December 14, 2012
Volume 56, Issue 50

Wisconsin Hospitals PAC and Conduit Campaign Sets New Record

The 2012 Wisconsin Hospitals PAC and Conduit campaign has exceeded the 2012 goal, raising $250,163. This total reflects the financial contributions of 418 individuals who contributed an average of $598. This total is an increase of almost $20,000 over last year’s total and more than $15,000 over the then-record 2010 year where the total raised was just over $235,000.

In this 2012 busy election year starting with spring recall elections and hotly-contested November races, a total of more than $270,000 was disbursed from the Wisconsin Hospitals PAC and Wisconsin Hospitals Conduit. Contributions were made to 156 individual candidate campaigns in 2012 with the majority, 60 percent, going to candidates running for the State Assembly and State Senate.

Also notable in 2012 was the increase in the number of Platinum Club members, from 49 to 56 individuals. Platinum Club members are those who contribute more than $1,500 in a calendar year. Platinum Club members will receive their premium recognition gifts in January.

Since 2001, more than $2.1 million has been raised, and nearly that much contributed to campaigns from both parties through the Wisconsin Hospitals Conduit and PAC. We have come a long way since 2001 when a then-record $60,000 was raised that year.

"This record-shattering year and continued advancement through the last decade could not have been possible without the leadership and dedication of so many who understand how critical continued growth of the annual campaign is to helping elect knowledgeable political leaders that understand the complexities of providing health care in Wisconsin. I would like to personally thank the following individuals listed in this publication who are the backbone of this successful campaign," said Dr. Nick Turkal, 2012 Advocacy Committee chair.

The 2012 campaign participants are listed on pages 13-14 alphabetically by contribution amount.

While the elections are over, many candidates have outstanding campaign debts and may be soliciting individuals for donations to pay those debts. If a candidate campaign requests your financial support, remember to contact WHA’s Jodi Bloch or Jenny Boese to check your Wisconsin Hospital Conduit account balance.

Next year’s campaign effort will continue to focus on growing the number of individuals participating in the 2012 campaign. The 2013 Advocacy Committee, chaired by outgoing WHA chair Sandy Anderson, will meet in early spring to help determine next year’s goal. If you would like to join the Advocacy Committee, contact WHA’s Jodi Bloch at 608-217-9508.

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
Bagnall, Andrew St. Nicholas Hospital
Bair, Barbara St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Balzer, John Froedtert Health
Baudry, Sharon Columbia St. Mary's, Inc.
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
Bradley, Connie Columbia St. Mary's Columbia Hospital
Braun, James Flambeau Hospital
Brenholt, Craig St. Joseph's Hospital
Brenny, Terrence Stoughton Hospital Association
Brenton, Andrew Wisconsin Hospital Association
Buettner, Susan Aurora Health Care
Burgener, Jean Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Busch, Rebecca Spooner Health System
Buss, Diane St. Mary's Hospital
Bychinski, Paul Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Calhoun, William Mercy Medical Center
Campau, Patricia Columbia St. Mary's, Inc.
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
Cole-Ouzounian, Denise St. Mary's Hospital
Collins, Sherry Wisconsin Hospital Association
Coopman, Dianne St. Mary's Janesville Hospital
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
Debilzen, Mary Holy Family Memorial
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
Drexler, Rochelle Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Dufek, Nancy Memorial Medical Center - Ashland
Dux, Larry Community Memorial Hospital
Dwyer, Maxine St. Mary's Hospital
Elliott, Roger St. Joseph's Hospital
Entenmann, Kim St. Joseph's Hospital
Ericson, Allen Froedtert Health St. Joseph's Hospital
Fabich, Robb Aspirus, Inc.
Facey, Alice St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Ferrigno, Sandra St. Mary's Hospital
Fielding, Laura Holy Family Memorial
Francaviglia, Stephen Aurora Health Care
Freiberg, Kerry Community Memorial Hospital
Freimund, Rooney Bay Area Medical Center
Fuchs, Thomas St. Joseph's Hospital
Furlong, Marian Hudson Hospital & Clinics
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
Gigot, Kelly St. Vincent Hospital
Gjolberg, Skip Prairie du Chien Memorial 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
Gruber, Richard Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center
Grundstrom, David Flambeau Hospital
Gulan, Maria Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Hafeman, Paula St. Vincent Hospital
Halida, Cheryl St. Joseph's Hospital
Hamilton, Mark
Hansen, Karen Memorial Medical Center - Ashland
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, Eric ProHealth Care - Rehabilitation Hospital of WI
Johnson, George Reedsburg Area Medical Center
Johnson, Kenneth Columbia St. Mary's, Inc.
Jones, Mary Meriter Hospital
Jurenec, Anne ProHealth Care - Rehabilitation Hospital of WI
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, 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.
Kowske, Steve Aurora Health Care
Krause, Carolyn Meriter Hospital
Kraut, Lucy Columbia St. Mary's Milwaukee Hospital
Krueger, Kari St. Mary's Janesville Hospital
Lachecki, Therese Memorial Medical Center - Ashland
Lambrecht, Randy Aurora Health Care
Lampman, Sandra St. Mary's Hospital
Larson, Teresa ProHealth Care - Rehabilitation Hospital of WI
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
Mugan, James Agnesian HealthCare
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
Pinske, Heather St. Mary'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
Reising, Chris Aspirus, Inc.
Renneker, Jim Aurora Sinai Medical Center
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
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
Skold, Colleen Mayo Health System - Eau Claire
Slomczewski, Constance Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - All Saints
Squier, Jeff Columbia St. Mary's, Inc.
Stapelfeldt, Kimberly Aurora Medical Center in Hartford
Steevens, Alan St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Stelzer, Jason St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Stewart, Jeff Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Stone, Stacy Sacred Heart Hospital
Strasser, Kathy Aspirus, Inc.
Strobel, Donald Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Sullivan, Anne Memorial Medical Center - Ashland
Talatzko, Carol Columbia St. Mary's, Inc.
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
Turtenwald, Robyn Community Memorial Hospital
Tuttle, Kathryn Memorial Medical Center - Ashland
Vergos, Kathryn Ripon Medical Center
Voelker, Thomas Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Walker, Troy St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Wanless, Kathy Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Watts, Susan St. Vincent Hospital
Wipperfurth, Kay Fort HealthCare
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
Andersen, Travis St. Elizabeth Hospital
Arca, Marjorie Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
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
Buser, Kenneth Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - All Saints
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
Fritsch, Phyllis Upland Hills Health
Fry, William Columbia St. Mary's, Inc.
Garcia-Thomas, Cristy Aurora Health Care
Guffey, Kerra Meriter Hospital
Gullingsrud, Tim Hayward Area Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home
Gutsch, Mike Cumberland Memorial Hospital
Hanson, Gail Aurora Health Care
Hart, Shelly Aurora Health Care
Heifetz, Michael SSM Health Care-Wisconsin
Hinner, William Ministry Saint Clare's Hospital
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 of Wisconsin
Mulder, Doris Beloit Health System
Nelson, Dave SSM Health Care-Wisconsin
Nelson, James Fort HealthCare
Ouimet, Mary Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - All Saints
Pollard, Dennis Froedtert Health
Potts, Dennis Aurora Health Care
Rakowski, Mark Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Richards, Theresa Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital
Rickelman, Debbie WHA Information Center
Roberts, Paula Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Rocole, Theresa Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Sale, Nora Froedtert Health
Samitt, Craig Dean Health
Sanicola, Suzanne Columbia St. Mary's Columbia Hospital
Selberg, Heidi HSHS-Eastern Wisconsin Division
Shabino, Charles Wisconsin Hospital Association
Shapiro, David Columbia St. Mary's Columbia Hospital
Simaras, James Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Skowlund, Kathleen Aurora Health Care-South Region
Statz, Darrell Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative
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, Rhonda Columbia St. Mary's Milwaukee Hospital
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
Court, Kelly Wisconsin Hospital Association
Deich, Faye St. Joseph's 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 Sacred Heart Hospital
Gunn, Veronica Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Gutzeit, Michael Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
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
Klein, Richard Aurora Health Care
Kosanovich, John Watertown Regional Medical Center
Lappin, Michael Aurora Health Care
Loftus, Philip Aurora Health Care
Martin, Jeff Ministry Saint Michael's Hospital
Mattes, Dan Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Mohorek, Ronald Ministry Health Care
Niemer, Margaret Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Peterson, Douglas Chippewa Valley Hospital
Radoszewski, Pat Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Reynolds, Sheila Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Ricci, Anthony Aurora Memorial Hospital of Burlington
Robertstad, John ProHealth Care - Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital
Roller, Rachel Aurora Health Care
Runge, Charles Froedtert Health
Russell, John Columbus Community Hospital
Sanders, Robert Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Schafer, Michael Spooner Health System
Size, Pat
Sohn, Jonathan Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
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
Byrne, Frank St. Mary's Hospital
Canter, Richard Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
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 of Wisconsin
Grasmick, Mary Kay Wisconsin Hospital Association
Hahn, Brad Aurora Health Care
Harding, Edward Bay Area Medical Center
Kammer, Peter The Kammer Group
Lepore, Michael Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
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.
Desien, Nicholas Ministry Health Care
Duncan, Robert Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
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
Levin, Jeremy Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative
Little, Steven Agnesian HealthCare
Manas, Julie Sacred Heart Hospital
Merline, Paul Wisconsin Hospital Association
Mettner, Michelle Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
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
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

Top of page (12/14/12)

DOA Sec. Tells WHA Board: Medicaid Remains Priority as State Budget Unfolds
Huebsch says state will "find ways we can maintain commitment to fund Medicaid"

Medicaid remains a priority for Governor Scott Walker as the Department of Administration (DOA) prepares for the 2013-2015 state budget. Wisconsin DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch told the WHA Board at its December 13 meeting in Madison that the Governor has a commitment to the health care industry and the patients they serve.

"I think you will recognize the partnership we have to provide those services to our most vulnerable citizens and that we do not want to hold you ‘hamstrung’ to pick up that tab," Huebsch said. "We are doing what we can to address that, and as we continue to move forward, we will find ways we can maintain a commitment to fund Medicaid."

Huebsch said the Walker Administration is also committed to reforming the regulatory environment. He noted that WHA President Steve Brenton and WHA Executive Vice President Eric Borgerding recently met with Department of Health Secretary Dennis Smith to begin discussions on how to harmonize state rules and regulations that govern hospitals with the federal Medicare Conditions of Participation.

"The rules are there to make sense and to help us be a partner with groups, like yours, that we are working with," according to Huebsch. "The efforts to harmonize will be a value to your hospitals to the extent that you will have more money available to provide services for your patients and spend less time on paperwork."

If having a $3.2 billion hole in the state budget wasn’t bad enough in 2011 when Huebsch took office, the recession was adding major stress to the state’s economy. And while the economy is still sluggish at the close of 2012, the good news is that Wisconsin’s fiscal situation is in "far better shape" going into the 2013-2015 state budget.

"As we move forward, it is remarkably refreshing to not be paying bills from previous years and having to dig ourselves out of a hole," Huebsch said. "We are looking toward tax cuts, as the Governor has said, and then investing in programs such as Medicaid that are providing vital services in our state."

Huebsch said the DOA is projecting that it will end this biennium with a budget surplus in excess of $250 million. That is a big change in the state’s financial situation from when Governor Walker began his term and the state faced a $3.2 billion deficit.

"The economy will grow, not as much as in the past, but what we will see is an additional $1.5 -1.6 billion coming into the state that we can use as we go into this budget," according to Huebsch.

Brenton reminded Huebsch that when he was a legislator, Huebsch represented an area of the state that has a national reputation as a community that provides high value health care at a relatively low cost.

"We have been working with the Governor’s office to deploy the notion of high value health care as important ‘infrastructure’ and as an economic development tool," Brenton said. "Recently, the Governor has been listing health care as one of Wisconsin’s many attributes in attracting new business. Cost is still an important issue, but we’re making progress on that, too. High value health care is a theme that should be called out."

Borgerding added that shifting Medicaid costs continues to be an "anchor" on hospital systems’ ability to reduce their costs. "If it wasn’t for the fact that we have become more efficient and held down our costs, our Medicaid losses would be even worse," Borgerding said.

Huebsch said the Governor wants to maintain Wisconsin’s reputation for quality and value, and that requires having an adequate supply of physicians.

WHA Chair Sandy Anderson asked Huebsch to be mindful that the physician shortage will only be solved if we can educate more medical students in Wisconsin and then provide them an opportunity to complete a residency here. She asked that the Secretary "get a word in" with his colleagues in Washington to spare graduate medical education (GME) funding from further cuts. Huebsch said he understands the importance of preserving that funding.

"We know from the WHA report, ‘100 Physicians a Year: An Imperative for Wisconsin,’ that we must build in-state infrastructure for physicians," Huebsch said. "We recognize and understand that if we neglect that today, it will become exponentially worse in the years ahead. If we invest now and understand that we are making incremental progress, the changes will pay off. Your institutions provide value toward that infrastructure."

The Walker Administration is focused on creating jobs and addressing the "skills gap," where workers that are available for work do not have the skills required for the jobs that employers are trying to fill. It is a problem for all industries, including health care.

"It’s a case of not having the skills here to meet the job there," according to Huebsch. "It’s frustrating to hear employers say they have jobs but they do not have qualified applicants."

MRG to Consider New CMS Medicaid Expansion Guidance

Nick Desien, WHA Medicaid Reengineering Group (MRG) chair and president/CEO of Ministry Health Care, presented the group’s work to date. The MRG has been meeting over the past several months and analyzing issues around the Supreme Court decision this past summer that makes Medicaid expansion optional for states.

Desien reviewed the MRG guiding principles for the Board, which includes preserving the safety net and the hospital assessment and minimizing cost shifting to employers and employees from un-reimbursed Medicaid costs and uncompensated care. He said generally the group supports coverage expansion, and is considering the many "moving parts" between the health insurance exchange and the Medicaid program, both of which may be coverage options beginning in 2014.

Joanne Alig, WHA senior vice president, policy and research, explained that new CMS guidance, released on December 10, is currently being analyzed by WHA staff and will be the topic for the MRG’s consideration in the near future. The CMS guidance answers the question many states had posed to the federal government about whether additional federal funding would be available if states chose a partial expansion of Medicaid, rather than a full expansion. CMS said that the higher federal matching rate is only available for full expansion. In Wisconsin, this means that the state could only receive enhanced federal funding if it expands Medicaid to childless adults who have income up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level (about $15,000 for a single individual). Some states had hoped the federal government would agree to enhanced federal funding for a partial expansion for those with income up to 100 percent FPL, as those with income above that level could receive subsidies to purchase private coverage through the Exchange. (See the CMS guidance at As it relates to the health insurance exchange, it’s now clear the health insurance exchange in Wisconsin will be federally-run, but Borgerding said WHA is not taking a "wait and see" attitude. WHA is using Board-approved exchange principles adopted over two years ago to guide exchange-related policy discussions.

"It’s the law. We will not punt to someone else to figure it out," according to Borgerding. "We will work with the federal government and implement an exchange in an expedient way. We are putting time, effort and resources into this issue."

WHA staff will continue to analyze and communicate their findings with WHA members on the myriad of issues that are being spun off from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

WHA Advocacy Agenda Focus on Health Care Value, Quality

Health care quality and value are now solid planks in the WHA advocacy platform.

"It started as a way to talk to our constituencies about the great things our hospital systems are doing here in Wisconsin," Borgerding said. "Now we are making health care quality and value relevant to employers, lawmakers and to people living in our communities. Governor Walker has this message hard wired into his economic development talking points—health care is just as important to infrastructure as good roads, reliable utilities and clean water."

Borgerding shared examples of how the Wisconsin health care value message is spreading not only in Wisconsin, but across the nation. Area Development Magazine, with a circulation to 40,000 site location specialists, recently ran an article that held Wisconsin up as one of the best states for health care, and as an advantage to employers.

Editorial board meetings have led to good press and impressive editorials. Editorial board visits are being planned in southern Wisconsin. "We want this message to resonate with policymakers, too," Borgerding said. "It provides an overall platform for our major issues—the Jandre fix, the physician shortage and regulatory streamlining. Issues we hope to make progress on in this next legislative session."

Is it a Fiscal "Cliff" or a "Slope?"

Call it what you want, but the federal fiscal problem poses many troubling challenges for hospitals. Brenton reviewed the implications that federal cuts will have for Wisconsin hospitals and where those cuts could land.

"We need to remind our lawmakers that we have had $2.6 million taken from our hospitals to fund ACA coverage provisions," Brenton said. "It is disappointing that this is not top-of-mind with legislators."

To help ensure that Wisconsin is being heard, WHA launched "Protect Hospitals," a multi-pronged advocacy campaign aimed at protecting hospitals from cuts. WHA Telephone Town Halls, hospital-sponsored listening sessions and targeted email campaigns have been effective in raising awareness among the Congressional Delegation. "We won’t stop until Congress acts," Brenton added.

Wisconsin Hospitals PAC and Conduit Exceeds 2012 Goal – Sets New Record!

Nick Turkal, MD, 2012 Advocacy Committee chair, announced to the Board that the 2012 Wisconsin Hospitals PAC and Conduit campaign exceeded the 2012 goal raising $250,163. This total reflects the financial contributions of 418 individuals who contributed an average of $598. This total is an increase of almost $20,000 over last year’s total and more than $15,000 over the then-record 2010 year where the total raised was just over $235,000. (See story on page 1 for more information.)

WHA Board Recognizes Anderson, Kosanovich, Turkal

WHA President Steve Brenton recognized three board members for their service to the Association. Sandy Anderson, president, St. Clare Hospital, Baraboo, served as WHA Chair in 2012. Brenton said Anderson was a "terrific asset" to WHA and to Board members. Anderson called her work with WHA the "most fun I’ve had in my entire career" as she thanked the Board members for their support.

Brenton also presented service awards to John Kosanovich, president, UW Health Partners Watertown Regional Medical Center, who served two full three-year terms on the board. Brenton also recognized Nick Turkal, MD, president/CEO of Aurora Health Care, who was WHA Chair in 2011. Turkal is leaving the Board at the end of the year.

The WHA Board approved the nomination of two individuals who will serve three-year terms as at-large members of the WHA Board of Directors. The two new Board members are Steve Little, executive vice president Agnesian HealthCare/St. Agnes Hospital, and Steve Bablitch, chief of regulatory and strategic affairs and corporate secretary for Aurora Health Care. (See story on pg. 3.)

In other business:

WHA Council and Committee Reports:

Workforce Development – Eric Borgerding reported that at the last meeting the Council heard from WHA’s Laura Leitch and Judy Warmuth about WHA’s work with a coalition of business groups to develop proposed legislation that would streamline certain state employment regulations by coordinating benefits under the state and federal Family and Medical Leave Acts and other laws. The Task Force also commented on a draft recommendation designed by WHA to assist hospitals in achieving high employee influenza rates. John Zorbini, chief HR officer at Aurora Health Care, reported that he is working with a statewide task force to formulate a response to concerns from employers about a ‘mismatch’ between applicants’ job skills and the skills required to perform the work.

WHA GME Task Force – George Quinn and Chuck Shabino, MD, reported that the Task Force heard from two GME collaboratives: the Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals (MCWAH) and the recently-formed Wisconsin Collaborative for Rural Graduate Medical Education (WCRGME). Ken Simons, MD, MCWAH executive director, said it was established in 1980 to employ and manage medical residents in the 10 sponsoring institutions GME programs. MCWAH provides curriculum development, resident management, accreditation maintenance, staff development and malpractice insurance. Tim Size, Rural Wisconsin Health Coop executive director, shared the rural GME collaborative model with the Task Force. For details, see story on page 6 of this issue of The Valued Voice.

Public Policy – Eric Borgerding reported that Rich Zipperer, deputy chief of staff to Gov Scott Walker, presented at the last meeting. Zipperer expressed his enthusiasm for the upcoming legislative session. Zipperer indicated there is forward momentum on WHA’s regulatory streamlining proposal. On Medicaid, he said the Governor demonstrated his commitment to preserving the health care safety net, and that he remains committed to ensuring proper funding for the program. Borgerding led a state issues discussion and said WHA’s policy agenda will continue to be built on the quality and value message with a strong commitment to health care quality as an economic competitive advantage to the state. WHA’s Jenny Boese provided an overview of the federal issues, highlighting WHA’s "Protect Hospital Care" campaign.

Medical & Professional Affairs – Kelly Court reported that Laura Leitch reviewed the Medical Examining Board’s draft proposals to update MED 10. The Council provided input on WHA’s request to the MEB regarding outpatient services ordered by a physician who is licensed in another state. WHA’s Matthew Stanford updated the Council on the WHA-supported HIPAA Harmonization/Mental Health Care Coordination Bill. Court reviewed the WHA-led task force that is working on a joint position statement and implementation toolkit regarding health care worker immunizations. Chris Queram, CEO, Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ), presented an overview to the group of a project with Consumer Reports that will report WCHQ measures in a special Wisconsin insert of the magazine in January.

Audit and Investments: Brian Potter reported on their recent meeting. The group met with the partner in charge of the 2012 WHA audit. The WHA audit will occur in February, and the results will be presented to the WHA Board at their April meeting. Potter also reported on the presentation given by WHA’s investment firm on the investment results for 2012. He stated that returns were consistent with benchmarks, and the WHA portfolio continues to be managed according to the investment policy set forth by the committee.

Finance and Payment: Brian Potter said the CEO of the Health Insurance Risk Sharing Pool (HIRSP) Amie Goldman presented at the last meeting, focusing on the current and potential future plans of the organization given that the guaranteed issue provisions of the ACA will have a huge impact on HIRSP. Potter also highlighted the ICD-10 discussion at the council meeting as WHA continues to look for ways to help the membership with the upcoming ICD-10 conversion. WHA and the WHA Information Center are working with 3M to create hospital specific reports using 3M software and the WHAIC discharge data. These reports would help hospitals identify focus areas in their coding that could impact reimbursement and would be provided as a WHA member benefit.

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Strategies to Engage Colleagues Focus of 2013 Physician Leadership Conference

For any physician leader, especially those new to the role, one of the most important skills is the ability to successfully engage his or her physician colleagues, whether it’s in a quality improvement initiative, in embracing the ICD-10 transition, or more broadly in supporting the vision and values of the organization.

At the 2013 WHA Physician Leadership Development Conference, scheduled for March 8-9 at The American Club in Kohler, the full-day session will focus on practical strategies physician leaders can implement to engage their colleagues, create physician buy-in for change, build trust between physicians and administration and manage difficult behavior.

This session will be presented by Stephen Beeson, MD, a board-certified family medicine physician practicing with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group in San Diego. Dr. Beeson has developed and implemented a variety of physician training programs focused on improving organizational commitment to service and operational excellence. Dr. Beeson is a faculty presenter for the American College of Physician Executives and a medical advisor for The Studer Group.

You can learn more about this year’s sessions and agenda, including the Saturday session focused on the impact of the Affordable Care Act on physicians, online at: Registration is now open, and discounted early bird pricing is available through January 18, so begin today considering which new and experienced physician leaders might benefit most by attending.

Also, please consider attending this event as a group, including physician leaders and hospital administration leaders, A ‘host’ registration option is available at a discount to those who do not need CME credit. Attendance at this conference is an opportunity to expose your physician leaders to the important leadership skills that help physician leaders move beyond their clinical training and take a new approach to managerial decision-making and problem solving.

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The "Wisconsin Story" Told at IHI National Forum

The work of four health systems was highlighted in a panel discussion during the IHI National Forum in Orlando December 11. Dean Gruner, MD, president/CEO, ThedaCare; George Kerwin, president/CEO, Bellin Health System; Randall Linton, MD, president/CEO, Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, and Jeff Thompson, MD, CEO, Gundersen Lutheran Health System shared the keys to the success of their health care organizations.

Service business authority Leonard Berry, who moderated the session, spent time in each organization studying their systems and culture.

"You all deliver care in one of the top 15 regions in the country for delivery of high quality care," Berry said. "I have been deeply impressed by the commitment of all four organizations to their patients and to do right by their patients."

While each organization has a slightly different approach to being a high-performing organization, they described similar foundations that include clarity of vision, deep knowledge of how to improve, accountability and alignment of all staff and physicians and an increasing focus on taking care of communities and populations, not just patients.

"We create clarity on excellence. Mediocrity is just not morally defensible in health care," according to Thompson. "We hire people that believe this part of their mission in life."

Each leader described their vision to continually pursue higher levels of performance, including the commitment to measure and transparently share quality results. Gruner described a focus on internal transparency.

"At ThedaCare I have tried to create a safe environment for everyone, so that people can share our true performance all the time and speak up so we can shine a light on our areas for improvement," said Gruner.

Every person in the organization must be focused on and involved in improvement—a principle all four health leaders had in common. This focus is paired with internal resources and knowledge that are dedicated to system improvement.

"When the ‘Quality Chasm’ was released in 2001, we agreed we had a quality chasm and if we were going to address our chasm we need to be really good at managing and improving systems and at adhering to those designs," Linton said.

The common theme, when asked "what keeps you awake at night?" was worry about not improving fast enough, which results in patients not receiving the care they need. Each organization is also expanding their focus on improvement outside the walls of their organization, to begin managing the health of their communities. Kerwin described the work with businesses, schools and multiple external agencies to work together towards achievement of their goal of having the healthiest region in the nation.

According to Kerwin, "We can no longer just be internally focused. The world is asking us to take responsibility for the population. We need to get outside our organization proper and work on issues that determine health."

As Berry closed the session, he stated, "Wisconsin is very fortunate to have health systems like yours and leaders like you. We can all learn very valuable lessons in leadership from your examples."

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WHA Board of Directors Approves Nominations of Two New Members

The WHA Board approved the nomination of two individuals who will serve three-year terms as at-large members of the WHA Board of Directors. The two new Board members are Steve Little and Steve Bablitch.

Steve Little is executive vice president, Agnesian HealthCare/St. Agnes Hospital. Prior to joining Agnesian HealthCare, Little served as CFO for St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Before that, he was senior vice president/CFO at United Bancorporation of Wyoming.

Little holds a bachelor of arts degree in accounting and business administration from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. He is a CPA and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and also is a member of the Healthcare Financial Management Association. He serves on the WHA Audit & Investment Committee and Council on Finance as well as the board for the Fond du Lac YMCA, Blue Line Family Ice Center and the Fond du Lac Association of Commerce.

Steve Bablitch serves as chief of regulatory and strategic affairs and corporate secretary for Aurora Health Care, Inc. He oversees regulatory compliance, government affairs, internal audit, growth and market development and is a key strategic advisor to the CEO.

Before joining Aurora Health Care, Bablitch was the CEO and chair of the Board of Directors for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Wisconsin and its parent company, Cobalt Corporation. Previously, he served as president and senior vice president, general counsel and secretary of Cobalt and Blue Cross. He also served in the cabinets of Governor Jim Doyle and Governor Tommy Thompson and was a partner in the law firms of Quarles & Brady in Milwaukee and DeWitt, Porter in Madison.

Bablitch earned his law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

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Support Statewide Health Care Initiatives with a Contribution to WHA Foundation

Each year, the WHA Foundation supports a variety of initiatives that have statewide impact on health care in the areas of workforce development, quality and patient safety and community collaboration. In order to continue supporting those initiatives in 2013, the WHA Foundation is holding its annual fundraising drive, asking each WHA member to consider making a contribution before the end of 2012.

Recently, each WHA hospital member executive received a direct appeal for the fundraising effort. A contribution form is included again in this week’s packet, for anyone who would still like to make a tax-deductible individual contribution or one on behalf of your hospital before the end of the year. For more information on the WHA Foundation’s annual fundraising campaign, contact Jennifer Frank at 608-274-1820 or at

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Monroe Clinic Efficiency, Quality Improvements Drive Health Care Value
CEO, staff offer inside look at lean principles at work

High quality, high value health care is a competitive advantage for Wisconsin. Hospital systems are improving quality, increasing efficiency and delivering value to employers and residents in their communities. Recently, Monroe Clinic shared their story with Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center).

Lean process improvement, quality initiatives and community partnerships were key topics of discussion when Senator Dale Schultz shadowed CEO Mike Sanders at Monroe Clinic during a visit to Monroe on November 15.

As Senator Schultz spoke with health care workers at Monroe Clinic’s main campus, staff demonstrated how the implementation of more effective, efficient processes have improved patient care. Lean principles originated in the manufacturing world to eliminate wasteful practices and resourcefully solve problems, but they are now revolutionizing health care.

Speaking with Women’s Health staff, the Senator learned how a simple lean approach termed "gemba" has helped staff quickly identify barriers and opportunities for improvement as a standard is put into practice. Gemba directs decision makers to physically go to the place where the work is being done, so challenges can be witnessed and problems addressed in real time.

"In the old world, we spent a lot of time trying to do perfect planning before moving to implementation. Now we do small tests to try an idea before full implementation," said Sanders.

As Senator Schultz learned first-hand how employees are using lean principle and quality initiatives to improve patient care, communication with administration and everyday work practices, he commented that he was, "impressed with the work your staff is doing—driving change in outcomes. People seem excited by what they are doing."

The Senator also joined members of Monroe Clinic’s board of directors and medical staff leaders for lunch, where they discussed a variety of topics, ranging from the sharing of state and federal quality measures, to possibilities of health care exchanges.

Earlier in the day, Senator Schultz met with various community leaders during a Green County Development Corporation monthly meeting. During his visit, the Senator noted how community partnerships and quality initiatives go hand-in-hand. He emphasized communication between employers, health care providers and government.

"We need to recognize we’re all in this together," said Senator Schultz. "It’s important to continue dialogue beyond today. Your input is very valuable."

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WHA, RWHC meet with DQA in Hospital Forum
DQA provides guidance related to authentication of orders

The Wisconsin Hospital Association and the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative met this week with the Wisconsin Division of Quality Assurance in the most recent quarterly Hospital Forum. The Forum provides WHA, RWHC, and DQA with the opportunity to exchange information with the goal of improving the efficiency and efficacy of the hospital regulatory process.

Prior to the meeting, in response to questions from hospitals, DQA provided additional guidance related to the authentication of physician orders in hospitals. In August 2012, DQA released a memo that repealed the statewide variance of DHS 124.12(5)(b)11, which had allowed the authentication of physician orders within 48 hours. Without the statewide variance, the authentication requirement returned to 24 hours. DQA advised that hospitals could request a variance of the code’s 24-hour requirement. Since that time, DQA has approved many requests for a variance of the 24-hour requirement. A copy of the DQA memo can be found at:

The statewide variance included a number of provisions in addition to the variance of the 24-hour requirement. Because of that, a number of hospitals had additional questions following its repeal:

DQA responded: "Yes, to all three questions based on the hospital establishing their parameters for doing so through their by-laws and/or policy and procedures which would specify the specific duties and privileges of all (levels) of medical personnel."

During the meeting, DQA provided the most recent hospital citation report that identifies and describes the most frequent hospital citations. A copy of the most recent report is available here:

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WHA to Sponsor Lunch Briefing on Wisconsin Physician Workforce December 18

The Wisconsin Hospital Association’s release of the report, "100 Physicians A Year: An Imperative for Wisconsin," in 2011 became one of the most cited and respected analysis of the state’s physician workforce. The WHA report predicted the state’s physician shortfall will reach more than 2,000 by 2030—unless significant action is taken. What has happened since the release of the report to avert the shortage?

WHA is sponsoring an event in conjunction with Wisconsin Health News to bring some of the state’s best known experts on the physician shortage to discuss steps that have been taken to date and future actions that will be taken to address the issue. WHA President Steve Brenton will be joined by John Raymond, MD, president and CEO, Medical College of Wisconsin; Robert Golden, MD, dean, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health; and Rick Abrams, CEO, Wisconsin Medical Society in a panel discussion. Karen Timberlake, director of the Population Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, will moderate.

This December 18 luncheon event is hosted and sponsored by the Wisconsin Hospital Association and presented by Wisconsin Health News and Badger Bay Management. The price for lunch is $25 for Wisconsin Health News subscribers and $40 for non-subscribers. Registration and lunch begins at 11:00 a.m., and the event concludes at 1:00 p.m. These events sell out quickly, so register now at

For information on table sponsorships or other questions, contact Tim Stumm at Wisconsin Health News at 608-216-8898 or or Eric Ostermann at Badger Bay Management at 920-560-5610 or

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Gundersen’s "Respecting Choices" Featured on National News Program

A story that ran December 6 on "NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams" highlighted Gundersen Lutheran’s patient-centered approach to advance care planning, which has become an international model for care.

Journalist Harry Smith spent several days at Gundersen Lutheran talking to patients, family members and staff to learn what makes Gundersen’s program so different from traditional models of caring for those with advanced illnesses. Patients and family members allowed Smith and his team to be part of very personal conversations and moments because they felt it was so important for the nation to see what exceptional advance care planning is all about.

"Our approach is patient-centered," Bud Hammes, director of Medical Humanities at Gundersen Lutheran Health System, told Rock Center in an interview. "We really focus on what does the patient want, how can we help them live well. Patients and their families want the best care. And the best care happens to be less care at this particular point in their life. Americans don’t want to die hooked up to machines."

The hospital’s program, Respecting Choices, was developed by Hammes and implemented in the early 1990s. It has turned into a national model with Hammes and his team training other medical professionals across the nation.

"Medicine, from my perspective, is the care of humans and it’s the care of individual humans. You know, each human coming through that door is an individual. And we have to tailor the medical treatment we provide in accordance and in respect of that individual’s beliefs, values, and preferences. And if we’re not doing that, we’re not really fulfilling the full potential, and the full mission of medical care," Hammes said.

Watch the Rock Center report at:

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GME Collaborative Helps to Create Rural Training Opportunities

The Wisconsin Collaborative for Rural Graduate Medical Education (initially the Wisconsin Rural Training Track Collaborative) was launched recently in partnership with the Baraboo Rural Training Track, the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (UWSMPH) and several rural hospitals.

The intent, according to Tim Size, executive director of the Rural Wisconsin Health Coop (RWHC), is to take advantage of efficiencies of scale and relieve Baraboo and other to-be-developed local programs of some of the administrative burden of achieving and maintaining accreditation compliance that resident training requires.

With start-up funding from the Wisconsin Rural Physician Residency Assistance Program and RWHC guidance, the WCRGME is designed to provide leadership for nurturing a cooperative approach for small community organizations to work together to offer resident training experiences in their local hospitals and clinics.

Progress is being made in expanding the number of graduate medical education opportunities that are available to physicians in rural areas. Rural GME site summaries to date include:

"The Wisconsin Collaborative for Rural Graduate Medical Education is yet another example of hospitals/health systems coming together to create innovative solutions to our State’s need for more primary care Graduate Medical Education positions which is the cornerstone to meeting our future physician workforce requirements," said Chuck Shabino, MD, WHA senior medical advisor.

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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.

A second chance at life

"Meriter gave us the best miracle ever," says Karla when she recalls how her husband, Mark, was given a second chance at life. Mark and Karla’s ordeal began when Mark experienced simultaneous failure of his heart, lungs and liver. They had been delaying care because Karla had recently been laid off of work. However, once they arrived at Meriter, Mark spent three days in the Intensive Care Unit. His doctors worked tirelessly to stabilize his condition and save his life. Following his stay in ICU, Mark remained a few days in a step-down unit to continue his recovery and prepare for his transition home.

The experience changed Mark and Karla’s lives forever. They are grateful for the expert care Mark received.

"The doctors told us that if we had waited one more day to come in, Mark probably wouldn’t have made it," said Karla. Overshadowing the happiness and joy they felt for their new chance at life were the medical bills that were beyond their financial ability to repay. Now, Mark couldn’t work.

The Financial Assistance program at Meriter allowed them to focus on Mark’s recovery without the financial stress hanging over their heads. Karla happily reports that Mark is doing great now.

"He’s lost over a hundred pounds and is committed to living a healthy lifestyle. Thank you Meriter physicians and staff a million times and more for all you have done."

Meriter Hospital, Madison

A family’s health comes first

Most of us wake up with an ache or a pain, most of which the common pain reliever works wonders for. However, many residents of our community have overwhelming health needs that make life a complex struggle. Such is the case with the Scott and Jackie Jones family of Beloit.

Scott and Jackie met in the military where they were stationed during the Gulf War. Unfortunately, some of their ailments are directly associated to this traumatic experience with Scott having 20 percent disability from injuries on active duty, and Jackie having 70 percent disability with asthma, PTSD and severe GERD. Jackie most recently worked as a supervisor of a crisis team for a Rockford Mental Health Center, but due to multiple family health needs, she couldn’t keep up and had to resign.

What kind of family health needs would force you to resign from your job? The needs of her mother, her children, and her extended family. After Jackie’s mother survived breast cancer in 2005 and then experienced a heart attack in 2009, she needed assistance for trips to the doctor and daily care.

In addition, the Jones’ have four lovely children. Meghan, the oldest at 10 years old, sees a pediatric specialist for her migraine headaches that she’s experienced for the past 18 months. The triplets, now age 7, include Stephen, Danielle and Michael. All were born full term and healthy. However, in November, Stephen was diagnosed with Hyper Eosinophilia Syndrome (HES), a very rare condition where his white blood cell count soars, causing pulmonary conditions, coughing, vomiting and breathing difficulties.

Left untreated, medical experts say HES is progressively fatal; therefore diligent follow-up care is vital for survival. This means bi-monthly blood work at Beloit Health System and monthly visits to his UW-Madison pediatric specialist. Stephen’s condition has also caused him to be hospitalized twice and required several trips to the emergency room for breathing difficulties.

"I really appreciate the help we get from Beloit Health System," explains Jackie. "The emergency room has been very attentive to my needs, as well as Stephen’s. The lab is great at getting us the results we need to monitor his medications. We just can’t seem to take care of all of the issues we are facing."

These are the type of overwhelming obstacles that face some of our residents every day—the kind of stress that causes you to experience sleepless nights and tension-filled days. The Jones family is very thankful that both Jackie and Stephen have recently qualified for 100 percent financial assistance. Without this financial help, their lives would be totally underwater. They are so grateful that we are able to extend this "helpful hand" at a time in their lives where nothing seems to be going their way. We are here to offer them some relief… after all, we are their Beloit neighbors.

Beloit Health System

Homeless in Pell Lake, WI

A 48-year-old unemployed female from Pell Lake presented to the emergency department at Aurora Medical Center in Summit (AMCS) in serious atrial fibrillation (AF) and was admitted as an inpatient. It was clear she required cardioversion and follow-up care to keep her out of AF.

Atrial fibrillation is an abnormal heart rhythm that causes irregular and unusually rapid beating of the heart. Symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain and in some cases, fainting. People with AF are at higher risk for blood clots that can cause stroke. Heart failure also is a risk factor associated with AF.

Some cases of AF are severe enough to require ongoing treatment with medications and/or medical procedures, which was the case for this patient. Clarice, the financial counselor at AMCS who assisted the patient in applying for Aurora’s Helping Hand Patient Financial Assistance Program, learned that the woman had been laid off from a company that moved out of state, and more recently she had become homeless and resorted to sleeping in her car at area rest stops. The patient was approved for a 100 percent discount to receive medically necessary care at AMCS. She has begun to live with her father three days a week, and Clarice has been instrumental in leading the patient to additional resources for medications and support.

Aurora Medical Center in Summit

Charity Care

An adult male was referred to our outpatient diagnostics department to help diagnose an undetermined medical condition. The results of the MRI scan revealed an urgent need to have a surgical procedure, which happened a few days later.

On the same day of the outpatient scan, the patient was also informed by his employer that his job was immediately being eliminated. He reached out to one of the hospital’s financial counselors to discuss payment options. At the time of the meeting he informed the counselor that his wife was also seven months pregnant.

The financial counselor told him about the hospital’s assistance programs, but also wanted to pursue extending his insurance coverage through COBRA, as he was within the defined timeframe to qualify. After extensive research we found out that the owner of the company had terminated all health insurance benefits at the beginning of the current month for all of the employees who worked for his company. Because of this loophole, COBRA coverage for our patient was no longer an option.

The financial counselor visited the gentleman in his hospital room after surgery to begin the application process for our financial assistance program. His wife was able to bring in the required documentation to support the application. It was determined that he would qualify for full assistance.

The counselor called the man’s wife and asked her to stop by with her husband to visit us before departing the hospital after his discharge. The couple was given the good news at this appointment. Quite a few tears were shed and a hug or two shared as they relayed over and over how blessed they were that there are people like us in the world.

This patient had quite a long road to recovery ahead of him in addition to the impending, welcome addition of a new child. He has been back to the hospital twice since that day to share his gratitude and appreciation.

St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center, Green Bay

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

Read more about hospitals connecting with their communities at

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