Loudenbeck, Kolste bill advances

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Gazette staff
Wednesday, October 16, 2013

MADISON--A bipartisan bill written by Reps. Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton, and Debra Kolste, D-Janesville, and designed to help free medical clinics passed the state Assembly on Tuesday.

Assembly Bill 270 expands the list of health care professionals who can provide services at free health care clinics and be covered by medical malpractice insurance provided by the state.

“The state has never paid a single claim under the existing program,'' Loudenbeck said. “We modified the bill to add more structure and better risk management to the existing program, which has proven to be a cornerstone of the free clinic model. Adding several types of counselors to the list of covered providers will allow the clinics to more comprehensively address the mental health needs of their clients.''

Kolste said free clinics such as HealthNet of Rock County and Open Arms Free Clinic of Walworth County will remain busy for the foreseeable future. They need the help of medical professionals who are not on the current list of those who get state coverage, she said.

“Officials at the clinic in my district and the one in Rep. Loudenbeck's district told us that they badly need advanced nurse practitioners,'' Kolste said. “These special nurses can prescribe, operate independently of physicians and can see more patients.

“Passage of this bill will allow the clinics to offer more care. We should pass this bill and help our clinics.''

The bill has 37 co-sponsors from both parties and both houses of the Legislature. It now moves to the Senate.

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