New Richmond, Wis. – State Representative Rob Stafsholt (R-New Richmond) made the following statement regarding his proposed plan targeted to help Northwestern Wisconsin manage a mental health challenge:

“I’ve been working closely with local law enforcement, hospitals, and mental health stakeholders for several years on the challenges they frequently face with transports and care of patients under what is known as a “Chapter 51 Emergency Detention.” Their frustration surrounds the time and expense of transporting patients up to eight hours to get to the Winnebago Mental Health Institute in Oshkosh, as well as what the effects it has on the patient’s current mental state, recovery, and future mental stability. Many times there are multiple transports back and forth. Just take a moment to consider the impact that this process has on those in a mental health crisis.”

“Today, I introduced legislation that creates a pilot program that would be available to hospitals in Barron, Burnett, Dunn, Pierce, Polk, St. Croix, and Washburn Counties that have, or would have, beds for emergency detention patients. If the hospital chooses to participate then the Department of Health Services would pay up to 80% of the difference between the hospital’s average cost per day to provide treatment and the average reimbursement amount the hospital receives for that service from Medicare, Medical Assistance, and other insurance.

“I am proud to have my colleagues Representative Gae Magnafici (R-Dresser), Representative Warren Petryk (R-Eleva), Representative Romaine Quinn (R-Barron), and Representative Shannon Zimmerman (R-River Falls) stand with me as cosponsors of this bill to help much of Northwestern Wisconsin.

“My Republican colleagues and I recently voted to override the Governor’s veto on expanding a Northern Wisconsin mental health center to be able to serve more patients. Instead of investing $15 million in a regional solution for Northern Wisconsin, Governor Evers vetoed this provision, and directed that those dollars go back to Madison. I’m tired of watching partisan politics being played with mental health and was appalled by the veto.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on increasing access to mental health, and I believe this proposal is a step in the right direction.”


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