April 24, 2015
Volume 59, Issue 16


WHA Advocacy Day Smashes Previous Attendance Record
1,100 registered for premier event, April 28

Almost 1,100 Wisconsin hospital advocates from across the state will converge in Madison Tuesday, April 28 to participate in WHA’s premier Advocacy Day event. This attendance will smash the previous record of 900. In addition, some 650 attendees will go to the State Capitol to meet with their legislators in the afternoon.

Advocacy Day coincides with legislative action on the biennial state budget bill, so 650 hospital advocates will take what they’ve learned and talk directly with legislators/staff about important budget issues such as Medicaid funding.

"Hospital advocates will flood the State Capitol. Every meeting room is booked and legislative offices will be packed with local hospital constituents," said Eric Borgerding, WHA president/CEO, in commenting on the record number of attendees going on legislative visits. "This is a testament to the priority hospital and health system leaders, employees, trustees and volunteers place on advocacy, speaking with one voice about priority issues. It is an unequaled, single-organization Madison advocacy event, and it just continues to grow."

The record-breaking crowd will hear from the always-popular bipartisan legislative panel of Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls), Sen. Jen Shilling (D-La Crosse), Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (R-West Allis) and Rep. Peter Barca (D-Kenosha). Two keynote speakers will highlight the day—morning keynote Tucker Carlson, nationally-known veteran journalist and political commentator, and luncheon keynote Gov. Scott Walker.

Advocacy Day will take place April 28 in Madison at the Monona Terrace Convention Center. For Advocacy Day questions, contact Jenny Boese at 608-268-1816 or jboese@wha.org. For registration questions, contact Jenna Hanson at jenna.hanson@wha.org or 608-274-1820.

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Registration Open for 2015 Wisconsin Rural Health Conference, June 17-19

Register today and join your colleagues at the 2015 Wisconsin Rural Health Conference, scheduled June 17-19 at Glacier Canyon Lodge at The Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells. This annual event is the forum for examining the issues that impact small and rural hospitals most, networking with colleagues and collaborating with your team of senior staff and trustees.

Each year, WHA’s Council on Rural Health acts as the planning committee for this conference, and once again in 2015, they have crafted an interesting and diverse education agenda. Attendees of the annual Wisconsin Rural Health Conference will discuss public policy issues affecting rural health care, identify how the delivery of and access to rural health care are changing, and identify ways data and technology are improving health care for rural populations. The conference will again include the popular education track focused on governance and trustee issues.

This year’s opening keynote speaker is Andrew Cohen of Kaufman Hall, who will examine business model changes from hospital-centric sick care to community-centric health care, will define the impact of the business model disruption on providers, and will provide practical information to prepare for the payer and purchaser expectations of the future.

The annual Wisconsin Rural Health Conference is a great way for hospital executives, leadership staff and trustees to take advantage of quality education, right in your backyard. Make attendance at this year’s conference a priority. A full brochure is included in this week’s packet, and online registration is available at http://events.SignUp4.net/15Rural.

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Speaker Robin Vos Meets With Area Hospital Leaders at Wheaton-All Saints

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) visited Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare-All Saints in Racine April 17. While there, he met with leaders from Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, Aurora Health Care and Columbia St. Mary’s/Ministry Health Care.

Vos toured the hospital emergency department and discussed key budget issues such as hospital and physician Medicaid reimbursement, the Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program and additional needs for behavioral health care coordination. Hospital leaders asked Vos for his help to increase the DSH program and make that appropriation an ongoing, base appropriation.

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Statewide Value Committee Leadership Council Gathers at WHA Offices

Members of the Statewide Value Committee’s Leadership Council met at WHA headquarters April 22 to provide input on progress to date on the State Health Innovation Plan (SHIP) that is a byproduct of a $2.5 million award from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI).

The group heard from Julie Bartels, SHIP program manager, and Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary Kitty Rhoades (DHS is overseeing the project). Several hundred stakeholders are involved in a statewide effort aimed at improving and transforming Wisconsin’s health and health care. A major focus will be on behavioral health and public health improvement priorities.

"It is important to note that the model we are deploying depends on involvement from the public health community and patient stakeholder organizations…not just provider, payer and purchaser organizations that have been traditionally doing much of the statewide work with organizations like WHIO, WISHIN and WCHQ," said WHA Senior Policy Advisor Steve Brenton.

Much of the work will be divided among three groups: behavioral health, population health and care redesign. Priorities identified by those groups will be forwarded to three "enabling teams": payment redesign, measures and HIT charged with actualizing implementation strategies.

WHA will keep members not involved with the ongoing work of the SHIP up to date as work progresses.

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WHA Creates Patient and Family-Centered Care and Engagement Advisory Committee

Quality improvement activities are enhanced when the patient’s voice is incorporated into the design and implementation of processes that impact the patient experience. The Wisconsin Hospital Association Partners for Patients program and hospitals across Wisconsin recognize the important role that patients and families can have in improving the patient care experience. That is why WHA has created the Patient and Family-Centered Care and Engagement Advisory Committee.

How patients and their families experience care has important lessons and learnings for health care providers. The WHA Patient and Family-Centered Care and Engagement Advisory Committee is focused on creating resources that will help hospitals not only bring the patient and family into their organizations as improvement partners, but will help facilitate sharing best practices, an attribute that has helped Wisconsin improve quality faster than nearly any other state.

Health professionals and patient advisors from Bellin Health System, Gundersen Health System, UW Health, Aspirus, and Froedtert and The Medical College of Wisconsin are key contributors to the WHA advisory committee. These organizations have dedicated the time and resources to help spread and advance patient and family-centered care and engagement, not only in their service areas, but throughout the state. Together, the committee set and is committed to the following aim:

Pool the existing resources within the state of Wisconsin to develop a strategy and structure for facilitating the spread of patient and family-centered care and engagement through education, collaboration, training and dedication.

UW Health is pleased to be a partner in the new initiative.

"After more than ten years of working toward a culture of patient- and family-centered care at UW Health, we can attest to how critically important the engagement of our patients and families has been to improving clinical outcomes while also enhancing the patient and family experience," said Sandy Salvo, program manager, patient & family-centered care, UW Health. "We have a Patient and Family Advisor (PFA) Partnership Program that seeks to infuse the voices of our PFAs into all our improvement initiatives, quality and safety decisions, hiring practices, facility designs, workflows and operational priorities. Along with our PFAs, I am excited to join others around Wisconsin to help spread best practices around this critical work of partnering with our patients and their families in meaningful ways."

While this work is not new to WHA, Tom Kaster, WHA quality coordinator and co-chair of the newly-formed advisory committee, says there is still much to learn.

"We realized there was a vast difference in the understanding of the meaning and scope of patient and family engagement throughout the state. We also realized that Wisconsin had some in-state exemplar organizations that have been pioneering patient and family-centered care and engagement for several years," according to Kaster. "But the biggest realization was that to gain traction and drive adoption of patient and family engagement, we need to practice what we preach from a state collaborative standpoint."

By "practice what we preach," Kaster is referring to engaging hospitals and their patients in defining, developing, and improving the delivery and spread of these resources to Wisconsin hospitals. One of the key strategies that is widely recommended for the advancement of patient and family engagement is the development of patient and family advisory councils (PFAC) at each hospital. PFACs are defined as structured groups of patients, family members, staff and physicians that meet regularly to promote improved patient care, enhance the patient experience and provide constructive feedback on strategic initiatives as well as day-to-day operations.

"We took the PFAC model and applied it to WHA’s patient and family-centered care and engagement initiative. To do this we needed a talented patient advisor co-chair, and Rosie Bartel was a natural fit," said Kaster

Rosie Bartel is a nationally-known patient advocate and Wisconsin native. Five years ago, after knee replacement surgery, Rosie was told she had contracted a Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection. After numerous surgeries and hospitals stays, Rosie lost her right leg to the infection. In an effort to improve the safety and reliability of care and reduce surgical site infections, Rosie was asked by her hospital to participate in an improvement project. The success of the project branched into other opportunities for Rosie. Since then, she has been a featured patient advocate by IHI and has collaborated with countless other state and national organizations.

Rosie’s passion, insights and inspiration have been central to the new WHA advisory committee.

"The beauty of this group it that it brings the voices of patients and health care professionals together from across the state. As we work, we are developing templates for patient/family advisor committees. These templates can then be adopted by hospitals and redesigned to fit their needs. The voices of the patients are being honored and respected in this group. What we say is being heard and acted upon. We know what we say matters," Rosie said.

Bellin Health, another of the key contributors to the Advisory Committee, has found patient and family centered-care is essential to their operations.

"We believe and work very hard to make it an engrained part of our culture. Because of this, Bellin has been recognized with the Patient Experience Award from Healthgrades for the fourth consecutive year. We attribute this success to the efforts we have made to engage our patients to be more active partners in their health care. Our patient and family advisors in our Patient Voices Program have also been key to help guide us on this journey," said Kari Barrett, service excellence coordinator, Bellin Health. "Through our work with WHA and the Advisory Committee, we hope to learn, develop and spread best practices of patient and family-centered care and patient engagement throughout our state. In the end, we are all working to improve health care for the entire population of Wisconsin."

Gundersen Health System’s experience with patient engagement is not new, but they echo the excitement of the hospitals and health care systems that have signed onto the WHA project.

"Gundersen Health System has had the privilege of engaging patients for many years. With the formation of our Patient and Family Advisory Committee, we now have a structured mechanism to hear patient voices, engage patients and families in policy and program development and improve the care we provide every day," said Ginny Moore, senior consultant, quality administration, Gundersen Health System. "WHA is developing tools and resources to support patient and family engagement, and will share their products with health care organizations in Wisconsin. Gundersen Health System is proud to be a member and an active part of the WHA team."

The WHA Patient and Family-Centered Care and Engagement Advisory Committee has brought together hospital and system leaders, patient advisors and advocates and a large state association (WHA) with one singular goal in mind—to improve the safety and value of care that is delivered to Wisconsin patients and families. Participation in the Committee is open to all WHA members.

"Although we have a lot to accomplish and it is early, I can tell that this is a special group, and I look forward to seeing more hospitals and health systems join us in helping to spread this important information throughout our state," Kaster said.

For more information about the WHA Patient and Family Engagement initiative, contact Tom Kaster at tkaster@wha.org or 608-274-1820.

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