February 19, 2016
Volume 60, Issue 7


Schimel Receives Strong Support for Opioid Abuse Campaign from WHA Board 
Schimel: “We got here together; the solution is to get out of this problem together.” 


Attorney General Brad Schimel is passionate in his desire to reduce the use of opioids in Wisconsin. Speaking at the Wisconsin Hospital Association Board meeting February 18 in Madison, Schimel said the medical community has been a strong partner with him in working to reduce the misuse and abuse of opioids. It was the second time in as many days that the Attorney General met with WHA members and staff.

“What we are doing here in Wisconsin is not happening in other attorney general’s offices across the United States,” according to Schimel. “We will see reductions in opioids—not through mandates—but because the medical community recognizes the problem.”

“We got here together, the solution is to get out of this problem together,” he added.

The issue of opioids being available in the community is not just about prescribers; 70 percent of those who started abusing opioids got them from a friend or relative. Schimel pointed out that it is a problem of having old and current prescriptions in households, and then not taking care to ensure they are not falling into the wrong hands. 

Schimel warned of a “bigger storm” on the horizon as opioids become less available, and those who misuse them seek heroin as an alternative. He said he is working on that issue now with care providers to ensure treatment services are available. But the problem is huge. In 2013, the National Institutes for Health estimated that 163,000 people abuse opioids in Wisconsin. 

“We will focus on prevention and treatment,” Schimel said. 

Schimel expressed his gratitude for the strong legislative support that has helped bring much-needed resources to the fight. He credited Rep. John Nygren for his commitment to working with his fellow legislators and gaining their support by sharing his personal story related to his daughter’s addiction and recovery journey. 

The key message that Schimel said he shares with his fellow AG’s across the country about what is working in Wisconsin is collaboration. 

“All of you are doing incredible things that are making a difference,” Schimel said. “I just want to solve this problem, with your help.”

Top of page (2/19/16)


WHA Board Approves Aggressive 2016 Goals 
Borgerding: “Goals must support our members’ priorities.”


The process of setting WHA’s goals is marked by collaboration, with close attention paid to ensuring the goals successfully align with the Association’s 2014-2018 Strategic Plan. 

WHA President/CEO Eric Borgerding presented the final 2016 goals to the WHA Board at their February 18 meeting in Madison and received resounding approval. WHA Chair Mike Wallace, president/CEO, Fort HealthCare, noted the successes of 2015 were driven by staff working closely with members. 

“As we approve the 2016 goals, please be thinking about what expertise you or your staff can contribute toward ensuring we are equally successful this year,” Wallace told Board members. 

Borgerding described the WHA goals as “broad, large and tied back to specific elements of our strategic plan.” He said the process of developing the Association goals is in large measure staff-driven, and because of that, staff has direct ownership and buy-in. Borgerding said member input is also a critical component and it is obtained through information in the membership survey, the annual Board survey and direct member interactions.

Borgerding highlighted several issues that are addressed in the goals, including Medicaid, behavioral health, federal advocacy, and a relatively new area of interest—post-acute care. 

“Issues associated with post-acute, post-discharge care are an area that we have been working on in our quality initiatives, but this year we will establish an agenda for WHA,” Borgerding said. “We plan to weigh in much more heavily in this policy area than we have in the past, including partnering with related associations when possible.”

Health care transparency is an issue that will continue to surface and work will continue in earnest to develop tools and policies that will help providers address it in 2016. With the legislative session nearly over for 2016, Borgerding said the remainder of this year will also be spent preparing for the 2017 session, including educating legislators and, in the fall, candidates about our agenda.

“We plan to spend time educating legislators generally, but specifically, we want to talk about recalibrating graduate medical education (GME) funding toward supporting existing programs,” Borgerding said. 

“Our goals are designed to keep us ahead of the curve, not just keeping pace with the usual things we work on, but our goals need to truly reflect where our members are going and ensure that our public policy agenda supports our members’ priorities,” Borgerding said. 

Staff Provides State, Federal Legislative Updates
In the waning days of the 2016 legislative session, WHA saw several bills pass that were included in the 2016 WHA Goals, according to WHA Senior Vice President Kyle O’Brien. Bills on their way to the Governor’s desk include a behavioral health bill that sets up a pilot program and a mental health bed tracking system. (See article below.) O’Brien said the worker’s compensation bill is moving forward and will be signed into law, without a fee schedule and which still allows employees to choose where they receive their care. Nine bills associated with the Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) program will be enacted and signed into law soon as well. 

Joanne Alig, WHA senior vice president, policy and research, provided an update on the Group Insurance Board (GIB) activity related to self-funding the state employee health insurance plan. (See related article below.)

WHA continues to actively engage on key legislative issues at the federal level, according to Jenny Boese, WHA vice president, federal affairs and advocacy, who provided the board with a federal update. Boese also reminded the Board to support WHA’s 2016 Advocacy Day, March 30, by sending a delegation of their staff and volunteers to participate in the day-long event. (See article below.) 

Board Approves WHA Bylaw Updates
The Board voted unanimously to adopt amendments that update and modernize WHA’s bylaws, thereby completing a WHA 2015 Goal. The amendments that the Board adopted were recommended by WHA’s Bylaws Review Workgroup. 

Late last year, the Board formed the Workgroup to undertake a comprehensive review of WHA’s bylaws, which had not undergone such a review for over ten years, and develop for Board consideration recommended bylaws updates. The Workgroup was chaired by Therese Pandl, WHA’s 2016 Past Chair and President/CEO of HSHS Eastern Wisconsin Division, along with hospital leaders and WHA Board members. 

In executing its work, the consensus of the Workgroup was to reaffirm WHA’s commitment to its current governance model. In addition, the Workgroup developed several Guiding Principles to focus its recommendations on better conforming the bylaws language to current operations, practice, or policy; providing more flexibility in execution of Board-level governance; and reducing duplication, confusion, and unnecessary complexity within the bylaws.

In other action, the Board approved the nominations to the 2016 Nominations and Awards Committee. 

Top of page (2/19/16)


GIB Approves Moving Ahead with RFP for Self-Funding State Group Health Plan

On February 17, the Group Insurance Board (GIB) adopted a motion to move forward with the development and issuance of a Request for Proposals (RFP) to evaluate the impact of self-insuring the group health insurance program. According to a memo prepared by staff from the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF), the RFP is expected to be released July 2016, and ETF staff would expect to receive and evaluate responses in time for the November GIB meeting. 

After two separate consultants developed vastly different estimates of the costs and potential savings of a move to self-funding, the Board is interested in the RFP as a means for obtaining additional information that can help inform their decision. 

“We will never be able to make a decision unless we have the information. We will never have the information unless we do an RFP,” said Jon Litscher, chair of the GIB. 

Lisa Ellinger, director of ETF’s Office of Strategic Health Policy, provided general information about the likely components of the RFP. She indicated that the RFP would need to allow the GIB to compare different program models, including a regional structure or a statewide approach with a national carrier available. Ellinger also noted the RFP would be structured to assess a vendor’s performance and whether vendors could implement value-based design options. With regard to provider networks, she said ETF is not just interested in whether vendors have adequate access to a network of providers, but also how many members might have to change providers under a new model. 

As anticipated, the RFP would also be structured to gather anticipated costs to the state under various proposals. This is a key component of the RFP process, given that two different consultants have wide-ranging estimates including a potential cost to the state of $100 million to a potential savings of $42 million. No specifics were given on exactly how and what data the RFP will elicit that could allow the state to have a true comparison of costs with the current fully-insured model which allows members to choose from a variety of different health plan companies. According to latest report from their consultants, ETF saved $89 million in the 2016 benefit year from changes to the benefit plan design and improved negotiations with these health plans. 

With respect to administrative costs, ETF appears interested in the concept of multi-year contracting, with Ellinger indicating that multi-year contracts could provide stability in having the same vendor over multiple years, as well as stability in administrative costs. In their meeting, the GIB also had some discussion that there would likely be year-to-year variability in the benefit costs. The Board requested additional information be provided at a future meeting on what the year-to-year variability might be, but recognized that this information might be separate from the RFP. 

More details on exactly what the RFP might include are expected to be provided to the GIB at their next meeting May 18.

Top of page (2/19/16) 


WHA Board Recognizes Inaugural Recipient of Brenton Health Policy Scholarship 

Wes Robertson, the first recipient of the Stephen F. Brenton Health Policy Scholar Award, was recognized by the WHA Board at their February 18 meeting in Madison. Robertson will receive a master’s degree in public health (MPH) from the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in May, 2016. 

The scholarship was created in honor of Stephen Brenton (BA ’76, Political Science, UW-Madison) to students who are pursuing degrees at the La Follette School of Public Affairs related to health policy.

“Fittingly, this scholarship recognizes Steve’s many contributions to health care while helping to develop the leaders of tomorrow. Health care is one of the fastest growing sectors and among the largest employers in the United States. With that growth comes complexity and a need for talented leadership to shape policy,” said WHA President/CEO Eric Borgerding. “We are pleased to present Wes with this first-ever scholarship, and we appreciate his interest in developing and supporting health policy in the state that will increase access to and help advance quality care.” 

In his remarks, Robertson said he is passionate about working in the health policy field to help ensure “health care is equitable, accessible and efficient as possible.” 

Robertson holds bachelor’s degrees in biology and chemistry from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. He is currently working with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. 

“Wisconsin’s health care sector has terrific assets in place, but it faces daunting future challenges,” Brenton said. “I’m pleased that this scholarship is available to support young people, such as Wes, who will engage in essential, and hopefully collaborative, problem solving.”

Top of page (2/19/16)


WHA Legislative Priorities Receive Final Approval by State Assembly
Behavioral health, data modernization legislation moves to Governor Walker’s desk


The Wisconsin State Assembly voted on nearly 200 pieces of legislation during their session days February 16 and 18, including two bills that were WHA-backed legislative priorities.

Senate Bill 293, authored by a bipartisan group of four state lawmakers and co-sponsored by nearly 70 other legislators, would provide over $2 million in funding to test alternate payment models in the state Medicaid program that encourage mental health care coordination within an integrated health system and promote psychiatric consultations between providers. The bill is a product of recommendations from WHA’s 2014 Medicaid Work Group. 

The bill also seeks to reduce ER wait times for individuals who require an inpatient psychiatric bed by funding the creation and operation of an online database and tool that will enable ER staff to more quickly identify which hospitals have an available and appropriate psychiatric bed at a given time.

“WHA was proud to work with Representatives Czaja and Kolste and Senators Vukmir and Bewley to develop this forward-thinking set of public policies that will demonstrate the role providers can play in better coordinating care for patients suffering from mental illness in our Medicaid program,” said Kyle O’Brien, WHA senior vice president, government relations.

The Assembly unanimously concurred with Senate Bill 293 on February 16. The bill will now move on to Gov. Scott Walker’s desk for his signature.

Wisconsin Health Care Data Modernization Act Receives Bipartisan, Unanimous Support
Senate Bill 628 is legislation authored by a bipartisan group of lawmakers to modernize the statutes and regulations that authorize the state’s health care data collection program operated by the Wisconsin Hospital Association Information Center (WHAIC). The bill, authored by Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and Reps. Dale Kooyenga (R- Brookfield), Daniel Riemer (D-Milwaukee) and Joe Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin), was named the Wisconsin Health Care Data Modernization Act. 

WHA’s 2016 Board Chair and Fort HealthCare President/CEO Mike Wallace, testified in favor of SB 628 in front of the Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee January 28. Wallace told the Committee that Wisconsin’s health care delivery and payment environment is rapidly changing, creating a need for more precise, accurate and timely information about community health needs. 

Wallace told the Committee the data reforms in the Wisconsin Health Care Data Modernization Act are parallel to last session’s modernization of the state hospital regulations, DHS 124. 

“The legislation before you today has been created to serve that same purpose—modernize our statutes and regulations to align with the health care delivery system of today and prepare for the health care delivery system of tomorrow,” said Wallace. 

Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chair Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) and then-Rep. Howard Marklein were lead authors of last session’s hospital regulatory reform legislation.

The Wisconsin Health Care Data Modernization Act would provide the WHA Information Center with the ability to assess patient condition information at a more precise and accurate geographic level, called a census block group or census tract, instead of by ZIP code. This level of detail is critical for health care data users, like hospitals, who are preparing population health strategies in the communities they serve.

“Utilizing WHAIC to understand population health has become increasingly important because this type of data can be used by providers to effectively disperse health care resources and lower health care costs,” said Sen. Howard Marklein in testimony before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee January 28. “Data is a powerful tool for decision making. It needs to be meaningful and accurate,” continued Marklein.

Reps. Kooyenga and Riemer, in joint testimony before the Assembly Health Committee, said the Wisconsin Health Care Data Modernization Act is “at its core, about moving the use of health care data into the 21st century. Technology has changed, but the regulations impacting Wisconsin’s processes for data collection have not.” 

The Representatives also stated the “tools found in this bill for public health officials and medical professionals will help them do their job to keep their patients and populations safe while working toward reducing health care costs in Wisconsin.”

This legislation was also supported by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, along with other provider and public health organizations.

The Assembly concurred with Senate Bill 628 on February 16. The bill will now move onto Gov. Walker’s desk for his signature.

Worker’s Compensation Agreed-to Bill Passes Senate
Legislation drafted by the state’s Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC) passed the state Senate February 16, resulting in the first agreed-to bill to pass the Legislature since a controversial medical fee schedule was included in last session’s legislation. The medical fee schedule provisions caused last session’s bill to fail in the Legislature because of the health care community’s opposition to the provision.

This year’s agreed-to bill, Assembly Bill 724, includes the “best set of policy recommendations in over 20 years,” according to WCAC lead management representative Jeff Beiriger. The bill does not include a medical fee schedule and also does not include any changes to an injured worker’s ability to choose their health care provider after being injured on the job.

The WCAC “agreed-to” legislation is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Walker.

Top of page (2/19/16)


WHA Health Care Leaders Coalition Meets with Rep. Nygren, AG Schimel

WHA’s Opioid Coalition to address the role hospitals and health systems play in the reduction of opioid abuse met February 17 and were joined by two special guests, Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel. WHA’s Opioid Coalition is just one element of the WHA Board of Directors endorsed Health Care Leaders Opioid Initiative. In addition to the guests mentioned above, key stakeholders from the Wisconsin Pharmacy Society, the Wisconsin Medical Society, the Wisconsin Nurses Association, the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative and the federal U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) joined the conversation. The group discussed how individually their efforts are aimed at reducing opioid abuse, but more importantly how collectively all groups within the Coalition can work within the hospital environment to make real and substantial change. 

Steven Rush, WHA vice president, workforce and clinical practice, began the meeting by reminding the Coalition of the unique role WHA and its members have in the effort. Rush asked the group what role WHA could play in helping to create a culture, at the leadership level within our hospitals and health care systems, that supports and enables providers and patients to engage in the reduction and/or elimination of opioid abuse and misuse.

Schimel provided details of the AG’s “Dose of Reality” public awareness campaign, including the second phase of the campaign that will target employers looking to provide resources to employees struggling with opioid addiction. He thanked WHA for both its strong leadership position on the battle against opioid abuse as well as the strong partnership he and his office have experienced with the health care community as a whole. 

“The work between hospitals and my office is well underway,” said Schimel. He attributed this positive relationship with hospitals and health care providers to the “development of a strong trust” between his office and the medical community. 

Schimel further explained that other state Attorneys General across the country have taken a more traditional approach and dedicated efforts to the law enforcement element of opioid abuse. Schimel acknowledged that there are, of course, “bad players” in the medical community, but that is very rare and the vast majority of providers are doing what they feel is the best treatment for their patients. He said he made the determination early on the development of his approach to opioid reduction to take a collaborative approach with the medical community.

“When we started working with hospitals and providers on this, we saw this blossom into something marvelous and unique,” according to Schimel. “We’ve worked hard to develop trust with providers. We will get out of this situation by working together. We need to create professional and public awareness (of the problem), and we need both for our efforts to work.” 

Nygren briefly explained his HOPE 2.0 legislative package. He shared with the Coalition elements of various bills, most notably bills impacting Wisconsin’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). He encouraged Coalition members to influence their members and providers to embrace the PDMP, making it a “part of the everyday workflow.” Nygren emphasized that to have real impact, the PDMP not only has to be used with each prescription of a controlled substance, but must also be seen as a valuable and useful tool by providers. 

Nygren cautioned the group about a potential rise in heroin use, abuse and overdoses as the PDMP is used more frequently by providers and opioid availability “dries up.” Nygren said the state of Ohio experienced a significant rise in heroin use after providers were mandated to use their state’s version of the PDMP. Nygren said that we all, including hospitals, medical providers, the state and counties, need to be prepared for this potential shift to heroin.

WHA’s Health Care Leaders Opioid Initiative is a multipronged effort to address the serious issue of opioid misuse and abuse in the state. The initiative includes involvement of key stakeholders, educational outreach to members, a dedicated webpage collection of resources, and WHA Board-level support in the form of a resolution. For further information contact Steven Rush at srush@wha.org.

Top of page (2/19/16)


24th Annual $2,500 Rural Health Prize - June 1 Deadline

The Hermes Monato, Jr. Prize of $2,500 is awarded annually for the best rural health paper. It is open to all students of the University of Wisconsin (any campus) as well as those who have graduated since June 1, 2015.

Students are encouraged to write on a rural health topic for a regular class and then submit a copy to the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative as an entry by June 1, 2016.

Previous award winners as well as judging criteria and submission information are available at www.rwhc.com/Awards/AnnualMonatoEssay.aspx.

Top of page (2/19/16)


WHA Member Forum Webinar Focuses on Leaders’ Role in Tackling Opioid Abuse

WHA is offering a series of complimentary webinars to members in 2016 to help hospital leaders understand the opioid abuse issue, clarify the hospital and health system leader’s role in addressing it, and share tools to help tackle the issue.

The first WHA Member Forum webinar in the series, “A Hospital Leader’s Role in Tackling the Opioid Abuse Issue,” is scheduled February 25, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm. This webinar will focus on the importance of hospital leaders leading the culture change among their prescribers to examine their own prescribing habits. Fellow hospital leader, Peter Holden, president/CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Plymouth, Massachusetts, will share his experience in addressing the issue and culture change within his own organization, as well as championing the effort in hospitals throughout Massachusetts in his role as chair of the Massachusetts Hospital Association. To register, visit: https://events.SignUp4.net/HospitalLeaderRole-Opioids.

There is no fee for WHA hospital and corporate members to participate, but pre-registration is required. For information on the other webinars in this series, visit: www.wha.org/education-and-events.aspx. For more information, contact Jennifer Frank at jfrank@wha.org or 608-274-1820.

Top of page (2/19/16)


Wisconsin MEB Forms New Committee to Draft Telemedicine Rules

At a meeting held in Madison February 17, the Medical Examining Board (MEB) attempted to respond to public hearing comments received in January on the proposed telemedicine rules draft. As previously reported in The Valued Voice, WHA along with several other stakeholders, raised several concerns in testimony questioning the need for additional regulation of telemedicine in addition to existing state and federal regulations as well as concerns that the MEB had not included stakeholder involvement in the rule development. 

At their February 17 meeting, the MEB attempted to respond to the large amount of public comments received earlier. MEB chair Ken Simons, MD, acknowledged the stakeholder feedback and suggested the MEB review the existing rule draft “line by line” in an attempt to incorporate feedback. After approximately 45 minutes, only one item out of the 23 sections of the rule draft had been discussed with no clear consensus as to needed changes. Consistent with urging recommendation of WHA, the MEB then decided to move further action and discussion of the rule to separate, stand-alone committee work. 

The plan going forward will be to review two to three sections of the draft at a time at separate committee meetings, starting in March 2016. Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) staff informed the MEB that the earliest a revised version of the draft could be submitted for review by the Legislature would be January 2017, and therefore urged the MEB to take the time to involve stakeholders. 

Steve Rush, WHA vice president, workforce and clinical practice, attended the MEB meeting. In response to the MEB action to form a separate committee to develop a new draft of MED 24, Rush said, “As evident in WHA’s formal comment letter previously submitted to the MEB, along with the testimony we provided at last month’s public hearing on MED 24, we are of course supportive and encouraged by the MEB’s acknowledgment of the importance of stakeholder involvement. WHA will continue to be engaged with our members and the MEB during this rulemaking process.” 

Rush is the WHA staff contact for WHA’s Task Force on Telemedicine. For more information on the MEB action or about WHA’s Telemedicine Task Force, contact Rush at srush@wha.org.

Top of page (2/19/16)


Chatterton Joins WHA as Education Coordinator

Kayla Chatterton joined WHA’s staff as education coordinator. Chatterton comes to WHA from Iowa Pacific Holdings, where she was Special Events Manager for their 2015 holiday season Polar Express experience out of Middleton, Wisconsin. In that role, Chatterton was responsible for all aspects of coordinating and executing that event that served 42,000 customers in a six-week period. In addition, Chatterton has experience in event management from Michels Corporation in Brownsville, Wisconsin, and for Octagon Center for the Arts in Ames, Iowa.

“We are very excited to welcome Kayla to the WHA team,” said Jennifer Frank, WHA vice president of education and marketing. “She is a great addition to the education department, bringing some important skills and experience. Kayla will be a key representative of WHA at our various education offerings throughout the year.” 

Chatterton holds bachelor’s degrees in both event management and management from Iowa State University. Please join WHA in welcoming her when you see her on-site at the next WHA education event.

Top of page (2/19/16)


CMS Extends 2015 EHR Attestation Deadline

On February 11, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) extended to March 11, 2016, the deadline for hospitals and physicians to attest to the meaningful use requirements of the Medicare EHR Incentive Program for the 2015 reporting period. Previously, the deadline was February 29, 2016.

Under the final rule, published last October, that modified the meaningful use requirements for 2015 through 2017, hospitals must attest to meaningful use of EHRs for any continuous 90-day period between October 1, 2014, and December 31, 2015, to avoid a Medicare penalty. Physicians must attest for any continuous 90-day period within calendar year 2015. The final rule can be found at: 
https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/10/16/2015-25595/medicare-and-medicaid-programs-electronic-health-record-incentive-program-stage-3-and-modifications.

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

Top of page (2/19/16)


WHA Advocacy Day Closes in on 600 Registrations
Register before March 4 to be entered into our drawing


With about six weeks to go, 2016 Advocacy Day is already closing in on 600 registrations. March 30 will be here before you know it though, so make sure you register now. Online registration is available at: http://events.SignUp4.net/16AdvocacyDay0330. For those who register before March 4, you’ll be entered into our drawing. 

At 2016 Advocacy Day, held in Madison at the Monona Terrace Convention Center, you will hear morning keynote Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association (AHA). He’s been a member of AHA’s advocacy team for the past 33 years, and will share his Washington DC insider’s view of federal issues during this, a presidential election year. Our bipartisan legislative leaders’ panel will round out the morning session followed by a luncheon keynote address from Gov. Scott Walker (invited). Then it’s off to the State Capitol for legislative meetings. 

In preparation for the afternoon’s legislative visits, WHA provides an issues briefing at Advocacy Day itself and schedules all meetings for you. In addition, WHA offers two optional pre-Advocacy Day webinars for those attending legislative visits. Last year, over 650 attendees went to the State Capitol and we want to see that again this year.

Advocacy Day is one of the best ways hospital advocates can make an important, visible impact in the State Capitol. Make sure you’re assembling your hospital groups now since 2016 Advocacy Day is a full month earlier than last year. Register now at http://events.SignUp4.net/16AdvocacyDay0330

For Advocacy Day questions, contact Jenny Boese at 608-268-1816 or jboese@wha.org. For registration questions, contact Jenna Hanson at jenna.hanson@wha.org or 608-274-1820.

Top of page (2/19/16)


WisHHRA Annual Conference for Human Resource Professionals, April 20-22

The Wisconsin Healthcare Human Resource Association (WisHHRA) will host its annual conference for health care HR professionals on April 20-22, at The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake. 

The 2016 conference will focus on developing leaders with a keynote session by Chip Madera. Madera has been working with employers for 20 years, creating environments that engage employees, conveying radical leadership ideas and bringing out the best in employees who want more from their jobs. 

In addition, this year’s conference will also include the popular annual legal and legislative update sessions, as well as several best practice and case study sessions, allowing attendees to learn from their peers and coach each other through. This year, all five core competencies for health care HR leadership will be offered in one conference. 

Anyone who has human resource responsibilities in a health care organization will benefit from the educational agenda and is welcome to attend. In addition, the program has been approved by the HR Certification Institute for continuing education/recertification credit. This conference also offers the opportunity to take the Certified in Healthcare Human Resources (CHHR) exam (separate registration required). 

The full conference brochure is included in this week’s packet and online registration is available at http://events.SignUp4.net/2016WisHHRA. For registration questions, contact Jenna Hanson at 608-274-1820 or email jenna.hanson@wha.org.

Top of page (2/19/16)


WONE Annual Convention for Nurse Leaders and Managers, April 13-15

The Wisconsin Organization of Nurse Executives (WONE) will host their annual convention for current and aspiring nurse leaders and managers on April 13-15, at The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake. With a focus on its theme of “Leading the Way to Value through Engagement,” the convention will include a keynote presentation from Vicki Hess. Hess, a nurse, author and expert in employee engagement, will kick off the convention with a session focused on proven strategies and tools to enhance employee engagement. Barbara Bartlein, a nurse, author and workplace culture expert will close the program with an entertaining and inspirational session focused on happiness, kindness and the importance of doing the right thing.

This year’s agenda also focuses on a variety of health care regulatory, financial and practice trends including patient and family engagement, performance improvement, the role of legislative advocacy in health care, increasing educational preparation for nurses, and population health.

The convention includes opportunities to network and share with other nurse leaders and managers. A full convention brochure is included in this week’s packet and is available online, along with online registration, at http://events.SignUp4.net/2016WONE.

The convention will be held at The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake. Anyone who has responsibilities for leading and managing RNs will benefit from the educational agenda and is welcome; you do not need to be an RN or a member of WONE to attend. For registration questions, contact Jenna Hanson at 608-274-1820 or by email at jenna.hanson@wha.org.

Top of page (2/19/16)


Member News: Braun Named Flambeau Hospital Chief Administrative Officer

James R. Braun has been named chief administrative officer (CAO) for Flambeau Hospital, Park Falls, effective February 15.

For the past 18 years, Braun has been chief financial officer (CFO) for Flambeau Hospital, a 25-bed critical access hospital with home health/hospice service. The hospital is jointly owned and operated by Marshfield Clinic and Ministry Health Care.

Braun has more than 40 years of experience in diversified environments including manufacturing and public service, with expertise in health care administration and financial management.

Braun was Flambeau’s CFO since 1998 and worked closely with the CAO on daily operational issues. He serves on the hospital’s senior leadership oversight committee, which guides the organization in mission, values, customer satisfaction and quality improvement, and serves as executive director of the Flambeau Hospital Foundation.

Prior to joining Flambeau Hospital he was CFO at Gundersen St. Joseph’s Memorial Hospital, Hillsboro; president/CEO of Kaukauna Community Hospital, Kaukauna; and director of fiscal services, Moundview Memorial Hospital, Adams.

Serving the communities in which he has lived and worked has long been important to Braun. In Price County he’s been a member of county committees, co-authored a Price County Health Plan and was a founding member of the county’s Bioethics Committee. He also was a volunteer firefighter for 12 years and taught courses at Oxford Federal Prison and the Adams County campus of Midstate Technical College, Wisconsin Rapids.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

Top of page (2/19/16)


Member News: Mayo Announces Leadership Changes in Northwest Wisconsin

Rita Sullivan recently assumed duties as vice president-operations for Mayo Clinic Health System–Chippewa Valley. Sullivan replaced Ed Wittrock who retired in December 2015 after serving more than 30 years with the organization. 

Sullivan’s leadership responsibilities also include Mayo Clinic Health System–Northland and emergency medicine for the organization’s hospitals in Barron, Bloomer, Eau Claire, Menomonie and Osseo. She has been employed with Mayo Clinic Health System for more than 20 years. 

Sullivan holds a management certificate in advance studies in health services administration and patient care administration, and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

In addition, Michele Eberle has been appointed assistant vice president-operations for Mayo Clinic Health System and will assist Sullivan. Eberle received her M.B.A. from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and her bachelor’s degree in business administration from UW-Eau Claire. 

Eberle has been employed with Mayo Clinic Health system for more than 20 years. Her previous roles with Mayo Clinic Health System–Chippewa Valley included chief financial officer and assistant administrator. Among her new duties, Eberle will assist with responsibilities for emergency medicine and the geriatric clinic.

Top of page (2/19/16)