Eau Claire (WQOW) — Wisconsin’s Health Services leader made a stop in Eau Claire Thursday to discuss how accepting Federal Medicaid expansion dollars through Governor Evers’ budget would positively impact caregiver facilities.
At the Dove Healthcare-West facility, Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm spoke with staff about how the federal dollars would give more funding to facilities like theirs, to better attract and retain caregivers and nurses.
Local lawmaker Sen. Jeff Smith agreed the state’s nursing shortage needs to be addressed.
“Thirty-three facilities have closed in the last year or two in Wisconsin. I think in the past year 33 have closed, we can’t let that continue. That trend is going the wrong direction, while we have an aging population coming,” Smith said.
Palm said the expansion funds would also be used on a broad range of healthcare needs.
“If everybody has coverage that’s one thing, but if we’re not taking the next step and filling the access gaps; dentist, psychiatrists, primary care physicians, nursing homes,” Palm said. “If we’re not thinking about that stuff more broadly, it doesn’t matter whether Medicaid or Medicare or private pay, if you can’t find a dentist, you can’t find a dentist.”
Coverage is just one aspect of healthcare, but Palm argued this expansion would work to meet multiple needs a person may have, improving health and well-being across Wisconsin.