September 23, 2011
Volume 55, Issue 36


Obama Proposes $3 Trillion Deficit Reduction Plan
PPS, CAHs threatened by cuts; DC Hill fly-in scheduled

In placing his marker down on how to achieve deficit reductions, President Obama unveiled a package this week of more than $3 trillion in spending cuts and tax increases. On top of the $1 billion from action taken earlier this summer, Obama indicates this $4 trillion is enough to also fund his recent jobs act proposal. Unfortunately, hospitals have much to be concerned about with this latest iteration, as providers in both Medicare and Medicaid continue to be targets for cuts, including a direct threat to critical access hospitals (CAHs).

"The President’s proposal represents the first step in an effort to deconstruct the "necessary provider" provisions that were enacted 15 years ago as an attempt to preserve access in rural America," said WHA President Steve Brenton, noting that eight Wisconsin hospitals are likely targeted by the initiative.

Under the provision, a CAH "fewer than 10 miles" from another hospital would lose its CAH designation. According to WHA analysis, this provision would impact as many as eight Wisconsin CAHs. A second CAH-specific provision reduces reimbursement from 101 percent to 100 percent of cost. Among the President’s other proposals is a reduction of Medicare bad debt payments from 70 percent to 20 percent and a 10 percent cut to indirect medical education payments.

Regarding Medicaid, several provisions raise additional concerns. The President proposes to limit a state’s ability to levy provider assessments, like Wisconsin has successfully done, to 3.5 percent of hospital revenue. While Wisconsin’s current assessment falls beneath this threshold, WHA is keenly aware that the President’s proposal could be a starting point for others in Congress who may advocate for an outright elimination of provider assessments.

"Wisconsin has taken a measured and extremely prudent approach to designing and implementing its hospital assessment, and it has worked very well," said WHA executive vice president Eric Borgerding. "It is that approach that puts us in a relatively good position compared to some other states, but the concern is this could be just the beginning."

In addition, the President is proposing to change how states are reimbursed for Medicaid by combining a state’s various Medicaid federal funding matching rates into one rate per state. This provision could disproportionately penalize states like Wisconsin that have tapped higher matching rates in order to expand Medicaid coverage to broader segments of low-income populations. On its face, this provision would seem to streamline the federal match component of Medicaid, but over 10 years it will cut federal matching payments to states by nearly $15 billion. WHA continues to aggressively fight back against these Medicare and Medicaid cuts, launching a full-scale grassroots campaign earlier this year, which included high-level in-district meetings between hospital CEOs and members of Congress, placement of letters to the editor in local papers and over 1,100 email and phone contacts to Congress from HEAT grassroots members.

In a continuation of this ongoing grassroots effort, WHA will be participating on October 4 in the American Hospital Association Washington, DC fly-in event. WHA staff will be in DC for this event and participating in Hill meetings. Regardless of whether your hospital is an AHA member, you are encouraged to join WHA at this event and on our Hill visits that same day. Please let Jenny Boese know (email jboese@wha.org or call 608-268-1816) if you plan to attend.

A partial summary of Obama’s proposed Medicare and Medicaid provisions follows:

Medicare

Medicaid

Top of page


Wisconsin Hospital Association Annual Convention Coverage
"Looking Toward Tomorrow’s Health Care"

As WHA President Steve Brenton presented his opening remarks at the 2011 WHA Convention in Lake Geneva September 15, he paused to reflect on what has been an extremely challenging year for Wisconsin’s hospitals. As the economy continues to struggle, hospitals have seen an increase in uncompensated care, while Medicare payment cuts continue as Congress attempts to curb the national deficit.

Reimbursement and health reform continue to be in the top tier of issues that concern health care executives, but physician workforce challenges have moved to the top of most priority lists.

"Health reform has the potential to make it even more difficult for Wisconsin to compete for physicians as all states will find they cannot keep up with their communities’ demand for medical services," Brenton told the attendees. "WHA is committed to working with our member hospitals and other stakeholders to ensure that we have an adequate supply of physicians to care for our patients."

WHA Members Provide Feedback on Preliminary WHA Physician Workforce Report

The audience was attentive and involved in the conversation as WHA’s George Quinn and Chuck Shabino, MD, shared the draft of the WHA physician workforce report. A work in progress, Quinn and Shabino presented the background data and factual information that they have gathered along with plausible options for addressing the physician shortage.

While WHA members offered suggestions and raised questions about how best to proceed, there was consensus that aggressive action must be taken to avert a statewide crisis.

All members agreed that the report provided a good outline of the workforce issues, while offering options and opportunities that could be available to address the shortage. The necessity to grow the physician workforce is evident as health reform, combined with an aging population, will fuel an unprecedented demand for medical care.

Quinn said while there is a universal need for more primary care physicians, there are pockets in Wisconsin where specialists are in short supply, a condition that will worsen in the future.

All survey findings indicate the key lies in recruiting, training and keeping physicians in Wisconsin who have a tie to the state.

Shabino said Wisconsin’s two medical schools; the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (UWSMPH) and the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) educate and graduate 340 medical students each year. Only 40 percent of those graduates stay in Wisconsin.

"Each year Wisconsin recruits approximately 900 physicians, of which 150 are graduates of our medical schools," according to Shabino. "We import 720 out of state physicians each year. The good news is we have been relatively successful at doing that. The bad news is that, going forward, the increasing demand for physicians nationally is going to hurt our ability to sustain this level of recruitment."

Responder Panel Offers Local, Statewide Perspective on Physician Workforce

Following Quinn and Shabino’s formal presentation, a responder panel offered the following observations:

Carl Getto, MD (formerly with UW Hospital and Clinics), Executive Vice President and CMO, University of Tennessee Medical Center-Memphis

"It takes a minimum of seven years for a physician to finish their education. The problem emanates from our systems and our population and increases in medical technology. None of us have ever created the number of primary care physicians that we need. In Canada, they have diffused the medical education system, and they are providing training for physicians in the northern territories through the use of technology and with the help of local health systems. It is working—physicians are staying in Canada.

The Carnegie Foundation published a book on medical education—a report that in many ways is the Flexner Report revisited. The report calls for major changes that parallel the WHA report. Medical education needs to change and move back to where it belongs, with patients and with health systems. It needs to be a part of what we do every day. How we get it done is part of the ‘crystal ball.’ There are ways to keep medical students in our state."

Sandy Anderson, President, St. Clare Hospital & Health Services, Baraboo

"The first thing I heard when I moved back to Wisconsin nine years ago was Wisconsin has a health care workforce shortage of mid-level providers and physicians. That is still true. At St. Clare, we have a family practice rural residency program, so we have a vested interest in the WHA report.

I like to live rural and so I think it is important that we have someone to take care of our communities. We have talked about this internally—now it is time to go external. Our communities wonder who will take care of them as they age. The workforce shortage is magnified for the rural and inner city areas of the state. How physicians are disbursed across the state is important.

We have 84 percent of the physicians stay in Baraboo after completing their residency if they grew up in Wisconsin. Our rural residency program married training and education. Over the past two years we have developed a closer relationship between the medical schools and our health systems. We own this issue of clinical training, and collaboration is vitally important.

Wisconsin has been a leader in many aspects. It is time for us to step up and be a leader in the education and training of our future physicians."

Mark Kehrberg, MD, Sr. Vice President and CMO, Affinity Health System

"We at Affinity have had a very good recruiting year, so why are we concerned? What I described for you is not always the case. We have had shortages in infectious and pulmonary disease specialists, and as the area of Wisconsin with the third-largest population, we need more specialists and primary care physicians to match the needs of our aging population. We need to be precise—we need just enough physicians. We can’t afford to get it wrong because a full 15-20 percent of those physicians are needed in some way in rural areas. It is important to increase medical school populations and residency positions and consider loan forgiveness. Medical school is expensive. We need to start now, plan now, and continue our planning efforts well into the future."

Bruce Van Cleave, MD, Sr. Vice President and CMO, Aurora Health Care

Let’s think about how we manage to recruit so many physicians to Wisconsin now—what makes that possible—and then let’s maintain that feature. At Aurora we recruit 100-200 physicians per year to meet our need for normal growth. As we talk about them, some are ‘coming home.’ It makes is easy talking to people if they are from Wisconsin, and they have family ties here. Wisconsin has a very favorable medical malpractice climate. We have access to good schools, public universities, life balance, and affordability. We have built a good infrastructure and it does have an impact on our recruitment success."

Strengthening community health in a time of transformation

The health care delivery system is just one component in community health, but it plays a critical role in driving a different conversation and providing a new focus on health improvement, according to Karen Timberlake, director of the Partnership for Healthcare Payment Reform of the Wisconsin Health Information Organization.

Presenting at the WHA Annual Convention September 15 in Lake Geneva, Timberlake presented an overview of the IHI "Triple Aim," saying that better care leads to better health for the entire population and at a lower per capita cost. She shared data drawn from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute’s work around county health rankings that illustrates the small influence that health care, per se, has on a person’s overall health. Nonetheless, there is a focus on the health care delivery system that neglects the influences of other factors, such as the environment, genetics, gender, income and social status.

"Overall health is influenced by a number of things; some are within the control of the community, some are dependent on the person, and others are within the purview of the health systems," Timberlake said.

Hospitals have a collective mission to improve the health status of their communities by working with their sphere of influence. Mike Wallace, president and CEO of Fort HealthCare in Fort Atkinson, and Christine Woleske, executive vice president at Bellin Health, shared their respective community health efforts.

At Bellin, the focus is on employee health and wellness…and what better place to start than within your own "house?" Woleske explained that they began by redoing their health plan. They had to slash costs, improve the health of their employee population, and retain their employee workforce since they were in a four-hospital city. They began by trying to help their employees assess and understand what their health status was. They brought in personal health coaches.

"In the end, we had significant savings. In addition, we have maintained our strong culture and even made it stronger by bringing our employees along to understand why we were doing this and why it was important for their health and for the health of their employer," said Woleske.

Wallace said Fort HealthCare conducted an extensive community health needs assessment. That assessment was used as a roadmap to improve population health.

"From the beginning we decided this is our issue to take on—this is our issue to own. To engage the employees, the workforce, the community, we decided to focus on health, so there would be less of a need for health care. The system needs to evolve from one of ‘react and respond’ to one of ‘predict and prevent.’ We have to get more consumer involvement," said Wallace.

Top of page


Political Action Spotlight: Wisconsin Hospitals Conduit & PAC Campaign Update
88 more participants added in three weeks as goal approaches 68%

The Wisconsin Hospitals Conduit and State PAC fundraising campaign raises funds from those who live or work in Wisconsin to support Wisconsin candidates for office. To date the campaign has raised an additional $25,000 from 88 more participants in the last three weeks, putting the campaign at 68 percent of goal. The goal of the campaign is to raise $250,000 by year’s end. The total to date raised is $168,604 from 331 individuals.

Individual contributors are listed in The Valued Voice by name and affiliated organization on a regular basis. 2011 contributors to date are listed below alphabetically by contribution category. The next publication of the contributor list will be in the October 7 edition of The Valued Voice.

For more information, contact Jodi Bloch at 608-217-9508 or Jenny Boese at 608-274-1820.

Contributions ranging from $1 – 499

 

Adams, Daniel

Memorial Medical Center - Ashland

Alstad, Nancy

Fort HealthCare

Annala, Shannon

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Arendt, Kathleen

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Ashenhurst, Karla

Ministry Health Care

Ayers, Mandy

Wisconsin Hospital Association

Bablitch, Steve

Aurora Health Care

Banaszynski, Gregory

Aurora Health Care

Barkovich, Catherine

Sacred Heart Hospital

Beall, Linda

Hudson Hospital

Beglinger, Joan

St. Mary's Hospital

Bell, Kristine

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Bernklau, Robert

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Biros, Marilyn

SSM Health Care-Wisconsin

Bliven, David

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Bloom, Deborah

Sacred Heart Hospital

Boecker, Ron

Wheaton Fransican Healthcare

Boson, Ann

Ministry Saint Joseph’s Children’s Hospital

Boudreau, Jenny

Wisconsin Hospital Association

Braun, Michael

Aspirus, Inc.

Braunschweig, Jennifer

Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center

Brenholt, Craig

St. Mary's Hospital

Brenny, Terrence

Stoughton Hospital Association

Burgener, Jean

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Buss, Diane

St. Mary's Hospital

Calhoun, William

Mercy Medical Center

Campau, Patricia

Columbia St. Mary's, Inc.

Campbell-Kelz, Nancy

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Casey, Candy

Columbia Center

Caven, Michael

Memorial Medical Center - Ashland

Ceelen, John

Ministry Health Care

Censky, Bill

Holy Family Memorial, Inc.

Clapp, Nicole

Grant Regional Health Center

Clark, Renee

Fort HealthCare

Connor, Michael

Aurora Health Care

Cooksey, Patricia

Hudson Hospital

Cox, Tamarah

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Dahl, James

Fort HealthCare

Dalebroux, Steve

St. Mary's Hospital

Danner, Dean

Aspirus, Inc.

Decker, Michael

Divine Savior Healthcare

DeMars, Nancy

Sacred Heart Hospital

Derks, Darla

Sacred Heart Hospital

DeRosa, Jody

St. Mary's Janesville Hospital

Devermann, Robert

Aurora Medical Center in Oshkosh

Dietrich, Dean

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Dolohanty, Naomi

Aurora Health Care

Donlon, Marcia

Holy Family Memorial, Inc.

Drengler, Kathryn

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Drexler, Rochelle

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Dux, Larry

Community Memorial Hospital

Ehn, Diane

Froedtert Health

Ela, Susan

Aurora Health Care

Elliott, Roger

St. Joseph's Hospital

Erickson, Susan

Meriter Hospital

Erickson, William

Ministry Saint Mary’s Hospital

Evans, Kim

Bellin Hospital

Evenson, Rock

Froedtert Health

Fabich, Robb

Aspirus, Inc.

Facey, Alice

St. Clare Hospital and Health Services

Fielding, Laura

Holy Family Memorial, Inc.

Freiberg, Kerry

Community Memorial Hospital

From, Leland

Beloit Health System

Fuchs, Thomas

St. Joseph's Hospital

Furlong, Marian

Hudson Hospital

Garavet, Scott

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Garvey, Gale

St. Mary's Hospital

Giedd, Janice

St. Joseph's Hospital

Gjolberg, Skip

Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital

Goldberg, David

Community Memorial Hospital

Govier, Mary

Holy Family Memorial, Inc.

Grohskopf, Kevin

St. Clare Hospital and Health Services

Groskreutz, Kevin

St. Joseph's Hospital

Gruber, Richard

Mercy Health System Corporation

Grunwald, Patricia

Meriter Hospital

Gulan, Maria

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Gullicksrud, Lynn

Sacred Heart Hospital

Gutsch, Mike

Southwest Health Center

Halida, Cheryl

St. Joseph's Hospital

Hamilton, Lisa

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Hamilton, Mark

 

Hattem, Marita

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Heilmann, Lea

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Hemes, Jim

 

Hessert, Peter

Aspirus, Inc.

Hieb, Laura

Bellin Hospital

Hill, Nick

St. Joseph's Hospital

Hockers, Sara

Holy Family Memorial, Inc.

Hoege, Beverly

Reedsburg Area Medical Center

Hofer, John

Bay Area Medical Center

Holmes, Sheryl

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Holub, Gregory

Ministry Door County Medical Center

Jelle, Laura

St. Clare Hospital and Health Services

Jensen, Russell

St. Mary's Hospital

Johnas, Nancy

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Johnson, Joanne

St. Mary's Hospital

Keene, Kaaron

Memorial Health Center - An Aspirus Partner

Kellar, Richard

Aurora West Allis Medical Center

Kelsey Foley, Kathy

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Kempen, Jacob

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

King, Steve

St. Mary's Hospital

Klay, Lois

St. Joseph's Hospital

Klein, Rick

Aurora Health Care

Kuehni-Flanagan, Tracy

St. Joseph's Hospital

Lachecki, Therese

Memorial Medical Center - Ashland

Laird, Michael

Froedtert Health St. Joseph's Hospital

Lange, George

Westgate Medical Group, CSMCP

Lentz, Darrell

Aspirus, Inc.

Leonard, Mary Kay

St. Mary's Hospital

Logemann, Cari

Aspirus, Inc.

Lucas, Roger

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

LuCore, Patricia

Sacred Heart Hospital

Magnussen, Eric

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Marcouiller, Don

Memorial Medical Center - Ashland

Margan, Rob

Wisconsin Hospital Association

Maroney, Lisa

 

Marquardt, Amy

 

Mason, Paul

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - All Saints

Matzke, Monica

Aspirus, Inc.

Maurer, Mary

Holy Family Memorial, Inc.

McKevett, Timothy

Beloit Health System

McNally, Maureen

Froedtert Health

Meicher, John

St. Mary's Hospital

Merline, Karen

 

Meyer, Jeffrey

Osceola Medical Center

Mourey, Gerald

Aspirus, Inc.

Muellerleile, Steven

Westfields Hospital

Mulder, Doris

Beloit Health System

Myers, Lynne

Meriter Hospital

Needham, Jean

Westfields Hospital

Nelson, Dean

St. Mary's Hospital

Nevers, Rick

Aspirus, Inc.

Niemer, Margaret

Children's Hospital and Health System

Norton, Marcella

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Ojala, Theresa

St. Mary's Hospital

O'Keefe, James

Mile Bluff Medical Center

Olson, Bonnie

Sacred Heart Hospital

Omdahl, Nicholas

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - All Saints

Ose, Peggy

Riverview Hospital Association

Osen, John

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Page, Alison

Balwin Area Medical Center

Palecek, Steve

St. Joseph's Hospital

Peiffer, Susan

Sacred Heart Hospital

Pempek, Kalynn

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Penczykowski, James

St. Mary's Hospital

Peters, Kenneth

Bellin Hospital

Petonic, Mary Frances

Meriter Hospital

Pinske, Heather

St. Mary's Hospital

Piper, Barbara

Sacred Heart Hospital

Polenz, Scott

Memorial Medical Center - Neillsville

Potts, Dennis

Aurora Health Care

Powell, Stacey

Sacred Heart Hospital

Priest, Geoffrey

Meriter Hospital

Proehl, Sheila

Hudson Hospital

Prunty, Brian

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Quinn, George

Wisconsin Hospital Association

Radoszewski, Pat

Children's Hospital and Health System

Rambert, Luanne

Community Memorial Hospital

Rambo, Kari

Hudson Hospital

Reinke, Mary

Aurora Health Care

Rickelman, Debbie

WHA Information Center

Roethle, Linda

Bellin Hospital

Roller, Rachel

Aurora Health Care

Rozenfeld, Jonathan

St. Mary's Hospital

Rubenzer, Deanne

St. Joseph's Hospital

Rudolph, Wade

Sacred Heart Hospital

Rueber, Joel

Aspirus, Inc.

Rutkowski, Jennifer

Grant Regional Health Center

Samitt, Craig

Dean Health System

Saunaitis, Tamara

Meriter Hospital

Schade, Randy

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Schaefer, Mark

Froedtert Health

Schaetzl, Ron

St. Clare Hospital & Health Services

Schraufnagel, Patricia

Memorial Medical Center - Ashland

Schuelke, Susan

Community Memorial Hospital

Scieszinski, Robert

Ministry Door County Medical Center

Scinto, Jeanne

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Sczygelski, Sidney

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Sheehan, Heather

Hayward Area Memorial Hospital and Water’s Edge

Smith, Greg

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

Snow, Rachel

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Sparks, Steven

St. Mary's Hospital

Stanford, Cynthia

 

Stelzer, Jason

St. Clare Hospital and Health Services

Stine, Stephen

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Stoffel, Julie

St. Joseph's Hospital

Strasser, Kathy

Aspirus, Inc.

Strobel, Donald

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Sullivan, Anne

Memorial Medical Center - Ashland

Sullivan, Gail

St. Joseph's Hospital

Tapper, Joy

Milwaukee Health Care Partnership

Tarantino, Jennifer

Aurora Health Care

Taylor, Steve

Beloit Health System

Tews, Carol

Memorial Medical Center - Neillsville

Tincher, Pat

Langlade Hospital - An Aspirus Partner

Tobin, Susan

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Todd, Jeffrey

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Turner, Sally

Aurora Health Care

Vakoc, Patricia

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

VanDeVoort, John

Sacred Heart Hospital

Voelker, Thomas

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Vogt, Paula

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Walker, Troy

St. Clare Hospital and Health Services

Wanless, Kathy

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Wipperfurth, Kay

Fort HealthCare

Witt, Heather

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Yaron, Rachel

Ministry St. Clare’s Hospital

Zeller, Brad

Hayward Area Memorial Hospital and Water’s Edge

 

Contributions ranging from $500 – 999

 

Andersen, Travis

St. Elizabeth Hospital

Bailet, Jeffrey

Aurora Health Care

Bayer, Tom

St. Vincent Hospital

Bjork, Tanya

 

Bukowski, Cathy

Ministry Eagle River Memorial Hospital

Bultema, Janice

 

Byrne, Frank

St. Mary's Hospital

Canter, Richard

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

Cardamone, Dr. Steve

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

Carlson, Dan

Bay Area Medical Center

Clough, Sheila

Ministry Health Care’s Howard Young Medical Center

Court, Kelly

Wisconsin Hospital Association

Deich, Faye

Sacred Heart Hospital

Dicus-Johnson, Coreen

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

Dietsche, James

Bellin Hospital

Eckels, Timothy

Hospital Sisters Health System

Frank, Jennifer

Wisconsin Hospital Association

Garcia, Dawn

St. Joseph's Hospital

Granger, Lorna

ProHealth Care

Grundstrom, David

Flambeau Hospital

Guirl, Nadine

ProHealth Care

Heifetz, Michael

SSM Health Care-Wisconsin

Huettl, Patricia

Holy Family Memorial, Inc.

Hymans, Daniel

Memorial Medical Center - Ashland

Johnson, Patricia

Hayward Area Memorial Hospital and Water’s Edge

Kerwin, George

Bellin Hospital

Klimisch, Ronald

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Krueger, Mary

Ministry Saint Clare's Hospital

Lewis, Gordon

Burnett Medical Center

Mantei, Mary Jo

Bay Area Medical Center

May, Carol

Sauk Prairie Memorial Hospital

Nelson, Dave

SSM Health Care-Wisconsin

Nelson, James

Fort HealthCare

Nelson, Nanine

ProHealth Care

Oberholtzer, Curt

Bay Area Medical Center

Peterson, Douglas

Chippewa Valley Hospital

Pollard, Dennis

Froedtert Health

Postler-Slattery, Diane

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Richards, Theresa

Ministry Saint Joseph’s Children’s Hospital

Rocole, Theresa

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

Russell, John

Columbus Community Hospital

Sale, Nora

Froedtert Health

Schafer, Michael

Spooner Health System

Schneider, David

Langlade Hospital - An Aspirus Partner

Selberg, Heidi

HSHS-Eastern Wisconsin Division

Shabino, Charles

Wisconsin Hospital Association

Simaras, James

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

Stuart, Philip

Tomah Memorial Hospital

Swanson, Kerry

St. Mary's Janesville Hospital

VanCourt, Bernie

Bay Area Medical Center

Van Meeteren, Bob

Reedsburg Area Medical Center

Volpe, Joseph

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

Worrick, Gerald

Ministry Door County Medical Center

Zenk, Ann

Ministry Saint Mary's

 

Contributions ranging from $1,000 - 1,499

 

Alig, Joanne

Wisconsin Hospital Association

Anderson, Sandy

St. Clare Hospital and Health Services

Boese, Jennifer

Wisconsin Hospital Association

Boland, Susan

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - All Saints

Brenton, Mary E.

 

Britton, Gregory

Beloit Health System

Buser, Kenneth

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - All Saints

Duncan, Robert

Children's Hospital and Health System

Fale, Robert

Agnesian HealthCare/St. Agnes Hospital

Francis, Jeff

Ministry Health Care

Geboy, Scott

Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman

Hahn, Brad

Aurora Health Care

Harding, Edward

Bay Area Medical Center

Hilt, Monica

Ministry Saint Mary’s Hospital

Karuschak, Michael

Amery Regional Medical Center

Kerschner, Joseph

Children's Hospital and Health System

Kosanovich, John

UW Health Partners Watertown Regional Medical Center

Loftus, Philip

Aurora Health Care

Martin, Jeff

Ministry Saint Michael’s Hospital

Morgan, Dwight

Aurora Health Care

Normington, Jeremy

Moundview Memorial Hospital and Clinics

Olson, David

 

Robertstad, John

ProHealth Care - Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital

Sexton, William

Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital

Size, Pat

 

Sohn, Jonathan

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

Standridge, Debra

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

Stanford, Matthew

Wisconsin Hospital Association

Troy, Peggy

Children's Hospital and Health System

Wallace, Michael

Fort HealthCare

Westrick, Paul

Columbia St. Mary's, Inc.

 

Contributions ranging from $1,500 - 1,999

 

Bloch, Jodi

Wisconsin Hospital Association

Borgerding, Dana

 

Coffman, Joan

St. Joseph's Hospital

Eichman, Cynthia

Ministry Our Lady of Victory Hospital

Grasmick, Mary Kay

Wisconsin Hospital Association

Herzog, Mark

Holy Family Memorial, Inc.

Jacobson, Catherine

Froedtert Health

Kammer, Peter

Essie Consulting Group

LePore, Michael

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

Mettner, Michelle

Children's Hospital and Health System

Mohorek, Ronald

Ministry Health Care

O'Brien, Mary

Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center

Olson, Edward

ProHealth Care

Potter, Brian

Wisconsin Hospital Association

Starmann-Harrison, Mary

 

Warmuth, Judith

Wisconsin Hospital Association

Wolf, Edward

Lakeview Medical Center

Woodward, James

Meriter Hospital

 

Contributions ranging from $2,000 - 2,499

 

Fish, David

Hospital Sisters Health System

Kachelski, Joe

Wisconsin Statewide Health Information Network

Katen-Bahensky, Donna

 

Kief, Brian

Ministry Saint Joseph’s

Leitch, Laura

Wisconsin Hospital Association

Merline, Paul

Wisconsin Hospital Association

Neufelder, Daniel

Affinity Health System

Oliverio, John

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

Pandl, Therese

HSHS-Eastern Wisconsin Division

Sanders, Michael

Monroe Clinic

 

Contributions ranging from $2,500 - 2,999

 

Desien, Nicholas

Ministry Health Care

Levin, Jeremy

Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative

Taylor, Mark

Columbia St. Mary's, Inc.

 

Contributions ranging from $3,000 - 3,999

 

Borgerding, Eric

Wisconsin Hospital Association

Erwin, Duane

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Size, Tim

Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative

Turkal, Nick

Aurora Health Care

 

Contributions ranging from $4,000 - 4,999

 

 

Contributions $5,000 +

 

Brenton, Stephen

Wisconsin Hospital Association

Tyre, Scott

Capitol Navigators, Inc

 

Top of page

 
CMS Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Initiative

On August 23, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) unveiled its Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Initiative. The request for applications, which describes the initiative, can be found at: http://innovations.cms.gov/areas-of-focus/patient-care-models/bundled-payments-for-care-improvement.html.

The CMMI is seeking applications on four broadly-defined bundling models:

Organizations can apply for more than one model. In addition, participants in other special payment programs (e.g., the Acute Care Episode demonstration and the Medicare Shared Savings Program) are eligible to participate in this initiative. All participants will be able to engage in gain sharing.

CMS bundled payment could be integrated into PHPR pilots

This CMS initiative has the potential to work in synergy with the Partnership for Healthcare Payment Reform’s (PHPR) pilot project regarding total knee replacement, as CMS is permitting organizations that are already working on bundled payments to apply to add Medicare patients using an existing definition of services for the bundled payment. PHPR is talking with organizations planning to participate in the PHPR pilot about their interest in adding Medicare patients to the PHPR project. For more information about the PHPR total knee replacement pilot, or to discuss the possibility of combining Medicare and commercially insured patients in the same pilot project, contact Karen Timberlake at ktimberlake1@gmail.com. More information about the Partnership for Healthcare Payment Reform is also available at www.phprwi.com.

Top of page


President’s Column: Rural Health Care Takes Big Hit in Obama Budget Proposals

There’s a lot not to like in the Obama Administration plans to begin reducing the Federal Budget Deficit. New Medicare payment cuts, reductions in medical education payments at a time when the physician workforce is nearing a crisis state, and "strengthening" the already flawed Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) are all bad ideas that must be strongly opposed. Wisconsin hospitals already kicked in over $2.5 billion in payment cuts between now and 2020 in order to fund PPACA. "Enough’s enough."

Unfortunately the most staggering proposal contained in this week’s plan is the huge hit to rural health care that comes via drastic measures that, unless defeated, may actually close Wisconsin hospitals. The most egregious initiative would establish a 10-mile requirement for critical access hospitals (CAHs). In other words, any current CAH located 10 miles or less from another hospital will lose their CAH status and be forced to survive as a PPS hospital—or close. The latter is likely for several of the eight Wisconsin hospitals that appear to be affected by this proposal. If the 10 mile requirement were to jump to 15…or…20, another dozen CAHs would face financial ruin.

The assault on CAHs represents what may be the first phase of a several-phased effort to deconstruct the "necessary provider" CAH designation that was championed by rural lawmakers about 15 years ago. That designation allows the states to determine necessary criteria issues absent mileage requirements. Today, 55 of Wisconsin’s 59 CAHs use the "necessary provider" criteria.

WHA will work hard to fight off this misguided initiative. We’ll coordinate advocacy activities with affected hospitals that can then help their communities weigh in to protect rural access.

Steve Brenton
President

Top of page


WHA Submits Community Health Needs Assessment Comments to IRS
"Hopeful that the hospital community’s comments will improve Schedule H reporting while reducing the paperwork burden"

The Wisconsin Hospital Association today (September 23) submitted comments on the Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) portion of the recently revised Schedule H. The Internal Revenue Service requested comments on the CHNA requirements that implement provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.

In its letter, WHA emphasized its support for the work of over 300 hospitals and health system leaders, including from Wisconsin, who worked with the American Hospital Association (AHA), investing dozens of hours of intense scrutiny and wide-ranging discussions. That work resulted in AHA’s very detailed recommendations to the IRS. AHA’s comments are available here: www.aha.org/advocacy-issues/letter/2011/110824-let-aha-hfma-vha-shall.pdf.

WHA asked the IRS to revise Schedule H in a manner that accounts for the diversity of the hospital community given that the new requirements apply to large multi-hospital systems as well as small critical access hospitals. To that end, WHA supported AHA’s request that the IRS make Part V, Section B, of Schedule H optional for tax year 2011. WHA also raised concerns with certain reporting requirements that would be excessively burdensome without apparent benefit.

WHA’s comments emphasized that Wisconsin hospitals work to meet the health needs of the communities they serve. They have developed community-wide plans to improve the health and wellness of their communities. Importantly, Wisconsin hospitals voluntarily collect and report their community benefit activities on WHA’s website, www.WiServePoint.org, where this information is shared with the public. WHA wrote to the IRS that it is hopeful that the hospital community’s comments will improve Schedule H reporting while reducing the paperwork burden for hospitals and providing the public with better and more accessible information about the benefits hospitals provide to their communities. A copy of WHA’s letter is available at www.wha.org/IRSnotice2011-52WHAbrenton.pdf.

Top of page


WCAC Considering Proposal to Limit Choice of Provider for Injured Workers
WCAC seeking feedback

The Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC) last week continued negotiations on this legislative session’s "agreed to" bill. As previously outlined in The Valued Voice, the WCAC voting members include five representatives of labor and five representatives of management. At the last meeting, the labor representatives proposed an alternative to management’s proposed health care provider rate cuts, which included a reduction in the maximum reimbursement for health care services and a fee schedule for implants, medical hardware, and prosthetics.

Labor’s "restricted choice of practitioner" proposal, which modifies a previous proposal from management, would limit an injured employee’s selection of health care practitioners in the first 60 days after injury to those practitioners covered by the employer’s health plan but only if all of the following are true:

Current Worker’s Compensation bars against co-pays, deductibles, and other costs for the employee would continue. After 60 days, the employer could no longer limit the employee’s choice of practitioner. Labor believes the proposal provides an opportunity for employers to negotiate rates with health care practitioners in return for providing those practitioners with a "book of business." Labor is proposing to sunset the change after two years, providing an opportunity for an evaluation of the cost savings for employers and identifying any problems for employees. In return for this new limitation, labor is seeking a significant increase in payments made to injured workers considered disabled under the Worker’s Compensation system. A copy of Labor’s proposal is available on the WHA website at www.wha.org/WClaborProposalChoiceLimitation.pdf.

Management and Labor representatives on the WCAC have asked the four nonvoting health care provider organizations with "liaisons" to the WCAC for their feedback on the proposal. WHA has been working with its Council on Finance and other hospital staff with specialized knowledge of the Worker’s Compensation system. The WCAC anticipates its next meeting, scheduled for October 10, to be the final negotiation of the session.

Top of page


Daubert Comes to Wisconsin – CLE SUMMIT on Expert Opinion Evidence
WHA sponsors important education event

The Wisconsin Hospital Association is co-sponsoring a major education and training event regarding the recently enacted rules governing expert opinion in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Civil Justice Council (WCJC) developed the program, titled "Daubert Comes to Wisconsin – CLE SUMMIT on Expert Opinion Evidence" for lawyers who are engaged in the defense of civil litigation and lawyers who represent businesses and professionals and whose litigation fate relies heavily on the admissibility—or non-admissibility—of expert testimony.

The Summit will be held on two dates: November 8 at the Kalahari in the Wisconsin Dells and November 9 at the Milwaukee Marriott West.

2011 Wisconsin Act 2 included the adoption of the Daubert standards, which limit expert testimony to opinions based on the application of reliable principles and methods to the facts of the case. These standards are followed in the federal court system and 34 states including, now, Wisconsin. A comprehensive understanding of decisions and trends from other jurisdictions will be critical for lawyers to assist in helping to shape Wisconsin law in the manner intended by the adoption of the Daubert standards for Wisconsin. A copy of the "save the Date" notice is available on the WHA website at www.wha.org/DaubertSummitSavetheDate.pdf. Watch the WHA website and future issues of The Valued Voice for full registration information.

Top of page


WHA Hosts "Care Transitions Connection" on November 2
Focus on improving transitions and reducing readmissions

On November 2, WHA will kick off a statewide conversation on how to improve transitions from hospital to long-term care or home and to reduce preventable hospital readmissions. A number of changes on the national health care agenda, including CMS’ non-payment for preventable readmissions and the value-based purchasing program, are influencing hospitals’ need to work across organizational boundaries to improve patient-centered care. Likewise, many organizations on the health care continuum in Wisconsin are interested in coming to the table and participating in shared problem solving of the challenges of transitions of care.

Keynoted by nationally-known expert Patricia Rutherford, vice president of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the full-day session will help attendees understand the issues surrounding poor care transitions, as well as recognize and locate resources for tools and approaches. Experts will share several tried and tested methods for improving care transitions, including STAAR, Project RED, BOOST, Care Transitions InterventionSM and INTERACT. Attendees will also spend a portion of the day exploring the design of a statewide collaborative involving all aspects of the care continuum.

Hospitals, long-term care center and home care staff are encouraged to attend as a community and participate in shared learning together. The full-day event will take place at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells.

Those who register before October 12 can take advantage of the early bird registration fee of $95 per person. A full event brochure is included in this week’s packet. Additional information and online registration are also available at http://events.SignUp4.com/CareTrans11-2.

Top of page


MetaStar to Host Health Care Quality Symposium

Who or what is at the heart of your health care quality improvement efforts? On November 1, 2011, the MetaStar Health Care Quality Symposium: Keeping the Patient at the Heart of Quality Improvement will explore this question and will help all who work on quality improvement efforts to focus on the reason we undertake such activities—to provide safer, better quality health care to patients.

The day will open with Meg Gaines, director of the Center for Patient Partnerships, setting the stage from the perspective of a patient and patient advocate for a day centered on how quality improvement activities and energy need to focus on those we serve. There will be breakout sessions throughout the day with tracks on clinical quality improvement principles, clinical topics, Health IT, Baldrige in health care, TeamSTEPPS the evidence-based teamwork system to improve communication, and quality leadership. The day will conclude with the opportunity to share the day’s learnings and to hear from Joe McCannon, senior advisor to the CMS administrator, Donald Berwick, MD.

The full-day event will take place at the Kalahari Convention Center, Wisconsin Dells. Registration is $99 per person, which covers breakfast, lunch, and breaks. To view the complete conference brochure, including a full agenda, and to register online, please visit www.metastar.com/symposium.

Top of page


Flu Season Approaches; Hospitals Respond with Annual Employee Immunization Efforts

Immunization of health care workers against influenza has been recommended by the CDC since 1981. All Wisconsin hospitals strongly encourage their employees to be immunized by offering education and free immunizations. Hospitals also have a variety of strategies for working with employees that have allergies or objections to being immunization. WHA members have worked with declination forms in which an employee acknowledges the educational program offered by the hospitals and the value of immunization, yet declines to be immunized. Hospitals also address patient and staff protection issues created by un-immunized staff with policies that may require masking, health assessment, reassignment or other intervention to protect patients, families and staff. Hospitals have immunization efforts that include immunization at the site of work, competition among units and department, prizes and many other creative ways to highlight and encourage the importance of immunization.

This flu season, some Wisconsin hospitals and health systems have implemented policies requiring that employees be vaccinated. Aurora Health System, Hospital Sisters Health System and SSM Health Care now have adopted policies that require employees to receive the influenza vaccination annually. Each will require employees to be vaccinated, but will allow for medical and religious exceptions; however, those who request the exemptions will be required to wear masks for patient protection during the flu season.

"Hospitals have shown they are committed to addressing this issue in a proactive way, working collaboratively with their employees to tailor the most effective approach for each institution, "said WHA Executive Vice President Eric Borgerding. "But mandating a one-size-fits-all approach to vaccination, as some have proposed, will prove counterproductive."

Reducing risk to patients, employees and their families and communities is the goal of every hospital flu immunization program. Hospitals continue to develop specific employee strategies and solutions to best meet local and regional needs and at the same time provide care safely and effectively at all times, including Wisconsin’s annual flu season.

Top of page


Movie "Contagion" Presents Opportunity to Discuss Emergency Preparedness

September is National Preparedness Month. Perhaps it is coincidence, but "Contagion," a fictional drama that portrays the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other U.S. and international partners responding to a very realistic emerging infectious disease outbreak, opened at movie theaters across the U.S. earlier this month. The CDC provided the following talking points and resources to provide accurate and potentially life-saving information to the public about how to prepare for a public health emergency such as the one depicted in the film.

The CDC and hospitals take emergency preparedness and response very seriously. The CDC recognizes that state and local public health departments are the first responders when disease threats occur, and it is their initial investigations that help CDC quickly assist them. In Wisconsin, hospital laboratories work closely with the state lab of hygiene to ensure that diseases and outbreaks can be identified early. Wisconsin has been recognized as being one of the states most capable of responding to a disaster.

WHA works closely with the Wisconsin Hospital emergency Preparedness Program (WHEPP) to assist with communication, coordination and consultation related to hospital emergency preparedness activities. See the WHA/WHEPP Annual Report at www.wha.org/disasterpreparedness/pdf/wheppreport2011.pdf.

Top of page


Two Community Initiatives Honored with WHA Foundation’s Global Vision Award

The WHA Foundation has selected The Fowler Memorial Free Dental Clinic, nominated by Monroe Clinic; and the Chippewa Health Improvement Partnership, nominated by St. Joseph’s Hospital, as the recipients of the 2011 Global Vision Community Partnership Award.

The WHA Foundation’s Global Vision Community Partnership Award was created in 1995 to recognize the efforts of WHA members in meeting the documented health needs in their communities through creativity, innovation, partnership, and collaboration. To date, the Award has honored 32 innovative programs in communities throughout Wisconsin.

"The Fowler Memorial Free Dental Clinic" (FMFDC) was conceived in 2005 as a result of the Green County Healthy Communities Coalition community health assessment. That assessment clearly showed a lack of dental services for those unable to pay for dental care and those covered by Medicaid. The outcome was the creation of the FMFDC to address dental emergencies for children between the ages of three and 12 who live in Green County. Dental equipment was donated by the family of the late Dr. Don Fowler, a local dentist, and clinic space is provided by the Green County Health Department. Several local pharmacies provide medications at minimum or no cost, and a referral relationship for restorative and preventive care has been established with the Federal Qualified Health Center in Darlington. Since opening in 2009, FMFDC has served 374 patients, providing 1,692 dental treatments, and decreased the number of pediatric dental emergencies by 83 percent.

The "Chippewa Health Improvement Partnership" (CHIP) is a collaborative community endeavor that serves as a catalyst for the enhancement of health and quality of life through educational and preventive initiatives in and around Chippewa Falls. CHIP serves as the umbrella for their community’s health-related agencies, organizations, services and resources. For the past 17 years, CHIP has initiated and guided endeavors resulting in improvements in education, access to medical and dental care, quality childcare, transportation, employment opportunities, fall and safety prevention, substance abuse prevention, health literacy, community education and more. Governed by a steering committee of 20 community members, CHIP’s many action teams of community representatives identify the health priorities and goals of area residents and utilize evidence-based strategies and innovative approaches to meeting the identified needs and facilitate collaborative activities directed at improving health status. St. Joseph’s Hospital serves at the primary host of CHIP, providing financial support, employment of its director, office space and more.

Top of page


Member News: Modern Healthcare Magazine Names Bagnall "Up & Comer"

Andrew Bagnall, president and chief executive officer of St. Nicholas Hospital, was named to the 2011 "Up & Comers" list sponsored by Modern Healthcare Magazine. Bagnall is the only health care professional in Wisconsin to earn a spot on this prestigious list.

For 25 years, the Up & Comers recognition program has identified rising young leaders ages 40 years and younger who are making a difference in health care. Bagnall is one of 12 executives who appear in the September 19 issue of Modern Healthcare, a national trade publication that covers the health care industry.

"Being named to this list is quite an honor," Bagnall said. "But it wouldn’t be possible without the great team of colleagues we have here at St. Nicholas, as well as our leadership team at the hospital and at Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS)." St. Nicholas is an affiliate of HSHS.

In selecting Bagnall, the magazine notes his background of varied health care management experience in outpatient services, physician services, and working for an academic medical center and for-profit hospitals. His passion and interpersonal skills are also highlighted as a strength of his leadership.

Top of page


Member News: Madison VA Hospital Ranked in Top 20 in U.S.

The Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison has been recognized by The Joint Commission as one of the 20 top-performing Veterans Administration hospitals in the United States. The list of 20 top-performing VA hospitals was released September 14 by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The hospitals on the list were recognized based on The Joint Commission’s review of evidence-based care processes that are linked to positive patient outcomes.

Top of page


Wisconsin Hospitals Community Benefits: Healthy Growth and Development

Early growth and development have a profound effect on health across the life span. Developmental disabilities can often be mitigated if they are detected early. Every week in Wisconsin almost 100 infants are born with low birth weight, and about six percent of those will die before their first birthday. Hospitals are striving to decrease infant mortality by providing pre-conception and inter-conception care to those affected by poor birth outcomes.

Classes promote language and social development

Vernon Memorial Healthcare offers several programs that promote early language and social development for babies and at-risk parents. New Baby, Parent Tot Preschool and Parent Tot Water classes are taught in six-week sessions by experienced health educators.

The New Baby Class provides early socialization opportunities for infants less than 12 months of age. The class also provides an opportunity for parents to share stories and discuss topics including sleep patterns, breastfeeding, SIDS prevention, immunizations and developmental milestones.

Parent Tot Preschool provides toddlers up to three-and-one-half years of age with opportunities to learn, play and grow with peers and parents. Children join a parent or caregiver in activities that develop language, fine motor skills, creative and expressive thinking and early literacy. Children play, sing, dance, read, listen, share and craft while learning these valuable skills.

Parent Tot Water Class helps children ages six months to three years develop strength, coordination and confidence in the water. The class is held in Vernon Memorial’s warm water therapy pool. This is not a swimming lesson. The class encourages parent interaction with the child and focuses on mutual enjoyment. One parent in this class said, "We experienced just the right amount of structure to allow our boys to gain the independence in the water that they needed."

Vernon Memorial Healthcare, Viroqua

 

Baby Basics and Beyond

Baby Basics and Beyond, a community-based educational event for expectant parents and parents of young children, also is an invaluable learning experience for the young women enrolled in the School-Age Parent Program in the West Allis/West Milwaukee School District. The goal of the School-Age Parent Program is for the students to continue their education and graduate from high school. Participating in preparations for the Baby Basics and Beyond community event is part of the skill-building training within their curriculum.

Students research topics related to child and maternal health, such as the effects of pre- and post-pregnancy smoking, drugs, alcohol and diet, as well as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, safe sleep and car-seat safety, to name a few. They are responsible for how the information is displayed and presented to the public.

Throughout the course of the school year, the hospital’s clinical providers participate in the educational components of the program. The community education coordinator directs and oversees production, creative services, event-planning and oversight for Baby Basics and Beyond, working with students to further coordinate the involvement of important community agencies, such as the West Allis Fire Department and Safe Kids Coalition.

More than 150 community members attended Baby Basics and Beyond in 2010. Educational offerings included baby nutrition, sleep and crying; lead poisoning; nine steps for more effective parenting, dental care and Ask The Experts, staffed by Aurora physicians. Complementing these offerings were educational exhibits on poison safety; smoking hazards; breastfeeding; car seat safety; postpartum depression and stress; SIDS; asthma; grandparenting, and Ask The Experts.

Students in the School-Age Parent Program acquire the knowledge they need to be confident and successful parents, and in the process gain work experience and skills they can present to prospective employers so that they can support themselves and their babies.

Aurora West Allis Medical Center


Women’s Outpatient Center makes all the difference for young mother

Lakisha Stinson knows all too well the devastating effects of premature birth. Her first child, Kelviana, was born at 26 weeks and weighed just 1 pound, 15 oz.

Kelviana spent most of her short life in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Wheaton Franciscan – St. Joseph. Her preterm birth had caused numerous complications. She died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome at 8 months.

Kelviana’s death took a toll on Lakisha. She battled depression and other issues. So, several years later when she found herself pregnant again, Lakisha was scared. "I didn’t want to deal with what happened with my first baby," she recalled.

Lakisha was referred to the Women’s Outpatient Center at St. Joseph where she met Mary Mazul, a certified nurse wife, who worked with her throughout her pregnancy.

"The people at the Women’s Outpatient Center really helped," said Lakisha, who is now the proud mother of a healthy baby girl named Rashyia. "Mary told me everything would be ok. I trusted her and believed her."

Recognized nationally for its clinical excellence and customer care, the Women’s Outpatient Center provides a wide range of services from general wellness checks and screenings to advanced treatments for a variety of conditions. It also provides the emotional support its clients need.

The center also operates the Stork’s Nest program which encourages women to embrace strong perinatal care for their babies and offers incentives for women to make and keep medical appointments.

The Women’s Outpatient Center was able to provide many services to Lakisha. She was enrolled in the center’s Prenatal Care Program which provides education to expectant mothers on the importance of prenatal care. She also received help with smoking cessation. Counselors put Lakisha in touch with state resources to help with her financial needs; and she received therapy to help her deal with her depression. Lakisha took a car seat class offered by the center, which qualified her for a free car seat. And she received a free Pack ‘N Play portable crib through the Safe Sleep program at St. Joseph to ensure her child would have a safe place to sleep.

The Women’s Outpatient Center has helped hundreds of women like Lakisha as it works to stem the rate of infant mortality in the City of Milwaukee.

Wheaton Franciscan – St. Joseph, Milwaukee


Teen support - Lincoln High School in Manitowoc County

For a young woman in Manitowoc County, two red strips on a pregnancy test indicate that she is pregnant. Her teenage years crumble right before her eyes as she comprehends that her life is going to change dramatically.

This is a typical flashback for many pregnant teens who attend the Teen Support program offered at the Lincoln High School in Manitowoc County.

Ashley Beeman, obstetrical nurse at Aurora Medical Center in Two Rivers, teaches prenatal and post delivery education in the Teen Support program once a week during each school semester. Students easily relate to Ashley because she was once a teen mother who attended the Teen Support program and found it so beneficial that she made it a priority to one day return and give back to the program.

"At the beginning of the class, I make it a point to share the emotions I went through as a teen mom," Ashley explains. "I find it much easier for the students to open up once I share my personal experiences with them."

The Teen Support program is a collaboration of Aurora Medical Center in Two Rivers, Early Head Start, and Lincoln High School to provide prenatal, labor, post-delivery and life skills education to students who are pregnant.

Each year a teen mom who recently graduated from the class also returns as a guest speaker to provide encouragement, support and inspiration to the young women. Ashley noted, "That way the students are not always hearing advice from the adults. It’s more of a give and take amongst their peers."

Understanding cultural diversity also is a key part of Ashley’s job. "I had a Hmong student who was married at the age of 17. She told me that she wanted to become pregnant and needed advice. She asked many questions on how to conceive," Ashley explained. "I discovered that in the Hmong culture, girls marry at a very young age in order to have lots of children to satisfy the expectations of their husbands’ families to keep their clan names growing. Some of the stress was relieved when the young woman became pregnant."

"This a great class for those who want to participate, although the students have the option to decline it. The young women make friends as they go through the stages of their pregnancies together. They become better mothers, and they gain a support network to help them through their transition to motherhood and responsibility," said Ashley.

Aurora Medical Center in Two Rivers


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.

Top of page