October 4, 2013
Volume 57, Issue 40
Walker to Employers: "Wisconsin Health Care is Tremendous Asset"
State invests in health care workforce, primary care
Governor Scott Walker highlighted Wisconsin’s health care as the "greatest in the country" in a speech before more than 450 employers at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce’s (WMC) "State of Wisconsin Business" lunch October 2.
"We have a tremendous asset and some of the greatest health care in the country, but if we can’t continue to put those professionals in the areas where we need them most it will stunt their growth and economic vitality whether it is out in rural Wisconsin or our impoverished urban areas," Walker said. "Those are all key ingredients—not just in workforce development—but in economic development."
The Governor said he is committed to expanding workforce training, referencing his inclusion of $5 million in the state budget that will be used to educate more physicians in-state by supporting Wisconsin’s two medical schools and expanding graduate medical education (GME) opportunities.
"We need to train more health care professionals—not just in four-year programs, but in our medical schools and graduate programs to help put more medical professionals, especially primary care physicians, where we need them most in rural and urban impoverished areas of the state," according to Walker.
The physician workforce issue is a high priority for the Wisconsin Hospital Association. WHA has issued two comprehensive reports that have catalyzed high-level engagement and action among stakeholders interested in expanding Wisconsin’s medical education and training system.
"We applaud Governor Walker’s remarkable investment in Wisconsin’s future physician workforce. The funding that the Governor included in the state budget is already being used to help develop the infrastructure necessary to educate and train primary care physician providers who will care for our patients and families for years to come," said WHA President Steve Brenton. "The Governor recognizes how critical this funding is in helping shore up Wisconsin’s fragile rural and inner city health care environments where access to health care services is a top local priority and essential to attract and retain jobs."
Top of page (10/4/13)
Doubts about whether the health insurance marketplace would be functional October 1 were confirmed as few people have managed to even log onto the federal health insurance exchange. At press time, WHA staff had still not been able to gain access to the site beyond the log-in page. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has refused to say how many people have signed up for insurance through the exchange.
Perhaps in response to those problems, on October 1 HHS posted a table that provides details on the plans offered through the federally-run health insurance exchanges in every state, including 3,500-plus options in Wisconsin. The plan prices and descriptions available, by county, are at: www.healthcare.gov/health-plan-information.
The list is sortable by state, county, plan name, plan metal level, issuer name, plan type and the federal rating area. The list gives an estimated premium for a 27-year-old adult and a 50-year-old adult, as well as the average premiums for family, single adult family, couple, and child-only plans. However, a person is not able to review details of the benefit plan, find quotes for their specific situation, or the price that an applicant will pay after subsidies. Final price quotes are available only after someone has completed a Marketplace application.
WHA continues to monitor the situation.
Top of page (10/4/13)
A series of interviews with newly-elected legislators, by Mary Kay Grasmick, editor
Hospitals could see an increase in the number of individuals seeking care in the emergency room (ER) if they do not connect with private insurance in the exchange. It is an issue that concerns Sen. Nikiya Harris.
"We have to keep driving home the point that if we do not have good health services, and if we do not provide good benefits to people who need the services, then we are going to see a spike in ER visits, and that resonates with both political parties," according to Harris. "Hospitals can’t take on this burden if people don’t have coverage. People will be using hospital ERs for basic health care. Even if it is a minor issue, if they can’t afford to pay, they are going to use the ER."
Inspired by an internship in Congress that fostered an interest in public policy and a drive to serve the community, Sen. Harris served on the Milwaukee County Board just prior to being elected to the Wisconsin Senate.
She is passionate about public service and working with people. She says her biggest priority is to create jobs.
"During my campaign, I heard it over and over again—people wanted jobs; they were concerned that they could not support their families," Harris said. "I want to help broaden and shape that agenda."
Harris said mental health is also an important issue to her, and she wants to make sure that people have access to services. Mental health issues often are tied to joblessness, and Harris is looking for creative solutions that will get people the help they need to get them working again.
"I would say in my community, people—specifically African Americans—do not get the help they need around mental health," Harris said.
That issue, when combined with a shortage of psychiatrists in her area, brings Harris to consider creative solutions that will help make services more accessible, not just in Milwaukee, but across the state.
"If we can’t get people the help they need for mental health issues, and get them to a healthier place, how can we prepare them for jobs?" she said. "Then, we need to make sure that jobs are available when they are ready to work."
Harris said her district has a rich infrastructure of employers; it is just a matter of giving them a "voice" and creating opportunities for success. As the new senator sees it, it is a matter of getting the right people together.
"I’ve had a lot of conversations with businesses in my district and with people who are looking for jobs," Harris said. "It is about going out there and seeing how to make things work better."
Top of page (10/4/13)
As fall approaches, the Wisconsin Hospitals Conduit and State PAC fundraising campaign has to raise $68,000 more to reach the year-end goal to raise $260,000 that the 2013 Advocacy Committee set earlier this year. In the last two weeks, the campaign has raised an additional $17,000 from 20 more individuals. The campaign year-to-date total is at $192,000 from 281 participants.
Of the total contributors to date, 53 are members of the Platinum Club who have contributed $1,500 or more to the 2013 campaign, which continues to be ahead of the 2011 and 2012 Platinum Club membership pace. The median contribution is $450, while the average contribution is $682.
Individual contributors are listed in The Valued Voice by name and affiliated organization on a regular basis. Thank you to the 2013 contributors to date who are listed on page 6. Contributors are listed alphabetically by contribution amount category. The next publication of the contributor list will be in the October 18 edition of The Valued Voice.
For more information, contact Jodi Bloch at 608-217-9508 or Jenny Boese at 608-274-1820.
|Contributors ranging from $1 to $499|
|Allen, Patricia||Columbia St. Mary's, Inc.|
|Ambs, Kathleen||St. Mary's Janesville Hospital|
|Anderson, Phil||Sacred Heart Hospital|
|Andritsch, Stacie||Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare|
|Appleby, Jane||Aurora Health Care|
|Bagnall, Andrew||St. Nicholas Hospital|
|Bair, Barbara||St. Clare Hospital & Health Services|
|Ballentine, Anne||Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare|
|Baltzer, David||Memorial Medical Center - Neillsville|
|Bayer, Tom||St. Vincent Hospital|
|Bergmann, Ann||Spooner Health System|
|Bloom, Deborah||Sacred Heart Hospital|
|Boson, Ann||Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital|
|Bowman, Andrew||Sacred Heart Hospital|
|Breeser, Bryan||Aurora Medical Center Summit|
|Brenholt, Craig||St. Joseph's Hospital|
|Brennan, Karen||St. Mary's Hospital|
|Brenny, Terrence||Stoughton Hospital Association|
|Brenton, Andrew||Wisconsin Hospital Association|
|Burgener, Jean||Aspirus Wausau Hospital|
|Buss, Diane||St. Mary's Hospital|
|Campau, Patricia||Columbia St. Mary's, Inc.|
|Capelli, A.J.||Aurora Health Care|
|Cardinal, Lori||Agnesian HealthCare|
|Casey, Candy||Columbia Center|
|Censky, Bill||Holy Family Memorial|
|Collins, Sherry||Wisconsin Hospital Association|
|Coniff, Barbara||St. Mary's Hospital Medical Center|
|Connors, Lawrence||St. Mary's Hospital Medical Center|
|Cormier, Laura||Bellin Hospital|
|Culotta, Jennifer||St. Clare Hospital & Health Services|
|Dahl, James||Fort HealthCare|
|Dalebroux, Steve||St. Mary's Hospital|
|Danner, Forrest||Aspirus Wausau Hospital|
|DeMars, Nancy||Sacred Heart Hospital|
|Drengler, Kathryn||Aspirus Wausau Hospital|
|Dux, Larry||Froedtert Health - Community Memorial Hospital|
|Ferrigno, Sandra||St. Mary's Hospital|
|Fielding, Laura||Holy Family Memorial|
|Folstad, John||Sacred Heart Hospital|
|Fox, Stephen||Aspirus Wausau Hospital|
|Furlong, Marian||Hudson Hospital & Clinics|
|Gagnon, Annette||HSHS-Eastern Wisconsin Division|
|Gajeski, Lynn||St. Vincent Hospital|
|Garvey, Gale||St. Mary's Hospital|
|Gille, Larry||St. Vincent Hospital|
|Granger, Lorna||Aurora Health Care|
|Gresham, James||Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare|
|Grundstrom, David||Flambeau Hospital|
|Guffey, Kerra||Meriter Hospital|
|Gulan, Maria||Aspirus Wausau Hospital|
|Gullicksrud, Lynn||Sacred Heart Hospital|
|Hafeman, Paula||St. Vincent Hospital|
|Halida, Cheryl||St. Joseph's Hospital|
|Hansen, Karen||Memorial Medical Center - Ashland|
|Hardy, Shawntera||Hudson Hospital & Clinics|
|Hattem, Marita||Aspirus Wausau Hospital|
|Henricks, William||Rogers Memorial Hospital|
|Hieb, Laura||Bellin Hospital|
|Hockers, Sara||Holy Family Memorial|
|Hockin, Jennifer||Aspirus, Inc.|
|Hofer, John||Bay Area Medical Center|
|Jelle, Laura||St. Clare Hospital & Health Services|
|Jensema, Christine||HSHS-Eastern Wisconsin Division|
|Jensen, Russell||St. Mary's Hospital|
|Johnson, Charles||St. Mary's Hospital|
|Johnson, Kimberly||Sacred Heart Hospital|
|Josue, Sherry||St. Mary's Hospital|
|Karuschak, Michael||Amery Regional Medical Center|
|Keene, Kaaron||Memorial Health Center|
|Kelsey Foley, Kathy||Aspirus Wausau Hospital|
|Kempen, Jacob||Aspirus Wausau Hospital|
|King, Peggy||Memorial Health Center|
|King, Steve||St. Mary's Hospital|
|Klay, Chris||St. Joseph's Hospital|
|Klay, Lois||St. Joseph's Hospital|
|Klein, Tim||Holy Family Memorial|
|Knutzen, Barbara||Agnesian HealthCare|
|Kocourek, Cathie||Aurora Medical Center in Two Rivers|
|Lambrecht, Randall||Aurora Health Care|
|Lange, George||Westgate Medical Group, CSMCP|
|Larson, William||St. Joseph's Hospital|
|Lentz, Darrell||Aspirus, Inc.|
|Leonard, Mary Kay||St. Mary's Hospital|
|Lepien, Troy||St. Mary's Hospital|
|Lucas, Roger||Aspirus Wausau Hospital|
|LuCore, Patricia||Sacred Heart Hospital|
|Luehring, Sally||St. Vincent Hospital|
|Martin, Nancy||Ministry Saint Michael's Hospital|
|Maurer, Mary||Holy Family Memorial|
|McManmon, Kristin||St. Mary's Hospital|
|Meicher, John||St. Mary's Hospital|
|Nevers, Rick||Aspirus, Inc.|
|Nguyen, Juliet||Sacred Heart Hospital|
|Nicklaus, Todd||Aspirus, Inc.|
|O'Hara, Tiffanie||Wisconsin Hospital Association|
|Oland, Charisse||Rusk County Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home|
|Olson, Bonnie||Sacred Heart Hospital|
|Ose, Peggy||Riverview Hospital Association|
|Ostrander, Gail||Hospital Sisters Health System|
|Ott, Virginia||St. Joseph's Hospital|
|Palecek, Steve||St. Joseph's Hospital|
|Pavelec-Marti, Cheryl||Ministry Saint Michael's Hospital|
|Pempek, Kalynn||Aspirus Wausau Hospital|
|Penczykowski, James||St. Mary's Hospital|
|Pinske, Heather||St. Mary's Hospital|
|Reinke, Mary||Meriter Hospital|
|Reising, Chris||Aspirus, Inc.|
|Rocheleau, John||Bellin Hospital|
|Roundy, Ann||Columbus Community Hospital|
|Sanicola, Suzanne||Columbia St. Mary's Columbia Hospital|
|Schaetzl, Ron||St. Clare Hospital & Health Services|
|Schneider, David||Langlade Hospital - An Aspirus Partner|
|Schubring, Randy||Mayo Health System - Eau Claire|
|Scieszinski, Robert||Ministry Door County Medical Center|
|Scinto, Jeanne||Aspirus Wausau Hospital|
|Sheehan, Heather||Hayward Area Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home|
|Slomczewski, Constance||Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - All Saints|
|Smith, Brian||Aspirus, Inc.|
|Statz, Darrell||Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative|
|Stelzer, Jason||St. Clare Hospital & Health Services|
|Strasser, Kathy||Aspirus, Inc.|
|Swanson, Becky||Sacred Heart Hospital|
|Tandberg, Ann||St. Joseph's Hospital|
|Teigen, Seth||St. Mary's Hospital|
|Thornton, Eric||St. Mary's Janesville Hospital|
|Tuttle, Kathryn||Memorial Medical Center - Ashland|
|Voelker, Thomas||Aspirus Wausau Hospital|
|Walker, Troy||St. Clare Hospital & Health Services|
|Westrick, Paul||Columbia St. Mary's Columbia Hospital|
|Whitinger, Margaret||Agnesian HealthCare|
|Wipperfurth, Kay||Fort HealthCare|
|Woleske, Chris||Bellin Psychiatric Center|
|Wymelenberg, Tracy||Aurora Health Care|
|Wysocki, Scott||St. Clare Hospital & Health Services|
|Yaron, Rachel||Ministry Saint Clare's Hospital|
|Contributors ranging from $500 to $999|
|Anderson, Rhonda||Columbia St. Mary's Milwaukee Hospital|
|Ashenhurst, Karla||Ministry Health Care|
|Bablitch, Steve||Aurora Health Care|
|Boecker, Ron||Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare|
|Bukowski, Cathy||Ministry Health Care|
|Busch, Rebecca||Spooner Health System|
|Carlson, Dan||Bay Area Medical Center|
|Chumbley, Clyde||ProHealth Care, Inc.|
|Deich, Faye||Sacred Heart Hospital|
|Dietsche, James||Bellin Hospital|
|Dolohanty, Naomi||Aurora Health Care|
|Dube, Troy||Chippewa Valley Hospital|
|Eckels, Timothy||Hospital Sisters Health System|
|Frangesch, Wayne||Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare|
|Freimund, Rooney||Bay Area Medical Center|
|Griffin, Gregory||ElderSpan Management, LLC|
|Hartberg, David||Boscobel Area Health Care|
|Hinner, William||Ministry Saint Clare's Hospital|
|Hyland, Carol||Agnesian HealthCare|
|Jacobson, Terry||St. Mary's Hospital of Superior|
|Johnson, Kenneth||St. Mary's Hospital Medical Center|
|Joyner, Ken||Bay Area Medical Center|
|Kellar, Richard||Aurora West Allis Medical Center|
|Krueger, Mary||Ministry Saint Clare's Hospital|
|Larson, Margaret||Mercy Medical Center|
|Lewis, Gordon||Burnett Medical Center|
|Logemann, Cari||Aspirus, Inc.|
|Mantei, Mary Jo||Bay Area Medical Center|
|May, Carol||Sauk Prairie Memorial Hospital|
|McCarthy, Bruce||Columbia St. Mary's|
|Mugan, James||Agnesian HealthCare|
|Mulder, Doris||Beloit Health System|
|Nelson, James||Fort HealthCare|
|Pollard, Dennis||Froedtert Health|
|Quinn, George||Wisconsin Hospital Association|
|Richards, Theresa||Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital|
|Richardson, Todd||Aspirus, Inc.|
|Rickelman, Debbie||WHA Information Center|
|Rocole, Theresa||Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare|
|Rohrbach, Dan||Southwest Health Center|
|Sczygelski, Sidney||Aspirus Wausau Hospital|
|Selberg, Heidi||HSHS-Eastern Wisconsin Division|
|Shabino, Charles||Wisconsin Hospital Association|
|Simaras, James||Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare|
|Smith, Gregory||Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare|
|Sommers, Craig||St. Mary's Hospital|
|Stuart, Philip||Tomah Memorial Hospital|
|Swanson, Kerry||St. Mary's Janesville Hospital|
|Thurmer, DeAnn||Waupun Memorial Hospital|
|Van Meeteren, Bob||Reedsburg Area Medical Center|
|VanCourt, Bernie||Bay Area Medical Center|
|Worrick, Gerald||Ministry Door County Medical Center|
|Zenk, Ann||Ministry Saint Mary's Hospital|
|Zorbini, John||Aurora Health Care|
|Contributors ranging from $1,000 to $1,499|
|Bedwell, Elizabeth||Children's Hospital of Wisconsin|
|Britton, Gregory||Beloit Health System|
|Dexter, Donn||Mayo Health System - Eau Claire|
|Gullingsrud, Tim||Hayward Area Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home|
|Gutzeit, Michael||Children's Hospital of Wisconsin|
|Hart, Shelly||Aurora Health Care|
|Heifetz, Michael||SSM Health Care-Wisconsin|
|Herzog, Sarah||Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare|
|Huettl, Patricia||Holy Family Memorial|
|Hymans, Daniel||Memorial Medical Center - Ashland|
|Kerwin, George||Bellin Hospital|
|Kosanovich, John||Watertown Regional Medical Center|
|Lappin, Michael||Aurora Health Care|
|Lewis, Jonathan||St. Mary's Hospital|
|Martin, Jeff||Ministry Saint Michael's Hospital|
|McKevett, Timothy||Beloit Health System|
|Mohorek, Ronald||Ministry Health Care|
|Natzke, Ryan||Marshfield Clinic|
|Nauman, Michael||Children's Hospital of Wisconsin|
|Rakowski, Mark||Children's Hospital of Wisconsin|
|Reynolds, Sheila||Children's Hospital of Wisconsin|
|Roller, Rachel||Aurora Health Care|
|Russell, John||Columbus Community Hospital|
|Sanders, Robert||Children's Hospital of Wisconsin|
|Schafer, Michael||Spooner Health System|
|Sohn, Jonathan||Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare|
|Standridge, Debra||Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare|
|Wolf, Edward||Lakeview Medical Center|
|Contributors ranging from $1,500 to $1,999|
|Alig, Joanne||Wisconsin Hospital Association|
|Anderson, Sandy||St. Clare Hospital & Health Services|
|Bloch, Jodi||Wisconsin Hospital Association|
|Boese, Jennifer||Wisconsin Hospital Association|
|Byrne, Frank||St. Mary's Hospital|
|Clapp, Nicole||Grant Regional Health Center|
|Coffman, Joan||St. Joseph's Hospital|
|Court, Kelly||Wisconsin Hospital Association|
|Eichman, Cynthia||Ministry Our Lady of Victory Hospital|
|Francis, Jeff||Ministry Health Care|
|Frank, Jennifer||Wisconsin Hospital Association|
|Geboy, Scott||Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman|
|Grasmick, Mary Kay||Wisconsin Hospital Association|
|Harding, Edward||Bay Area Medical Center|
|Heywood, Matthew||Aspirus, Inc.|
|Hilt, Monica||Ministry Saint Mary's Hospital|
|Khare, Smriti||Children's Hospital of Wisconsin|
|Lepore, Michael||Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare|
|Levin, Jeremy||Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative|
|Meyer, Daniel||Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay|
|Millermaier, Edward||Bellin Hospital|
|Olson, David||Froedtert Health|
|Potter, Brian||Wisconsin Hospital Association|
|Sanders, Michael||Monroe Clinic|
|Sexton, William||Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital|
|Stanford, Matthew||Wisconsin Hospital Association|
|Wallace, Michael||Fort HealthCare|
|Warmuth, Judith||Wisconsin Hospital Association|
|Contributors ranging from $2,000 to $2,999|
|Brenton, Mary E.|
|Desien, Nicholas||Ministry Health Care|
|Duncan, Robert||Children's Hospital of Wisconsin|
|Gage, Weldon||Children's Hospital of Wisconsin|
|Herzog, Mark||Holy Family Memorial|
|Jacobson, Catherine||Froedtert Health|
|Kachelski, Joe||Wisconsin Statewide Health Information Network|
|Kief, Brian||Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital|
|Leitch, Laura||Wisconsin Hospital Association|
|Little, Steven||Agnesian HealthCare|
|Mettner, Michelle||Children's Hospital of Wisconsin|
|Neufelder, Daniel||Affinity Health System|
|Normington, Jeremy||Moundview Memorial Hospital & Clinics|
|O'Brien, Kyle||Wisconsin Hospital Association|
|Oliverio, John||Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare|
|Pandl, Therese||HSHS-Eastern Wisconsin Division|
|Potts, Dennis||Aurora Health Care|
|Starmann-Harrison, Mary||Hospital Sisters Health System|
|Taylor, Mark||Columbia St. Mary's, Inc.|
|Troy, Peggy||Children's Hospital of Wisconsin|
|Woodward, James||Meriter Hospital|
|Contributors ranging from $3,000 to $4,999|
|Borgerding, Eric||Wisconsin Hospital Association|
|Kammer, Peter||The Kammer Group|
|Turkal, Nick||Aurora Health Care|
|Contributors $5,000 and above|
|Brenton, Stephen||Wisconsin Hospital Association|
|Size, Tim||Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative|
|Tyre, Scott||Capitol Navigators, Inc|
Top of page (10/4/13)
Payment cuts to hospital and health systems could still be in the mix this fall as Congress faces major fiscal deadlines, including funding the federal government, dealing with the debt ceiling and paying for a physician reimbursement fix. At the WHA Council on Medical and Professional Affairs meeting October 3 in Madison, Jenny Boese, WHA vice president, external relations & member advocacy, briefed the group on what is being considered in Washington and how Congressional actions could impact health care providers.
As it stands, Congress has not yet provided any indication of a path forward from the government budget impasse and, therefore, the shutdown will likely last longer than a few days. As the shutdown lingers on, it increases the likelihood of federal budget issues spilling over into the larger, more difficult debt ceiling debate. On that issue, in late September, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew provided the first hard deadline for the debt ceiling: October 17. By this date, Lew said his ability to use emergency borrowing measures would be exhausted and the country would have only $30 billion on hand.
Boese reminded Council members that Congress also needs to address the sustainable growth rate (SGR), which expires December 31. The much-maligned SGR formula was put in place in 1997 as an attempt to keep physician expenditures in the Medicare program from rising too rapidly. Over the years Congress has repeatedly stepped in to stop the automatic SGR reductions from occurring. While there has been bipartisan support for a long-term SGR fix, cost has been the largest inhibitor.
"The SGR continues not due to lack of Congressional support for a fix, but due to lack of money," said Boese, indicating bipartisan support for legislation such as the Medicare Payment Access & Quality Improvement Act (HR 2810). "The estimated cost for a long-term fix is upwards of $140 billion, which, amidst a government shutdown and an impending debt ceiling crisis, makes short-term patches the more likely scenario at this point."
In the past, hospitals have been the target of previous cuts in order to fund other Congressional priorities. Additional cuts could still be on the table and include: reducing payments for evaluation & management services in hospital outpatient departments; eliminating critical access hospital designation for certain hospitals; and limiting use of state Medicaid provider taxes. Whether these or other proposals resurface again this fall remains to be seen, but WHA and hospital leaders will be in Washington, DC on October 29 to meet with Members of Wisconsin’s Congressional Delegation about the importance of Wisconsin’s high-value, high-quality health care. If you are interested in this trip, please contact WHA’s Jenny Boese at 608-268-1816 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
All interested parties should be participating in grassroots advocacy on these and other important state issues that affect health care. WHA’s HEAT program makes engaging in this level of advocacy very easy. Visit www.wha.org/heat-grassroots-advocacy.aspx.
Top of page (10/4/13)
We’re living longer but not feeling better, and many factors that contribute to overall health of our state’s residents are on the wrong track. That’s the overall finding from an analysis of 10-year trends in health factors and health outcomes produced by the UW Population Health Institute. The report reveals that while the overall mortality trends for all age groups in Wisconsin have improved over the past decade, more people are reporting being in poor health. In addition, the 10-year trends for all socio-economic factors—including unemployment, child poverty, violent crime rates and the high-school dropout rate—are getting worse.
If we’re going to move the needle in the right direction on obvious health indicators like obesity, and less obvious indicators like high school drop-out rates, we need strong local efforts that engage community leaders and residents in picking priorities and implementing strategies that work. Use the 2013 Wisconsin Health Trends: Progress Report in conjunction with local data and tools like What Works for Health to support your community benefit implementation activities. In addition, take a look at the sobering analysis of gaps in health by race, education, geography, and gender. We need to keep looking beneath averages to see where the opportunities to be healthy are not the same for all in our state, and design targeted interventions that make a difference.
The Population Health Institute has created an infographic that WHA members may want to incorporate into community presentations. See it here: www.wha.org/pdf/HealthTrends2013Infographic.pdf
Top of page (10/4/13)
On October 24, the Wisconsin Council on Medical Education and Workforce (WCMEW), a collaborative of WHA and other stakeholders on physician workforce issues, will host the one-day conference "Taking the Next Step: A Statewide Conference on Graduate Medical Education."
As part of the day’s agenda, several WHA members will share their experiences with starting and sustaining a graduate medical education (GME) program as part of a "lessons learned" session. In addition, the deans of Wisconsin’s two medical schools will present a joint session on the role of academic medical centers and community teaching hospitals in Wisconsin.
Other topics will include how GME fits into a hospital’s strategic plan, how to start a GME program, how to engage physicians in GME, and an overview of the current GME funding environment in Wisconsin, including a presentation by DHS staff on the two GME grant programs they are administering.
The conference will be held Thursday, October 24, at the Best Western Bridgewood Resort Hotel & Conference Center in Neenah. An agenda and online registration are available at: http://events.SignUp4.com/13GME.
Direct questions on the conference, GME funding or other related activities to George Quinn email@example.com, or Charles Shabino, MD at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Top of page (10/4/13)
ThedaCare Reduces EEDs: "Best Practices Win Out in the End"
Making sure that patients know that babies born after 39 weeks do better than those born earlier was one of the first steps that ThedaCare staff took as they set out to reduce early elective deliveries (EEDs).
The team placed patient education materials in clinics in an effort to spread the word on why it is best to avoid an early delivery if it is not medically indicated.
"We decided to work on this initiative because of the overwhelming evidence that babies born after 39 weeks are physiologically better off than those born earlier," said Lisa Reed, Appleton Medical Center Family Birth Center supervisor. "ThedaCare is committed to providing the best possible start in life to all of our newborns, and this is one of the ways that we are honoring that commitment."
After education, and regardless of gestational age, an induction consent signed by the patient and physician is now required for all inductions. After that, the team revamped the induction policy to reflect the American College of Gynecologists recommendation to not induce before 39 weeks, unless there is a medical indication. Schedulers at the birth center received an induction prioritization guide as a reference.
"Since the implementation of our hard stop policy in May, 2013, we have had only one induction that did not meet the criteria for elective delivery before 39 weeks," said Sara Bronson, Appleton Medical Center/ThedaCare Birth Center clinical specialist.
Reed said the webinars that WHA staff holds on a regular basis have been very helpful, as have the reminders to continue to implement "small tests of change." ThedaCare staff continues to do daily monitoring of all inductions.
"Throughout the project, ThedaCare staff has provided great coaching for other hospitals, which has been very valuable to the statewide project. Their willingness to share openly has influenced other hospitals to follow, which improves care across the whole state," said Kelly Court, WHA chief quality officer.
"From the providers to the schedulers to the staff, everyone has to learn a new process, which takes time and patience," according to Reed. "Best practices always win out in the end."
Top of page (10/4/13)
Gundersen Health System and Boscobel Area Health Care completed the last stage in their affiliation on October 1, formally renaming the local entity Gundersen Boscobel Area Hospital and Clinics.
Boscobel’s partnership with Gundersen has been ongoing, with a management agreement signed in 2012. This marks the last stage of the formal affiliation process, but the beginning of new health care resources available to Boscobel.
"We have already identified new specialty services we would like to bring to the area," according to David Hartberg, CEO, Gundersen Boscobel Area Hospital and Clinics, who expects additional specialists to begin as early as November.
"Gundersen is a nationally-recognized leader in health care who also understands rural health care and the needs of rural hospitals and clinics. We’re excited about what the future holds," says Hartberg.
"At Gundersen Health System, we believe it is important for people who live in smaller communities to have access to primary and specialty care close to home when it is possible to do so. We are pleased to partner with Boscobel Area Health Care to create an efficient, high-quality model of care for patients in the Boscobel, Fennimore and Muscoda areas," says Kathy Klock, senior vice president of operations & human resources, Gundersen Health System.
Top of page (10/4/13)
There is a strong association between social and economic factors and adverse health outcomes. Low socioeconomic status, including poverty, lack of education, and other factors are strong influences on health. Wisconsin hospitals are dedicating resources and developing programs to address these issues and improve the health status of those individuals that often cannot access even basic health services.
Women learn contemplative practices
Women of all ages learned how to add more peaceful moments to their day during the 14th annual Women’s Health Night held March 28 at the Cranberry Country Lodge in Tomah. Nearly 300 women turned out for the event coordinated by Tomah Memorial Hospital’s Community Outreach Center for Occupational Health & Wellness.
During her keynote presentation, UW-La Crosse Health Education & Health Promotion associate professor Dr. Keely Rees explained how reflective practices can help anyone– including women— better transition from home to the workplace.
"With practice, those rituals—those contemplative practices—become sort of automatic; it becomes part of the automatic nervous system—a cue to your body to go ahead and relax," Rees said.
Whether it’s changing clothes after work, making a cup of tea, or doing yoga with children, Rees said contemplative practices can become a much-needed daily ritual.
About 30 area businesses and organizations exhibited women’s health information and services. Various hospital departments displayed information on women’s health topics. Complimentary health screenings were also provided along with snacks, refreshments, and prizes.
Tomah Memorial Hospital
Barbershop Men’s Health Initiative is breaking barriers between men and their health
An innovative partnership between Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare and barbers in the African-American community is helping to increase awareness of important health issues in Milwaukee’s central city.
The Barbershop Men’s Health Initiative, based out of Wheaton Franciscan – St. Joseph Campus, uses the traditional barbershop setting to encourage men to build a relationship with a primary care physician and receive routine check-ups. The program also educates African-American men about prostate and colorectal cancer through multiple workshops and classes hosted at St. Joseph.
"Instead of talking about sports, we talk about our health," said Ray Bufford, health educator and project lead. "Some men have too much pride to discuss any concerns with their doctor, but in their local barbershop, they can feel comfortable enough to ask questions about important health issues."
Over the past year, Bufford and the Barbershop Men’s Health Initiative have reached 476 men through programming at local barbershops and churches.
Reaching out to men in the greater Milwaukee community is a life calling for Bufford. His brother-in-law was diagnosed with colon cancer, which eventually claimed his life.
"Before my brother-in-law passed away, he told me that educating men is very critical even if I only save one life," Bufford said.
Wheaton Franciscan – St. Joseph, Milwaukee
Open hearts and open doors
Family Promise brings together volunteers, churches and Monroe Clinic to address homelessness in Green County.
Family Promise is a national, volunteer-based organization tending to the needs of families facing homelessness. In 2011, Family Promise hosted a community meeting in Green County, and over 180 people attended. Soon after, Green County developed its own Family Promise program.
"In 2011, there were over 400 people homeless or within 30 days of becoming homeless," said Angie Parr, Monroe Clinic Employee Wellness Secretary and Family Promise Board member. "The night of the meeting several of us joined together to form a board of directors. We began fundraising efforts in May and were able to open our doors in November of 2011. We hired our director in October of 2011 and a case manager in July of 2012. We are the second fastest-growing group in the country to start the program."
Angie explained how the service is the result of many organizations’ and individuals’ efforts. The program works through the Interfaith Hospital Network. Twelve area churches and Monroe Clinic take turns opening their doors and provide living quarters for host families. Monroe Clinic is able to use special space set aside in its St. Clare Center. Another group of "buddy" churches assist the hosts. Volunteers help with meal preparation, spend the night at the host site, and provide transportation in the Family Promise van. During the day, the families learn important life skills, such as budgeting, accessing local resources, and job seeking, at the day center.
"As you can see, it takes a lot of volunteers for the program to run smoothly," said Angie.
After 20 months, the program has helped 53 people, 33 of which are children, avoid homelessness. Of the 69 percent who completed the program and graduated, 100 percent have found long-term housing. As one of 15 members serving on the Green County Family Promise board, Angie has witnessed what this program means to those it serves.
"We just received a letter from a mother with two teenage daughters and a granddaughter who have since graduated from the program, finding a job and housing," said Angie. "She explained how the program changed her life. She is now volunteering at our day center to help other families."
Monroe Clinic, Monroe
Submit community benefit stories to Mary Kay Grasmick, editor, at email@example.com.
Read more about hospitals connecting with their communities at www.WiServePoint.org.
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