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News & Press: Legislative Updates

WSHA Update & COVID-19 Resources

Monday, March 23, 2020  
Posted by: Allison Tilque
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Dear WSHA Members,


We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy as our state and nation responds to the spread of COVID-19. We realize many of you are dealing with disruptions and challenges related to the COVID-19 crisis from how best to serve your patients to childcare needs to how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy. The WSHA Board would like to assure you that we are working hard each day to make sure we are providing you information and resources during this difficult time.


We have heard from many of you regarding the use of telehealth. WSHA partnered with the Wisconsin Physical Therapy Association and the Wisconsin Occupational Therapy Association in sending the attached letter to the Department of Health Services. We requested that the Department take swift action to update guidance on telehealth and consider relaxing prior authorizations requirements during this unprecedented time. We will continue to advocate for these changes and will share updated guidance as soon as it becomes available. We also shared our concerns with the Department of Public Instruction given the impact school closures are having on children who were receiving school-based services. 


We also recognize that school closures are creating strain on the childcare system. The Department of Health Services, the Department of Children and Families, and the Department of Public Instruction are collaborating with the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association and Families Together Association to ensure that childcare needs of essential personnel are being met. 


Please continue to contact WSHA with any questions you may have. Additionally, a number of resources are available:


For specific questions about COVID-19 as it relates to ForwardHealth coverage and policy, please contact


For questions about the COVID-19 response, please contact


For specific questions about testing considerations or to discuss a case during business hours, please call 608-267-9003 or email For after-hours assistance please call 608-258-0099


For Department of Public Instruction inquires please send questions


For Department of Children and Families (childcare) inquiries please send questions to


Additional Resource Portals:



Timeline of State of Wisconsin Response to COVID-19


March 12th - - Governor Evers declared a public health emergency. The order directs the Department of Health Services (DHS) to take necessary measures to help prevent and respond to COVID-19. Under the order DHS can purchase, store and distribute medications as needed, regardless of whether people have health coverage. State funds are also authorized to help local health departments with costs related to quarantine and isolation. The order also authorizes the Wisconsin adjutant general to activate the National Guard to assist in the state’s response and directs the Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection to enforce prohibitions on price gouging during an emergency.


March 13th - - Governor Evers directs all K-12 schools to close – public and private – through at least April 6th. The reopening date can be pushed back pending further information.


March 16th - - Governor Evers bans gatherings of 50 or more people. The order exempts infrastructure and services such as grocery stores, food pantries, child care centers, pharmacies and hospitals.


March 17th - - Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald postpones the March 24th floor period, the last general session floor period for the 2019-20 legislative session. Senator Fitzgerald said he and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos plan to call an extraordinary session of the Legislature sometime in the spring.


March 17th - - Governor Evers bans gatherings of 10 or more people and orders bars and restaurants closed to in-house patrons. Certain services and infrastructure remain exempt from the order.


March 18th - - Governor Evers restricts the size of child care settings. Under the order child care settings may not operate with more than 10 staff present at a time and may not operate with more than 50 children present at a time. This is creating a child care crisis for essential personnel including healthcare workers and first responders. The Department of Health Services, the Department of Children and Families, and the Department of Public Instruction collaborate with the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association and Families Together Association to ensure that child care needs of essential personnel are being met. The coalition seeks support from educators and paraprofessionals, specifically.


March 18th - - Governor Evers waives work search requirements and modifies the availability requirements for unemployment insurance benefits (UI) for workers impacted by COVID-19. The order waives the requirement that UI claimants conduct at least four weekly work search actions during the COVID-19 emergency and is retroactively effective to March 12th. The order also ensures that claimants who are otherwise eligible but out of work due to COVID-19 are considered available for work and therefore eligible for benefits.

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