Wisconsin does not maintain a traditional CON program. Instead, it maintains an approval process similar to a CON program that applies mainly to nursing homes. For this reason, some have deemed Wisconsin a “quasi-CON” state. The state maintains approvals within three broad categories—beds outside hospitals, equipment and facilities. Wisconsin also maintains a moratorium prohibiting hospitals from increasing beds, even temporarily, anywhere in the state. Wis. Stat. § 150.93.

COVID-19 Response

As of May 15, 2020, Wisconsin had not suspended any approval requirements or moratoria in response to COVID-19.

Application Process

In Wisconsin, the approval process takes up to 135 days. Wis. Stat. § 150.35(3). Applications to increase beds at a facility can only be submitted within 60 days after the department publishes notice that beds are “available” because another facility closed. Wis. Stat. § 150.33(3). The fee for an approval application is equal to 0.37% of the estimated project cost, but no less than $1,850 and no more than $37,000. Wis. Stat. § 150.13.

Separately, Wisconsin maintains a certificate of public advantage program, which is a voluntary program between healthcare providers to share programs, services, personnel, facilities, etc. Wis. Stat. § 150.85(1), (2). Agreements are one way healthcare providers can add flexibility in an otherwise strictly regulated state. Although the agreements are made between healthcare providers, they must be approved by the Department. The Department of Health Services, which approves the agreements, may hold public meetings in certain circumstances upon request of an affected party before deciding whether to grant an application for public advantage. See Wis. Stat. §§ 150.35; 150.85.

Types of Approvals

CON? Number of Approvals Moratoria Temporary COVID-19 response:
Hospital Beds No - 3 No action
Beds Outside Hospitals Yes 1 - No action
Equipment Yes 1 - No action
Facilities/ Buildings Yes 4 - No action
Services No - - -
Emergency Medical Transport No - - -

For more details, including exceptions and statutes, read the state's full profile here.

Sign up to receive IJ's biweekly digital magazine, Liberty & Law along with breaking updates about our fight to protect the rights of all Americans.