December 30, 2015
Volume 59, Issue 52

“Results” documents WHA’s 2015 Accomplishments; Sets Stage for Success in 2016

When WHA President/CEO Eric Borgerding shared the Association’s final list of goals with the WHA Board at their meeting in February 2015, there was no doubting the table was set for a very full year ahead. The 14 goals Borgerding presented, with much input from staff and WHA members, topped prior years, but it was not the number of goals set in 2015 that caught notice. It was what seemed like the long odds of successfully achieving all of them in a legislative, regulatory and policy environment that was fraught with uncertainty and filled with more than a few potential road blocks along the way.

At the end of 2015, every goal—but one that is pending—could be marked as “accomplished.” This is something Borgerding credits to the unconditional commitment of WHA members to work collaboratively on issues that are essential to providing high-quality, high-value care to the citizens of Wisconsin.

“Advocacy is our number one expected member benefit, and in 2015 we delivered,” Borgerding told the WHA Board at their December 2015 meeting. “Wisconsin’s health care is among the very best in the nation. We do that by putting competitive interests aside and setting our sights on the larger mission of ensuring that public policy enables our members to continue to deliver the high-quality, high-value health care that our patients, employers and payers expect--and receive--every hour of the day, 365 days a year.”

In the packet this week, members will find the WHA 2015 Results ( that documents the past year of Association activity that was focused on ensuring that Wisconsin hospitals and health systems could continue to deliver on their promise to provide the best care possible to every patient, every time.

In 2015, Wisconsin was again recognized by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality as being among the very best health care delivery systems in the country. That high standard was confirmed a second time in 2015 by the Commonwealth Fund, which placed Wisconsin in the top quartile of states based on health system performance. That level of excellence would not be possible without collaboration among providers who recognize the importance of establishing partnerships with other community health organizations, and with one another, to meet the ever-growing demand for health care services by an aging population.

Among the highlights in 2015:

“This high level of performance as an organization is only possible because of member engagement. Our members are our core strength,” according to Borgerding. “Voluntary leadership is an asset to any Association that embraces advocacy as its highest priority. WHA members lend their expertise to develop solid guidance on issues that matter. With member support, WHA can anticipate, address and resolve complex issues that could be divisive in less skillful hands.”

The staff of the Wisconsin Hospital Association and the WHA Information Center are anxious to serve WHA members with the highest level of advocacy and service in 2016. Thank you for your support.

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Wallace Assumes Role as 2016 WHA Chair
Jacobson is chair-elect in 2016

Mike Wallace, MHA, FACHE, president/CEO of Fort HealthCare, will assume his role as WHA Chair in January 2016. A member of the WHA Board since 2011, Wallace also chaired the WHA Council on Public Policy and is currently a member of the WHA Executive Committee, Network Adequacy Council and Wisconsin Hospitals Issue Advocacy Council. He was also a member of the WHA Medicaid Advisory Group in 2010.

Prior to joining Fort HealthCare in 2006, Wallace served at Trinity Regional Health System, located in Rock Island, Illinois and Bettendorf, Iowa. Previously, he was the chief executive officer at Lucas County Hospital in Chariton, Iowa. He also held similar positions while employed with HealthSouth Corporation, serving as chief executive officer of two hospitals in Phoenix, Arizona.

Wallace is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, where he received a master’s degree in health administration. He received his bachelor’s degree from DePauw University, Indiana. Wallace has achieved Fellow status with the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and is board certified in health care management. He is a two-time winner of the ACHE Regents Award-Early Career Healthcare Executive and is a past winner of the Iowa Hospital Association Young Executive Achievement Award.

Catherine Jacobson, president/CEO of Froedtert Health, will serve as WHA chair-elect in 2016 and chair in 2017. A member of the WHA Board since 2013, Jacobson was a member of the WHA Graduate Medical Education (GME) Task Force, as well.

Jacobson joined Froedtert Health in 2010 as executive vice president of finance and strategy, chief financial officer and chief strategy officer. She was promoted to president in 2011, and assumed the CEO role in 2012. Prior to joining Froedtert Health, Jacobson spent 22 years at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago in various leadership roles. Jacobson currently serves on the American Hospital Association’s Section for Metropolitan Hospitals Governing Council, a three-year term ending in 2017.

Jacobson is a member of the Healthcare Financial Management Association, the American College of Healthcare Executives, the Healthcare Institute and the Healthcare Executives Study Society. She is also a member of the Chicago Network—an organization for women executives, and TEMPO and Professional Dimensions—two Milwaukee-based women’s leadership organizations.

Jacobson is a Certified Public Accountant. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois.

The Association acknowledges the terrific leadership of Therese Pandl, president/CEO of the Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) Eastern Wisconsin Division, who chaired WHA in 2015. Pandl will continue as a WHA Board member and will chair the Advocacy Committee, Nominating and Awards Committee, and WHA Bylaws Workgroup in 2016. She will also co-chair the Enrollment Action Council. 

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President's Column

2015 has been another year of challenge, change and transition across Wisconsin’s health care landscape. While the environment is dynamic, what remains consistent is the purpose of and expectations for the Wisconsin Hospital Association. Our 2015 member survey told us again, and overwhelmingly, that advocacy is our members’ absolute highest expectation for their dues investment. As you will see in the pages of WHA 2015 Results ( we broadly define “advocacy” while delivering on that expectation.

After 13 years of leading WHA’s advocacy efforts, in January I was truly honored to become president & CEO of this respected and impactful Association and lead our second-to-none team.

Like our members, WHA is a diverse and forward-looking organization, focused on helping Wisconsin’s hospitals, clinics, physicians and clinicians deliver some of the best health care in the nation while staying ahead of the change enveloping health care. 

Our commitment is to not only sustain our high performance, but to grow in our focus, relevance and impact. This is increasingly reflected in the halls of the Capitol, in hospital and health system leadership meetings and board rooms, at the patient’s bedside, in the clinician’s office, at our medical schools and residency programs, with state and federal regulators, with families seeking coverage—all across the state, WHA’s agenda is having an impact.

The Results document highlights many of the things we have accomplished together in 2015, and is testament to the commitment of our members, the dedication of our volunteer leaders and the ongoing excellence of the WHA team. But more so, these pages speak to the influence this Association has in shaping Wisconsin’s health care future—when we stand, speak and work together. That is, and will always be, WHA.

Eric Borgerding

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WHA 2016 Advocacy Day; Let’s Make 2016 the Biggest Ever

Make plans to head to Madison for WHA’s 2016 Advocacy Day, scheduled March 30. Join over 1,000 of your colleagues from across the state and make an impact on our legislators in Madison. Advocacy Day is one of the best ways hospital employees, trustees and volunteers can make an important, visible impact in the State Capitol. Help make the 2016 event a great success by registering today at

The day’s agenda and online registration are available at

For Advocacy Day questions, contact Jenny Boese at 608-268-1816 or For registration questions, contact Jenna Hanson at or 608-274-1820.

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