March 23, 2012
Volume 56, Issue 12



"Match Day" Results Demonstrate Continued Need to Attract Grads to Wisconsin Residencies
Wisconsin medical schools in-state residency match consistent with past rate

A little more than 30 percent of Wisconsin medical school graduates will stay in-state to complete their first year residency, a percentage that closely mirrors the historical rate reported in the WHA physician workforce report, "100 New Physicians a Year: An Imperative for Wisconsin." As the location of a resident’s training is the largest single predictor of where a physician will practice, the WHA Graduate Medical Education Task Force will be focusing on strategies to increase the proportion of Wisconsin medical school graduates choosing Wisconsin residency training programs, above historical rates, as one of the means of addressing our state looming physician shortage.

"We are consistent with the historical averages, but we know we must increase the percentage of graduates that enter a Wisconsin residency program, especially primary care, so we can count on those physicians to establish a practice in Wisconsin in the future," according to George Quinn, WHA senior policy advisor. "In addition, we need to increase the number of Wisconsin residency positions."

All the UW-affiliated family medicine residency positions filled for the first time in recent memory. Overall, primary care residencies attracted 32 percent of the Medical College grads and 46 percent of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Of the 202 fourth-year medical students at the Medical College, 196 students obtained first-year residency positions through the match. Of the remaining six, five obtained positions outside the match and one student decided to defer residency. At UWSMPH, of 151 in the class, 148 received a match, two went into research and one is postponing residency training.

Sixty-nine of the Medical College graduating seniors (34.1 percent) will remain in Wisconsin to serve post-graduate residency training, while 48 of UWSMPH graduating seniors (32 percent) will stay in state.

Physicians are required to have a minimum of three years of post-graduate training in the specialties they choose. As reported by Wisconsin’s two medical schools, primary care fields attracted 32 percent of Medical College graduates this year while 45 percent of UWSMPH grads chose primary care. Those fields include pediatrics (11 percent at both Medical College and UWSMPH ), internal medicine (10 percent at Medical College, 23 percent at UWSMPH), family medicine (eight percent at Medical College, 10 percent at UWSMPH), and medicine/pediatrics (two percent at Medical College, 11.5 percent at UWSMPH).

The three top choices of specialty at Medical College were anesthesiology (15 percent), radiology (10 percent), and emergency medicine (8 percent). At UWSMPH, the three top choices were internal medicine (19.6 percent), emergency medicine and pediatrics (tied at 11.5 percent) and family medicine (10.8 percent).

The Wisconsin Academy of Rural Medicine (WARM) reported their match results for the 11 fourth-year WARM students:

Student

Specialty

Residency Location

Carla Bouwkamp

Internal medicine

Gundersen Lutheran, La Crosse, WI

Michelle Clark-Forsting

Family medicine

Department of Family Medicine-Eau Claire (Augusta), Eau Claire, WI

Gena Cooper

Pediatrics

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

Alisha Fahley

Family medicine

Duluth Family Practice, Duluth, MN

Walker Flannery

Orthopedics

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

Tim Kufahl

Family medicine

University of Minnesota, North Memorial, Minneapolis, MN

Torben Larsen

Family medicine

La Crosse-Mayo, La Crosse, WI

Amy Romandine

Family medicine

Dept. of Family Medicine-Fox Valley, Appleton, WI

Andrew Scarano

Radiology

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

Abby Taub

Dermatology

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

Tiffany Zens

Emergency medicine

University of Chicago Medical Center

More than 95 percent of U.S. medical school seniors-the highest rate in 30 years-have matched to residency positions according to new data released by the National Resident Matching Program(r) NRMP). These individuals make up the nearly 16,000 U.S. medical students who learned on March 16 where they will spend the next three to seven years in residency training.

The number of applicants in this year’s Main Residency Match rose by 642 for a total of 38,377 participants, an increase of more than 2,400 over the last five years. These individuals applied for 26,772 positions, an increase of 614 over 2011. Internal medicine, anesthesiology, and emergency medicine saw the largest increases in 2012, and emergency medicine filled every available position. The number of family medicine positions increased only slightly (1.1 percent) following notable increases over the last two years.

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WHA Physician Leadership Conference Bridges Gap Between Clinical Training, Leadership Skills

Growing numbers of physician leaders and hospital administrators are relying on WHA’s annual Physician Leadership Development Conference to help their new physician leaders bridge the gap between their traditional clinical training and the new approaches to decision-making and problem solving they need to consider in their leadership role. This year’s event, held March 9-10, drew nearly 130 physicians and 25 hospital leaders, representing 54 hospitals and health systems.

Brad Manning, MD, a physician leader from Meriter Hospital in Madison who has attended each year since the conference started in 2006, says he has always found the WHA physician leadership conference to be an enjoyable, exciting and informative experience, indicating the most important element for him is the breadth of subject matter. "There are other meetings that cover similar subject ground but are much more expensive, less focused, involving way more time away from practice and family. The WHA physician conference is a very pleasant and convenient way to get the knowledge necessary to be a physician leader in today’s world," according to Manning.

"Another important aspect of the conference is the opportunity to meet and brainstorm with other physicians from across the state of Wisconsin. We have a lot to learn from our colleagues as well as the extremely talented experts brought in by WHA from across the United States. All in all, my time spent at the WHA Physician Leadership Development Conferences has been time very well spent. I would highly recommend this conference to physician leaders across the state," Manning said.

Hospital leaders are encouraged each year to join their physician leaders at this event, taking advantage of the opportunity to build relationships with their physician leaders in a relaxed setting away from the hospital. David Schneider, executive director of Langlade Hospital – An Aspirus Partner in Antigo, attended this year’s event as part of a team of made up of three of his physicians and two other administrative leaders. Schneider says, "The conference was interactive, informative and well organized. It was particularly valuable for those physicians who have recently been appointed to leadership roles in their organization. The conference offered plenty of opportunities to review and trial essential leadership skills, interact with physician colleagues with like responsibilities, and learn the latest in the ever-challenging realm of physician credentialing and privileging. There are not many opportunities for busy, practicing physicians to access short-term training of this caliber close to home."

"This was also a valuable opportunity for our administrative staff to discuss shared leadership insights and challenges with our physician partners; it gives us a common language that we can bring to our Medical Executive Committee meetings," says Schneider. "We intend to encourage participation by other physician leaders and aspiring leaders in the future."

The 2013 event is scheduled for March 8-9 at The American Club in Kohler. Mark your calendar, share this date with your medical staff, and encourage your new and potential physician leaders to consider attending as part of your team.

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New Legislator Profile: Rep. Jill Billings (D-La Crosse)

Shortly after her election to the State Legislature following Jennifer Shilling’s move to the State Senate, Rep. Jill Billings said she contacted the two health care systems, Mayo and Gundersen Lutheran in La Crosse, and stopped by for a visit with them along with the technical school and the university. Billings said La Crosse County is fortunate to have a strong health care and education infrastructure, two things that she feels passionately about.

"The medical institutions are important because they are huge employers and economic drivers not just in La Crosse, but in the entire region and even across state lines," Billings said. "And we have a great educational system in our area."

Those two interests converge into what she calls her "pie in the sky dream"—a medical school campus in La Crosse.

"UW-La Crosse is an excellent campus, and it would be great to have a medical school here in La Crosse," she said. "We have great medical facilities where we could create medical residencies, and once these physicians were here, they would realize what a great community this is to live in."

Billings said she is especially concerned with the lack of physicians in rural, underserved areas, and said she would be willing to look into the possibility of offering some level of loan forgiveness that would provide an incentive for physicians to locate a practice in more remote areas.

While Billings may be new to the Wisconsin Legislature, her eight years on the County Board have prepared her well for her new office. Over half of her tenure on the County Board, she served as vice chair of the Health and Human Services Board on issues related to health and poverty. Billings said the health systems in La Crosse and the surrounding area are innovative and are constantly striving to "be more efficient and create cost savings" in health care.

"Our hospitals have looked at Medicaid in innovative ways and are incorporating best practices into the care they provide to our most vulnerable citizens," she said. "I think we need to tighten up Medicaid (eligibility) and ensure that we can maintain it in the future for our most vulnerable citizens."

La Crosse County served as a pilot site for Family Care, which she said has been an important program in Western Wisconsin. And while the program still has some "kinks" in it, Billings said it is an honest effort to "get the right services to the right people in the right setting at the right cost." She suggested that Medicaid could follow a similar path to ensure that it is also as efficient as possible.

La Crosse health systems have stepped up to care for the low-income patients, and they are "great partners in the community," according to Billings. She cited a recent example where both health systems helped develop a child advocacy center in the county for children who were suffering from neglect and abuse.

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Edwards Joins WHA Board, Jacobson is Alternate; Troy Named AHA Board Alternate

Susan Edwards, president/CEO of ProHealth Care, has been elected to the WHA Board to represent the WHA Southeastern Region (Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee counties). Cathy Jacobson, president, Froedtert Health, will serve as the WHA Board alternate for the southeastern region.

Peggy Troy, president/CEO, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, has been named as the state AHA Board alternate. David Olson, chief strategy officer for Froedtert Health, and Mike Schafer, CEO/administrator of Spooner Health System are both currently serving as Wisconsin AHA delegates.

"We are fortunate to have a high level of active participation from our senior health care leaders," said WHA President Steve Brenton. "We have an active and outstanding Board that charts the policy and advocacy direction for our members. I am very pleased to welcome Susan, Cathy and Peggy to new leadership positions in our Association."

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Court Holds Emergency Physicians Are Due Their Reasonable, Customary Fees
WHA and WMS supported physicians in Racine County Circuit Court case

"The amounts due for medical expenses belong to [the emergency physicians]," Racine County Circuit Court Judge Charles Constantine wrote this week in a personal injury case in which the plaintiffs’ attorneys attempted to require the emergency physicians who treated the injured plaintiffs to accept Medicaid payment rates or nothing at all instead of their reasonable and customary fees. The Wisconsin Hospital Association and the Wisconsin Medical Society filed a joint amicus brief in the case supporting the emergency physicians who were seeking reimbursement for the reasonable value of the services they provided.

The injured in the case were both eligible for Medicaid, which the Court noted is part of a two-tier billing system that generally pays a rate that is lower than a provider’s reasonable and customary fee. The Court recognized that in personal injury cases, instead of billing Medicaid, providers may elect to pursue payment from the proceeds of the personal injury claim. The tortfeasor, according to the Court, should be compelled to pay the expenses incurred by both the plaintiffs and the health care providers who treated the injured plaintiffs. And the Court held that the amount the tortfeasor or third party owed the physicians in the case is the physicians’ customary fees, not Medicaid rates. The Court also noted that the difference between the Medicaid rate and the physicians’ reasonable and customary fees does not belong to the plaintiff.

Guy DuBeau, a partner with Axley Brynelson, who wrote the brief on behalf of WHA and the Society, explained that the plain language of the Wisconsin Administrative Code gives providers a choice of how to pursue collection: they may elect to bill Medicaid for the services provided or they may seek payment by joining the recipient’s personal injury claim. DuBeau wrote that the Code necessarily contemplates that health care providers are entitled to receive their usual and customary fees out of personal injury proceeds or else that choice, including choosing to accept the risk inherent in joining an injury claim, would be meaningless. The Court agreed.

The amici also argued that limiting health care providers to the Medicaid rate would reward tortfeasors at the expense of providers, which is bad public policy. "Providers who willingly accept Medicaid patients recognize and accept the need to provide care to the least fortunate in society," said DuBeau. "But limiting recovery to the Medicaid rate in personal injury cases would create a whole new class of patients for which health care providers would, in actuality, lose money by treating. Those costs would not just disappear; they would have to be made up somewhere else."

WHA is closely watching a number of cases in which a party is attempting to limit a health care provider’s ability to receive fair reimbursement for services provided. Watch the Valued Voice for more information as these cases develop. A copy of the Racine County Circuit Court case is available on the WHA website at www.wha.org/data/sites/1/legal/RacineDecision3-20-12.pdf.

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President’s Column: AARP is MIA on Long-term Medicare Sustainability

The AARP is failing as a credible advocacy group for the nation’s seniors because protecting the status quo is the position of AARP. And when it comes to the future of Medicare, the status quo isn’t sustainable.

The fact that AARP isn’t credible doesn’t mean that AARP can’t be effective. And that is disconcerting. By deciding to demagogue necessary Medicare reform, AARP has marginalized itself in what must be an essential public discussion about tough choices. Instead of being part of the solution, the group has chosen a very public and extremely partisan path that demonizes serious long-term "fixes" to the broken down "rattle trap" the Medicare fee-for-service program has become.

"Imagine a world without Medicare" is the new rallying cry for an expensive grassroots effort that AARP will undertake nationwide during this election year. Talk about hyperbole—and that from a group that supported $500 billion in cuts to providers and health plans to pay for the PPACA, despite the fact that PPACA failed to fix a broken down Medicare physician payment system that will ultimately lead to an access crisis for AARP’s own members.

Any serious discussion about the future of Medicare must include: increasing the age for Medicare eligibility, "means testing" the program, rewarding high value health care and moving away from looking at Medicare as a defined benefit entitlement.

AARP’s idea of sustaining Medicare apparently rests with turning the program over to an independent board (IPAB) of politically appointed "experts" who will be charged with managing a global Medicare budget on the backs of providers. AARP must believe that seniors will be protected because only provider payment cuts, not beneficiary-related options, are within the purview of IPAB’s jurisdiction. IPAB is the ultimate vehicle to sustain the Medicare status quo in the future. And despite a modest level of bipartisan Congressional support to repeal this monster, the AARP’s defense of "doing nothing" impedes a necessary and thoughtful public discussion about "tough choices." That will ultimately harm AARP’s future members.

Steve Brenton
President

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U.S. House Votes to Repeal IPAB

The full U.S. House of Representatives voted 223-181 on H.R. 5, the Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) Act, which repeals the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). Only seven Democrats supported the bill, though it is believed that number would have been higher had the IPAB repeal not been paired with a tort reform measure placing a nationwide limit of $250,000 in punitive damages in medical lawsuits.

"An unelected body should not be given the authority to arbitrarily cut provider payments," said WHA President Steve Brenton. "Repealing IPAB is a must."

IPAB was created under the health reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as a cost control body. Under that law, a group of 15 individuals were given the power to balance the Medicare budget annually. Essentially the only tool available to that body to do so is by adjusting provider payments to match Medicare revenues with expenses.

Wisconsin’s Congressional Delegation voted as follows:

Voting in support of HR 5 – Reps. Petri, Ribble and Ryan

Voting in opposition of HR 5 – Reps. Baldwin, Kind, Moore

Voting as "present" – Rep. Sensenbrenner

Not voting – Rep. Duffy

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Ryan Unveils House Budget Resolution

On March 20, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) unveiled the House budget resolution for fiscal year (FY) 2013. The proposal, named "The Path to Prosperity," would cut over $5.3 trillion over the next 10 years.

To protect defense spending, the budget "reprioritizes" sequester savings by giving six House committees reconciliation instructions under which they would develop legislation to achieve savings rather than the across-the-board cuts that will take place in January 2013. The committees would produce savings of $18 billion in deficit reduction in the first one, $116 billion over the first five year and $261 billion over ten years. While the proposal eliminates one year of automatic cuts to defense and domestic discretionary spending, it keeps in place other automatic cuts, like those to Medicare.

Starting 2023, the proposal would allow workers under 55 to choose between Medicare’s traditional fee-for-service model or other private plans under what the proposal calls a "Medicare Exchange." Under this premium-support model, Medicare would either pay the premium or offset the cost of the plan premium chosen by the senior. Medicare would pay more or less of those costs depending on income and health status of the individual. Competitive bidding would be used to help control program growth by determining the amount of the federal contribution. That amount, however, would be capped at the Gross Domestic Product growth plus 0.5 percent.

Other provisions under the plan include:

"Congressman Ryan’s call for major, systemic Medicare reform is a clarion call for change. The current Medicare program is broken and beyond repair. We need serious and creative proposals like this one that can focus on a very necessary public discussion that will lead to a sustainable program in the future," said WHA President Steve Brenton. Brenton also noted that there are specific provisions in the plan that WHA cannot support unless modified but that the proposal is an "excellent first step."

The House Budget Committee approved the proposal this week with action by the full House expected within days. The Democratically-controlled U.S. Senate is not expected to take any action on the proposal.

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Register Now For WHA Advocacy Day, April 24

Hundreds of registrations continue coming in for WHA’s annual Advocacy Day set for April 24 at the Monona Terrace in Madison. Over 750 hospital advocates came to Madison last year to learn about hospital issues and to make their voices heard in the State Capitol. WHA asks you to make Advocacy Day a priority again this year.

Advocacy Day makes a strong statement to legislators and their staffs about how hospital employees, trustees and volunteers care deeply about their local hospital and that they’re willing to take action to protect them. Legislative visits are the highlight of Advocacy Day, but attendees also hear from national and state legislative, opinion and policy leaders and learn timely information about what is happening on health care issues.

This year attendees will hear from morning keynote and nationally-known pollster Kellyanne Conway, who will discuss the "pulse of the nation." Conway is the founder and president of the polling company™, inc., founded in 1995, and headquartered in Washington, DC. Luncheon keynote will be Governor Scott Walker (invited) and our legislator panel discussion will round out the morning sessions.

A complete program and online registration are available at http://events.SignUp4.com/AdvocacyDay12. For Advocacy Day questions, contact Jenny Boese at 608-268-1816 or jboese@wha.org. For registration questions, contact Lisa Littel at llittel@wha.org or 608-274-1820.

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Wisconsin Health Care Employee Pride Program Submissions Due March 30
Don’t miss an opportunity to recognize your health care workforce

Since 2002, the Wisconsin Hospital Association has sponsored the Health Care Employee Pride Program to recognize the dedication of Wisconsin’s health care workforce. The program encourages WHA member hospitals to invite their employees to express themselves in an essay and tell others why they chose a health occupation. The Pride Program gives employees the opportunity to share why they love their career of service to others, while giving the Association an opportunity to honor their contributions to their hospital, community and profession.

A designated leader from administration, human resources, public relations or patient care from WHA member hospitals is asked to coordinate the program. Employees are encouraged to submit to the hospital a 300-word essay, poem or story that explains why they chose to work in health care. From those essays, a committee at the hospital will pick one employee to represent their hospital and forward that person’s essay to WHA. WHA will send the hospital representative a certificate and pin the first week in May to present to their honoree, and will also post the essays on the WHA website at that time.

Pride Program materials are available on WHA’s website at www.wha.org/pride-program.aspx.

For more information contact Shannon Nelson at snelson@wha.org or Mary Kay Grasmick at mgrasmick@wha.org, or call 608-274-1820.

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Crisis Preparedness Seminar Aimed at Hospital Spokespersons
Sponsored by WHEPP, seminar features communications plans, spokesperson role

The Wisconsin Hospital Emergency Preparedness Program (WHEPP), in coordination with the Wisconsin Hospital Association, is sponsoring a one-day hospital public information officer seminar in two locations: May 1, 2012 in Madison and May 2, 2012 in Wausau. The seminar will be identical in content each of the two days it is being offered.

David Morris, who was the public information officer at Mercy Regional in Joplin, Missouri when the hospital was hit by a major tornado that ripped the facility apart, will give a presentation.

The seminar will be facilitated by Gerard Braud, an expert in media issues and crisis communications. He is an international media trainer, author and speaker who has worked with organizations on five continents. Braud has been active in the field of communications since 1979. He has worked in print, radio and television as a front line journalist. His affiliate reports have been seen around the world on NBC, CBS, CNN and the BBC.

The seminars are intended for public information officers, specifically from hospitals, that would like an intermediate-level overview of writing crisis communications plans and learning how to more effectively communicate with media and their communities.

There is no cost for this one-day seminar, however, registration is required. To register, go to www.TRAIN.org, log in, and click on "Course Search." Search by Course ID on the left side and enter Course ID #1032697 (The course is titled "Hospital Public Information Officer Seminars.")

Note: Prior to registration, you must create an account on TRAIN, the statewide public health online training portal, if you do not already have an account. To create an account, go to www.TRAIN.org and follow these steps:

  1. Select your location above the "Create Account" button on the left side.
  2. Click on "Create Account," underneath the login on the left hand side of the screen.
  3. Review and accept the Terms and Conditions.
  4. Fill out all the necessary information on the subsequent pages.
  5. When you have finished, click "Continue" to enter the site.

For more information contact Lori Wallman at lwallman@grantregional.com.

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Wisconsin Hospitals Community Benefits: Injuries and Violence

A teen arrives in the emergency department by ambulance following a terrible car accident. A child receives head injuries while bicycling without a helmet. A woman walks into the emergency department with injuries inflicted by an abusive spouse. These are stories of pain and tragedy that hospital personnel see all too often. Injury is the most under recognized major public health problem facing the country and it is the leading cause of death in people ages 1 to 44 in Wisconsin. Wisconsin hospitals devote significant resources to reduce the number of intentional and unintentional injuries that occur in the communities they serve.


Agriculture Safety Day

Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among children in the United States, with 120,000 deaths per year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Calumet Medical Center’s Progressive Agriculture Safety Day is an injury prevention program for eight to 12 year-old children that addresses home, outdoor and agricultural topics. 2011 is the tenth year of Calumet Medical Center’s Progressive Agriculture Safety Day, a national program started by Progressive Farmer magazine.

"Agriculture Safety Day is so important for the children in our community," said Anita Loose, marketing and public relations assistant for Calumet Medical Center. "All too often we hear tragic stories of farm fatalities involving children that might have been prevented by taking basic safety precautions. We want to continue to take a proactive approach in teaching our children safety precautions on the farm, at home and outdoors."

This year’s safety topics related to ATV and lawn equipment, sun, severe weather, first aid, tractors, water rescue, archery, garden and underground utility awareness. Wisconsin native Jeanna Giese presented wild animal safety tips. Jeanna was the first person in the world to survive rabies without the vaccination, when she was bitten by a bat in 2004.

Calumet Medical Center, Chilton


Sacred Heart Hospital responds to safety need for children

In the United States, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children 3-14 years of age— fatally injuring nearly 34,000 in 2009. In response to this startling statistic, Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire is proud of the collaborative efforts being made between the hospital’s Center for Healthy Living and Chippewa Valley Safe Kids to ensure that parents have access to the quality resources required to make transportation of their children as safe as possible.

Sacred Heart Hospital is the lead agency of Safe Kids Chippewa Valley. Over the past 1½ years, the car seat safety program has seen a dramatic increase in the number of families attending monthly car seat checks. The average has gone from 20-30 car seats checked per event to 30-50 car seats checked per event. In addition, Sacred Heart is receiving more requests to do one-on-one installations with families at the hospital site, nearly doubling the personalized installations every week. Also, Sacred Heart’s Maternity Department has staff trained as child passenger safety techs who are assisting families on a daily basis as well.

On November 8, 2011, Safe Kids Wisconsin and all of the 15 coalitions and chapters across the state received the 2011 Outstanding Buckle Up Participant Award. The award was presented during an awards banquet at the National Safe Kids Conference in Charlotte, NC.

"As the lead agency for Safe Kids Chippewa Valley, Sacred Heart Hospital is proud to support this valuable community safety program," said Paula Pater, Safe Kids Chippewa Valley coordinator for the hospital’s Center for Healthy Living. "This award recognized the Coalition and Chapter coordinators for their demonstration of perfect compliance with car seat check events and car seat fitting stations throughout the state for the past two years."

Sacred Heart Hospital, Eau Claire


Car seat safety: Prevention is a priority

Picture a newborn baby discharged from a hospital with parents who are so excited to be going home. They strap their baby into the car seat, completely unaware that the car seat they are using may have passed its expiration date.

Expiration dates are just one in a series of items Randy Reimer covers with parents when he is out in the community providing car seat safety checks. Randy is a paramedic in the Emergency Department at Aurora Medical Center in Two Rivers, and also is a Two Rivers fireman and certified car-seat safety technician. He advises parents to keep in mind that there is only a six-year "life expectancy" for car seats, and the "use-by-date" can be found by looking up the make and model on the manufacturer’s web site. In some cases, it can be found on car seat stickers.

Randy noted, "It is important that the car seat is properly fitted into the car and the straps are securely tightened. Prevention is the most important thing to making sure the car seat does what it is designed to do – keep our children safe.

"It is not recommended to purchase a car seat from rummage sales or second-hand stores because there are no accident disclosures. The car seat may have missing parts. I once counseled a lady who thought she got the best bargain on a car seat at a rummage sale for $20, but we discovered that it not only was expired, but it was missing the metal bracket on the back of the car seat. She ended up having to purchase a new one," Randy explained.

Yet another fact parents do not know is that detergents are not to be used on the car seat straps.

"Parents want to be conscientious about keeping the car seat clean. However, they need to know that it is recommended to use only a damp wash cloth on the straps, because detergent can cause the straps to slowly deteriorate and eventually break. Also, when cleaning, we advise parents to take pictures of the car seat before taking it apart. That way it will be properly reinstalled with no missing parts."

To avoid problematic situations, when the car seat expires, it should be thrown away. The best way to get rid of a car seat is to cut the straps and fabric to discourage others from reusing it.

Aurora Medical Center in Two Rivers


Summer Safety Camp Successful for 2010

Forty children entering third or fourth grades had the opportunity to learn a variety of safety measures at this year’s summer Safety Camp held at the Lunda Park Main Pavilion. The camp was held by The Black River Area Safety Council via funding from the Wisconsin Rural Hospital Flexibility Grant through the Office of Rural Health.

The Safety Camp included interactive presentations and information from a variety of professionals on first aid, seat belt safety, personal safety, internet safety, water/boating, animal safety, fire safety, electrical safety and more.

Manager of the Jackson County Public Health Agency and Event organizer, Christine Hovell, says, "We were thrilled to have so many kids attend this year’s camp. We received positive feedback from kids and volunteers attending the presentations."

Some of the favorite hands-on activities included animal safety by Barb Pfaff from the Jackson County Animal Shelter and her miniature pinscher, Tasha. The kids learned how to safely approach an animal, as well as when to leave it alone or get help. Mike Hodges with We Energies demonstrated the danger of electricity and explained preventive measures that should be taken around electricity.

The kids did not leave empty-handed. Each camper received a door prize, goodie bag and a book titled, "Healthier at Home." Also, 25 campers went home with new bike helmets. Event committee member Liz Lund says, "We hope the kids can take what they learned and really apply it to real life situations."

The Safety Camp was sponsored by the Greater Black River Area Safety Council, Jackson County Public Health, Black River Memorial Hospital, UW-Extension, Black River Falls School and the Ho-Chunk Nation.

Black River Memorial Hospital, Black River Falls


Submit community benefit stories to Mary Kay Grasmick, editor, at mgrasmick@wha.org.

Read more about hospitals connecting with their communities at www.WiServePoint.org.

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