October 12, 2012
Volume 56, Issue 41

ACA, Medicaid Reform Lead WHA Rural Health Council Agenda

Health care reform was the major topic at the October 11 WHA Rural Health Council meeting as Joanne Alig, WHA senior vice president for policy and research, discussed WHAís current analysis of the Supreme Court Decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Alig briefly discussed the individual mandate and insurance exchange provisions of the ACA, but highlighted the impacts of the Medicaid expansion provisions.

Alig noted that the WHA Medicaid Reengineering Group (MRG) is currently analyzing the financial implications of providing Medicaid coverage for various population groups, compared to subsidized coverage through health insurance exchanges. Council members elaborated on the complexity of balancing coverage and payment under health care reform. Ultimately, policymaker decisions will include consideration of the impact on recipients and providers, as well as the state.

Continuing with the Medicaid theme, Brian Potter, WHA senior vice president, finance, updated the Council on several Medicaid issues, including the 2013 hospital assessment, the development of an enhanced ambulatory patient groupings (EAPG) outpatient payment methodology that is scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2013, and upcoming meetings of the WHA Medicaid Advisory Group with DHS to discuss 2013 Medicaid rate setting. He also covered the new Medicaid Pay for Performance program which began July 1 and previewed the DHS agency budget request for the 2013-15 biennium.

In other Council business, Jenny Boese, WHA vice president of external relations and member advocacy, reviewed the federal issues that are in play, focusing on recent and proposed cuts to Medicare payments impacting rural providers. She highlighted the Protect Hospital Care campaign which is designed to help WHA members as they communicate with their legislators. More information on the Protect Hospital Care campaign can be found at www.wha.org/protect-hospital-care.aspx.

Also, Paul Merline, vice president of government relations, discussed the upcoming elections with the Council outlining some of the key state races and the candidates running in those contests. He described some of the several dozen candidate visits WHA has conducted and the issues WHA is communicating during the visits, ranging from issues like legal and regulatory reform to care coordination and workforce.

Merline ended his report with information on recent polling in the national presidential and senate races indicating very close contests for each.

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Wisconsin CEOs Targeted to Present at Leadership for Quality Event

The Health Research Education Trust (HRET) is holding a Leadership for Quality event on Monday, November 12, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana, as part of the Partnership for Patients national meeting. WHA is proud to announce that Nicole Clapp, president & CEO for Grant Regional Health Center, and Mark Herzog, president & CEO for Holy Family Memorial, Inc., will be part of two leadership panel discussions at the event.

"HRET looked to Wisconsin CEO participation on the panels because of the high level of engagement in our hospitals. This level of engagement does not happen without senior level support and involvement," said Kelly Court, WHA chief quality officer.

This all-day senior leadership event is specifically designed to discuss the important role senior leaders (CEOs, COOs, CMOs, CNOs, CQO/VPs of quality) will play in accelerating performance improvement and the successes and challenges the HEN hospitals face as they work to achieve a 40 percent reduction in inpatient harm and 20 percent reduction in preventable readmissions by 2013. The event will provide opportunities to hear from other senior leaders on how to advance this work and to share lessons learned through peer-to-peer sharing and networking. HRET is offering to cover travel expenses for 15 senior leaders from Wisconsin. WHA will help arrange the assignment of these 15 slots on a first come first serve basis. If a member of your senior leadership team is interested in attending the event, contact Jen Muehrcke (jmuehrcke@wha.org or 608-268-1825).

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Wisconsin Hospitals PAC and Conduit Campaign at 87% of Goal to Raise $250,000 by Yearís End

The 2012 Wisconsin Hospitals State PAC and Conduit campaign has raised almost $217,591 to date, putting the campaign at 87 percent of the annual goal. This total reflects the financial contributions of 345 individuals who have contributed an average of $614.This average is up from the 2011 and 2010 average of $469 per contributor. This year-to-date total is also an increase of more than $44,000 ahead of last yearís pace and over $8,500 ahead of the 2010 record-setting campaign year.

In this 2012 election year, a total of more than $180,000 has been disbursed from the Wisconsin Hospitals PAC and by individuals from their Wisconsin Hospitals Conduit accounts to candidate campaigns so far. This total is expected to grow quite a bit more in the last month before the November elections.

"When we think of the fundraising campaign, especially during the first half of the year, most of the focus is on contributions to the PAC and Conduit," said Eric Borgerding, WHA executive vice president. "However, in an election year, the disbursement of those contributions to candidates throughout Wisconsin is just as important."

Also more notable in an election year and especially true in this one, is that an increased number of 2012 conduit members are disbursing their Conduit funds to candidates throughout the state rather than only in their own community.

Thank you to those 2012 contributors to date who are listed below. Contributors are listed alphabetically by contribution amount category. The next publication of the contributor list will be in the October 26 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
Ambs, Kathleen St. Mary's Hospital
Appleby, Jane Aurora Health Care
Arendt, Kathleen Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Ashenhurst, Karla Ministry Health Care
Bair, Barbara St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Beglinger, Joan St. Mary's Hospital
Bell, Kristine Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Bernklau, Robert Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Bessen, Paulette Ministry Saint Michael's Hospital
Biros, Marilyn SSM Health Care-Wisconsin
Bliven, David Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Bosio, David Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Boson, Ann Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital
Bowers, Laura SSM Health Care-Wisconsin
Brenholt, Craig St. Joseph's Hospital
Brenton, Andrew Wisconsin Hospital Association
Buettner, Susan Aurora Health Care
Burgener, Jean Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Buss, Diane St. Mary's Hospital
Bychinski, Paul Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Calhoun, William Mercy Medical Center
Carlson, Peter Aurora Psychiatric Hospital
Censky, Bill Holy Family Memorial
Cieslak Duchek, Mary Aurora Health Care
Clark, Julie St. Joseph's Hospital
Clesceri, Maryann Aurora Health Care
Coil, Joseph St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Cox, Tamarah Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Culotta, Jennifer St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Cummings, Mike Aurora Health Care
Dahl, James Fort HealthCare
Dalebroux, Steve St. Mary's Hospital
Danner, Forrest Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Davis, Leslie Aurora Health Care
DeRosa, Jody St. Mary's Janesville Hospital
Dettman, Amy Bellin Hospital
Dietrich, Dean Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Dodd, Petra Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Drengler, Kathryn Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Dufek, Nancy Memorial Medical Center - Ashland
Dux, Larry Community Memorial Hospital
Elliott, Roger St. Joseph's Hospital
Entenmann, Kim St. Joseph's Hospital
Fabich, Robb Aspirus, Inc.
Facey, Alice St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Fielding, Laura Holy Family Memorial
Francaviglia, Stephen Aurora Health Care
Freimund, Rooney Bay Area Medical Center
Fuchs, Thomas St. Joseph's Hospital
Gajeski, Lynn St. Vincent Hospital
Garavet, Scott Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Garibaldi, Isabelle Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - All Saints
Garvey, Gale St. Mary's Hospital
Gates, John Aurora Health Care
Giedd, Janice St. Joseph's Hospital
Govier, Mary Holy Family Memorial
Grady, Raymond Aurora Health Care
Granger, Lorna ProHealth Care, Inc.
Gresham, James Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Groskreutz, Kevin St. Joseph's Hospital
Grundstrom, David Flambeau Hospital
Gulan, Maria Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Halida, Cheryl St. Joseph's Hospital
Hamilton, Mark
Hanson, Gail Aurora Health Care
Hart, Daniel Community Memorial Hospital
Hattem, Marita Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Hedrington, Brian Sacred Heart Hospital
Heinzen, James Aurora Medical Center in Hartford
Hieb, Laura Bellin Hospital
Hill, Nick St. Joseph's Hospital
Hinker, Jennifer Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Hinton, George Aurora Sinai Medical Center
Hockers, Sara Holy Family Memorial
Hoege, Beverly Reedsburg Area Medical Center
Holub, Gregory Ministry Door County Medical Center
Huber, Mark Aurora Health Care
Hueller, Julie Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Huemmer, Paul St. Mary's Hospital
Irwin, Ron Aurora Health Care
Jelle, Laura St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Jensema, Christine HSHS-Eastern Wisconsin Division
Jensen, Russell St. Mary's Hospital
Johnas, Nancy Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Johnson, George Reedsburg Area Medical Center
Jones, Mary Meriter Hospital
Karow, Deborah Ministry Health Care's Howard Young Medical Center
Karuschak, Michael Amery Regional Medical Center
Keene, Kaaron Memorial Health Center
Kelsey Foley, Kathy Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Kempen, Jacob Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Kepchar, Dennis Ministry Health Care
King, Steve St. Mary's Hospital
Kingston, Mary Beth Aurora Health Care
Klay, Lois St. Joseph's Hospital
Klein, Richard Aurora Health Care
Klein, Tim Holy Family Memorial
Kleinschmidt, Sherry Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Koch, Doug Aurora Health Care
Kocourek, Cathie Aurora Medical Center in Two Rivers
Konkel, John Aurora Health Care
Koss, Gail Aspirus, Inc.
Krause, Carolyn Meriter Hospital
Lachecki, Therese Memorial Medical Center - Ashland
Lambrecht, Randy Aurora Health Care
Lampman, Sandra St. Mary's Hospital
Larson, William St. Joseph's Hospital
Leonard, Mary Kay St. Mary's Hospital
Lewandowski, Terri Ministry Our Lady of Victory Hospital
Logemann, Tim Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Lucas, Roger Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Ludgin, Richard Aurora Health Care
Lynch, Sue Mayo Health System - Franciscan Healthcare
Marcouiller, Don Memorial Medical Center - Ashland
Margan, Rob Wisconsin Hospital Association
Markgraf, Janelle Langlade Hospital - An Aspirus Partner
Maroney, Lisa
Mason, Paul Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - All Saints
Maurer, Mary Holy Family Memorial
McMeans, Scott Holy Family Memorial
Meicher, John St. Mary's Hospital
Merline, Karen
Merrick, Marianne St. Mary's Hospital
Mohr, Carol Sacred Heart Hospital
Moon-Mogush, Cindy Aurora Health Care
Moss, Kenneth Meriter Hospital
Murphy, Thomas Aurora Health Care
Neeno, Joan St. Mary's Janesville Hospital
Nelson, Dean St. Mary's Hospital
Nevers, Rick Aspirus, Inc.
Nguyen, Juliet Sacred Heart Hospital
Nicklaus, Todd Aspirus, Inc.
Norbin Killoran, Carrie Aurora Health Care
Norton, Marcella Aspirus Wausau Hospital
O'Hara, Tiffanie Wisconsin Hospital Association
Ojala, Theresa St. Mary's Hospital
Olson, Bonnie Sacred Heart Hospital
Olson, Christine Aurora Medical Center in Kenosha
Olson, David Froedtert Health
Olson, Keri St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Ose, Peggy Riverview Hospital Association
Peck, Lori Memorial Health Center
Peiffer, Susan Sacred Heart Hospital
Pempek, Kalynn Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Penczykowski, James St. Mary's Hospital
Pennebecker, Allen Ministry Saint Michael's Hospital
Pirsig-Anderson, Jane Aurora Health Care
Platt-Gibson, Melanie St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Prunty, Brian Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Quinn, George Wisconsin Hospital Association
Reinke, Mary Meriter Hospital
Reynolds, Kristen Aurora Health Care
Richbourg, Mary Sacred Heart Hospital
Rocheleau, John Bellin Hospital
Roethle, Linda Bellin Hospital
Roundy, Ann Columbus Community Hospital
Rozenfeld, Jonathan St. Mary's Hospital
Rubenzer, Deanne St. Joseph's Hospital
Rudolph, Wade Sacred Heart Hospital
Rueber, Joel Aspirus, Inc.
Samuelson, Bonnie Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Sanicola, Suzanne Columbia St. Mary's Columbia Hospital
Saunaitis, Tamara Meriter Hospital
Schaetzl, Ron St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Schneider, David Langlade Hospital - An Aspirus Partner
Schraufnagel, Patricia Memorial Medical Center - Ashland
Schuelke, Susan Community Memorial Hospital
Schwartz, Mary St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Scinto, Jeanne Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Sczygelski, Sidney Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Sender, Jon
Sheehan, Heather Hayward Area Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home
Sio, Tim Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - All Saints
Slomczewski, Constance Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - All Saints
Stapelfeldt, Kimberly Aurora Medical Center in Hartford
Statz, Darrell Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative
Steevens, Alan St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Stelzer, Jason St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Stewart, Jeff Children's Hospital and Health System
Strasser, Kathy Aspirus, Inc.
Strobel, Donald Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Sullivan, Anne Memorial Medical Center - Ashland
Tapper, Joy Milwaukee Health Care Partnership
Teigen, Seth St. Mary's Hospital
Thornton, Eric St. Mary's Janesville Hospital
Thurmer, DeAnn Waupun Memorial Hospital
Tobin, Susan Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Turner, Sally Aurora Health Care
Tuttle, Kathryn Memorial Medical Center - Ashland
Voelker, Thomas Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Walker, Troy St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Wanless, Kathy Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Watts, Susan St. Vincent Hospital
Wojciechowski, Gary Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Woleske, Chris Bellin Psychiatric Center
Worrick, Gerald Ministry Door County Medical Center
Wymelenberg, Tracy Aurora Health Care
Wysocki, Scott St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Zaher, Beth
Zaverl, Kimberly Froedtert Health
Zeller, Brad Hayward Area Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home
Contributors ranging from $500 to $999
Arca, Marjorie Children's Hospital and Health System
Bard, Jeffrey Aurora Health Care
Bonin, Christopher Aurora Health Care
Borgerding, Dana
Brooks, Alenia Aurora Health Care
Brophy, Michael Aurora Health Care
Bukowski, Cathy Ministry Eagle River Memorial Hospital
Bultema, Janice
Carlson, Dan Bay Area Medical Center
Chess, Eva Aurora Health Care
Chumbley, Bud Aspirus, Inc.
Clough, Sheila Ministry Eagle River Memorial Hospital
Dietsche, James Bellin Hospital
Eckels, Timothy Hospital Sisters Health System
Ewing, Thomas Aurora Health Care
Fields, Mary Aurora Health Care
Garcia-Thomas, Cristy Aurora Health Care
Guffey, Kerra Meriter Hospital
Hart, Shelly Aurora Health Care
Heifetz, Michael SSM Health Care-Wisconsin
Houlahan, Beth
Huettl, Patricia Holy Family Memorial
Hyland, Carol Agnesian HealthCare
Jacobson, Terry St. Mary's Hospital of Superior
Joyner, Ken Bay Area Medical Center
Just, Lisa Aurora Medical Center in Hartford
Kellar, Richard Aurora West Allis Medical Center
Kerwin, George Bellin Hospital
Klimisch, Ronald Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Larson, Margaret Mercy Medical Center
Lentz, Darrell Aspirus, Inc.
Mantei, Mary Jo Bay Area Medical Center
May, Carol Sauk Prairie Memorial Hospital
McDonald, Brian Aurora Health Care
McKennie, Randall Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center
McKevett, Timothy Beloit Health System
McNally, Maureen Froedtert Health
Miller, Jim Children's Hospital and Health System
Nelson, Dave SSM Health Care-Wisconsin
Nelson, James Fort HealthCare
Potts, Dennis Aurora Health Care
Richards, Theresa Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital
Rickelman, Debbie WHA Information Center
Roberts, Paula Children's Hospital and Health System
Samitt, Craig Dean Health
Selberg, Heidi HSHS-Eastern Wisconsin Division
Shabino, Charles Wisconsin Hospital Association
Simaras, James Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Skowlund, Kathleen Aurora Health Care-South Region
Stuart, Philip Tomah Memorial Hospital
Swanson, Kerry St. Mary's Janesville Hospital
Talley, Barbara St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Taplin Statz, Linda SSM Health Care-Wisconsin
Trenschel, Robert Aurora Health Care
VanCourt, Bernie Bay Area Medical Center
Wilk, Leonard Aurora Medical Center in Grafton
Zenk, Ann Ministry Saint Mary's Hospital
Zorbini, John Aurora Health Care
Contributors ranging from $1,000 to $1,499
Anderson, Sandy St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Bablitch, Steve Aurora Health Care
Bailet, Jeffrey Aurora Health Care
Banaszynski, Gregory Aurora Health Care
Bedwell, Elizabeth Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Britton, Gregory Beloit Health System
Buck, Catherine Froedtert Health
Byrne, Frank St. Mary's Hospital
Canter, Richard Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Court, Kelly Wisconsin Hospital Association
Deich, Faye Sacred Heart Hospital
Edwards, Susan ProHealth Care, Inc.
Falvey, Patrick Aurora Health Care
Fischer, Edwin Fort HealthCare
Francis, Jeff Ministry Health Care
Frank, Jennifer Wisconsin Hospital Association
Garcia, Dawn St. Joseph's Hospital
Gunn, Veronica Children's Hospital and Health System
Gutzeit, Michael Children's Hospital and Health System
Herzog, Mark Holy Family Memorial
Hilt, Monica Ministry Saint Mary's Hospital
Hymans, Daniel Memorial Medical Center - Ashland
Johnson, Charles St. Mary's Hospital
Kelch, Elaine
Kosanovich, John Watertown Regional Medical Ceter
Lappin, Michael Aurora Health Care
Loftus, Philip Aurora Health Care
Mattes, Dan Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Mohorek, Ronald Ministry Health Care
Niemer, Margaret Children's Hospital and Health System
Peterson, Douglas Chippewa Valley Hospital
Radoszewski, Pat Children's Hospital and Health System
Reynolds, Sheila Children's Hospital and Health System
Ricci, Anthony Aurora Memorial Hospital of Burlington
Robertstad, John ProHealth Care - Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital
Roller, Rachel Aurora Health Care
Russell, John Columbus Community Hospital
Schafer, Michael Spooner Health System
Size, Pat
Tempelis, Eric Gundersen Lutheran Health System
Uhing, Michael Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Westrick, Paul Columbia St. Mary's Columbia Hospital
Wolf, Edward Lakeview Medical Center
Contributors ranging from $1,500 to $1,999
Alig, Joanne Wisconsin Hospital Association
Barney, Steven SSM Health Care-Wisconsin
Bloch, Jodi Wisconsin Hospital Association
Boese, Jennifer Wisconsin Hospital Association
Clapp, Nicole Grant Regional Health Center
Coffman, Joan St. Joseph's Hospital
Eichman, Cynthia Ministry Our Lady of Victory Hospital
Geboy, Scott Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman
Gorelick, Marc Children's Hospital and Health System
Grasmick, Mary Kay Wisconsin Hospital Association
Hahn, Brad Aurora Health Care
Harding, Edward Bay Area Medical Center
Levin, Jeremy Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative
Lewis, Gordon Burnett Medical Center
Maciver, Carolyn Aurora Health Care
Meyer, Daniel Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay
Natzke, Ryan Marshfield Clinic
O'Brien, Mary Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center
Postler-Slattery, Diane Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Potter, Brian Wisconsin Hospital Association
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.
Duncan, Robert Children's Hospital and Health System
Erwin, Duane Aspirus, Inc.
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
Manas, Julie Sacred Heart Hospital
Merline, Paul Wisconsin Hospital Association
Mettner, Michelle Children's Hospital and Health System
Neufelder, Daniel Affinity Health System
Normington, Jeremy Moundview Memorial Hospital & Clinics
Oliverio, John Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Pandl, Therese HSHS-Eastern Wisconsin Division
Sanders, Michael Monroe Clinic
Sanders, Robert Children's Hospital and Health System
Sexton, William Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital
Starmann-Harrison, Mary Hospital Sisters Health System
Taylor, Mark Columbia St. Mary's, Inc.
Woodward, James Meriter Hospital
Contributors ranging from $3,000 to $4,999
Borgerding, Eric Wisconsin Hospital Association
Fish, David Hospital Sisters Health System
Turkal, Nick Aurora Health Care
Contributors $5,000 and above
Bjork, Tanya
Brenton, Stephen Wisconsin Hospital Association
Size, Tim Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative
Tyre, Scott Capitol Navigators, Inc.

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New Report Identifies Shortages in Health Care Workforce by 2016
Workforce data identified as key strategy for Wisconsin

Competitive Wisconsin, Inc. on October 9, 2012 released its report Be Bold 2: Growing Wisconsinís Talent Pool. The report offered strategies and recommendations to ensure a match between the workforce needs of state employers and the skills and knowledge of Wisconsin workers.

Health care was identified as one of five critical job sectors in Wisconsin. The report included a forecast of supply and demand. Health care, like other sectors, was predicted to have a significant shortfall in appropriately-prepared workers by 2016 with an increasing shortfall in 2021. The report emphasized the need for real-time information about the skills that employers require and the importance of preparing potential workers that can fill those jobs.

Judy Warmuth, WHA vice president, workforce development, participated in the committee that advised the process. According to Warmuth, "Good data is the key to a future with the appropriate workforce. A proactive approach to matching the workforce to both current and future jobs requires a clear understanding of the current situation and accurate predictions for future needs. Educators and employers can work together when they have this strong base of knowledge for planning, strategy and action."

"WHA is pleased the report highlights talent development and acquisition as essential tools of economic development. Wisconsin offers high value, high quality health care," according to Eric Borgerding, executive vice president, WHA. "But to maintain this status into the future, we need a well-trained workforce available to our hospitals. WHA agrees with the focus of the study, which is to ensure economic growth for Wisconsin."

The report identified current workforce issues including the aging of the workforce, a talent mismatch, lack of a statewide workforce focus and lack of current data. These all point to the need for the statewide workforce strategy proposed in the report. BE BOLD 2: Growing Wisconsinís Talent Pool contains operational recommendations targeted at achieving eight strategic goals. The goals, along with the rest of the report, can be found at www.competitivewi.com.

The Be Bold 2 report, which follows the release of Tim Sullivanís The Road Ahead: Restoring Wisconsinís Workforce Development, will soon be followed by a report from the Governorís College and Workforce Readiness Council.

"The timing and grouping of these powerful reports indicates that Wisconsin is serious about addressing todayís and tomorrowís workforce issues," said Borgerding.

Workforce remains a high priority at WHA, which has long been concerned with maintaining an adequate hospital workforce and has annually produced a report on the hospital workforce in Wisconsin. The latest report, with a focus on difficult-to-fill positions and emerging hospital workforce issues and trends, will be released in November.

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Presidentís Column: Washington Panel Describes Health Care Future that Looks a lot Like Wisconsin

A group of respected health care policy thought leaders, led by former HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt (he followed Tommy Thompson during the last Bush Administration), shared their versions of an ideal health care future last week in Washington D.C. The building blocks of that future are very much in place right now in Wisconsin.

Leavitt, along with top Clinton health staffer Chris Jennings, conservative "free market" commentator Jim Capretta and the National Business Group on Healthís Andy Webber agreed that:

The group called out six specific competencies that will be required of "integrators" if they are to be successful in managing risk:

The policy leaders also noted that ongoing provider and payer consolidation will escalate in the near term.

The group agreed that Medicareís future is driving the environment. And thatís because future Medicare payment will change dramaticallyóeither due to a move to premium supportóoródue to staggering Medicare cuts possibly overseen by an Independent Board. In either case, Medicare revenues for providers are likely to flatline for the foreseeable future.

For those who are either policy wonks or interested in possible scenarios that may play out post-November 6, check out www.healthreformbracketology.com, a fascinating guide predicting the status of ACA provisions under various election scenarios. The site is sponsored by Secretary Leavittís organizationóThe Leavitt Group.

Steve Brenton

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Partners for Patients Creates Increased Focus on Patient Safety

The WHA quality team is continuing their trek around the state to visit all of the hospitals participating in the Partners for Patients initiative. Travis Dollak, WHA quality coordinator, recently visited three hospitals in the central part of the state. The site visits give hospitals a chance to share their great work and identify ways they can improve even faster.

The WHA Partners for Patients initiative is working well, according to the hospitals that Dollak visited. It provides structure to the improvement work that is going on across the state.

"The work these hospitals are doing to improve patient safety, the number of people involved in the projects and their relentless focus is impressive," said Dollak.

A summary of each of Dollakís hospital visits follows:

Ministry St Clareís Hospital, Weston
Ministry St. Clareís Hospital has demonstrated a strong culture of safety and reducing patient harm by participating in five initiatives as part of Partners for Patients. At a recent Grand Rounds more than 40 individuals attended and were provided updates on the different improvement efforts taking place. Each improvement team has made efforts to get other front-line staff involved as demonstrated by more than 60 individuals participating in generating ideas to reduce future adverse events.

Ministry St Michaelís Hospital, Stevens Point
Ministry St. Michaelís Hospital is focused on reducing patient falls. The "falls team" is very engaged in graphing and analyzing data over time. They have a number of interventions going on at the senior level (new beds with alarms) and the front line (velcroing cords to prevent patients from tripping), and are interested in site visits. The team contributed to Partners for Patients by sharing a VTE risk assessment tool. They also used the staff safety assessment survey to get staff engaged and received over 40 responses.

Aspirus Wausau Hospital, Wausau
Aspirus Hospital has been focusing efforts on reducing Catheter Associate Urinary Tract Infections. A robust team including RN charge nurses and infection preventionists are leading the team. At a recent meeting, other unit leaders have joined the team to better understand the recommendations for catheter insertion and removal. The group has already found a number of opportunities for improvement and is planning a number of small tests of change. They are looking for ways to engage more frontline staff as they continue to focus on process measures to drive improvement.

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WHA Focuses on Improving Wage Index and Occupational Mix Reporting

WHA again this year is working with RC Healthcare on our wage index improvement project. This is a major WHA commitment and member benefit aimed at helping hospitals accurately report data in their cost reports which is used to calculate the hospital wage index, a key component of Medicare payment for PPS hospitals.

As the kickoff to this yearís wage index improvement project, WHA and RC Healthcare will be offering a wage index education webinar on October 24 at 10 am. This program will provide important information on the wage index correction process. Over the years, this engagement, which is provided as a member service, has resulted in substantial corrections of various hospital data errors or FI adjustment errors and has been critically important to maintaining the integrity and accuracy of the wage index for hospitals located in Wisconsin.

New topics covered by this yearís webinar will include the new Worksheet S-3 format with a comparison to the old format and preparation instructions. Pension reporting guidelines which were discussed last year will be covered to answer any questions hospitals may have in preparing the form. Current wage index impact of the occupational mix survey submitted July 1, 2011, findings during the audit and appeals process, and CMS proposals to Congress for wage index reform will also be discussed during the webinar. All wage index revisions need to be submitted by early December 2012.

PPS hospital members are encouraged to participate. More detailed information about the upcoming webinar was recently emailed to hospital CFOs.

While the education component of the wage index improvement project is important, it is only one piece of the overall effort. RC Healthcare also identifies a wage index contact at each hospital and then either visits or makes individual phone calls to each facility as they work on wage index reporting issues. These additional proactive efforts have led to more accurate reporting and increased reimbursement to Wisconsin hospitals

RC Healthcare also helps hospitals prepare the occupational mix survey which is an additional adjustment factor used to modify Medicare PPS rates. Through several rounds of occupational mix survey submissions, RC Healthcare has educated Wisconsin hospitals on how the survey works and how it should be completed.

If you have questions about WHAís Wage Index Improvement Project, contact Brian Potter at WHA at bpotter@wha.org or 608-274-1820.

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Memorial Health Center Designated as Pathway to Excellence Institution

Memorial Health Center (An Aspirus Partner) in Medford has become the first health care organization in Wisconsin to receive Pathway to Excellence recognition from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The Pathway to Excellence Program® recognizes health care organizations for positive practice environments where nurses excel. Ninety hospitals nationwide have been recognized as Pathway to Excellence facilities, with Medford being the first and only Wisconsin hospital to achieve the goal.

Kaaron Keene, vice president, Patient Care Services at Memorial Health Center (MHC) is pleased with the designation. According to Keene, "MHC is committed to nurses, to what nurses identify as important to their practice, and to valuing nursesí contributions in the workplace. This designation confirms that nurses working here know their efforts are supported."

The Pathway to Excellence designation is granted for three years and may be renewed. An organization earns or renews the Pathway to Excellence designation via a thorough review process. Applicants conduct a review process to fully document the integration of those standards in the organizationís practices, policies and culture. Pathway designation can only be achieved if an organizationís nurses validate the data and other evidence submitted, via an independent, confidential survey.

"Memorial Health Center is to be congratulated for being the first in Wisconsin to achieve recognition status from Pathway to Excellence," said Judy Warmuth, vice president of workforce development, WHA. "They join 13 Wisconsin hospitals that have also been recognized by the ANCC as part of the Magnet Hospital Program."

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21st Annual $2,500 Rural Health Essay Prize - April 15 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). Students are encouraged to write on a rural health topic for a regular class and then to submit a copy to the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative as an entry by April 15.

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

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Member News: Rogers Behavioral Health System Announces Key Administrative Positions

Patrick T. Hammer, president & chief executive officer (CEO) of Rogers Behavioral Health System, recently announced the promotions of Paul Mueller, CAPSW, from chief operating officer to CEO of Rogers Memorial Hospitalóand Gerald Noll from chief financial officer (CFO) of the Hospital to executive vice president (EVP) and CFO of the entire System.

As new CEO of the Hospital, Mueller provides the leadership necessary for evaluating and making recommendations to help improve the hospitalís administrative, clinical, marketing, financial and environmental operating systems. His primary emphasis will be to enhance the hospitalís ability to deliver high-quality care as the number of individuals and families who seek help at Rogers Memorial Hospital continues to grow.

As the new EVP and CFO of the System, Noll will provide leadership for the financial oversight and development of the Systemís five key corporations, which include Rogers Memorial Hospital; Rogers Memorial Hospital Foundation, Inc.; Rogers Partners in Behavioral Health, LLC; Rogers Center for Research and Training; and Rogers InHealth. Nollís primary emphasis will be on cost analysis, revenue cycle, financial due diligence, land/building acquisitions, as well as financing and construction management for the System.

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Wisconsin Hospitals Community Benefits: Charity Care

Fear of a bill should never prevent a patient from seeking care at a Wisconsin hospital. Wisconsin hospital charity care programs provided $232 million to more than 700 patients each day last year. The stories that follow illustrate the deep commitment and continuing concern that hospitals have to their patients to ensure they receive the care they need regardless of their ability to pay.

Georgeís story

It was during a very low point in Georgeís life that Reedsburg Area Medical Center (RAMC) was able to provide much needed financial relief.

George had been a loyal employee all of his working years, with one industrial company in town. Now, when health problems were overwhelming him, he discovered that his deductibles were so high he couldnít afford some of the procedures he had scheduled. Due to a rough economy, his employer had been downsizing and changed insurance companies many times, saddling George with deductibles that were beyond his ability to pay.

Thatís when RAMCís Charity Care offered him just the relief he was looking for. After meeting with very helpful staff to get his application approved, he was able to get in very quickly for the radiology procedure he needed.

George says, "RAMC was there for me when I had nowhere else to turn. I seriously didnít think I was going to be able to have the procedures that I needed, and I felt very lost. Iím very grateful that this program is in place to help people just like me."

Reedsburg Area Medical Center

"You listened with your ears and your heart."

A word of thanks can go a long way to any caregiver at Aurora West Allis Medical Center knowing that they have given their best to assist every patient and their family. Take the case of Mr. R.B. He was a hard-working citizen, but when the ownership of the company he worked for switched, he was unable to afford its new health plan and was left uninsured. Mr. R.B. was healthy at that time.

However, he later became ill, and to further complicate matters, he was diagnosed with a chronic skin condition, one that required many skin grafts. When financial counselor Sandy Malloy learned of this manís situation, she immediately set out to help him.

"I met with Mr. R.B. and his mother frequently to discuss their financial situation. At that time he was still able to work part-time," Sandy explained.

"I went out of my way to help this family because, despite his chronic condition, this proud gentleman still tried to work part-time to help out his family. Eventually, his doctor told him he could no longer do so, as his condition got so bad. I know that Mr. R.B. is a hard worker and a fighter."

Sandy continued: "I worked with our Wound Care Specialist, Mike, as well as our financial department, enabling Mr. R.B. to receive a 100 percent discount through Auroraís Helping Hand financial assistance program for the services he needed. And now, going forward, he is with BadgerCare Core."

Soon thereafter, Sandy received a card from the family expressing their deep appreciation.

"Dear Sandy, We have now had a few days to try to process the incredible news you gave us on Monday and it is still impossible to find the words to express our gratitude and our extreme good fortune in just knowing you. We have gone over every word you said to us countless times and still canít believe it. You smiled when you said you were just doing your job, but you did so much more. You changed our lives. You listened with your ears and your heart. We will never be able to repay you for your tireless work and your kindness. You, your family, and everyone you love will forever be in our hearts and prayers. You are an amazing woman. Thank you, R.B. & Mom."

Aurora West Allis Medical Center

Charity care helps family in need

A husband came in for financial counseling while his wife was in St. Maryís ICU on a ventilator. A counselor performed a detailed review of his situation. He had recently lost his job due to having to be away from work to care for his two young sons (while his wife was hospitalized) and be at her side at the hospital. This also meant loss of his health insurance. The counselor was able to determine that his family qualified for the hospitalís charity program. The review also determined that his health insurance could be reinstated through a cobra agreement with a small amount of financial assistance, which the hospital did. This resulted in his wifeís hospital bills being coved by health insurance, and any out-of-pocket balances resolved by the approved charity. These actions also facilitated her transfer to the only local long-term care facility that accepts ventilator patients, which meant he and his boys would not have to travel to visit each day.

Through the whole process you could see the toll this was taking on him physically and emotionally. He commented to the financial counselor that he would be unable to provide Easter baskets to his sons this year. The department manager worked with the hospitalís service recovery program and was able to approve a small gift card for the local Wal-Mart. This was presented to him on the day of his wifeís discharge, two days before Easter. His face immediately lit up and you could see his demeanor change. He tearfully hugged the financial counselor and thanked everyone at St. Maryís Hospital for truly caring for his whole family in their time of need.

St. Maryís Hospital Medical Center, Green Bay

Patient shown dignity and compassion

When Kathleen went to the Emergency Department at Wheaton Franciscan - St. Joseph with pain from a bowel obstruction, she was quickly admitted to undergo surgery where she would soon learn that she also had stage four colon cancer. The 52-year-old began cancer treatment immediately under the care of Dr. Norwood Anderson.

Initially, Kathleen had medical insurance through her employer. Forced to retire due to her illness, she lost her insurance.

"Everyone in Dr. Andersonís office was so kind, generous and supportive," said Kathleen. "My social worker, Claire Siebold, hooked me up with financial counselor Donna Semons who helped me to fill out the forms and apply for Community Care."

Kathleen was approved for Community Care to cover most of her costs.

"By the grace of God, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare helped me get on a payment plan that is doable and with the dignity and compassion that made me feel safe. The Community Care program has taken a huge weight off my shoulders," said Kathleen.

Kathleen received the much needed assistance through the time of her death in May 2011.

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Ė St. Joseph, Milwaukee

When a loved one struggles

A 21-year-old man came to the Emergency Department at Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center and was diagnosed with paranoia and mental health issues. The financial counselor who met with the patient had a difficult time trying to communicate with him because he did not want to talk with anyone, not even the doctors and nurses, let alone a non-clinical caregiver.

After the financial counselor paid two separate visits to the patient, she discovered that the patientís mother and sister had visited him that day. She was able to track them down to obtain information needed to process an Aurora Helping Hand application.

The patientís mother confessed, "We are extremely concerned about accumulating hospital bills because he is uninsured. We have nowhere to turn for help."

Upon processing the information the family provided, the financial counselor was able to inform the patient and his family that a 100 percent discount would be provided for the medical attention he needed.

When the patientís family heard the great news, his mother rushed back to the financial counselor to express her appreciation. She later sent in a note which reads in part:

"Thank you for your kindness with helping my family with the hospital bills. You will never know how difficult it is living with a son who is constantly paranoid about everything. I am so grateful that my son will receive the treatment he needs."

Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center

Submit community benefit stories to Mary Kay Grasmick, editor, at

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

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