Nearly 1,000 hospital and health care leaders, providers, staff, trustees and volunteers participated in Wisconsin Hospital Association’s (WHA) annual Advocacy Day today, the first held in person since the pandemic. Former Govs. Jim Doyle and Tommy G. Thompson were keynote speakers at the event that also included an address by current Gov. Tony Evers and a bipartisan state legislative panel of Rep. Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam), Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee), Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee) and Sen. Pat Testin (R-Stevens Point).

In addition to the program, Advocacy Day grassroots advocates also visited state senators and representatives at the Wisconsin State Capitol, calling on the State Legislature to discuss solutions to health care funding and workforce shortages Wisconsin hospitals have faced for the past several years. Leaders from across the state also educated lawmakers on how hospitals have cared for Wisconsin communities, despite challenges to keep staff and patients safe with rising labor and supply costs. Tying in this year’s Advocacy Day theme – Stronger Hospitals. Stronger Communities. – the meetings with lawmakers reiterated the message that to strengthen Wisconsin’s communities, we need to strengthen Wisconsin’s hospitals.

“Having strong hospitals across our state that provide quality health care is essential to the vitality of our communities,” said WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding. “Wisconsin Hospital Association’s Advocacy Day sends a powerful message to lawmakers and communities alike to support local hospitals the way Wisconsin hospitals support them. Wisconsin hospitals provide a life-saving safety net, and with rising costs and a looming workforce shortage, much needs to be done to ensure our hospitals and health systems can continue to provide much-needed services to people in every corner of the state.”

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