly opioid epidemic which has rocked the nation. While settlement totals are still unknown, officials in the bill’s public hearing suggested it could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars and that payments should start coming in later this summer or in fall.

Kaul has opposed the bill due to the involvement of the Joint Finance Committee.

The bill passed the Assembly 60-38 on Tuesday. It now goes to the Senate for approval.

See the bill here.

Read more on the Assembly’s actions at Quorum Call.

A group of Milwaukee nonprofits is hosting COVID-19 vaccination clinics and health outreach events this summer, with support from the state Department of Health Services. 

Near West Side Partners, Neighborhood House of Milwaukee and City on a Hill are partnering on the effort, which will provide free vaccines to community members. Vaccine clinics will be held at Neighborhood House on Wednesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 26 with no appointments necessary.

“We plan to utilize our vast network of local health and safety resources to aid in vaccine outreach and education,” said Keith Stanley, executive director of Near West Side Partners.

Other community partners in the initiative include Marquette University’s School of Nursing, Redeemer Lutheran Church, the Milwaukee Academy of Science and Advocate Aurora Health.

In addition to the vaccine clinics, City on a Hill will be hosting monthly community outreach clinics, including health screenings, visits with doctors and health education opportunities. Participants will also have access to social health services such as groceries and hygiene kits, a release shows. These events will be held July 10 and Aug. 14.

According to a release, these efforts are being supported by a $50,000 grant from DHS to Near West Side Partners.

See more details in a release below.

Herzing University is set to receive a $1.92 million federal grant for its psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program, which aims to improve care for underserved populations. 

Founded in Milwaukee in 1965, the private university has a campus in Menomonee Falls as well as locations in five other states.

According to a release, the funds from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration will support the creation of a new program called Every Experience Counts. It’s meant to prepare minority students to work as mental health nurse practitioners in mental health and primary care settings, particularly in “high-need, high-demand areas.”

Herzing University aims to train 120 students in this online graduate degree program by 2025.

A report from the American Psychiatric Nurses Association shows more than 75 percent of all counties in the United States have a shortage of mental health workers.

“Mental health care is a persistent need in underserved communities and Herzing University is proud to educate professionals who can lead diagnosis and treatment efforts,” said Herzing University President Renee Herzing.

The grant funding through the HRSA comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, as part of $22 million in total funding provided for the agency’s Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training Program for Professionals.