Advocacy news and updates

Our advocacy efforts help make a positive impact on legislation that effects the health of children and families in Wisconsin and nationwide.

Governor Walker signs SB 143 – Respiratory Care Practitioner Emergency Transport


This bill would allow for staffing of emergency vehicles with one EMT and one first responder instead of two EMTs. Children’s Hospital supported this bill and we were excited to have Sunita Hermon, Lisa Van Dyken, and Kimberly Turner-Nelson present for the bill signing on November 10th. We would like to thank Senator Moulton and Representative Mursau for authoring this significant legislation, and Senator Vukmir for offering an important amendment on behalf of Children’s Hospital.

Project Search “Take Your Legislator to Work Day”

Project SEARCH is an innovative workforce and career development model for young adults with intellectual and physical disabilities, providing training and education in marketable, competitive, and transferable skills. The program is a partnership between Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Easter Seals Southeast Wisconsin, The Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and area schools. The ultimate goal of Project SEARCH is employment.
Project SEARCH has hosted several legislators for “Take Your Legislator to Work Day.” We are grateful to the legislators who have toured with us and want to thank all the interns for their great work and wish them the best of luck in the future.

Check out the article on Project Search here.

Children’s weighs in on car seat legislation

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends children less than  years old stay in a rear-facing system until they reach the maximum height and weight for their car seat. However, Wisconsin allows children over 1 year old or over 20 lbs. to be in a forward-facing system, which allows much younger children to be in the less-safe, forward-facing seats. Representatives Loudenbeck and Taylor are moving forward with legislation that will update Wisconsin’s outdated child passenger safety laws.

Children’s Hospital leaders discuss hospital’s role in changing health care landscape

Below is a recap of the media coverage.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published an op-ed written by Marc Gorelick, MD, COO and EVP. The article, entitled “Specialization and transparency matter when treating children” discusses the effects of pediatric specialization and surgical volumes on quality outcomes:

Dr. Gorelick also did an interview with WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio in which he emphasized the importance of volumes and of transparency in health care quality

The Milwaukee Business Journal published an article outlining why duplication of pediatric services could be harmful, stemming from a presentation CEO Peggy Troy gave to the Greater Milwaukee Committee, which includes about 100 of the Milwaukee area’s top business leaders and CEOs.

Elected Officials and Community and State Leaders Tour Children's

This year we’ve had some great opportunities to have local, state, and federal leaders tour our wonderful facilities. This is an excellent opportunity to show off all the great work the team at Children’s is doing. We are so grateful to everyone who came and shared in our wonderful culture and saw all the great work we are doing.

A big thank you to Representative Gwen Moore, the State Medicaid Team, Wisconsin Medicaid Director Kevin Moore, State Senator Harris Dodd, State Representative Jessie Rodriguez, State Representative Joe Sanfelippo, State Representative Josh Zepnick, and others for taking the time to learn about what we do here at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin!

Governor Walker Signs Biennial Budget

Governor Walker signed Wisconsin’s $72.2 billion biennial budget. Children’s focused much of our advocacy efforts on the Medicaid Budget and specifically the disproportionate share hospital program (DSH). We are pleased to share that the DSH program was funded and was made an ongoing provision. The program helps hospitals around the state, most significantly hospitals such as ours with high Medicaid volumes.

EpiPen legislation signed into law

The2015 Wisconsin Act 35 allows organizations to provide life saving measures to people who are experiencing anaphylaxis. This law will allow for venues, including camps, colleges, universities, day care facilities, youth sports leagues, amusement parks, restaurants, business or arenas to have epinephrine auto-injectors prescribed to them. The enactment of this law represents a big win for Children’s Hospital.

Children’s Heads to Madison for WHA’s Advocacy Day

A group of more than 50 Children's Hospital of Wisconsin leaders and staff, including President and CEO Peggy Troy, joined nearly 1,000 other hospital leaders and volunteers at the Wisconsin Hospital Association's Advocacy Day event in Madison recently. Advocacy Day is an annual event that connects hospital supporters with their legislators so lawmakers can learn how issues impact local hospitals and communities. If you are interested in attending Advocacy Day in 2016 contact Jen Mance at

Lynch family represented Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Washington, D.C., at Family Advocacy Day

Kelly and Brian Lynch and their daughter Cailinn, 7, represented Children’s in Washington, D.C., at meetings with federal lawmakers as part of Children Hospital Association’s Family Advocacy Day in partnership with Speak Now for Kids. The Lynch family met with Senator Ron Johnson, Senator Tammy Baldwin, Congressman Paul Ryan and Congressman Ron Kind to discuss the importance of federal policies that provide Cailinn, and millions of other children, access to high-quality pediatric care. The Lynch family urged lawmakers to protect Medicaid, which is the single largest insurer for kids in the United States.

Children’s to work with Change in Mind: Applying Neurosciences to Revitalize Communities to implement $2.2 million in funding

Alliance for Strong Families and Communities will kick off an initiative to help turn scientific findings around child trauma, toxic stress and developmental brain science into public policy. This multi-million dollar initiative is designed to help youth service providers in instituting child trauma-based reforms. Children’s Child Well-being team will be using this funding to assess outcomes related to developmental milestones rather than focusing on permanency as a gauge for child well-being. Read more here.


Youth concussion bill signed

Young athletes joined Governor Scott Walker while he signed the Sidelined for Safety Bill into law at Lambeau Field. The law provides athletes and parents with education about concussion and puts meaningful standards in place to address head injuries in youth sports. This includes requirements to remove an athlete with a suspected concussion from play and prevent him or her from returning without clearance from a trained health care provider. See the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article. (March 2012)


Governor Walker visits Children’s Hospital patients

Governor Scott Walker visited Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in December. He spent time with staff, providers and families, and he helped patients make holiday ornaments. (December 2013)

Event supports community programs and recognizes champions for kids

The 18th annual Bids for Kids dinner and auction, held in Milwaukee, raised $125,000 for Children’s Hospital’s Community Services programs. The Welfare Auxiliary of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin received the Rev. J.P. Dysart award for their support of the Child Protection Center, and Senators Alberta Darling and Jennifer Shilling received Children’s Champion Policy Awards for their efforts on behalf of kids’ health care issues. (November 2013)

Co-sleeping death legislation

Jason Jarzembowski, MD, Perinatal Pathology program director and Safe Sleep Initiative chair for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, offered testimony in Madison, Wis., opposing AB 465, which calls for criminal penalties in co-sleeping deaths when alcohol or drugs are involved. Jarzembowski said Children’s Hospital appreciates the desire to address this terrible and tragic issue, but believes focusing on community-based solutions for all preventable sleep-related deaths is more effective in keeping babies safe. We continue to be engaged in the dialogue around this serious issue at the local, state and national level. (November 2013)

Oral chemo parity bill

Mike Kelly, MD, medical director of Pediatric Cancer at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, offered support to the Wisconsin “oral chemo parity bill,” which is intended to ensure patient access to oral chemo. (November 2013)

Flu shot bill

Mike Gutzeit, MD, chief medical officer and vice president of Quality at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, submitted testimony in opposition to AB247, a bill that would prohibit Wisconsin employer flu shot requirements. (November 2013)

Wisconsin safe milk

In September, Michael Gutzeit, MD, chief medical officer and vice president of Quality at Children’s Hospital, testified in Madison, Wis., in opposition of Senate Bill 236. If passed, the bill would allow the sale of unpasteurized (raw) dairy products to the public. We strongly oppose this legislation because unpasteurized milk is unsafe for human consumption. The bill passed in a committee vote and our advocacy will remain critical. Stay tuned for updates on this important issue. (November 2013)

Leaders travel to the nation’s capital to advocate on children’s health issues

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin CEO Peggy Troy traveled to Washington, D.C., to advocate on important children’s health care issues. The trip provided an opportunity to meet with Wisconsin members of Congress and discuss the importance of protecting children’s health by ensuring a strong Medicaid program and ask for their continued supported of the Children Hospital Graduate Medical Education program. Hospitals around the country will continue to lobby and seek grassroots support for these important policy issues affecting the future of children’s health care. (September 2013)

2013-15 state budget signed into law

Governor Walker signed the 2013-2015 Wisconsin state biennial budget into law June 30. Thank you to all who advocated in support of funding critical to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and the children we serve.
Medicaid access and coverage for kids 
Children’s Hospital serves children from across the state, regardless of their ability to pay. As a result, more than 50 percent of our patients are Medicaid recipients. Medicaid is an essential safety net for families who are in need of care. It is important that the state maintain focus on a viable Medicaid program that provides access and coverage to pregnant women and children. This is critical to our ability continue to provide consistently high-quality health care to all the children we serve. 
Foster care records sharing 
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services certified Children’s Hospital as a health home provider for its innovative Foster Care Medical Home. A medical home means a child has a “home base” for his or her health care needs. A medical home uses a family-centered, team approach to caring for a child. In order to make the medical home most effective, we advocated for statutory language changes, which will help health providers and foster parents better manage the health of these kids. The provisions help medical providers review and analyze both health and social service needs of the kids in foster care. They also allow foster parents to be more involved in the children’s health care. 
Family Justice Center 
Children’s Hospital and Sojourner Family Peace Center are building the Family Justice Center, which will provide adult- and child-focused services to families who are victims of domestic abuse. The project was fully funded at $10.6 million, half of the overall cost. (June 2013)

Patient family travels to Washington, D.C., to talk about medical care

A Children’s Hospital patient and his family traveled to Washington, D.C., to help protect important health care programs kids rely on, especially Medicaid and Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education. Antonio Rieder and his family joined nearly 30 other child patients and their families to help bring to life the importance of adequate funding for pediatric care as part of the Children’s Hospital Association’s Family Advocacy Day. (June 2013)

Wisconsin Firearms Freedom Act

Read the memo urging legislators not to Co-Sign/Support LRB 2063: Wisconsin Firearms Freedom Act, which prohibits physicians other than a psychiatrist from discussing firearms and firearms safety with their patients. (June 2013)

Project SEARCH celebration

Children's Hospital of Wisconsin held a ceremony to thank and congratulate graduates of Project SEARCH, an on-the-job training initiative for young adults with disabilities, helping them overcome barriers to employment. Watch the video below to learn more about these capable, young and well-trained individuals. (June 2013)

Video: Learn about Project SEARCH

AT&T donates tablets

Children's Hospital of Wisconsin received a $5,000 AT&T Innovation & Investment Award, a recognition given to local organizations that enhance and give back to their communities. The award funded tablets that offer patients bedside relief through video chat with a sibling at home, games, videos, books and health information in multiple languages to explain a medical procedure. (May 2013)

Employees attend Advocacy Day in Madison

A group from Children's Hospital of Wisconsin joined nearly 850 other hospital leaders and volunteers at the Wisconsin Hospital Association's Advocacy Day event in Madison. Advocacy Day is an annual event that connects hospital supporters with their legislators so lawmakers can learn how issues impact local hospitals and communities. Children's Hospital representatives spent time meeting with elected officials at the State Capitol to discuss important issues such as Medicaid reform. (May 2013)

Legislation to screen newborns for congenital heart defects

A simple test could save lives. Read this news release in support of legislation that ensures all babies born in Wisconsin are screened for congenital heart defects before hospital discharge. (April 2013)


The 2014 election results are in...

In Wisconsin, the 2014 election cycle has left us with the same overall government power that the 2012 election produced. Election results: Look through the Wheeler Report for a detailed account of all the Wisconsin State and Federal races. The 2015-2016 Congress and State Legislature will be sworn-in this January. (Nov 2014)

Bids for Kids

Bids for Kids is an annual dinner and raffle event with more than 250 guests raising money to benefit children and families served by Community Services at Children Hospital of Wisconsin. The event took place at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. The event raised $164,000 for Community Services programs. The Children’s Champion Policy award honors policy leaders in Wisconsin who strive to make a positive impact in the lives of children and families by working to move public policy forward. We were pleased to announce that this year’s award recipients were Senator Luther Olsen, from Ripon and Representative Cory Mason from Racine. (Nov 2014)

Project SEARCH - "Take Your Legislator to Work Day"

State Representative Dan Knodl joined Kate Rekoske, Project SEARCH intern at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, for Take You Legislator to Work Day. Kate is interning at Children's Employee Prescription Center. Pictured left to right: Terry Hensler, director, Clinical Engineering, Children's; Susan Feider Kelly, Children's Project SEARCH Instructor; Rep. Dan Knodl; Kate Rekoske, Project SEARCH Intern at Children's; Michelle Mettner, Vice President, Govt Rel, Children's. (Oct 2014)

Project SEARCH Kate Rekoske

Children's Hospital of Wisconsin featured in an article in the Wall Street Journal

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin was featured in an article that appeared in Monday’s Wall Street Journal. The story reports on a recent recommendation from the American College of Surgeons to create a new classification system for pediatric surgical centers similar to the one that classifies trauma centers. Dr. Keith Oldham, surgeon-in-chief at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, spearheaded the task force that made the recommendations. (Sept 2014)

Senator Vukmir Tours Children's Hospital

On August 6, Senator Vukmir visited with patients and staff in the healing garden, Family Resource Center, Herma Heart Center, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and the school room. (Aug 2014)

Patient family goes to Washington, D.C. for Family Advocacy Day

Noah Baral, age 4, from Stevens Point, Wis., and his family, joined many other patients and families from children's hospitals across the country to speak with members of Congress during the Children's Hospital Association's Speak Now for Kids Advocacy Day, June 24-25, 2014.

Read more about Noah and his journey on Children's Hospital of Wis. blog page; Family Advocacy Day: One local patient's journey continues on Capitol Hill. (June 2014)

Children's Hospital of Wisconsin featured on the cover of TIME Magazine!

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, the number four pediatric hospital in the country and the nation’s top-rated neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), is featured in the cover story “Saving Preemies” in the June 2 issue of Time magazine, which is available now. The story takes an in-depth look at world-class neonatal care through the eyes of Children’s Hospital’s tiniest patients. Randolph, one of our patients featured in the story, is on the cover of the magazine. Read the story and view the beautiful photo essay. (May 2014)

Oral chemotherapy enacted into law!

The oral chemo bill will allow insurance companies to either provide parity for oral chemotherapy or offer a $100 monthly co-pay cap for a 30-day supply of the pills. This bill is extremely important in helping to ease the burden of people living with cancer by ensuring access to chemotherapy treatment regardless of how it is administered. (April 2014)

Governor Walker signs Senate Bill 523 into law at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

On Monday afternoon, Governor Walker signed Senate Bill 523 into law at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. This bill gives the Department of Health Services (DHS) the authority it needs to add congenital heart defect screenings to the list of tests that all newborns receive before they leave the hospital. Prior to the bill signing, Governor Walker met with the Block Family from Milwaukee where he received a demonstration of the pulse oximetry test by Dr. Stu Berger, Medical Director of the Herma Heart Center at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and Professor of Pediatric Cardiology at Medical College of Wisconsin. (March 2014)