October 14, 2011
Volume 55, Issue 39


Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council Reaches Tentative Agreement
Requires audit of "black box" databases

The Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council reached a tentative agreement this week on this biennium’s Workers Compensation package. The WCAC intends to vote on the agreement during a teleconference scheduled Monday, October 17. The agreement will be drafted as a bill for the Legislature to consider. Traditionally, the Legislature passes and the Governor approves the WCAC proposed bill without amendment.

The tentative agreement includes the following changes in provider reimbursement:

The new maximum fee would trim reimbursement only for providers with charges above 1.2 standard deviations above the mean charge. In other words, nearly 80 percent of providers should be unaffected by the change. The WCAC considered, but then rejected, other proposals that could have had a significant negative impact on health care providers. Those rejected proposals included reducing the maximum fee to 1.0 standard deviations above the mean charge; establishing a new fee schedule for medical devices, hardware and prosthetics; codifying the current treatment guidelines; and limiting the employee’s choice of health care provider for the first 90 days after injury. A number of these proposed changes, which generally amount to significant cuts to provider payments, are being implemented in states like Illinois and are causing disruptions in care delivery.

The health care liaisons to the WCAC, which include representatives of the Wisconsin Chiropractic Association, the Wisconsin Medical Society, and the Wisconsin Physical Therapy Association in addition to WHA, sent a letter to the Council supporting the audit of the certified databases, but asked that the audit precede any change in reimbursement.

The tentative agreement also includes an increase in payments to injured workers who are permanently partially disabled. Additional information concerning the proposals and negotiations is available here: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/wc/councils/wcac/default.htm

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New Legislator Profile: Rep. Steve Doyle (D-Onalaska)
A series of interviews with newly-elected legislators, by Mary Kay Grasmick, editor

Rep. Steve Doyle credits the experience he gained serving on the La Crosse County Board as helping him understand one of the biggest issues facing state government—the Medicaid budget.

Doyle said the County Board partnered with the medical facilities in La Crosse County on issues related to Medicaid, BadgerCare, Family Care and other health-services related issues for many years. Doyle said he is concerned about scaling back benefits for more than 200,000 people currently enrolled in Medicaid.

"We need to focus on encouraging employers to provide health insurance," according to Doyle.

Reps. Doyle and Pat Strachota (R-West Bend) co-authored a bill that seeks to fix a negative side effect of a law enacted in the 2009-10 Legislative Session in Wisconsin (which was also in the federal health reform bill) that allows young people to stay on their parent’s health insurance until they reach age 27. Wisconsin is among a handful of states where parents pay taxes on the value of insurance on an adult child. AB 277, which is supported by WHA, would make that benefit tax exempt (see related story). These are the types of actions, according to Doyle, that state government must take to make it easier for people to be covered by traditional insurance.

"With our high unemployment levels and with employers trying to stay afloat, people either don’t have a job or they have a job that doesn’t have health insurance. We need to be sensitive to people who do not have insurance and make a state option available to them," he said. He suggests a collaborative approach with state programs, such as BadgerCare. He believes the state has an obligation to make those programs work.

But that won’t be easy. There are programs for the very poor, but there are those that slip between the cracks. Those are the people who Doyle believes efforts must be focused upon. He is not against premiums, but he is concerned that if the premiums are too high, people won’t be able to pay them and they will once again not have coverage.

Doyle suggests that consideration be given to adding an incentive to employers if they provide a basic level of insurance coverage. That, along with some of the aspects of the federal health care reform package, could help widen the coverage net in Wisconsin.

Doyle is optimistic that Wisconsin will develop a health insurance exchange. He said his impression is there is a fair amount of common ground on how it could be structured in Wisconsin that will not alienate the existing insurance companies or medical providers. Doyle has nothing but compliments for the two medical facilities in La Crosse—Gundersen Lutheran and Mayo Health Clinic. Doyle worked closely with both of them in his years on the county board. He said both are "outstanding corporate citizens" that work closely with La Crosse County on issues of sustainability and economic development.

"Both Mayo and Gundersen Lutheran are excellent models for other industries not only as major employers in the area, but as innovators, as well," Doyle said.

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Political Action Spotlight: Wisconsin Hospitals Conduit & PAC Campaign Update
Goal reaches 71 percent, majority of contributors choosing conduit

To date, 343 individuals have chosen to participate in the 2011 Wisconsin Hospitals Conduit and State PAC fundraising campaign. So far, the campaign has raised nearly $177,000, which is 71 percent of the $250,000 goal.

Contributions to candidate campaigns have exceeded the last non-election year (2009) which is no surprise given 2011 turned out to be an election year as a result of the nine senate recall elections this past summer. Disbursements in 2011 have surpassed the 2009 amount by nearly $30,000.

The majority of these campaign contributions are conduit contributions, which also reflects that individuals prefer to give through the Wisconsin Hospitals Conduit. In fact, 78 percent of total funds raised to date are contributions to the Wisconsin Hospitals Conduit as individuals see value in being able to direct their funds to the candidate campaigns of their choosing. Remember to contact WHA’s Jodi Bloch or Jenny Boudreau to check your Wisconsin Hospital Conduit account balance when a candidate campaign requests your financial support.

Individual contributors are listed in The Valued Voice by name and affiliated organization on a regular basis. 2011 contributors to date are listed below. Contributors are listed alphabetically by contribution category. The next publication of the contributor list will be in the October 28 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

Gaynor, Stanley

Black River Memorial 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

Markgraf, Janelle

Langlade Hospital - An Aspirus Partner

Maroney, Lisa

 

Marquardt, Amy

 

Mason, Paul

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - All Saints

Matzke, Monica

Aspirus, Inc.

Maurer, Mary

Holy Family Memorial, Inc.

McKenzie, Paula

St. Mary's Hospital

McKevett, Timothy

Beloit Health System

McNally, Maureen

Froedtert Health

Meicher, John

St. Mary's Hospital

Merline, Karen

 

Meyer, Jeffrey

Osceola Medical Center

Meyer, Margaret

Community Memorial Hospital

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

Schroeder, Larry

Sauk Prairie Memorial Hospital

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

 

Statz, Darrell

Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative

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

Watts, Susan

St. Vincent 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.

Hyland, Carol

Agnesian HealthCare

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

Ouimet, Mary

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - All Saints

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

Van Meeteren, Bob

Reedsburg Area Medical Center

VanCourt, Bernie

Bay 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

Boland, Susan

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - All Saints

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

Fritsch, Phyllis

Upland Hills Health

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

Little, Steven

Agnesian HealthCare

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

Froedtert Health

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

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

Boese, Jennifer

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

The Kammer 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

Stanford, Matthew

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

 

Brenton, Mary E.

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

Petasnick, William

Froedtert Health

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

 

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Taxable Benefits of Adult Dependents Proposals Advance

Bills that would apply a federal tax exemption to Wisconsin state income tax were approved by committees in both the Senate and Assembly this week.

Assembly Bill (AB) 277, authored by State Representatives Pat Strachota (R-West Bend), Steve Doyle (D-Onalaska) and others, was passed by the Assembly Insurance Committee. The bill, along with its companion, Senate Bill (SB) 203 authored by Senator Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) and others, was also approved by the Joint Committee on Tax Exemptions and the Joint Finance Committee.

In the 2009-10 Legislative Session, Wisconsin passed an insurance mandate that extended health insurance coverage to adult children up to age 27. Because of this, employers were required to subject the imputed income associated with this coverage to state income tax.

A similar provision was included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), but federal tax law was amended to exempt the value of this coverage from federal income tax. Wisconsin has become the only state not to apply this exemption to state income tax law.

WHA supports the proposals as they would be a welcome fix for employers facing the significant challenge of determining the fair market value of this dependent coverage and the imputed income associated with it.

Approval is expected for the bi-partisan measures when they are considered by the full Senate and Assembly next week.

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Rep. Murtha "Shadows" Baldwin Area Medical Center CEO

Recently Rep. John Murtha had the opportunity to shadow Baldwin Area Medical Center CEO Alison Page. Shadow days are a WHA grassroots initiative designed to allow legislators to see first-hand what it takes to run a hospital in today’s health care environment.

During his time with Page, Rep. Murtha was able to learn in-depth information about hospital financing and how Baldwin Area Medical Center, as a Critical Access Hospital, makes that financing work so the hospital can continue providing the care needed in their local community. Page also discussed how the hospital is an important element of the local economy, providing jobs as well as other indirect economic benefits.

Murtha had the opportunity during his time to meet hospital staff throughout his shadow day and learned how issues pending at the state and federal level could impact small, rural hospitals like Baldwin.

"Baldwin Area Medical Center was pleased to host Rep. Murtha, and we thank him for spending time with us," said CEO Alison Page. "I believe the day gave us the chance to show just how important this hospital is to our community and to each of us."

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New Tax-Exempt Financing Tool Available in Wisconsin

A new financing tool for non-traditional borrowers has been made available through the federal Heartland Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2008 (the "Act") which radically expands previously ineligible borrowers’ access to tax-exempt bond markets. The Act was adopted in response to severe storms, tornadoes and flooding in the Midwest during the summer of 2008 to aid in the economic recovery of the affected areas.

Among the tools authorized by the Act are a new category of tax-exempt bonds called Midwestern Disaster Area Bonds (MDAB) for use by a wider array of private businesses in the region that are not traditionally able to access tax-exempt financing, including:

MDABs are available to most private businesses, regardless of tax status, in select Wisconsin counties and must be issued prior to January 1, 2013. In Wisconsin, facilities located in Adams, Calumet, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Grant, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jefferson, Juneau, Kenosha, La Crosse, Manitowoc, Marquette, Milwaukee, Monroe, Ozaukee, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Sheboygan, Vernon, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha and Winnebago Counties are eligible to utilize this new class of bonds.

In general, MDABs must be used in support of the following activities:

MDABs offer a great deal of flexibility both in terms of project scope and financing terms, however; underwriting and credit criteria remain the same as under traditional tax-exempt bond financing. For instance, the length and the terms of the bonds remain tied to the useful life of the asset and the underlying creditworthiness of the borrower dictate the yield on the bonds. Still, the new access to tax-exempt bond markets MDABs makes available to previously ineligible asset classes makes these bonds an attractive financing vehicle, albeit for a limited time.

For more information on MDABs, contact Liz Stephens, program manager, Public Finance Authority, at 888-508-7188 ext. 863 or email lstephens@pfauthority.org.

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Budget, Financial Impact Focus of ICD-10 Transition Strategies Webinar Series

Hospital executives, chief financial officers and their ICD-10 team members need to ensure their organizations have a strong plan in place for ICD-10 implementation that minimizes the clinical and financial impact on your organization and staff.

On November 11, Wisconsin hospitals can take part in a monthly, four-part webinar series sponsored by WHA and focused on helping hospital executives and their ICD-10 team leaders understand the magnitude of the ICD-10 implementation, the financial and clinical impact of the transition on your own organization, and be better prepared for on-time implementation.

The four sessions will focus on these top priorities in ICD-10 transition planning: budget development and review; reimbursement changes and the financial impact of ICD-10 on hospitals; the value of strategic planning for ICD-10 readiness; and assessing your vendors for their readiness. WHA encourages all hospital leaders to participate in this webinar series along with your CFO, physician leaders and ICD-10 implementation team members.

No matter where you are on the planning timeline, participation in this series will be an important part of your transition process – both to give your organization the jumpstart it might need and/or as a double-check to ensure your team hasn’t overlooked something important.

A full brochure describing the four sessions and online registration are available at: http://events.SignUp4.com/ICD10Impact11-12. An audio recording of the presentation will be available to registered attendees at no extra cost, to share with ICD-10 transition team members who are unable to participate on the scheduled dates.

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2011 Primary Care Physician Scholarship Awarded by WHA Foundation, WCA Group Health Trust and WCMEW

The 2011 Primary Care Physician Scholarship was recently presented to Melissa Natzke, a third-year medical student at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (UWSMPH).

Natzke is a native of Tigerton, Wisconsin, a rural community in northeastern Wisconsin, where she shares the town "had just one doctor for many years. She saw just about everyone in town, including everyone in my family, from my siblings to my great-grandmother." It was this experience combined with a six-week family medicine externship that solidified her desire to become a family physician in a rural area of Wisconsin. Natzke also shares that she hopes to practice a similar type of family and patient-oriented medicine, noting the pride and sense of identity a community feels from having their own doctor and clinic.

Before entering medical school, Natzke earned a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and a Master of Public Health degree from UWSMPH. She is currently a registered pharmacist and a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association and Phi Delta Chi Professional Fraternity.

This $5,000 scholarship was funded by the Wisconsin Counties Association (WCA) Group Health Trust, with the specific goal of increasing the number of medical students going into primary care, as well as staying in Wisconsin to practice following graduation. The scholarship was open to third and fourth year medical students at both UWSMPH and the Medical College of Wisconsin. It was presented in collaboration with the WHA Foundation, Inc. and the Wisconsin Council on Medical Education and Workforce (WCMEW).

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Partners of WHA Host Nearly 325 Hospital Volunteers at Statewide Convention

Nearly 325 Partners of WHA volunteer members from hospitals across Wisconsin attended the annual Partners of WHA state convention October 4-6 in Eau Claire, to participate in leadership development opportunities and celebrate hospital volunteerism.

One highlight of the convention was a panel discussion focused on health reform, access to health care and rising health care costs. Panelists included WHA member CEOs Joan Coffman of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chippewa Falls, Dave Dobosenski of St. Croix Regional Medical Center in St. Croix Falls, and David Miller of River Falls Area Hospital in River Falls. The panel was moderated by Eric Borgerding, executive vice president of WHA.

In addition, the event offered a variety of workshops on topics including state and federal legislative updates, grassroots advocacy, strategic planning and organ transplant programs.

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, with nearly 12,000 individual members, Partners of WHA promotes leadership development offering resources and education seminars to local hospital volunteer and auxiliary groups, and shares information on successful community health education initiatives, advocacy and fundraising activities and trends in volunteerism through a variety of channels, including its quarterly newsletter, Reaching Out.

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Register Today for "Care Transitions Connection"
A forum for hospitals, long-term car and home care to discuss care transitions improvement and reducing preventable hospital readmissions.

November 2, 2011
Kalahari Resort, Wisconsin Dells

Brochure and registration information can be found on-line at http://events.SignUp4.com/CareTrans11-2

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Communication Key Element for Positive Patient Experience

A commitment to communication is one of the essential elements for successful health care organizations, James Merlino, MD, FACS, chief experience officer for Cleveland Clinic, told participants at the Patient Experience Summit on September 30. "Communication is critical, and the message must be razor-focused," said Dr. Merlino.

More than 120 health care professionals participated in the day-long event, which featured presentations about local strategies and successes, key roles in the patient experience, and learning from service champions from outside of health care. Representatives from Gundersen Lutheran Health System, Meriter Health Services, Grant Regional Health Center, Aurora Medical Group and Prevea Health provided information about their organizations’ patient experience efforts.

Consistent processes, an engaged workforce, and an auditing protocol to sustain change also are necessary for health care organizations to achieve excellence, Dr. Merlino said. "When you show people the data, it drives performance," he said, adding that everyone must be held accountable.

The Wisconsin Medical Society, Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ) and WHA organized the Summit through a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Aligning Forces for Quality grant.

The Patient Experience Summit presentations and best practice resources are available on the WCHQ website at https://wchq.site-ym.com/?pat_exp_library.

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Wisconsin Hospitals Community Benefits: Social, Economic and Educational Factors that Influence Health

There is a strong association between social and economic factors and adverse health outcomes. Low socioeconomic status, including poverty, lack of education, and other factors are strong influences on health. Wisconsin hospitals are dedicating resources and developing programs to address these issues and improve the health status of those individuals that often cannot access even basic health services.

Hospital participates in "Hmongfest" event

St. Joseph’s Hospital was represented at the first annual Hmoobfest event at the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds. Hmoobfest – "Hmoob" is the Hmong spelling for "Hmong" – proved to be an interactive experience for those in attendance. Through games, activities and classes, participants came away with a deeper connection to the Hmong culture. Jodi Arriola, Intensive Care Unit, teamed up with Susan Moch and Jamie Callahan of the UW-Eau Claire School of Nursing to present an educational session on hand washing and flu prevention.

St. Joseph’s Hospital, Chippewa Falls


Reaching out to African American women for breast cancer education

A woman has a one in eight chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer during her life. After skin cancer, breast cancer ranks as the second-most diagnosed cancer among women in the United States. But, for African American women in Milwaukee, it ranks first. Addressing this disparity has been a focus of the Breast Cancer Program at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin.

The Breast Cancer Program is one of 14 disease-specific programs offered through the Clinical Cancer Center, where every woman receives multidisciplinary care for her particular situation. Building on this team approach, the Breast Cancer Program has built alliances with community partners such as the Sister’s Network, House of Peace, the Wisconsin Well Woman Program, Men and Women Supporting Each Other (a support group), After Breast Cancer Diagnosis (ABCD) and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Nursing. These partnerships have broadened the scope of the program and allowed it to reach a great number of women in the central city.

Froedtert’s Breast Care Program has been reaching out to medically underserved and uninsured women in Milwaukee’s central city since 2008. Over the past two years, approximately ten African-American educators, coordinated by Froedtert staff, have been providing culturally sensitive community-based breast health education in central city locations.

"We want to provide women with access to timely detection screenings and diagnostic services," says Julie Griffie, MSN, a clinical nurse specialist with the program. "Our outreach efforts are led by a support group of women who are survivors or immediate family members of survivors. They volunteer and educate African American women on the symptoms, risk factors and available resources. Through our efforts, we have been able to detect breast cancer in its beginning stages in more women, which results in greater chances of survival."

In 2009, Froedtert’s breast health educators reached over 4,000 underserved women and reported great success in meeting with women where they gather. The educators have been invited and welcomed into community churches, beauty shops, meal sites and homes. The programming has been well received, with participants feeling able to speak freely and seek mentoring to resolve their health concerns.

"Froedtert’s breast care outreach and education speaks volumes to our entire community," says Sandra Millon Underwood, RN, PhD and professor with the UWM College of Nursing. "African American women are a traditionally underserved population when it comes to breast care. Froedtert’s work with this vulnerable population is premier for any health care institution dedicated to addressing health disparities."

The African American breast care outreach program has received the attention of funders, as well. With the help of the Froedtert Hospital Foundation, the program was recently awarded significant grants from the American Cancer Society and Kohl’s Department Stores to continue and grow its outreach with minority women.

"All women–regardless of race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status–deserve a fighting chance to survive breast cancer," says Dr. Underwood. "The continued work of the Breast Care Program’s outreach ensures that will happen. Froedtert and the Medical College are champions when it comes to ending health disparities in breast cancer."

Froedtert Hospital, Milwaukee


Support for African American children

African American children face many unique challenges in American society. In Milwaukee, stressors such as poverty, violence, mental health, child abuse, neglect, poor education, and teen pregnancy impact their quality of life. The National Black Child Development Institute (BCDI) was established in 1971 as a non-profit organization committed to helping African American children overcome challenges and barriers in education, health care, mental health, and child welfare that might prevent them from reaching their full potential in life. The BCDI-Milwaukee Affiliate supports this work on the local level in Milwaukee.

Aurora Family Service is a natural partner for BCDI Milwaukee, and is represented by Dawn Shelton-Williams. Dawn is the manager of community–based services for Aurora Family Service. She manages two of Aurora Family Service family support programs: the Family Enrichment Program and Wraparound Milwaukee. As a BCDI-Milwaukee Board member, she describes her role:

"I have been a member of the Board of Directors for BCDI-Milwaukee since 1999. I served as president of the Board of Directors in 2007 and 2008. Currently, I serve as the co-chair for the Health Committee for the Board. For the past few years, BCDI-Milwaukee has partnered with Aurora Family Service and Aurora school-based nurses in sponsoring BCDI-Milwaukee’s Annual Children’s Health Fair."

In June 2010, BCDI-Milwaukee hosted this health and fitness fair at Frances Starms Learning Discovery Center on the north side of Milwaukee. Dozens of families attended. Aurora Health Care school-based nurses immunized four children not previously immunized through other initiatives and provided hearing and vision screens to eight children, as well as adults.

Because unsafe sleep plays a role in an average of 15-20 infant deaths each year in Milwaukee and contributes to infant mortality rates, Safe Sleep presentations were conducted by Susie Barlow-Stanis, RN, Family Enrichment Program parent educator. In addition to Aurora Family Service, BCDI-Milwaukee partners include:

• Children’s Service Society of Wisconsin
• Gray’s Child Development Center, Inc.
• Milwaukee Public Schools
• Milwaukee Brotherhood of Firefighters
• UW-Milwaukee TRIO Programs
• UPS
• Martin Luther King Community Center
• Neighborhood Children’s Sports League

Aurora Sinai Medical Center & Aurora Family Service, Milwaukee


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

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

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