October 7, 2016
Volume 60, Issue 40



WHA to Employers: Healthy Hospitals Possible Only if Businesses Remain Strong
WHA members work with employers to improve employee health, increase productivity


The Wisconsin Hospital Association this week reached more than 2,800 employers with a direct mail piece aimed at building awareness of Wisconsin’s high-value health care. 

In a letter to the state’s business leaders, WHA President/CEO Eric Borgerding said it is anything but “business as usual” in Wisconsin hospitals and health systems as they focus on delivering “superior outcomes, while technology and innovation are improving care.”

Borgerding points out that Wisconsin is uniquely positioned to thrive in the new environment where health care providers are reimbursed on outcomes, rather than volume. This focus, according to Borgerding, “improves the quality of care patients receive and helps your business by getting employees back to work faster with fewer complications.” 

Employer/health system partnerships are also moving health care in a positive direction by helping employers control health care costs by assisting, managing or building employer or community-based wellness programs. These programs can be on- or off-site, but all have an effect on population health. The quality of health care and the health status of the community both have an impact on economic development. 

Wisconsin ranks among the best states in the country on a number of factors, including quality of care and efficiency, while generating more than $3 billion and creating 7,000 jobs serving out-of-state patients. Those facts, and many others, are illustrated in an infographic that was included in the employer mailing.

“WHA will continue to communicate directly with the state’s employers to build an awareness of how our high-quality, high-value health care delivery system benefits them and their employees,” Borgerding said. “WHA is proud to share this message with our state’s business leaders because we all know that our success is only possible if Wisconsin businesses remain strong.” 


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Action Required Now to be on Federal Essential Community Providers List

Hospitals and other providers who may qualify as Essential Community Providers (ECPs) should take action to ensure they are on the federal ECP list for benefit year 2018. The deadline to register on the ECP list for calendar year 2018 is October 15, 2016. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) cautions that even if an organization appears on the draft list, but is missing information, the organization will be removed from the final list unless the missing data fields are completed. 

You may recall that Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) on the federal marketplace/insurance exchange are required to include ECPs in their plan offerings. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) maintains a list of ECPs, though that list is not exhaustive. Certain hospitals and other providers qualify to be included on that list. However, in order to be included, hospitals and others must petition CMS to be included as an ECP. 

In its materials, HHS notes that even if you submitted a petition previously, and even if your hospital or provider is currently on the draft 2018 list, your organization could be removed from the list if information is missing. For example, if you are missing information such as hospital bed counts or full-time equivalent practitioners, your organization will be removed from the final ECP list for the 2018 benefit year unless you complete the missing data fields online via the ECP petition process. 

The 2018 ECP Petition can be found here.

HHS has compiled a draft non-exhaustive list of available ECPs for plan year 2018. You can see if you are on the approved list by going to the searchable database. The Draft HHS ECP list for the 2018 benefit year is also embedded within the ECP petition and can be viewed by clicking the button “Check to see if you are on the list” under question 6 of the ECP Petition webpage. However, as noted above, even if your organization is on the ECP list but has missing information your organization will be removed from the final list by HHS unless the missing data is completed. 

Hospitals are considered a separate ECP category and hospitals that qualify as ECPs include critical access hospitals, rural referral centers, disproportionate share (DSH) and DSH-eligible hospitals, children’s hospitals, sole community hospitals and freestanding cancer centers. Under federal guidelines, in general, insurers must offer a good faith contract to at least one ECP in each category in each county in the insurer’s service area. 

WHA has continued to encourage CMS to use alternative data sources of information rather than require duplicative information be submitted by providers. HHS already has a list of hospitals that qualify as a result of other paperwork hospitals must submit. See WHA’s comments to the most recent federal proposed rule.

CMS has answers to frequently-asked questions about the ECP petition.

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Rural Broadband Committee Includes Health Care Component in Grant Process
Committee recommends consideration of “access to health care services from home”


In the first meeting following testimony from WHA’s General Counsel Matthew Stanford and two WHA members from Hospital Sisters Health System in Eau Claire, a study committee of the state Legislature has now recommended a requirement that Wisconsin’s rural broadband expansion grant program must consider the impact proposed projects will have on the ability of individuals to access health care services from home.

The recommendation, which came from a bill draft considered during the Committee’s most recent meeting October 5, will now be forwarded by the Committee for consideration by the full Legislature. If approved through the Legislative Council Study Committee process, the bill would then be introduced as a stand-alone piece of legislation and would need to receive another public hearing, committee vote and final approval in each house of the Legislature before being sent to the Governor for his approval.

See a copy of the Legislative Council’s memo and WHA’s testimony from September.

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WHA Sponsors WisconsinEye 2016 Election Coverage
WisEye Election Coverage 2016 features hundreds of interviews, full election coverage 


The November 8 general election is just a few weeks away and many local and statewide races are very close. WisconsinEye, Wisconsin’s version of C-Span, is one of the best unbiased resources for learning more about where the candidates stand on issues related to health care and other important topics. 

WHA is proud to sponsor WisconsinEye’s 2016 candidate interviews and election coverage. Watch the interviews at www.wiseye.org.

The WisconsinEye interviews include statewide races, Congressional races and state legislative races, with new candidate interviews added nearly daily. In addition to candidate interviews and news conferences, interviews with campaign insiders and analysts round out the coverage between now and the inauguration of election winners in January 2017. 

WHA is one of four sponsors underwriting the cost of the live and archived coverage that will be streamed through a digital video player. The other sponsors are the Wisconsin Counties Association, League of Wisconsin Municipalities and 5 Nines. Watch WHA President/CEO Eric Borgerding’s intro.

Campaign 2016 is a partnership between WisconsinEye and the Gannett family of online news sites in Wisconsin, including its flagship, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Programming can be watched on the video player available at wiseye.org, jsonline.com, or any of the 11 Gannett Wisconsin websites.

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Donohue and Baird Keynote WHA’s Future Health Care Leaders Conference, November 16

Register now for “Today’s Challenges, Tomorrow’s Opportunities: A Future Leader’s Guide to Wisconsin Health Care,” scheduled 
November 16 in Middleton. The event will focus on the role the next generation of health care leaders will play in effectively addressing current health care trends.

The day’s agenda will feature national health care consumerism expert Ryan Donohue, corporate director of program development with National Research Corporation, the largest surveyor of health care consumers in the United States. He is a thought leader in the realm of health care consumerism. Over the past decade, Donohue has conducted extensive research on the effects of consumerism on the U.S. health care industry. His mission is to inspire and persuade hospital and health system leaders to embrace and engage the health care consumer. During his keynote session, Donohue will explore how consumer decision making affects health care organizations and what the research shows is important to today’s health care consumer.

National patient experience expert Kristin Baird will focus on what future leaders can do to improve their organization’s patient experiences and to bridge the perception gap between consumers and hospitals/health care systems. Baird is president and CEO of the Baird Group, where she leads a team of skilled professionals who help transform culture and shape the patient experience. Having been in the trenches of health care for over 35 years as a nurse and hospital executive, Baird speaks the language of someone who’s “been there, done that.” She’s worked with individuals and groups from the front line, medical staff, and C-suite, guiding them through culture changes with measurable results in patient satisfaction and employee engagement. 

Hospitals and health systems are encouraged to send a team comprised of senior and mid-level leaders. Be sure to personally invite identified future leaders within your organization and encourage them to attend this important event, where they will have the opportunity to learn more about current industry trends, network with other rising stars and learn more about WHA.

This event, scheduled November 16 at Marriott Madison West Hotel in Middleton, is jointly presented by WHA and the Wisconsin Forum for Healthcare Strategy (WFHS). Through the generous support of WFHS, a discounted registration fee is available. This event is expected to sell out, so register soon at http://events.SignUp4.net/16TCTO-1116.

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Medicaid EHR Incentive Program Update

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) released two ForwardHealth Updates this week containing information about Program Year 2016 of the Wisconsin Medicaid EHR Incentive Program for both eligible hospitals and physicians.

According to the ForwardHealth Updates, the Program Year 2016 EHR reporting period for meaningful use attestation is January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016, except that first-time attesters may instead report on any continuous 90-day period within the 2016 calendar year. Eligible hospitals and physicians may begin applying for a Program Year 2016 incentive payment on October 10, 2016, and the last day to submit a Program Year 2016 application is March 31, 2017. 

The ForwardHealth Updates contain additional details regarding Program Year 2016. See the Update for eligible hospitals or the Update for eligible physicians.

General information regarding the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, including provider eligibility, registration, attestation, and incentive payments is on the Program website. If you have questions or want more information, contact Program staff at dhsehrincentiveprogram@dhs.wisconsin.gov.

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New Workforce Grants Available to Milwaukee Health Systems

A new workforce grant program is available to Milwaukee health systems. The Wisconsin Fast Forward GPA (Grant Program Announcement) is designed to provide employers with access to skill development training program funds for training City of Milwaukee residents. The following excerpt from the grant announcement provides a summary of the program:

“Through this Grant Program Announcement (GPA), the Office of Skills Development (OSD) is seeking grant applications that address a specific workforce need in the City of Milwaukee and surrounding area that is not met through another education or training program. The proposed training plan should focus on City of Milwaukee residents. The demand should be supported by localized labor market information. The grant funds may not be used to supplant existing, routine business training, but should focus on employers’ skill gaps. Eligible projects should demonstrate that funds will help to increase the number of City of Milwaukee residents employed in the City of Milwaukee and surrounding area. The grantee must describe how transportation will be provided for the City of Milwaukee trainees to and from the training worksite. Partnerships with community organizations are encouraged to meet transportation needs. Funds available through this GPA will enable employer(s), in partnership with a workforce training provider or providers, to deliver customized training to City of Milwaukee residents. These grants provide a funding source to respond to the area’s workforce needs by serving City of Milwaukee residents with customized training and employment opportunities. The OSD will ensure accountability and transparency of outcomes by tracking training completions, job placements, wage increases, and overall return on public investment.”

Additional program information and application schedules/requirements are provided in the GPA: www.wisconsinfastforward.com/grants/gpa/ff164gl1.pdf.

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Member News: Wolf Named Chief Administrative Officer for Marshfield Hospital

Marshfield Clinic Health System (MCHS) has appointed Edward (Ned) Wolf chief administrative officer (CAO) for its Marshfield hospital.

Wolf, who has been CAO for Lakeview Medical Center (LMC) in Rice Lake the past 22 years, also was interim Marshfield hospital CAO since June 2015.

In March, MCHS entered into a memorandum of understanding with Ascension Wisconsin/Ministry Health Care to purchase Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield. Work continues on finalizing the acquisition agreement.

Wolf will assist in the transition for LMC’s new CAO, for which the hiring process has begun. Dr. John Olson, LMC chief medical officer, and Jackie Klein, LMC chief finance officer, will oversee hospital operations in the interim.

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Fast Facts from the WHA Information Center: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer (behind skin cancer) and second leading cause of cancer death (exceeded only by lung cancer) among women in the U.S. About 1 in 8 (12 percent) women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime.

At this time, there are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S., but the American Cancer Society estimates about 40,450 women in the U.S. will die from breast cancer in 2016. According to the WHA Information Center’s most recent four quarters of data, (April 2015 – March 2016) there were 508 inpatient admissions, 7,844 outpatient surgeries, and 61,314 other hospital outpatient visits for the diagnosis or treatment of female breast cancer.

For more information on breast cancer, visit: www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/index.

Data provided by the WHA Information Center (WHAIC). WHAIC is dedicated to collecting, analyzing and disseminating complete, accurate and timely data and reports about charges, utilization, quality and efficiency provided by Wisconsin hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers and other health care providers.

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