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Civil Rights Compliance for Hospitals in Wisconsin


Happy holidays, Wisconsin health care providers! As a gift to all of you, earlier this month, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and Department of Children & Families (DCF) released their new joint guidance for Civil Rights Compliance (CRC) for the 2022-2025 compliance period. Remember – if you are the recipient of federal funds, you must meet the CRC requirements! This includes any health care providers who have a payment arrangement with Medicaid or otherwise get federal funding through DHS or DCF.

Fortunately, there should not be many surprises here because your obligations are largely the same as they were for the 2018-2021 compliance period. Below, we recap some key requirements, changes, and dates of which you should be aware.

Overall Changes to the CRC Requirements

  1. Previously, the CRC guidance applied to recipients of funding through DHS, DCF, and the Department of Workforce Development (DWD). However, the CRC guidance for the 2022-2025 compliance period no longer applies to DWD funding recipients.
  2. A new potential penalty for noncompliance with CRC requirements includes the withholding of funds. Previously, the only penalty listed in the guidance was terminating the agreement with the non-compliant recipient.

Civil Rights Compliance Letter of Assurance

  1. This requirement has not changed – anyone (including subrecipients, but more on that later) who receives funding through DHS or DCF, regardless of the amount of funding or size of your workforce, must provide an assurance of compliance with civil rights requirements by submitting a CRC Letter of Assurance (LOA) to the agency that provided the funds. This will apply to all of you!
  2. The LOA must be submitted to the appropriate state agency(s) within 15 working days after the effective date of January 1, 2022 (i.e., January 21, 2022). If you receive funding from DHS and DCF, you will need to submit LOAs to both agencies.
  3. Drafting the LOA should be pretty straightforward if you have completed an LOA in the past – the LOA template takes largely the same form as the prior compliance period.

Civil Rights Compliance Plan

  1. Again, no changes here – this applies to any recipient (or subrecipient) who has 50 or more employees AND who receives an aggregate of more than $50,000 in Federal funding through DHS or DCF.
  2. The CRC Plan must be completed within 90 calendar days after the effective date of January 1, 2022 (i.e., April 1, 2022).
    Note: Previously, you only had 60 calendar days. Thank you, DHS!
  3. The Compliance Plan does not need to be submitted but you do need to keep it on file and supply it to DHS or DCF upon request.

Compliance for Subrecipients

  1. There are no changes related to the rules surrounding subrecipients.
  2. A subrecipient is an entity that receives Federal funding through a subcontractor relationship with a recipient.
  3. A recipient is responsible for ensuring that all of its subrecipients comply with CRC requirements by doing the following:
  • Incorporating by reference the CRC requirements into their contracts, grants, or other agreements;
  • Requiring subrecipients to submit LOAs;
  • Monitoring the compliance of subrecipients with civil rights laws;
  • Investigating complaints made by applicants, participants, and customers against subrecipients;
  • Using CRC training tools and pursuing CRC technical assistance; and
  • Additional requirements as imposed by the recipient.

4. Letter of Assurance

  • If the subrecipient is also a recipient of funds directly from DHS or DCF and has already submitted an LOA, the subrecipient only needs to provide a copy of the previously submitted LOA to the recipient.
  • If a subrecipient has not already submitted an LOA, the subrecipient must submit an LOA to the recipient within 15 business days of the effective date of the contract/other agreement. The recipient will need to produce subrecipient LOAs upon request from DHS or DCF.

5. Compliance Plan

  • Only required if the subrecipient has 50 or more employees AND receives an aggregate of more than $50,000 in Federal funding through DHS or DCF.
  • The compliance plan must be completed within 90 calendar days of the effective date of the contract, grant, or other agreement. Subrecipients who are required to create a compliance plan must keep it on file, and provide it to the recipient, DHS, or DCF upon request.

As a reminder, your compliance with these rules does not replace any other obligations you have under Wisconsin’s Contract Compliance Law, or any other federal or state compliance obligations.

If you have any questions regarding the 2022-2025 compliance period Wisconsin DHS and DCF joint guidance for CRC, please contact your local Quarles & Brady attorney, or:

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