April 8, 2016
Volume 60, Issue 14

To see social media coverage of WHA’s 2016 Advocacy Day, go to 

WHA Summaries of Recently-Passed Laws Now Available

The WHA government relations team has prepared brief summaries of new laws passed during the 2015-16 Wisconsin legislative session that may have an impact on Wisconsin’s hospitals and health care systems. The summaries are intended to provide several members of the hospital care team with an understanding of newly-enacted legislation.

The legislative summaries are posted to the WHA Member Portal, under the “General” tab. The Member Portal is a secure location and requires a first-time user to obtain a user name and password. If you do not have a member account, go to members.wha.org and click on “register” to create an account. For more information on signing up and logging on to the WHA Member Portal, go to www.wha.org/data.aspx.

Additional summaries will be posted as bills are signed by Gov. Scott Walker. Members are encouraged to distribute this information to interested parties within their organization.

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

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WEDC Promotes High-Quality Health Care; Study Finds Wisconsin 6th Best for Coverage

The Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) has been working collaboratively with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to ensure they are aware of the strengths of our health care delivery system as they promote our state’s assets. The WEDC is the state’s lead economic development agency. They work collaboratively with hundreds of partner organizations across the state to help attract economic development to Wisconsin. The importance of health care to site location decisions was reinforced by a survey sponsored by WHA of 300 employers who ranked health care second only to education in terms of importance when they evaluate a community as a potential location for a new business or industry. 

Speaking at WHA’s Advocacy Day March 30, Gov. Scott Walker again emphasized the importance of high-quality health care to the state’s ability to attract economic development. 

“When you talk about infrastructure, people think about the obvious—good transportation, access to reliable power, clean water, and especially in the rural parts of the state, access to broadband,” Walker said. “But I contend right at the top of the list is access to quality health care. That is why I am pleased to say we ranked second in the country based on the quality of health care in our state.” 

A link to a new page WEDC added to their website promotes Wisconsin’s health care efficiency (third best in the nation), and quality (second best in the country). The page is nicely done and WHA is very pleased to see health care promoted as another good reason to live, work and play in Wisconsin. View the WEDC page at http://inwisconsin.com/select-wisconsin/state-strengths/business-climate-rankings.

Hospitals and health systems should consider making recruiters, business development and human resource departments aware of this resource. A link to the WEDC page could also be placed on your website “careers” page. 

A second related piece of good news is a new study by SmartAssets found Wisconsin is the sixth best state for health care access in the country. The study, available at www.biztimes.com/2016/04/01/study-finds-wisconsin-is-sixth-best-state-for-health-care-access, found that nearly 93 percent of Wisconsinites have health insurance, which SmartAssets said is the seventh-highest percentage of any state.

Also mentioned in the study was the fact Wisconsin tied with Vermont for fourth place in the nation when it comes to prevention and treatment, according to the Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based foundation that supports research on health and social issues.

“The commitment our hospitals and health systems have to delivering the highest quality care, while making it as accessible as possible across the state is attracting national recognition. Wisconsin’s health care continues to be one of our greatest social and economic assets,” according to WHA President/CEO Eric Borgerding. “It is just one more reason the staff at WHA feels so privileged to represent and advocate for Wisconsin’s hospitals and health systems.”

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New Legislator Profile: Rep. Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville)
Novak Values WHA, Local Hospital Input on Key Legislative Issues

As Mayor of Dodgeville and state representative of the 51st Assembly District, Todd Novak knows firsthand the importance of having high-quality, accessible health care in Wisconsin, especially in rural areas. That is why he co-sponsored the WHA-backed Interstate Medical Licensure Compact bill that will speed up the physician licensing process and help to expand access to care in underserved areas.

“This bill was important to my district because we border both Illinois and Iowa,” Novak said. “I know it is difficult to get physicians to practice in rural areas. I looked at the interstate licensure compact as a way to make recruiting new physicians easier.” 

A lifelong resident of Iowa County, Novak grew up on a family farm. He took an early interest in government largely inspired by the late Senator of the 17th District, Dick Kruel (R-Fennimore). 

“Sen. Kruel came to my high school when I was kid. I was just struck by his presentation. I got to know him well. I even went around the district with him,” Novak explained. “I learned from him to put the people in your district before politics and represent the people even if they do not vote for you. I try to do that. He was a ‘local issues’ guy, and that is what I try to be as well.” 

One of the most troubling local issues to Novak is the uptick in use of heroin and abuse of opioids. Novak has been very involved with and supportive of the Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education (H.O.P.E) initiatives because of the impact drug abuse has had on the communities he represents. 

“I believe in giving people the tools they need to fight it. It is a big issue with me,” he said. “I was a foster parent and adopted two sons. I have seen what drug abuse does to families.”

Novak was successful in procuring a state grant for Lafayette County so the County could join a drug task force. This proposal was initially included in the 2015-17 biennial budget, but then was vetoed by Gov. Walker. Novak then introduced standalone legislation to fund this initiative, which ultimately passed the Legislature and was signed into law by the Governor.

Mental health issues are important to Novak. As a member of the Assembly Mental Health Reform Committee and the Speaker’s Task Force on Alzheimer’s and Dementia, he worked with his colleagues on a number of important bills related to support and tools for caregivers. However, workforce issues continue to be a barrier.

“We lack services in mental health because in rural areas it is so hard to recruit providers,” according to Novak. “We need to work on making more mental health resources available in rural Wisconsin. I have been talking to school superintendents in my area, and they really need help addressing this issue in their organizations, too. It’s unclear how we get there, but I am committed to working on it.”

On Medicaid, Novak said he thinks there are savings in the state budget that can be looked at to help “lift reimbursement rates for hospitals.” 

Novak said he thinks the worker’s compensation program works well, and he likes the process that is used to implement changes. “It’s a well-run program, and we should be very proud of it,” he added.

As a first-term legislator, Novak said WHA has been a “huge asset.”

“As an old reporter (Dodgeville Chronicle), I like to get as much information as I can,” he said. “I am fortunate to have a good working relationship with the hospital administrator. They can tell me how a proposed bill will affect them, or I can call the staff at WHA, and they can help me. It is a good network.”

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WHA to Host May 5 Community Benefit/Population Health Summit
Focus on building collaborative community partnerships

The Wisconsin Hospital Association has made it a priority to help hospitals and health systems meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act related to Schedule H and the community health needs assessment (CHNA) planning and implementation process. On May 5, WHA will host a statewide Summit at the Sheraton Madison Hotel featuring state and national experts who will share their expertise in the areas of compliance, the CHNA process and best practices that are helping to create healthier communities in Wisconsin. 

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel will keynote the Summit, which is aimed at helping staff within Wisconsin’s hospitals and health systems develop and implement plans that will improve the health of all Wisconsinites. Trina Hackensmith, vice president, Lyon Software, will present information related to completing “Schedule H” and how to effectively and efficiently collect and report community benefits.

Other topics and speakers include:

    “Creating and Sustaining Local Partnerships that Improve Community Health”
    Karen Timberlake, Director, UW Population Health Institute

    “Wisconsin State Health Plan: Working Together Toward a Healthier State”
    Karen McKeown, RN, MSN, State Health Officer and Administrator of Public Health

    “Building Collaborative Relations Across County Lines”
    Kevin Stranberg, Director of Public Relations, Memorial Medical Center, Ashland

    “Get on the Bus: From CHNA to Action!”
    Paula Morgen, Community Health Manager, ThedaCare
    Kurt Eggebrecht, Director and Public Health Officer, Appleton Health Department

    “Schedule H, CHNAs and Implementation Plans: An Update on Collection and Reporting Requirements”
    Trina Hackensmith, Vice President, Lyon Software

    “WHA Update: Collecting and Reporting Community Benefits”
    Jenna Hanson, Community Benefits Liaison
    Mary Kay Grasmick, Vice President, Communications

WHA members are encouraged to invite public and community health partners and participate in this Summit as a team. The fee for the Summit is $150. A small room block is available at the Sheraton Madison Hotel; call 608-251-2300 for reservations. Online registration is available at: https://events.SignUp4.net/16CBSummit0505

For questions about the Summit, contact Mary Kay Grasmick at mgrasmick@wha.org. Direct registration questions to Kayla Chatterton at kchatterton@wha.org.

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Webinar to Focus on Recent Ransomware Occurrences in Health Care, April 13

What would you do if you suddenly found your patient records encrypted and not accessible? Hospitals of all sizes around the country are experiencing the dilemma of malicious ransomware software invading computer systems and encrypting files, leaving the hospital at a standstill. On April 13, WHA is offering a 90-minute webinar, “Ransomware in Hospitals 2016: Understanding the Problem and Potential Solutions” to focus on recent occurrences, how to best prevent it, and what to do if it happens to your organization.

This webinar will take place April 13 from 12:30-2:00 pm. Online registration is available at: https://events.SignUp4.net/RHPS-0413. For registration questions, contact Kayla Chatterton at kchatterton@wha.org or 608-274-1820.

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“We are Watching,” Dr. Keith Berge Warns Hospital Employees

WHA presented the third in a series of webinars aimed at tackling the opioid abuse and misuse issues in Wisconsin. The April 6 webinar, “Drug Diversion from the Health Care Workplace: A Multiple Victim Crime” focused on the nature and scope of drug diversion from the health care workplace. 

Keith Berge, MD, head of Mayo Clinic’s drug diversion prevention efforts nationally at all Mayo sites, discussed the efforts Mayo Clinic has found to be effective in preventing, detecting and intervening on drug diversion. Berge also encouraged hospitals to examine their policies and protocols in both preventing diversion as well as addressing suspected or actual diversion activity. 

“Examine your entire supply chain,” advised Berge, “from loading dock to incinerator—to see where you might be vulnerable.” 

Berge outlined the approach Mayo Clinics have taken using a multidisciplinary team. The “Medication Diversion Prevention Program” has eight key elements: 

Berge encouraged hospitals to develop a similar multidisciplinary approach and stressed the importance of focusing on prevention efforts. 

“Good diversion prevention techniques can be expensive and cumbersome, but extremely effective. The processes in place remind people we are watching,” shared Berge. 

As a part of the WHA Health Care Leader Opioid Initiative, the next webinar in the series will be “Navigating Wisconsin’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and Controlled Substances Board,” Wednesday, April 27, 2016, from 10:00-11:30 am. This webinar will be presented by Chad Zadrazil, director of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and executive director of the Controlled Substances Board, Department of Safety and Professional Services. For more information or to register for this upcoming event, visit: https://events.SignUp4.net/drugdiversion-opioids

For more information on WHA’s Health Care Leader Opioid Initiative, contact WHA Vice President, Workforce and Clinical Practice Steven Rush at srush@wha.org.

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WCMEW to Host GME Summit May 25

Highlighting work done to expand graduate medical education (GME) in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Council on Medical Education and Workforce (WCMEW) will host a one-day event that will showcase efforts to expand and optimize GME programs in Wisconsin and in other parts of the country. “Getting It Done: Status Report on Expanding GME in Wisconsin” will be held May 25 at the Glacier Canyon Lodge in Wisconsin Dells.

The Summit will begin with keynotes by Shelley Nuss, MD, campus dean for graduate medical education and designated institutional official, GRU/UGA Medical Partnership, speaking on “The Georgia GME Initiative”; and Ted Epperly, MD, president and CEO, Family Medicine Residency of Idaho, presenting “Building GME in Rural Idaho.”

Afternoon sessions start with a panel discussion on Wisconsin’s state-funded GME Grant Programs. Following will be breakout sessions including community engagement in GME, rural training tracks as vehicles to expand GME in rural areas, use of distance learning and technology in GME, and “What You Need to Know About DHS and WRPRAP Grants.”

To register for this event, go to https://events.signup4.net/WCMEWPostGrad0525. Registration questions can be directed to Kayla Chatterton at kchatterton@wha.org or at 608-274-1820.

This event is presented by the Wisconsin Council on Medical Education and Workforce (WCMEW). WCMEW is a multi-stakeholder organization whose purpose is to facilitate strategies to ensure an adequate supply of health care providers to meet the needs of Wisconsin citizens today and into the future.

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Fast Facts from the WHA Information Center: April is Sports Eye Injury Awareness Month

Each year, an estimated 100,000 people are hurt by sports-related eye injuries. About 13,500 of these injuries result in permanent vision loss. In support of Sports Eye Safety Month this April, the American Academy of Ophthalmology reminds athletes everywhere that the great majority of sports-related eye injuries can be avoided by simply wearing the proper protection.

Wisconsin emergency rooms treated more than 10,000 eye-related injuries (all causes) in 2015. Many of these injuries could have been avoided by wearing proper protection. Wear eye goggles, safety glasses or protective shields when you are doing any work or activity that work with power tools or chemicals. 

According to WebMD, the two most common causes of eye injuries are baseballs and fish hooks.

Data provided by the WHAIC (www.whainfocenter.com). The WHA Information Center is dedicated to collecting, analyzing and disseminating complete, accurate and timely data and reports about charges, utilization, quality and efficiency provided by Wisconsin hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers and other health care providers.

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Resources Available to Help Hospitals Combat Emerging Cyber Threats

Cyber criminals are targeting information and other connected systems in every sector of the economy in attempts to gain access to personal information for financial gain and cause disruption. As recent incidents have shown, hospitals and health systems remain a target.

Protecting your organization from cyberattacks is a 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year responsibility. Hospital leaders are working hard to protect their data and information, including patient data, and ensure the safety of increasingly connected systems, such as medical devices. This requires vigilance and action from the entire organization, not just the information technology department. It also requires ongoing preparation and practice for responding to an attack. Unfortunately, cyber criminals increasingly seek to infiltrate hospitals’ critical infrastructure and information systems, and their tactics change constantly.

Engaging in information sharing about cyber risks is one important way to stay informed. The American Hospital Association (AHA) is working with federal partners to enhance information sharing and disseminate best practices for protecting critical infrastructure from cyberattacks. You can find a suite of resources, ranging from podcasts on emerging threats to leadership questions for hospital leaders and trustees, on a special webpage at www.aha.org/cybersecurity

The AHA will continue to educate health care leaders on the importance of cybersecurity. AHA will host a special executive briefing session on cybersecurity and questions hospital leaders need to ask on Tuesday, May 2 at the AHA Annual Membership Meeting in Washington, DC. “Online and Secure: How Cybersecurity Challenges Affect Health Care” will be moderated by AHA board of trustees member Melinda L. Estes, MD, president/CEO of Saint Luke’s Health System, and feature Michael Daniel, special assistant to the President and the White House cybersecurity coordinator; Jane Lute, CEO of the Center for Internet Security and former deputy secretary of Homeland Security; and Richard Miller, president/CEO of Virtua. Visit www.aha.org to register for this session, and watch for additional webinars and resources to come.

The U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security has also issued an alert regarding ransomware, available at: https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/alerts/TA16-091A.

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Health Systems Find Employee Wellness Programs Benefit Other Employers
While ROI is difficult to measure, Jacobson says healthy workforce is a competitive advantage

Saving money on health care expenditures may be the goal of employee wellness programs, but there are other benefits that are more difficult to measure that may be just as valuable. 

Participating in a panel discussion April 5 on “Workplace Wellness Programs Work?” Froedtert Health CEO Catherine Jacobson joined Geoffrey Schick, executive director, Business Health Care Group, and Patrick Travis, specialist leader, Deloitte Consulting. The panel was hosted by Wisconsin Health News and moderated by Editor Tim Stumm.

Jacobson said there are advantages to being recognized as “healthiest employer.” 

“This has been a journey for us. I went into this with skepticism of why are we investing in this? You have to look at the tenure of your employees, and if you are going to reap the benefits of what you are investing in them,” Jacobson said. 

Jacobson said while they have not reduced health care costs, they have decreased risk factors over a period of time. The biggest cost benefit was the use of on-site clinics, which did show a ROI, and also reduced absenteeism. Froedtert has translated what they learned with their own employee wellness program into services they offer employers in the community.

“We offer our experience first with our staff and then we promote that among our employers,” Jacobson said. “We found that the more we integrate our employee wellness program into our benefits design, the more engagement we get in our wellness program. 

Schick said he has seen a much higher prevalence of worker wellness programs than a dozen years ago. Increasingly, it is a tool for maintaining employee engagement and becomes part of an organization’s culture. 

In a national employer survey, Travis said Deloitte found 93 percent of employers said an employee wellness program was important to recruiting and retaining employees. In the same survey, 66 percent of employees viewed the programs negatively. Jacobson countered that at Froedtert, employees overwhelmingly view the program as positive. 

“There is not a one size fits all, but most employers are looking to include employee wellness in their health plan,” Schick said. “To include not just counseling on physical activity, but also on financial and stress relievers and supporting the employees in a more holistic way, they believe that will help with attraction and retention.”

From a population health standpoint, Jacobson said improving the health of Froedtert’s employees, and working with other employers in the community, raises the health of all people living in Milwaukee. 

“As businesses, we are very involved in Milwaukee’s initiatives to make it a healthier community because that is where our workforce comes from,” Jacobson said. “As a health care company, we do a lot of that.”

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