October 4, 2013
Volume 57, Issue 40

Walker to Employers: "Wisconsin Health Care is Tremendous Asset"
State invests in health care workforce, primary care

Governor Scott Walker highlighted Wisconsin’s health care as the "greatest in the country" in a speech before more than 450 employers at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce’s (WMC) "State of Wisconsin Business" lunch October 2.

"We have a tremendous asset and some of the greatest health care in the country, but if we can’t continue to put those professionals in the areas where we need them most it will stunt their growth and economic vitality whether it is out in rural Wisconsin or our impoverished urban areas," Walker said. "Those are all key ingredients—not just in workforce development—but in economic development."

The Governor said he is committed to expanding workforce training, referencing his inclusion of $5 million in the state budget that will be used to educate more physicians in-state by supporting Wisconsin’s two medical schools and expanding graduate medical education (GME) opportunities.

"We need to train more health care professionals—not just in four-year programs, but in our medical schools and graduate programs to help put more medical professionals, especially primary care physicians, where we need them most in rural and urban impoverished areas of the state," according to Walker.

The physician workforce issue is a high priority for the Wisconsin Hospital Association. WHA has issued two comprehensive reports that have catalyzed high-level engagement and action among stakeholders interested in expanding Wisconsin’s medical education and training system.

"We applaud Governor Walker’s remarkable investment in Wisconsin’s future physician workforce. The funding that the Governor included in the state budget is already being used to help develop the infrastructure necessary to educate and train primary care physician providers who will care for our patients and families for years to come," said WHA President Steve Brenton. "The Governor recognizes how critical this funding is in helping shore up Wisconsin’s fragile rural and inner city health care environments where access to health care services is a top local priority and essential to attract and retain jobs."

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Marketplace Launch Rocky; HHS Posts Wisconsin Premiums

Doubts about whether the health insurance marketplace would be functional October 1 were confirmed as few people have managed to even log onto the federal health insurance exchange. At press time, WHA staff had still not been able to gain access to the site beyond the log-in page. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has refused to say how many people have signed up for insurance through the exchange.

Perhaps in response to those problems, on October 1 HHS posted a table that provides details on the plans offered through the federally-run health insurance exchanges in every state, including 3,500-plus options in Wisconsin. The plan prices and descriptions available, by county, are at: www.healthcare.gov/health-plan-information.

The list is sortable by state, county, plan name, plan metal level, issuer name, plan type and the federal rating area. The list gives an estimated premium for a 27-year-old adult and a 50-year-old adult, as well as the average premiums for family, single adult family, couple, and child-only plans. However, a person is not able to review details of the benefit plan, find quotes for their specific situation, or the price that an applicant will pay after subsidies. Final price quotes are available only after someone has completed a Marketplace application.

WHA continues to monitor the situation.

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New Legislator Profile: Sen. Nikiya Harris (D-Milwaukee)

A series of interviews with newly-elected legislators, by Mary Kay Grasmick, editor

Hospitals could see an increase in the number of individuals seeking care in the emergency room (ER) if they do not connect with private insurance in the exchange. It is an issue that concerns Sen. Nikiya Harris.

"We have to keep driving home the point that if we do not have good health services, and if we do not provide good benefits to people who need the services, then we are going to see a spike in ER visits, and that resonates with both political parties," according to Harris. "Hospitals can’t take on this burden if people don’t have coverage. People will be using hospital ERs for basic health care. Even if it is a minor issue, if they can’t afford to pay, they are going to use the ER."

Inspired by an internship in Congress that fostered an interest in public policy and a drive to serve the community, Sen. Harris served on the Milwaukee County Board just prior to being elected to the Wisconsin Senate.

She is passionate about public service and working with people. She says her biggest priority is to create jobs.

"During my campaign, I heard it over and over again—people wanted jobs; they were concerned that they could not support their families," Harris said. "I want to help broaden and shape that agenda."

Harris said mental health is also an important issue to her, and she wants to make sure that people have access to services. Mental health issues often are tied to joblessness, and Harris is looking for creative solutions that will get people the help they need to get them working again.

"I would say in my community, people—specifically African Americans—do not get the help they need around mental health," Harris said.

That issue, when combined with a shortage of psychiatrists in her area, brings Harris to consider creative solutions that will help make services more accessible, not just in Milwaukee, but across the state.

"If we can’t get people the help they need for mental health issues, and get them to a healthier place, how can we prepare them for jobs?" she said. "Then, we need to make sure that jobs are available when they are ready to work."

Harris said her district has a rich infrastructure of employers; it is just a matter of giving them a "voice" and creating opportunities for success. As the new senator sees it, it is a matter of getting the right people together.

"I’ve had a lot of conversations with businesses in my district and with people who are looking for jobs," Harris said. "It is about going out there and seeing how to make things work better."

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Continuing Upward, Political Action Campaign at 74% of Goal

As fall approaches, the Wisconsin Hospitals Conduit and State PAC fundraising campaign has to raise $68,000 more to reach the year-end goal to raise $260,000 that the 2013 Advocacy Committee set earlier this year. In the last two weeks, the campaign has raised an additional $17,000 from 20 more individuals. The campaign year-to-date total is at $192,000 from 281 participants.

Of the total contributors to date, 53 are members of the Platinum Club who have contributed $1,500 or more to the 2013 campaign, which continues to be ahead of the 2011 and 2012 Platinum Club membership pace. The median contribution is $450, while the average contribution is $682.

Individual contributors are listed in The Valued Voice by name and affiliated organization on a regular basis. Thank you to the 2013 contributors to date who are listed on page 6. Contributors are listed alphabetically by contribution amount category. The next publication of the contributor list will be in the October 18 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 to $499
Allen, Patricia Columbia St. Mary's, Inc.
Ambs, Kathleen St. Mary's Janesville Hospital
Anderson, Phil Sacred Heart Hospital
Andritsch, Stacie Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Appleby, Jane Aurora Health Care
Bagnall, Andrew St. Nicholas Hospital
Bair, Barbara St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Ballentine, Anne Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Baltzer, David Memorial Medical Center - Neillsville
Bayer, Tom St. Vincent Hospital
Bergmann, Ann Spooner Health System
Bloom, Deborah Sacred Heart Hospital
Boson, Ann Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital
Bowman, Andrew Sacred Heart Hospital
Breeser, Bryan Aurora Medical Center Summit
Brenholt, Craig St. Joseph's Hospital
Brennan, Karen St. Mary's Hospital
Brenny, Terrence Stoughton Hospital Association
Brenton, Andrew Wisconsin Hospital Association
Burgener, Jean Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Buss, Diane St. Mary's Hospital
Campau, Patricia Columbia St. Mary's, Inc.
Capelli, A.J. Aurora Health Care
Cardinal, Lori Agnesian HealthCare
Casey, Candy Columbia Center
Censky, Bill Holy Family Memorial
Collins, Sherry Wisconsin Hospital Association
Coniff, Barbara St. Mary's Hospital Medical Center
Connors, Lawrence St. Mary's Hospital Medical Center
Cormier, Laura Bellin Hospital
Culotta, Jennifer St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Dahl, James Fort HealthCare
Dalebroux, Steve St. Mary's Hospital
Danner, Forrest Aspirus Wausau Hospital
DeMars, Nancy Sacred Heart Hospital
Drengler, Kathryn Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Dux, Larry Froedtert Health - Community Memorial Hospital
Ferrigno, Sandra St. Mary's Hospital
Fielding, Laura Holy Family Memorial
Folstad, John Sacred Heart Hospital
Fox, Stephen Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Furlong, Marian Hudson Hospital & Clinics
Gagnon, Annette HSHS-Eastern Wisconsin Division
Gajeski, Lynn St. Vincent Hospital
Garvey, Gale St. Mary's Hospital
Gille, Larry St. Vincent Hospital
Granger, Lorna Aurora Health Care
Gresham, James Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Grundstrom, David Flambeau Hospital
Guffey, Kerra Meriter Hospital
Gulan, Maria Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Gullicksrud, Lynn Sacred Heart Hospital
Hafeman, Paula St. Vincent Hospital
Halida, Cheryl St. Joseph's Hospital
Hamilton, Mark
Hansen, Karen Memorial Medical Center - Ashland
Hardy, Shawntera Hudson Hospital & Clinics
Hattem, Marita Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Henricks, William Rogers Memorial Hospital
Hieb, Laura Bellin Hospital
Hockers, Sara Holy Family Memorial
Hockin, Jennifer Aspirus, Inc.
Hofer, John Bay Area Medical Center
Jelle, Laura St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Jensema, Christine HSHS-Eastern Wisconsin Division
Jensen, Russell St. Mary's Hospital
Johnson, Charles St. Mary's Hospital
Johnson, Kimberly Sacred Heart Hospital
Josue, Sherry St. Mary's Hospital
Karuschak, Michael Amery Regional Medical Center
Keene, Kaaron Memorial Health Center
Kelsey Foley, Kathy Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Kempen, Jacob Aspirus Wausau Hospital
King, Peggy Memorial Health Center
King, Steve St. Mary's Hospital
Klay, Chris St. Joseph's Hospital
Klay, Lois St. Joseph's Hospital
Klein, Tim Holy Family Memorial
Knutzen, Barbara Agnesian HealthCare
Kocourek, Cathie Aurora Medical Center in Two Rivers
Lambrecht, Randall Aurora Health Care
Lange, George Westgate Medical Group, CSMCP
Larson, William St. Joseph's Hospital
Lentz, Darrell Aspirus, Inc.
Leonard, Mary Kay St. Mary's Hospital
Lepien, Troy St. Mary's Hospital
Lucas, Roger Aspirus Wausau Hospital
LuCore, Patricia Sacred Heart Hospital
Luehring, Sally St. Vincent Hospital
Maroney, Lisa
Martin, Nancy Ministry Saint Michael's Hospital
Maurer, Mary Holy Family Memorial
McManmon, Kristin St. Mary's Hospital
Meicher, John St. Mary's Hospital
Natzke, Kristin
Nevers, Rick Aspirus, Inc.
Nguyen, Juliet Sacred Heart Hospital
Nicklaus, Todd Aspirus, Inc.
O'Brien, Laura
O'Hara, Tiffanie Wisconsin Hospital Association
O'Keefe, Robert
Oland, Charisse Rusk County Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home
Olson, Bonnie Sacred Heart Hospital
Ose, Peggy Riverview Hospital Association
Ostrander, Gail Hospital Sisters Health System
Ott, Virginia St. Joseph's Hospital
Palecek, Steve St. Joseph's Hospital
Pavelec-Marti, Cheryl Ministry Saint Michael's Hospital
Pempek, Kalynn Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Penczykowski, James St. Mary's Hospital
Pinske, Heather St. Mary's Hospital
Reinke, Mary Meriter Hospital
Reising, Chris Aspirus, Inc.
Rocheleau, John Bellin Hospital
Roundy, Ann Columbus Community Hospital
Sanicola, Suzanne Columbia St. Mary's Columbia Hospital
Schaetzl, Ron St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Schneider, David Langlade Hospital - An Aspirus Partner
Schubring, Randy Mayo Health System - Eau Claire
Scieszinski, Robert Ministry Door County Medical Center
Scinto, Jeanne Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Sheehan, Heather Hayward Area Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home
Slomczewski, Constance Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - All Saints
Smith, Brian Aspirus, Inc.
Statz, Darrell Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative
Stelzer, Jason St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Strasser, Kathy Aspirus, Inc.
Swanson, Becky Sacred Heart Hospital
Tandberg, Ann St. Joseph's Hospital
Teigen, Seth St. Mary's Hospital
Thornton, Eric St. Mary's Janesville Hospital
Tuttle, Kathryn Memorial Medical Center - Ashland
Voelker, Thomas Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Walker, Troy St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Westrick, Paul Columbia St. Mary's Columbia Hospital
Whitinger, Margaret Agnesian HealthCare
Wipperfurth, Kay Fort HealthCare
Woleske, Chris Bellin Psychiatric Center
Wymelenberg, Tracy Aurora Health Care
Wysocki, Scott St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Yaron, Rachel Ministry Saint Clare's Hospital
Contributors ranging from $500 to $999
Anderson, Rhonda Columbia St. Mary's Milwaukee Hospital
Ashenhurst, Karla Ministry Health Care
Bablitch, Steve Aurora Health Care
Boecker, Ron Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Borgerding, Dana
Bukowski, Cathy Ministry Health Care
Bultema, Janice
Busch, Rebecca Spooner Health System
Carlson, Dan Bay Area Medical Center
Chumbley, Clyde ProHealth Care, Inc.
Deich, Faye Sacred Heart Hospital
Dewitt, Jocelyn
Dietsche, James Bellin Hospital
Dolohanty, Naomi Aurora Health Care
Dube, Troy Chippewa Valley Hospital
Eckels, Timothy Hospital Sisters Health System
Frangesch, Wayne Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Freimund, Rooney Bay Area Medical Center
Griffin, Gregory ElderSpan Management, LLC
Hartberg, David Boscobel Area Health Care
Hinner, William Ministry Saint Clare's Hospital
Houlahan, Beth
Hyland, Carol Agnesian HealthCare
Jacobson, Terry St. Mary's Hospital of Superior
Johnson, Kenneth St. Mary's Hospital Medical Center
Joyner, Ken Bay Area Medical Center
Kellar, Richard Aurora West Allis Medical Center
Krueger, Mary Ministry Saint Clare's Hospital
Larson, Margaret Mercy Medical Center
Lewis, Gordon Burnett Medical Center
Logemann, Cari Aspirus, Inc.
Mantei, Mary Jo Bay Area Medical Center
May, Carol Sauk Prairie Memorial Hospital
McCarthy, Bruce Columbia St. Mary's
Mugan, James Agnesian HealthCare
Mulder, Doris Beloit Health System
Nelson, James Fort HealthCare
Pollard, Dennis Froedtert Health
Quinn, George Wisconsin Hospital Association
Richards, Theresa Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital
Richardson, Todd Aspirus, Inc.
Rickelman, Debbie WHA Information Center
Rocole, Theresa Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Rohrbach, Dan Southwest Health Center
Sczygelski, Sidney Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Selberg, Heidi HSHS-Eastern Wisconsin Division
Shabino, Charles Wisconsin Hospital Association
Simaras, James Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Smith, Gregory Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Sommers, Craig St. Mary's Hospital
Stuart, Philip Tomah Memorial Hospital
Swanson, Kerry St. Mary's Janesville Hospital
Thurmer, DeAnn Waupun Memorial Hospital
Van Meeteren, Bob Reedsburg Area Medical Center
VanCourt, Bernie Bay Area Medical Center
Worrick, Gerald Ministry Door County Medical Center
Zenk, Ann Ministry Saint Mary's Hospital
Zorbini, John Aurora Health Care
Contributors ranging from $1,000 to $1,499
Bedwell, Elizabeth Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Britton, Gregory Beloit Health System
Dexter, Donn Mayo Health System - Eau Claire
Gullingsrud, Tim Hayward Area Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home
Gutzeit, Michael Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Hart, Shelly Aurora Health Care
Heifetz, Michael SSM Health Care-Wisconsin
Herzog, Sarah Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Huettl, Patricia Holy Family Memorial
Hymans, Daniel Memorial Medical Center - Ashland
Kerwin, George Bellin Hospital
Kosanovich, John Watertown Regional Medical Center
Lappin, Michael Aurora Health Care
Lewis, Jonathan St. Mary's Hospital
Martin, Jeff Ministry Saint Michael's Hospital
McKevett, Timothy Beloit Health System
Mohorek, Ronald Ministry Health Care
Natzke, Ryan Marshfield Clinic
Nauman, Michael Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Rakowski, Mark Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Reynolds, Sheila Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Roller, Rachel Aurora Health Care
Russell, John Columbus Community Hospital
Sanders, Robert Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Schafer, Michael Spooner Health System
Sohn, Jonathan Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Standridge, Debra Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Wolf, Edward Lakeview Medical Center
Contributors ranging from $1,500 to $1,999
Alig, Joanne Wisconsin Hospital Association
Anderson, Sandy St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Bloch, Jodi Wisconsin Hospital Association
Boese, Jennifer Wisconsin Hospital Association
Byrne, Frank St. Mary's Hospital
Clapp, Nicole Grant Regional Health Center
Coffman, Joan St. Joseph's Hospital
Court, Kelly Wisconsin Hospital Association
Eichman, Cynthia Ministry Our Lady of Victory Hospital
Francis, Jeff Ministry Health Care
Frank, Jennifer Wisconsin Hospital Association
Geboy, Scott Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman
Grasmick, Mary Kay Wisconsin Hospital Association
Harding, Edward Bay Area Medical Center
Heywood, Matthew Aspirus, Inc.
Hilt, Monica Ministry Saint Mary's Hospital
Khare, Smriti Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Lepore, Michael Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Levin, Jeremy Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative
Meyer, Daniel Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay
Millermaier, Edward Bellin Hospital
Olson, David Froedtert Health
Potter, Brian Wisconsin Hospital Association
Sanders, Michael Monroe Clinic
Sexton, William Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital
Stanford, Matthew Wisconsin Hospital Association
Wallace, Michael Fort HealthCare
Warmuth, Judith Wisconsin Hospital Association
Contributors ranging from $2,000 to $2,999
Brenton, Mary E.
Desien, Nicholas Ministry Health Care
Duncan, Robert Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Gage, Weldon Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Herzog, Mark Holy Family Memorial
Jacobson, Catherine Froedtert Health
Kachelski, Joe Wisconsin Statewide Health Information Network
Katen-Bahensky, Donna
Kief, Brian Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital
Leitch, Laura Wisconsin Hospital Association
Little, Steven Agnesian HealthCare
Mettner, Michelle Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Neufelder, Daniel Affinity Health System
Normington, Jeremy Moundview Memorial Hospital & Clinics
O'Brien, Kyle Wisconsin Hospital Association
Oliverio, John Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Pandl, Therese HSHS-Eastern Wisconsin Division
Potts, Dennis Aurora Health Care
Starmann-Harrison, Mary Hospital Sisters Health System
Taylor, Mark Columbia St. Mary's, Inc.
Troy, Peggy Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Woodward, James Meriter Hospital
Contributors ranging from $3,000 to $4,999
Borgerding, Eric Wisconsin Hospital Association
Kammer, Peter The Kammer Group
Turkal, Nick Aurora Health Care
Contributors $5,000 and above
Brenton, Stephen Wisconsin Hospital Association
Size, Tim Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative
Tyre, Scott Capitol Navigators, Inc


Top of page (10/4/13)

Hospital Cuts Still on Table as Congress Wrestles with Major Fiscal Deadlines

Payment cuts to hospital and health systems could still be in the mix this fall as Congress faces major fiscal deadlines, including funding the federal government, dealing with the debt ceiling and paying for a physician reimbursement fix. At the WHA Council on Medical and Professional Affairs meeting October 3 in Madison, Jenny Boese, WHA vice president, external relations & member advocacy, briefed the group on what is being considered in Washington and how Congressional actions could impact health care providers.

As it stands, Congress has not yet provided any indication of a path forward from the government budget impasse and, therefore, the shutdown will likely last longer than a few days. As the shutdown lingers on, it increases the likelihood of federal budget issues spilling over into the larger, more difficult debt ceiling debate. On that issue, in late September, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew provided the first hard deadline for the debt ceiling: October 17. By this date, Lew said his ability to use emergency borrowing measures would be exhausted and the country would have only $30 billion on hand.

Boese reminded Council members that Congress also needs to address the sustainable growth rate (SGR), which expires December 31. The much-maligned SGR formula was put in place in 1997 as an attempt to keep physician expenditures in the Medicare program from rising too rapidly. Over the years Congress has repeatedly stepped in to stop the automatic SGR reductions from occurring. While there has been bipartisan support for a long-term SGR fix, cost has been the largest inhibitor.

"The SGR continues not due to lack of Congressional support for a fix, but due to lack of money," said Boese, indicating bipartisan support for legislation such as the Medicare Payment Access & Quality Improvement Act (HR 2810). "The estimated cost for a long-term fix is upwards of $140 billion, which, amidst a government shutdown and an impending debt ceiling crisis, makes short-term patches the more likely scenario at this point."

In the past, hospitals have been the target of previous cuts in order to fund other Congressional priorities. Additional cuts could still be on the table and include: reducing payments for evaluation & management services in hospital outpatient departments; eliminating critical access hospital designation for certain hospitals; and limiting use of state Medicaid provider taxes. Whether these or other proposals resurface again this fall remains to be seen, but WHA and hospital leaders will be in Washington, DC on October 29 to meet with Members of Wisconsin’s Congressional Delegation about the importance of Wisconsin’s high-value, high-quality health care. If you are interested in this trip, please contact WHA’s Jenny Boese at 608-268-1816 or jboese@wha.org.

All interested parties should be participating in grassroots advocacy on these and other important state issues that affect health care. WHA’s HEAT program makes engaging in this level of advocacy very easy. Visit www.wha.org/heat-grassroots-advocacy.aspx.

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Guest Column: How Healthy is Wisconsin?
By Karen Timberlake, Director, UW Population Health Institute

We’re living longer but not feeling better, and many factors that contribute to overall health of our state’s residents are on the wrong track. That’s the overall finding from an analysis of 10-year trends in health factors and health outcomes produced by the UW Population Health Institute. The report reveals that while the overall mortality trends for all age groups in Wisconsin have improved over the past decade, more people are reporting being in poor health. In addition, the 10-year trends for all socio-economic factors—including unemployment, child poverty, violent crime rates and the high-school dropout rate—are getting worse.

If we’re going to move the needle in the right direction on obvious health indicators like obesity, and less obvious indicators like high school drop-out rates, we need strong local efforts that engage community leaders and residents in picking priorities and implementing strategies that work. Use the 2013 Wisconsin Health Trends: Progress Report in conjunction with local data and tools like What Works for Health to support your community benefit implementation activities. In addition, take a look at the sobering analysis of gaps in health by race, education, geography, and gender. We need to keep looking beneath averages to see where the opportunities to be healthy are not the same for all in our state, and design targeted interventions that make a difference.

The Population Health Institute has created an infographic that WHA members may want to incorporate into community presentations. See it here: www.wha.org/pdf/HealthTrends2013Infographic.pdf

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WCMEW Conference Focuses on Creating/Sustaining GME, October 24

On October 24, the Wisconsin Council on Medical Education and Workforce (WCMEW), a collaborative of WHA and other stakeholders on physician workforce issues, will host the one-day conference "Taking the Next Step: A Statewide Conference on Graduate Medical Education."

As part of the day’s agenda, several WHA members will share their experiences with starting and sustaining a graduate medical education (GME) program as part of a "lessons learned" session. In addition, the deans of Wisconsin’s two medical schools will present a joint session on the role of academic medical centers and community teaching hospitals in Wisconsin.

Other topics will include how GME fits into a hospital’s strategic plan, how to start a GME program, how to engage physicians in GME, and an overview of the current GME funding environment in Wisconsin, including a presentation by DHS staff on the two GME grant programs they are administering.

The conference will be held Thursday, October 24, at the Best Western Bridgewood Resort Hotel & Conference Center in Neenah. An agenda and online registration are available at: http://events.SignUp4.com/13GME.

Direct questions on the conference, GME funding or other related activities to George Quinn at gquinn@wha.org, or Charles Shabino, MD at cshabino@wha.org.

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ThedaCare Reduces EEDs: "Best Practices Win Out in the End"

Making sure that patients know that babies born after 39 weeks do better than those born earlier was one of the first steps that ThedaCare staff took as they set out to reduce early elective deliveries (EEDs).

The team placed patient education materials in clinics in an effort to spread the word on why it is best to avoid an early delivery if it is not medically indicated.

"We decided to work on this initiative because of the overwhelming evidence that babies born after 39 weeks are physiologically better off than those born earlier," said Lisa Reed, Appleton Medical Center Family Birth Center supervisor. "ThedaCare is committed to providing the best possible start in life to all of our newborns, and this is one of the ways that we are honoring that commitment."

After education, and regardless of gestational age, an induction consent signed by the patient and physician is now required for all inductions. After that, the team revamped the induction policy to reflect the American College of Gynecologists recommendation to not induce before 39 weeks, unless there is a medical indication. Schedulers at the birth center received an induction prioritization guide as a reference.

"Since the implementation of our hard stop policy in May, 2013, we have had only one induction that did not meet the criteria for elective delivery before 39 weeks," said Sara Bronson, Appleton Medical Center/ThedaCare Birth Center clinical specialist.

Reed said the webinars that WHA staff holds on a regular basis have been very helpful, as have the reminders to continue to implement "small tests of change." ThedaCare staff continues to do daily monitoring of all inductions.

"Throughout the project, ThedaCare staff has provided great coaching for other hospitals, which has been very valuable to the statewide project. Their willingness to share openly has influenced other hospitals to follow, which improves care across the whole state," said Kelly Court, WHA chief quality officer.

"From the providers to the schedulers to the staff, everyone has to learn a new process, which takes time and patience," according to Reed. "Best practices always win out in the end."

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Member News: Boscobel Area Health Care Announces Affiliation

Gundersen Health System and Boscobel Area Health Care completed the last stage in their affiliation on October 1, formally renaming the local entity Gundersen Boscobel Area Hospital and Clinics.

Boscobel’s partnership with Gundersen has been ongoing, with a management agreement signed in 2012. This marks the last stage of the formal affiliation process, but the beginning of new health care resources available to Boscobel.

"We have already identified new specialty services we would like to bring to the area," according to David Hartberg, CEO, Gundersen Boscobel Area Hospital and Clinics, who expects additional specialists to begin as early as November.

"Gundersen is a nationally-recognized leader in health care who also understands rural health care and the needs of rural hospitals and clinics. We’re excited about what the future holds," says Hartberg.

"At Gundersen Health System, we believe it is important for people who live in smaller communities to have access to primary and specialty care close to home when it is possible to do so. We are pleased to partner with Boscobel Area Health Care to create an efficient, high-quality model of care for patients in the Boscobel, Fennimore and Muscoda areas," says Kathy Klock, senior vice president of operations & human resources, Gundersen Health System.

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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.

Women learn contemplative practices

Women of all ages learned how to add more peaceful moments to their day during the 14th annual Women’s Health Night held March 28 at the Cranberry Country Lodge in Tomah. Nearly 300 women turned out for the event coordinated by Tomah Memorial Hospital’s Community Outreach Center for Occupational Health & Wellness.

During her keynote presentation, UW-La Crosse Health Education & Health Promotion associate professor Dr. Keely Rees explained how reflective practices can help anyone– including women— better transition from home to the workplace.

"With practice, those rituals—those contemplative practices—become sort of automatic; it becomes part of the automatic nervous system—a cue to your body to go ahead and relax," Rees said.

Whether it’s changing clothes after work, making a cup of tea, or doing yoga with children, Rees said contemplative practices can become a much-needed daily ritual.

About 30 area businesses and organizations exhibited women’s health information and services. Various hospital departments displayed information on women’s health topics. Complimentary health screenings were also provided along with snacks, refreshments, and prizes.

Tomah Memorial Hospital

Barbershop Men’s Health Initiative is breaking barriers between men and their health

An innovative partnership between Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare and barbers in the African-American community is helping to increase awareness of important health issues in Milwaukee’s central city.

The Barbershop Men’s Health Initiative, based out of Wheaton Franciscan – St. Joseph Campus, uses the traditional barbershop setting to encourage men to build a relationship with a primary care physician and receive routine check-ups. The program also educates African-American men about prostate and colorectal cancer through multiple workshops and classes hosted at St. Joseph.

"Instead of talking about sports, we talk about our health," said Ray Bufford, health educator and project lead. "Some men have too much pride to discuss any concerns with their doctor, but in their local barbershop, they can feel comfortable enough to ask questions about important health issues."

Over the past year, Bufford and the Barbershop Men’s Health Initiative have reached 476 men through programming at local barbershops and churches.

Reaching out to men in the greater Milwaukee community is a life calling for Bufford. His brother-in-law was diagnosed with colon cancer, which eventually claimed his life.

"Before my brother-in-law passed away, he told me that educating men is very critical even if I only save one life," Bufford said.

Wheaton Franciscan – St. Joseph, Milwaukee

Open hearts and open doors

Family Promise brings together volunteers, churches and Monroe Clinic to address homelessness in Green County.

Family Promise is a national, volunteer-based organization tending to the needs of families facing homelessness. In 2011, Family Promise hosted a community meeting in Green County, and over 180 people attended. Soon after, Green County developed its own Family Promise program.

"In 2011, there were over 400 people homeless or within 30 days of becoming homeless," said Angie Parr, Monroe Clinic Employee Wellness Secretary and Family Promise Board member. "The night of the meeting several of us joined together to form a board of directors. We began fundraising efforts in May and were able to open our doors in November of 2011. We hired our director in October of 2011 and a case manager in July of 2012. We are the second fastest-growing group in the country to start the program."

Angie explained how the service is the result of many organizations’ and individuals’ efforts. The program works through the Interfaith Hospital Network. Twelve area churches and Monroe Clinic take turns opening their doors and provide living quarters for host families. Monroe Clinic is able to use special space set aside in its St. Clare Center. Another group of "buddy" churches assist the hosts. Volunteers help with meal preparation, spend the night at the host site, and provide transportation in the Family Promise van. During the day, the families learn important life skills, such as budgeting, accessing local resources, and job seeking, at the day center.

"As you can see, it takes a lot of volunteers for the program to run smoothly," said Angie.

After 20 months, the program has helped 53 people, 33 of which are children, avoid homelessness. Of the 69 percent who completed the program and graduated, 100 percent have found long-term housing. As one of 15 members serving on the Green County Family Promise board, Angie has witnessed what this program means to those it serves.

"We just received a letter from a mother with two teenage daughters and a granddaughter who have since graduated from the program, finding a job and housing," said Angie. "She explained how the program changed her life. She is now volunteering at our day center to help other families."

Monroe Clinic, Monroe

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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