October 9, 2015
Volume 59, Issue 40


Wisconsin Hospitals Encouraged to Enroll Now in WHA Partners for Patients
New initiatives starting soon 


WHA is pleased to announce the quality improvement offerings to our members for the next 12 months. While WHA did not receive a CMS hospital engagement contract, we remain committed to supporting our members on the goals to reduce readmissions by 20 percent and to reduce harm by 40 percent. 

With financial support from the WHA Foundation and technical assistance from Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET), WHA’s Partners for Patients plan will be nearly identical to organizations that are being funded by CMS. In addition, it will enable WHA and our hospitals to focus on topics where there is the most opportunity for improvement as well as continue innovative projects in sepsis and antimicrobial stewardship.

“Our participating hospitals have worked very hard the past four years and have saved the Wisconsin health care system over $84 million dollars and kept nearly 5,000 patients free from harm,” according to Kelly Court, WHA chief quality officer. “The WHA quality team is committed to continuing this important work and we have developed new and innovative ways to help hospital leaders drive improvement in their organizations.” 

WHA’s team of improvement experts will continue to provide technical expertise and one-on-one guidance to Wisconsin hospitals and health systems on quality-related projects. WHA will provide assistance to hospitals as we strive to reach or sustain our goals in the following areas: WHA President/CEO Eric Borgerding encourages member hospitals to participate in the WHA Partners for Patients initiative.

“This is important work and the right work,” Borgerding said. “We look forward to continuing our work with Wisconsin hospitals and health systems on their quality improvement projects that will ensure that our state continues to be recognized for the high-quality, high-value health care that we are known to provide to the patients in our state.” 

Hospitals interested in starting or continuing to work with WHA should complete the WHA Partners for Patients enrollment package by October 30. Participating hospitals will also be asked to complete a WHA Information Center data enrollment form as well. 

A WHA Partners for Patients informational webinar will be held October 12 at 12 pm to review the program in more detail and provide an opportunity for questions. Register for the webinar at: 
https://whaquality.webex.com/whaquality/onstage/g.php?MTID=ec1f637b82f0e89b48ac35c88ec32608a

Contact any member of the WHA quality team with questions.

Jill Hanson – jhanson@wha.org
Tom Kaster – tkaster@wha.org
Stephanie Sobczak – ssobczak@wha.org
Kelly Court – kcourt@wha.org

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CMS Finalizes EHR Meaningful Use Rules; Includes Stage 3 Final Requirements

While CMS gives providers needed flexibility in 2015 and 2016, the agency resisted calls from the provider community, and Congress and went forward with finalizing the requirements for Stage 3.

On October 6, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a joint rule that finalizes proposals made in two separate 2015 proposed rules regarding the meaningful use requirements of the EHR Incentive Program: the March 30 Stage 3 proposed rule, and the April 9 proposed rule that modifies program requirements in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Modifications to Meaningful Use in 2015-17
In the joint rule, CMS has finalized several provisions that provide some flexibility for hospitals and physicians to meet certain challenging meaningful use requirements and to avoid significant Medicare penalties. Among these provisions, which WHA and AHA had urged CMS to finalize in separate June comment letters, are a shortening of the 2015 reporting period to 90 days for all providers and a modification to the 2015 and 2016 patient portal and physician secure electronic messaging requirements, which put program success largely outside providers’ control and disregard patient preference for health care engagement.

At the same time, CMS has finalized proposals to modify the meaningful use program in years 2015 through 2017 that WHA and AHA had urged CMS not to finalize as infeasible, unrealistic, and not based on program experience, including a proposal to make electronic prescribing a requirement for all hospitals starting in 2015, with some hospitals qualifying for an exception for 2015 and 2016 only.

Meaningful Use Stage 3 
CMS rejected calls from the provider community (including WHA and AHA) and members of Congress to refrain from finalizing Stage 3 reporting requirements in light of the low Stage 2 performance levels nationwide. “Instead of taking the time to get the stage 3 rule right, [CMS has] rushed ahead when only 12 percent of doctors and less than 40 percent of hospitals can comply with the program’s stage 2,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chairman of the Senate’s health committee, in a statement criticizing CMS’s decision. In May comment letters, WHA and AHA had encouraged CMS to delay release of the Stage 3 requirements and instead to continue evaluating the experience of Stage 2 and accelerating the availability of mature standards to support meaningful use requirements in accordance with clinical needs.

But while the Stage 3 requirements were finalized and will be required in 2018 for all providers seeking to avoid Medicare penalties, CMS has opened a 60-day public comment period. During this comment period, CMS will solicit comments to help it support the transition to a Merit-Based Incentive Payment Systems (MIPS), with CMS expecting to release rulemaking in mid-2016 to implement MIPS. CMS states in the final rule that this comment period is the result of the April 16 enactment of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), which Congress passed to replace the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. Under MACRA, Medicare penalties arising out of the EHR Incentive program will end in 2018 and be incorporated under MIPS beginning January 1, 2019. 

Also on October 6, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released a rule that finalizes proposals from earlier this year that establish certification criteria for EHR technology to support Stage 3 and that increase the transparency and reliability of certified health IT through robust testing, increased surveillance of products in the field and increased disclosure requirements on vendors.

View CMS’s EHR Meaningful Use Final Rule and ONC’s 2015 Edition EHR Certification Criteria Final Rule

For additional information, contact Andrew Brenton, WHA assistant general counsel, abrenton@wha.org, or Matthew Stanford, WHA general counsel, at mstanford@wha.org or 608-274-1820.

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Wisconsin Hospitals State PAC & Conduit Campaign Update: $70,000 Left to Reach 2015 Goal

Over the last two weeks, the 2015 Wisconsin Hospitals State PAC & Conduit Campaign has received contributions from 22 new supporters who have added close to another $10,000 to the campaign’s total. Overall, the Campaign has raised just over $200,000 and is at 74 percent of the annual goal to raise $270,300 by the end of the year.

The average contribution is $775, and contributions range from $15 to $6,500. So far, 258 individuals have joined together to support this year’s annual campaign. Thank you to those who are listed below by name and affiliated organization by contribution amount category. The next publication of the contributor list will be in the October 23 edition of The Valued Voice

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

Contributors Ranging from $1 - $499  
Alstad, Nancy Fort HealthCare
Anderson, Phil Sacred Heart Hospital
Appleby, Jane Aurora Health Care
Ballentine, Anne Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Bayer, Tom St. Vincent Hospital
Bard, Jeffrey Aurora Medical Center - Oshkosh
Bisterfeldt, Joan Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Bollig, Dale SSM - St. Mary's Hospital
Brenny, Terrence Stoughton Hospital
Brisch, Donald Holy Family Memorial
Bunten, Sherry Aspirus Langlade Hospital
Cardinal, Lori Agnesian HealthCare
Carter, Shane Aurora Medical Center - Oshkosh
Clark, Julie HSHS - St. Joseph's Hospital
Clark, Renee Fort HealthCare
Cliffe Kucharski, Elizabeth Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Collins, Sherry Wisconsin Hospital Association
Colman, Gerard Aurora Health Care
Coniff, Barbara HSHS - St. Mary's Hospital Medical Center
Coopman, Dianne St. Mary's Janesville Hospital
Cormier, Laura Bellin Hospital
Culotta, Jennifer St. Clare Hospital & Health Svcs
Curran-Meuli, Jane Holy Family Memorial
Danner, Forrest Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Davidson, Lisa Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association
Dettman, Amy Bellin Hospital
Donlon, Marcia Holy Family Memorial
Dube, Troy Chippewa Valley Hospital
Dux, Larry Froedtert & MCW Community Mem. Hosp
Dwyer, Maxine SSM - St. Mary's Hospital
Evans, Kim Bellin Hospital
Feeney, John Community Health Network, Inc.
Fielding, Laura Holy Family Memorial
Freitag, Vanessa                       Our Lady of Victory Hospital
Gagnon, Annette HSHS - Eastern Wisconsin Division
Gullicksrud, Lynn Sacred Heart Hospital
Gutsch, Mike Cumberland Healthcare
Hafeman, Paula St. Vincent Hospital
Halida, Cheryl HSHS - St. Joseph's Hospital
Hamilton, Mark UW Hospitals and Clinics
Harasim, Edward Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Harrington, Kathleen Mayo Health System - Eau Claire
Helgeson, Jason HSHS - Eastern Wisconsin Division
Hernandez, Terri HSHS - St. Joseph's Hospital
Herzog, Sarah Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Hofer, John Bay Area Medical Center
Jelle, Laura St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Kaufmann, Marilyn Holy Family Memorial
Kelsey Foley, Kathy Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Kempen, Jacob Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Klay, Chris HSHS - St. Joseph's Hospital
Klay, Lois HSHS - St. Joseph's Hospital
Knutzen, Barbara Agnesian HealthCare
Koebke, Troy Bellin Hospital
Krueger, Kari St. Mary's Janesville Hospital
LaBarge, Margie Ministry Health Care
Lampman, Sandra St. Mary's Hospital
Leschke, John Mercy Medical Center
Lynch, Sue Mayo Health System - Franciscan HC
Maurer, Mary Holy Family Memorial
Mays, Laura Stoughton Hospital Association
McArdle, PeggyAnn Agnesian HealthCare
McMeans, Scott Holy Family Memorial
Mercer, Carla Reedsburg Area Medical Center
Merrick, Marianne SSM - St. Mary's Hospital
Miller, Thomas Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Nevers, Rick Aspirus, Inc.
Nicklaus, Todd Aspirus, Inc.
O'Hara, Tiffanie Sundial Software
Olson, Bonnie Sacred Heart Hospital
Ordinans, Karen Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Ostrander, Gail HSHS - Eastern Wisconsin Division
Palecek, Steve HSHS - St. Joseph's Hospital
Peck, Lori Aspirus, Inc.
Peiffer, Susan Sacred Heart Hospital
Pempek, Kalynn Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Penovich, Carrie Aurora Medical Center - Two Rivers
Pritchard, Paul Prevea Health/HSHS
Range, Bonnie Holy Family Memorial
Revnew, Dorothy ProHealth Care - Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital
Richman, Tim Calumet Medical Center
Riddle, Roberta Rusk County Memorial Hospital
Rocheleau, John Bellin Health
Roethle, Linda Bellin Memorial Hospital
Roundy, Ann Columbus Community Hospital
Schaetzl, Ron SSM - St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Schneider, David Aspirus Langlade Hospital
Schubring, Randy Mayo Health System - Eau Claire
Sciuti, Jennifer Aurora Health Care
Selle, Ginger St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Statz, Darrell Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative
Stelzer, Jason St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Strasser, Kathy Aspirus, Inc.
Strobel, Victoria Marshfield Clinic
Swanson, Kaitlin HSHS - Eastern WI Division
Tandberg, Ann HSHS - St. Joseph's Hospital
Tapper, Joy Milwaukee Health Care Partnership
Theiler, Brian Gundersen Tri-County Hospitals & Clinics 
Thornton, Eric SSM - St. Mary's Janesville Hospital
Van Abel, Lois Bellin Hospital
Vergos, Katherine Agnesian - Ripon Medical Center
Voelker, Thomas Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Waldoch, Timothy Columbia St. Mary's Inc.
Walker, Troy St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Werkheiser, Cindy Monroe Clinic
Wheeler, Susan St. Nicholas Hospital
Whitinger, Margaret Agnesian HealthCare
Wipperfurth, Kay Fort HealthCare
Wold, Gwen Amery Regional Medical Center
Contributors Ranging from $500 - $999
Anderson, Layton Ministry Health Care
Bagnall, Andrew St. Nicholas Hospital
Bailet, Jeffrey Aurora Health Care
Dexter, Donn Mayo Health System - Eau Claire
Dicus-Johnson, Coreen Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Dietsche, James Bellin Hospital
Dolohanty, Naomi Aurora Health Care
Ericson, Allen Froedtert & MCW HSHS - St. Joseph's Hospital Campus
Frangesch, Wayne Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Freimund, Rooney Bay Area Medical Center
Furlong, Marian Hudson Hospital & Clinics
Golanowski, Marie Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center
Graul, Mark Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
Gullingsrud, Tim Hayward Area Memorial Hospital & Nursing Home
Gustafson, Andy SSM Health Care-Wisconsin
Hanson, Gail Aurora Health Care
Heaney, Dwight Fort HealthCare 
Jablonski, James Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Jacobson, Terry St. Mary’s Hospital of Superior
Jensema, Christine HSHS-Eastern Wisconsin Division
Kersten, Juliet Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Kingston, Mary Beth Aurora Health Care
Kirsch, Jennifer Gundersen Health System
Korom, Nancy Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Lange, George Westgate Medical Group, CSMCP
Larson, Margaret Mercy Medical Center
Latta, Richard Godfrey & Kahn, SC 
Lindberg, Steve Mayo Clinic Health System - Red Cedar
McNally, Maureen Froedtert & MCW
Mohorek, Ronald Ministry Health Care
Mulder, Doris Beloit Health System 
Nelson, James Fort HealthCare
O’Day, Thomas Godfrey & Kahn, SC
Oland, Charisse Rusk County Memorial Hospital
Ose, Peggy Riverview Hospital Association 
Peterson, Douglas Chippewa Valley Hospital
Pollard, Dennis Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin
Quinn, George Wisconsin Hospital Association
Reardon, Brian Hospital Sisters Health System
Richards, Theresa Ministry - St. Joseph's Hospital
Rocole, Theresa Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Roesler, Bruce The Richland Hospital
Rohrbach, Dan Southwest Health Center
Rozenfeld, Jon St. Mary’s Hospital - Madison
Rude, Nels The Kammer Group
Sczygelski, Sidney Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Seitz, Verna ProHealth Care, Inc.
Selberg, Heidi HSHS-Eastern Wisconsin Division
Shabino, Charles Wisconsin Hospital Association
Shorter, Tom Godfrey & Kahn, SC
Simaras, Jim Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Sisney, Mary Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Smith, Gregory Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Stern, Robert Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Stuart, Philip Tomah Memorial Hospital
Teigen, Seth St. Mary’s Hospital 
Thurmer, DeAnn Waupun Memorial Hospital
Van Court, Bernie Bay Area Medical Center
Van Meeteren, Bob Reedsburg Area Medical Center
Yaron, Rachel Ministry St. Clare’s Hospital
Zenk, Ann Ministry St. Mary’s Hospital
Contributors Ranging from $1,000 - $1,499
Ashenhurst, Karla Ministry Health Care
Bagemihl, Katherine Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin
Bedwell, Elizabeth Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Bloch, Jodi Wisconsin Hospital Association
Brenton, Andrew Wisconsin Hospital Association 
Connors, Larry St. Mary's & St. Vincent Hospital
Cullen-Schultz, Jeannie JP Cullen & Sons
Geboy, Scott Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman
Geraghty, Tricia Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Gorelick, Marc Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Gunn, Veronica Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Gutzeit, Michael Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Just, Lisa Aurora Health Care-South Region
Kerwin, George Bellin Hospital
Killoran, Carrie Aurora Health Care
Lentz, Darrell Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Lewis, Jonathan St. Mary's Hospital 
McCawley, Thomas Beloit Health System
McGowan, Kathryne Aspirus, Inc.
Punzenberger, Lindsay Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin 
Radoszewksi, Pat Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Rakowski, Mark Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Reynolds, Sheila Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin 
Rickelman, Debbie WHA Information Center
Robertstad, John ProHealth Care - Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital
Roller, Rachel Aurora Health Care
Rush, Steven Wisconsin Hospital Association
Sato, Thomas Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
Schafer, Michael Spooner Health System
Shanahan, Thomas Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Swanson, Kerry St. Mary’s Janesville Hospital
White-Jacobs, Mary Beth          Black River Memorial Hospital
Wolf, Edward Lakeview Medical Center
Contributors Ranging from $1,500 - $1,999
Boese, Jennifer Wisconsin Hospital Association 
Clapp, Nicole Grant Regional Health Center 
Coffman, Joan HSHS - St. Joseph's Hospital
Court, Kelly Wisconsin Hospital Association 
Decker, Michael Divine Savior Healthcare 
Dotson, Jason Beloit Health System
Frank, Jennifer Wisconsin Hospital Association 
Grasmick, Mary Kay Wisconsin Hospital Association 
Heywood, Matthew Aspirus, Inc.
Harding, Edward Bay Area Medical Center
Kammer, Peter The Kammer Group
McKevett, Timothy Beloit Health System
Natzke, Ryan Marshfield Clinic 
Nauman, Michael Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Olson, David Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin
Russell, John Columbus Community Hospital 
Schulze, Connie Ministry Health Care 
Sexton, William Crossing Rivers Health Medical Center
Sheehan, John UW Hospitals and Clinics
Wallace, Michael Fort HealthCare
Contributors Ranging from $2,000 - $2,999
Alig, Joanne Wisconsin Hospital Association
Anderson, Sandy St. Clare Hospital & Health Svcs
Duncan, Robert Children's Hospital & Health System
Herzog, Mark Holy Family Memorial
Hilt, Monica St. Elizabeth Hospital
Kachelski, Joe WI Statewide Health Info Network 
Kief, Bian Ministry Health Care
Leitch, Laura Hall Render
Levin, Jeremy Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative 
Lewis, Gordon Burnett Medical Center 
Meyer, Daniel Aurora BayCare Medical Ctr Green Bay
Oliverio, John Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Pandl, Therese HSHS-Eastern Wisconsin Division
Potter, Brian Wisconsin Hospital Association
Potts, Dennis Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center
Sanders, Michael Monroe Clinic 
Sliwinski, Ron UW Hospitals and Clinics
Stanford, Matthew Wisconsin Hospital Association
Troy, Peggy Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
Contributors Ranging from $3,000 - $4,999
Boatwright, Damond SSM Health Care-Wisconsin
Jacobson, Catherine Froedtert & The MCW 
Little, Steve Agnesian Health Care
Mettner, Michelle Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin 
Neufelder, Dan Ministry Health Care
Normington, Jeremy Mercy Medical Center
O’Brien, Kyle Wisconsin Hospital Association
Standridge, Deb Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Starmann-Harrison, Mary  Hospital Sisters Health System
Turkal, Nick Aurora Health Care
Contributors Ranging from $5,000+
Borgerding, Eric & Dana   Wisconsin Hospital Association
Brenton, Stephen Wisconsin Hospital Association
Size, Tim Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative
Tyre, Scott Capitol Navigators, Inc.


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President’s Column: High Quality Health Care - One of Wisconsin’s Greatest Economic Assets

I had the privilege this week to present at the Business Ready Wisconsin Conference in West Bend. It was a successful conference by any measure, due in large part to the hard work of Economic Development Washington County Executive Director Christian Tscheschlok and Julie Gabelmann, business services director. I met many economic development professionals and business representatives from southeastern Wisconsin, all committed to growing jobs in their respective communities, all well deserving of recognition for their efforts to grow Wisconsin.

This is the third economic development conference I’ve had the chance to attend this year. Each has had a unique angle. In Platteville, the focus was on promoting the advantages of rural Wisconsin, where job growth must be a top priority. In West Bend, the focus was on Southeastern Wisconsin. Earlier this year I had the privilege of telling the Wisconsin health care story to a statewide audience at the Governor’s Conference on Economic Development, where the emphasis was on how to position Wisconsin as a national competitor for attracting new business—and jobs—to our state.

Wisconsin certainly has a lot to offer site selectors, with plentiful natural resources and technological horsepower. And no matter where in Wisconsin an employer considers siting a new business or plant, it is a given that they and their employees will have access to some of the highest quality care in the nation.

From our own research, we know Wisconsin employers rank health care second only to education among the factors they consider important when they consider a site. But it also speaks to the importance of health care in attracting and retaining a well-qualified workforce.

Our hospital and health systems are building partnerships with employers to create workplaces that promote good health. That is a benefit to employers because it reduces absenteeism and, more broadly, contributes to building a healthier community. Those same partnerships are enabling employers to work together with hospitals and health systems to moderate health care costs. 

The high quality of care delivered through our Workers Compensation system means injured workers in Wisconsin return to work, and productivity, faster than any other state in the country. Health care costs per workers comp claim are also comparatively low, meaning employers are receiving top value for their health care dollar. Indeed, some there are examples of employers relocating to Wisconsin because of our Workers Compensation system. That boosts Wisconsin’s ability to compete with other states for economic development. 

Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch delivered the keynote in West Bend. She fired up the crowd with reports of her travels to other states and most recently, to Japan, where we can be assured she carried the message that Wisconsin is a great place to do business. She is equally as passionate about our health care system based on her personal health care journey. (See her WHA guest column.) 

Gov. Walker has consistently championed our health care system as “one of the best in the world” and “A tremendous asset and important factor in attracting and retaining employers in all areas of the state,” and we continue to sustain the high national rankings we’ve become known for over the past decade now.

We earned high marks, and a solid reputation, by improving quality, delivering patient-centered care and increasing access. We are achieving and setting new standards of clinical excellence while we continue to tackle health care costs. The determination of our health care leaders and dedication of our health care providers will keep Wisconsin’s health care “ahead of the curve” as we do our part to drive economic development. 

We have a great story to tell. More to come ...stay tuned.

To learn more, visit http://wihealthcarevalue.org.

Eric Borgerding,
President/CEO

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Health Care: A Competitive Edge in Growing Wisconsin 

It is a message that WHA President/CEO Eric Borgerding is proud to deliver, supported by Wisconsin’s high-quality, high-value health care: Wisconsin health care is an economic development asset in every region of the state. 

On October 6, Borgerding and Russ Kashian, PhD, an economist at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, co-presented at the Business Ready Wisconsin Conference in West Bend. More than 150 economic development professionals, including representatives from business and industry from southeast Wisconsin, participated in the conference. 

Wisconsin’s health care system is one of the best in the country, according to Borgerding. Citing his research team’s study on health care efficiency, Kashian provided more evidence that Wisconsin health care delivers better outcomes, more efficiently, than almost every other state in the country. 

Employers recognize the importance of accessible health care, and acknowledge that Wisconsin health care is high quality. Cost, however, remains an issue for employers and employees alike. Borgerding told the group that health care providers are well aware of these concerns and are actively reaching out to employers as partners in addressing cost and improving employee health. 

“Health care providers are not blind to the issue of cost,” Borgerding said. “We are in a period of rapid change in our industry. You will see more providers collaborating, working together to help employers manage health care costs.” 

In response to a question about the role of telemedicine, Borgerding said it will expand quickly, driven in part by cost and by the public’s growing acceptance of virtual medicine.

“Health care today is increasingly patient-focused and consumer-facing. My members are moving rapidly into this space, offering easier access for routine and preventive care while also expanding the reach of specialty care to all corners of the state and beyond,” according to Borgerding. “Health care leaders and physicians are embracing telehealth as a way to leverage limited resources, especially in the area of behavioral health services, and improve access.” 

In a time of rapidly-changing technology and emergence of new “retail” access points for care, Borgerding said Wisconsin hospitals and health systems are using technology to engage patients and consumers in new ways. 

“We are in a dynamic era, where we see the role of a hospital or health system in a community changing,” Borgerding said. “We believe that in Wisconsin, where high-quality, high-value health care is a hallmark, we are well-positioned to adapt to and thrive in the new landscape. And that will prove to be a competitive edge to those who are working with employers to make economic investments in our state.”

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DOJ Prescription Drug Statewide Take Back Day is October 17

The Wisconsin Department of Justice is coordinating a Prescription Drug Take Back initiative Saturday, October 17 with municipalities and law enforcement across the state.

“With the opiate epidemic devastating families and communities across our state, we must work together to remove unused prescription painkillers from circulation,” Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said in a statement. “This program will also reduce the environmental hazards associated with the improper disposal of unused prescription drugs.” 

See the press release here: www.doj.state.wi.us/news-releases/doj-drug-take-back-day-oct-17-2015. To find a “Take Back” location in your community, visit: http://doseofrealitywi.gov/drug-takeback/find-a-take-back-location.

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Bipartisan Group of House Members Send Letter to CMS on Proposed OPPS Cut
Wisconsin’s Kind, Ribble, Pocan and Grothman sign on


On October 5, a group of 95 bipartisan legislators sent a letter to Andy Slavitt, acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), urging CMS to remove a proposed 2.0 percent payment cut and provide a positive update in its pending 2016 Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) rule. Wisconsin legislators signing onto the letter include U.S. Reps. Ron Kind, Reid Ribble, Mark Pocan and Glenn Grothman. 

“Medicare already pays providers less than the cost of care,” the letter began. “We are surprised and disappointed that CMS has proposed a negative update to OPPS payment rates for CY 2016.” 

In the proposed outpatient PPS rule released July 1, CMS called for a net decrease in outpatient PPS payments largely due to a proposed 2.0 percent cut intended to account for CMS’s overestimation of the amount of packaged laboratory payments for laboratory tests that were previously paid under the Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule. 

This is a key issue the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) commented on in its August 31 letter to CMS on the 2016 OPPS proposed rule.

“WHA urges CMS to withdraw this proposed conversion factor cut. We believe the cut is ill-conceived and based on data that is not publicly available, and therefore not verifiable, and uses an unclear methodology with questionable assumptions among other concerns,” said WHA President/CEO Eric Borgerding in the comment letter. “WHA estimates this 2.0 percentage reduction will result in millions of dollars in reductions to Wisconsin providers and we strongly disagree with the proposal. We urge CMS to withdraw it.”

WHA thanks Representatives Kind, Ribble, Pocan and Grothman for signing onto this letter. 

For more information, read the House Letter and WHA’s comment letter.

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Nearly 400 Participate in APC Hospitalist Program Webinar Series 

Nearly 400 individuals from 78 WHA member hospitals participated in the three-part webinar series focused on the use of advanced practice clinicians (APCs) in hospitalist programs in Wisconsin hospitals. The three-part webinar series, which took place from August to October, examined a variety of different practical and legal issues that must be considered when implementing such a program. 

The impetus for this WHA Member Forum, offered complimentary to staff at WHA member hospitals, came from members themselves. As a variety of member hospitals were and are considering utilizing advanced practice clinicians as part of their hospitalist programs, members expressed the need to learn more about the details and challenges to implementing such a program. 

The first session focused on the various legal parameters relevant to an APC hospitalist program and challenges hospitals face when considering use of APCs as hospitalists. The second session discussed ways to structure hospitalist programs in critical access hospitals, the limitations of using APCs in PPS hospitals, and the potential risks involved with these programs and viable mitigation strategies. The third and final session, held October 6, examined the practical steps hospitals need to take to implement such a program. 

WHA would like to recognize the law firm of Quarles & Brady, LLP, for developing and delivering the three webinars that made up the series. In particular, thank you to attorneys Sarah Coyne, Kerry Moskol and Leah McNeely. Quarles & Brady is a long-time WHA corporate member.

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Partners of WHA Honors David Grundstrom with the “Best of the Best” Award

Partners of WHA, Inc. presented its 2015 “Best of the Best” Administrative Award to David Grundstrom, FACHE, chief administrative officer of Flambeau Hospital in Park Falls, Wisconsin, at an October 7 luncheon as part of its annual convention in Madison. Each year, this award recognizes an on-site hospital executive who demonstrates a cooperative, supportive, enthusiastic and well-defined relationship with his volunteer organization. 

The theme of the Flambeau Hospital Auxiliary’s nomination of Grundstrom was his focus on leading by example. He is a personal member of the Flambeau Hospital Auxiliary, attending every annual meeting and promoting membership to the hospital staff during the Auxiliary’s annual membership drive. He consistently and regularly recognizes Auxiliary accomplishments and donations in a variety of ways. In nominating Grundstrom, his Auxiliary members stated, “In both public and personal ways, our administrator actively promotes our volunteer group within the hospital and out in the community.” Grundstrom is also a regular attendee of the Partners of WHA’s annual convention and WHA’s Advocacy Day alongside his Auxiliary members. 

In closing their nomination, the Flambeau Hospital Auxiliary members state, “Our administrator consistently demonstrates the knowledge, skills and passion—for our hospital, for our volunteer group, and for improving health care for the people of our community—to make an administrator worthy of this award!”

For more information on the Partners of WHA Best of the Best Administrative Award, visit www.partnersofwha.org.

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Partners of WHA Recognize, Celebrate Volunteer Excellence at Annual Convention

Partners of WHA, Inc. celebrated hospital volunteerism and recognized volunteer excellence at its recent annual state convention. Partners hosted nearly 350 volunteer members from hospitals across Wisconsin on October 6-8 in Madison. This statewide hospital volunteer organization raised and donated over $2.27 million and volunteered 1.45 million hours of service to Wisconsin hospitals in 2014.

An annual highlight of the convention is a hospital CEO panel discussion. This year’s panelists included hospital leaders Sandy Anderson of Ministry Health Care hospitals in Woodruff, Rhinelander, Tomahawk and Eagle River; Nicole Clapp of Grant Regional Health Care in Lancaster; Darrell Lentz of Aspirus Wausau Hospital in Wausau; and John Russell of Columbus Community Hospital in Columbus. The panel was moderated by WHA President/CEO Eric Borgerding, and discussion included the topics of health care value, population health efforts, behavioral health care, workforce issues and the importance of grassroots advocacy.

Partners of WHA also awarded their annual Wisconsin Award for Volunteer Excellence (WAVE Award) to four volunteer member organizations, honoring outstanding programs in the categories of community service programs, fundraising, in-service hospital volunteer programs, and community outreach/collaboration. WAVE Award recipients included Partners of HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital for their Dementia Friendly Business Initiative; Mercy Health System Association of Volunteers in Janesville for their Emergency Department Volunteer Program; Aspirus Wausau Hospital and Aspirus Comfort Care & Hospice Services Volunteers for their We Honor Veterans: A Mission to Serve program; and HSHS St. Vincent Hospital Auxiliary for their Fashions from the Heart program. 

Partners of WHA is made up of over 10,000 volunteers and auxilians at 71 Wisconsin hospitals. Founded in 1951 as Wisconsin Hospital Association Auxiliaries, Partners of WHA, Inc. emphasizes volunteer service and participation in grassroots advocacy, public policy and community health education, and health career programs for Wisconsin hospitals. Additionally, Partners promotes leadership development offering resources and educational seminars to local hospital volunteer and auxiliary groups, and shares information on successful community health education initiatives, advocacy and fundraising activities and trends on volunteerism through a variety of channels, including its quarterly newsletter, Reaching Out. 

More information can be found at www.partnersofwha.org.

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