August 31, 2012
Volume 56, Issue 35

WHA Attends Health Insurance Exchange Meeting in Chicago

Wisconsin Hospital Association representative Joanne Alig, senior vice president for policy & research, attended a Health Insurance Exchange Forum in Chicago. The session was hosted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Servicesí (HHS) Region V office.

Stakeholder organizations, including state hospital associations, other providers, payers, and advocates listened to presentations from federal officials working on implementation of the health insurance exchanges as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The presentations included topics on exchange operations, the essential health benefits, and Medicaid coverage.

Although many wonder if the federal government will extend the deadlines associated with implementation of health insurance exchanges, HHS noted that the current timeline remains. Each state has until November 16 to inform HHS of its intent to operate a state-run insurance exchange and to submit a blueprint documenting the stateís plan and progress toward implementation. Exchanges must be operational by October 2014 when enrollment for the 2014 benefit year is expected to begin. According to HHS, 13 states have submitted letters to HHS indicating their intent to operate their own state-run exchange. The federal government will take steps to operate a federally-run exchange in states that do not meet the November 16 deadline.

The essential health benefits package is the benefit package that all health plans in the individual and small group markets will be required to offer beginning in 2014. States will choose from one of ten possible plans currently operating in the state to serve as the "benchmark plan." Information about the actual benefits in these plans is currently unavailable, but HHS indicated that detailed information would be available shortly. HHS will give states a very short turnaround time to then choose the essential benefits package for the state.

HHS provided few new clarifications about Medicaid coverage. Numerous questions about Medicaid have arisen as a result of the Supreme Court decision, and many of these questions remain outstanding.

Although the forum was helpful in providing answers to some questions, the federal government still has a long way to go to clarify policies not just on Medicaid but on the health insurance exchanges as well. WHA will continue to review federal guidelines, rules and other information such as the essential health benefits package options as they are released.

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New Wisconsin Workforce Report Identifies Challenges, Barriers to Economic, Job Growth

A new report released this week focuses broadly on the challenges to growing Wisconsinís economy.

Tim Sullivan, special consultant to the Governor on economic, workforce and education development, has released his report titled, "The Road Ahead: Restoring Wisconsinís Workforce Development." In his role as special consultant, Sullivan was asked to identify barriers to business development and job growth in Wisconsin and to focus especially on workforce, the employment environment and policy issues. This report provides a review of the background and issues related to workforce development in Wisconsin with a focus on the skills gap. The report can be found at:

In the report, Sullivan makes recommendations regarding workforce data, Wisconsinís educational system, job training and unemployment insurance. In addition to the Governor, Sullivan presented his report to the two councils he chairs and the public.

Two other related reports are now in development. Competitive Wisconsin is leading a project entitled, "Be Bold Two," which will focus on workforce development in Wisconsin; the Governorís Council on College and Workforce Readiness will provide a report of its work in early fall.

All three of these groups will issue reports focused on the issue of job openings in Wisconsin that do not have applicants qualified to perform the work and the related issue of unemployed individuals lacking job skills needed in the current environment.

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Political Action Fundraising Campaign Raises More than $30,000 in August

More than $31,000 was raised in the last month to put the 2012 Wisconsin hospitals state political action fundraising campaign at $181,110. The campaign is at 72 percent of the annual goal to raise $250,000 by yearís end.

August also marked an increase of 72 more individuals participating in the campaign, and an addition of seven more members joining the Platinum Club. The Platinum Club recognizes those who contribute $1,500 or more in the calendar year campaign putting the total Platinum Club members at 47 so far for the year.

While totals to the 2012 Wisconsin hospitals state political action funds fundraising campaign continue to climb, so do the contributions going out the door to candidate campaign committees. More than $161,000 has been disbursed since January to candidate campaigns. Because 2012 is a major election year, it is likely disbursements will reach or exceed the 2010 year-end election record disbursement amount of nearly $300,000.

The 2012 campaign continues its strong paceó$40,000 ahead of last year at this time and $6,000 ahead of the 2010 record-breaking year.

All individual contributors are listed in The Valued Voice by name and affiliated organization on a regular basis. Thank you to the 2012 contributors to date who are listed on page 7. Contributors are listed alphabetically by contribution amount category. The next publication of the contributor list will be in the September 14 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
Ashenhurst, Karla Ministry Health Care
Bair, Barbara St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Beglinger, Joan St. Mary's Hospital
Bernklau, Robert Aspirus Wausau 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
Buss, Diane St. Mary's Hospital
Bychinski, Paul Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Censky, Bill Holy Family Memorial
Clark, Julie St. Joseph's Hospital
Coil, Joseph St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Culotta, Jennifer St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Dahl, James Fort HealthCare
Dalebroux, Steve St. Mary's Hospital
Dettman, Amy Bellin Hospital
Dietrich, Dean Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Drengler, Kathryn Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Dufek, Nancy Memorial Medical Center - Ashland
Elliott, Roger St. Joseph's Hospital
Entenmann, Kim St. Joseph's Hospital
Facey, Alice St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Fielding, Laura Holy Family Memorial
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
Giedd, Janice St. Joseph's Hospital
Govier, Mary Holy Family Memorial
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
Hattem, Marita Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Hedrington, Brian Sacred Heart Hospital
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
Hueller, Julie Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Huemmer, Paul St. Mary's Hospital
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
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
Klay, Lois St. Joseph's Hospital
Klein, Tim Holy Family Memorial
Kocourek, Cathie Aurora Medical Center in Two Rivers
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
Lynch, Sue Mayo Health System - Franciscan Healthcare
Marcouiller, Don Memorial Medical Center - Ashland
Margan, Rob Wisconsin Hospital Association
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
Moss, Kenneth Meriter Hospital
Murphy, Thomas Aurora Health Care
Neeno, Joan St. Mary's Janesville Hospital
Nelson, Dean St. Mary's Hospital
Nguyen, Juliet Sacred Heart Hospital
O'Hara, Tiffanie Wisconsin Hospital Association
Olson, Bonnie Sacred Heart Hospital
Olson, Keri St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Ose, Peggy Riverview Hospital Association
Peck, Lori Memorial Health Center
Peiffer, Susan Sacred Heart Hospital
Penczykowski, James St. Mary's Hospital
Pennebecker, Allen Ministry Saint Michael's Hospital
Platt-Gibson, Melanie St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
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
Samuelson, Bonnie Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Sanicola, Suzanne Columbia St. Mary's Columbia Hospital
Saunaitis, Tamara Meriter Hospital
Schaetzl, Ron St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Schraufnagel, Patricia Memorial Medical Center - Ashland
Schwartz, Mary St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Scinto, Jeanne 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
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.
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
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
Wysocki, Scott St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Zaher, Beth
Zeller, Brad Hayward Area Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home
Contributors ranging from $500 to $999
Bablitch, Steve Aurora Health Care
Banaszynski, Gregory Aurora Health Care
Borgerding, Dana
Brooks, Alenia Aurora Health Care
Bultema, Janice Watertown Regional Medical Center
Carlson, Dan Bay Area Medical Center
Chess, Eva Aurora Health Care
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
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
Larson, Margaret Mercy Medical Center
Lewis, Gordon Burnett Medical Center
Mantei, Mary Jo Bay Area Medical Center
May, Carol Sauk Prairie Memorial Hospital
McDonald, Brian Aurora Health Care
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
Schafer, Michael Spooner Health System
Selberg, Heidi HSHS-Eastern Wisconsin Division
Shabino, Charles Wisconsin Hospital Association
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
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
Bailet, Jeffrey 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
Falvey, Patrick Aurora Health Care
Francis, Jeff Ministry Health Care
Frank, Jennifer Wisconsin Hospital Association
Garcia, Dawn St. Joseph's Hospital
Gunn, Veronica 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 Center
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
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
Maciver, Carolyn Aurora Health Care
Meyer, Daniel Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay
Natzke, Ryan Marshfield Clinic
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
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
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
Size, Tim Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative
Turkal, Nick Aurora Health Care
Contributors $5,000 and above
Bjork, Tanya
Brenton, Stephen Wisconsin Hospital Association
Tyre, Scott Capitol Navigators, Inc

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WHA Submits Letter to CMS on OPPS Proposed Rule
Provides comments on direct supervision, patient status

This week the Wisconsin Hospital Association submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on its proposed calendar year 2013 hospital outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS) rule. The WHA provided comments on the following issues:

Regarding direct supervision, WHA expressed support for CMSís decision to delay enforcement for an additional year of its direct supervision policy for CAHs and small rural hospitals. While appreciative of the delay, WHA also expressed concerns that even after delay, hospitals may still not be able to comply. This could result in the hospital choosing to limit the hours and locations for certain services for which they cannot provide full-time direct supervision or discontinue these services all together.

WHA also responded to CMSís request for comments on how to address inpatient versus observation care. Over the past several years hospitals have been faced with an increasing number of Recovery Audit Contractor denials for "short-stays" as well as threats under the civil False Claims Act for inpatient admissions.

These trends have led to predictable but troubling consequences and place hospitals in a difficult positionóon one hand, hospitals risk loss of reimbursement, monetary damages and penalties from auditors when they admit patients for short inpatient stays. On the other hand, hospitals face criticism from patients and CMS over the perceived excessive use of observation services as a substitute for inpatient admission. The issue also impacts Medicare beneficiaries who have higher out-of-pocket expenses under observation care than they do with inpatient admissions.

While briefly commenting on several options, WHA indicated more time and dialogue was necessary in order to craft a suitable solution. Ultimately, WHA encouraged CMS to provide a clear policy on the issue, one that respects the central decision-making role of the treating physician and appropriately pays for services furnished by hospitals and physicians.

Read the full letter at:

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Presidentís Column: Wausau Daily Herald Editorial

The following editorial was published in and is reprinted with the permission of the Wausau Daily Herald.

Our View: Wisconsin a leader in medical care
August 26, 2012

Wisconsinís health care system isnít perfect, but by multiple measures, our state performs better than most others.

That was the message representatives of the Wisconsin Hospital Association and local leaders from Aspirus Wausau Hospital, Ministry Health Care and Marshfield Clinic brought this week to their meeting with the Wausau Daily Herald Editorial Board. The advantages Wisconsin has in health care should be an asset to the stateís economic growth in the long term.

Wisconsin ranks No. 2 in the nation, slightly behind Minnesota, in the most recent health care quality ranking by an industry group called the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, or AHRQ. Our hospitals are more efficient than the national average. We cover a larger proportion of our population than do most states. Our health care system runs more cheaply.

None of this is to say that health care here is perfect. AHRQ research also indicates that services such as home health care need improvement here. And anyone in Wisconsin who has needed treatment for serious illness or injury can attest to the frustrating bureaucratic nonsense, as well as the costs, of their medical bills.

But the overall story of health care in Wisconsin is a good one, and itís an asset that only will become more valuable to employers and residents as our nationís population continues to age.

Here were some of the issues we discussed with the group of Wisconsin hospital administrators:

For example, the law contains a number of incentives for hospitals to become more efficient and effective. But few Wisconsin hospitals would be affected by the lawís penalties, because they already meet and exceed the required standards.

Officials with the Wisconsin Hospital Association said they donít see the stateís health care system as something thatís finished. Improvements still must be made and the process of making the system more efficient and better for patients necessarily has to continue.

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Grassroots Spotlight: Rep. Reid Ribble Visits Community Memorial (Oconto Falls)

Rep. Reid Ribble (WI-8th) recently visited Community Memorial Hospital-Oconto Falls.

The purpose of the meeting was to learn more about the role critical access hospitals (CAHs) play in their communities and to understand some of the challenges CAHs face.

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HHS Announcement: ICD-10 Delayed One Year

On August 24, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the final rule that changes the implementation deadline for the transition to ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS from October 1, 2013 to October 1, 2014. The final rule also establishes a standard unique health plan identifier. Finally, the rule specifies the circumstances under which an organization-covered health care provider, such as a hospital, must require certain non-covered individual health care providers who are prescribers to obtain and disclose a National Provider Identifier (NPI).

The rule notes that, "The change in the compliance date is intended to give covered health care providers and other covered entities more time to prepare and fully test their systems to ensure a smooth and coordinated transition by all covered entities." The final rule may be viewed at: It will officially be published in the Federal Register on September 5, 2012.

The rule describes HHSís rational for extending the implementation time frame. HHS concluded that delaying ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS by one year does the least to disrupt existing implementation efforts and minimizes the costs of delay while allowing small providers an additional year to become compliant. HHS expects to increase education and outreach activities and to work with the industry on improvements to the overall standards implementation process.

"We encourage hospital and health system steering committees to review their ICD-10 readiness plans and adjust their timelines to take advantage of this extra year to prepare," states Debbie Rickelman, RHIT, senior director, WHA Information Center. "The ICD-10 transition is a process, not a single date," adds Rickelman. It requires substantial change involving systems, processes, and people. The goal post-implementation is to have better data, more accurate payment and enhanced quality reporting.

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WHA 2012 Leadership Summit
September 21, 2012
Marriott Hotel, Madison

Today, August 31, is the deadline for hotel reservations at the group rate.

Call the Marriott today at 888-745-2032 or 608-831-2000.

Brochure and registration information can be found online at

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New Discharge Transportation Rules Begin September 1 in SE Wisconsin

Beginning September 1, Wisconsin Medicaid will be expanding the use of the Logisticare transportation management system to Medicaid HMO enrollees in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington, Ozaukee, Kenosha, and Racine Counties. For hospitals, this means that beginning September 1, hospital discharge planners that arrange for non-emergency medical transportation for southeast Wisconsin Medicaid HMO members should follow the same procedures arranging transportation for Medicaid HMO members through Logisticare as they currently do arranging transportation for fee-for-service Medicaid members.

Additional information about Logisticare and Medicaid transportation policies can be found at WHAís website at:

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WHA supports Regional Care Transitions Events

WHA along with MetaStar, LeadingAge Wisconsin, Wisconsin Health Care Association and many organizations are presenting two events hosted by the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health. These one-day workshops are designed to bring together a cross-section of caregivers and agencies in the Northwest or Southwest counties to enhance their work on improving care transitions. Several organizations have been meeting since last winter to work on coordinating resources for assisting hospitals, nursing homes, county agencies and other organizations in their improvement work.

WHA has enrolled 67 hospitals in the Partners for Patients readmissions collaborative funded through the AHA/HRET Hospital Engagement Network. In addition, WHA also co-presents with MetaStar a series of webinars to introduce the INTERACT II tools to over 200 nursing homes across the state funded through Aligning Forces for Quality.

According to Stephanie Sobczak, WHA manager of quality improvement, "We know that improvement will occur within the walls of an organization to a certain degree, but to efficiently address issues with transitions, there is real power in bringing all care-giving organizations in the community around the table to problem solve."

The flyers below list all sponsoring organizations. Included are details for each event and links to registration:

Southwest event, Viroqua, October 9:

Northwest event, Rice Lake, October 16:

For more information about these events or other WHA Care Transitions and Readmissions work, please contact Stephanie Sobczak at

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Member News: Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Ė All Saints President Ken Buser to retire in 2013

After a successful 40-year career as a health care leader, including 13 years with Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, Ken Buser will retire on February 28, 2013.

Buser, president of Wheaton Franciscan Healthcareís south market, led the expansion of services at All Saints through the additions of the St. Lukeís Health Pavilion, the Cardiovascular Institute, and the Emergency Care Center, and he was a champion for providing on-site day care for associates through the Little Saints Child Care Center. Based on his passion for excellence and quality, Ken was also instrumental in All Saints receiving the Wisconsin Forward Award from the State of Wisconsin in 2006.

"Kenís considerable achievements were made possible by his ability to build strong relationships with physicians, his leadership team, associates, and community leaders," said John Oliverio, president/CEO of Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare.

Buser has assumed a variety of leadership roles for regional or system initiatives including serving as executive sponsor for the development of Wheatonís Franklin hospital, which opened in 2008. He has been a leader in the Racine community where he has worked hard to build strong relationships and to understand and meet community needs. All Saintsí employer-based on-site health clinics and the Center for Addiction and Recovery are two examples of Buser partnering with local government and other employers to implement innovative solutions. At the state level, Buser has been a valuable resource to and active in the Wisconsin Hospital Association, serving on the Board from 2001-2009 and Chair of the Board in 2008 in addition to participation on or leadership of numerous committees since 2004.

"Kenís passion for serving others has been an inspiration to everyone who has had the pleasure to know him and to work with him," according to WHA President Steve Brenton. "His leadership, vision and guidance have helped not only his own health care system to prepare for future, but he has also shared his considerable talents unselfishly with the entire health care industry. I am personally honored to know Ken both as a friend and as a health care leader."

"It has been my privilege to advance our health care mission in the Greater Racine community. I am deeply grateful for the support of our physicians, leaders and associates in addition to partnership with civic and business colleagues in Racine. Serving in this leadership role has truly been the highlight of my career," Buser shared.

Ken and his wife, Jane, look forward to spending more time with their children and grandchildren and plan to move to South Bend, Indiana to be closer to family. Ken also plans to remain active with volunteer opportunities including serving on boards.

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Member News: Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Names Boland President of All Saints

Susan Boland, senior vice president and chief operating officer at All Saints, will assume the role of president of the south market upon Ken Buserís retirement.

"Susan is an important part of the All Saints leadership team, and this is a well-deserved promotion. As we engaged in succession planning, Susan was the obvious choice given her exceptional track record of results-oriented leadership, strong clinical background, and full support from physician leaders," Oliverio said. "I am confident that Susan will be successful in skillfully leading All Saints into the future," Oliverio added.

Boland joined Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Ė All Saints in September 1995 as vice president of patient care and was promoted to chief operating officer in 2005. In her current role, she oversees program growth and development for service lines at All Saints and has facilitated several key master facility projects over the years.

Prior to her work at All Saints, Boland was the associate vice president for nursing at Shadyside Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and also worked in nursing and leadership positions in hospitals in Illinois and California. She received a bachelorís degree in nursing from St. Xavier College in Chicago and a masterís degree from Rush University in Chicago. Boland is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, treasurer of the Board of United Way of Racine, president of the Racine Art Museum Board, and served for six years on the Healthcare Network in Racine.

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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.

Community Care

Diabetes is a complicated disease that can slowly get worse if not managed properly. But today - diabetes isnít slowing down Jill H. of Fennimore thanks to Grant Regional Health Center.

Diagnosed with diabetes over five years ago, Jill wasnít surprised, as it runs in her family. Jillís complications turned serious when her toes became infected to the point she needed one removed. In October 2010, another infected toe refused to heal. Her regular provider Kelly Muench, physician assistant, consulted with Dr. LaMantia; Dr. Chubb, podiatrist; and Dr. Yurcek, general surgeon.

"I felt like I had an entire team looking out for me! They tried everything to help my condition," explained Jill.

But after being hospitalized for four days with intense antibiotic therapy, it was improving Ė but not enough to risk keeping the toe. It was decided that surgery would be necessary to remove the toe.

"Dr. Yurcek and his surgical team took excellent care of me through the surgery and the Outpatient staff followed by administering IV treatments and wound vac treatments for the next four months," explained Jill. "It was so nice to come through the door and everyone knew my name. They were all so friendly."

Jill owns and operates an in-home daycare, so being self-employed she had some insurance, but the coverage was minimal. Given the fact that Jill was worried about the cost of the surgery and lengthy hospital stay, she was encouraged to apply for assistance through Grant Regionalís Community Care Program. After reviewing her financial situation, Grant Regional Health Center forgave 100 percent of the charges incurred for her surgery and hospital stay Ė totaling more than $40,000.

"Going through all this without family in the area was difficult Ė but the staff at Grant Regional treated me just like family. It really made all the difference in the world!" Jill explained. "They cared so much Ė that when the nurses were concerned about possible returning infection Ė they called Dr. Yurcek in on Christmas Eve. He didnít question it and came in right away!"

"My entire experience has been incredible. My health, my career and my future are all looking bright because of Grant Regional Health Center," Jill said.

Grant Regional Health Center, Lancaster

Healing people & lifting spirits

Columbus Community Hospital patient counseling staff worked with a patient who sustained injuries as a result of a fall. She was unemployed at the time and therefore had no insurance and no way to pay for her ER bill and subsequent diagnostic tests. We worked through our community care program to get 89.5 percent of her bill covered. We also worked with the radiologistís office, and she was able to receive a reduction from them as well.

The news to her was the best she had heard in months. She could not thank Columbus Community Hospital staff enough for helping her in her time of need. Most recently she called to tell us she has two phone interviews with prospective employers, and she plans to call Columbus Community Hospital first if she gets a job!

Columbus Community Hospital, Columbus

Financial distress can happen to anyone

It had been a difficult month for Joanna because she was laid off from her job and her husband had recently passed away. But this 52-year-old woman knew that the National Cancer Institute recommends women ages 40 or older should have mammogram screenings every one to two years. She knew that she needed a mammogram screening because he had put it off for so long already. She also understood that stress is an added risk factor.

Joanna arrived at Aurora Medical Center in Oshkosh to seek advice from a financial counselor. That counselor was Jon Hanna. He reviewed all her options for available resources and assisted Joanna with an online BadgerCare Plus Program application. She was put on a waiting list with many other applicants. Additionally, Jon presented her with the Aurora Helping Hand Patient Financial Assistance Program application.

Within weeks, Joanna received word that the she was eligible for a 100 percent discount through the Aurora Helping Hand Patient Financial Assistance Program for her mammogram screening. Joanna called Jon to advise him of the great news and expressed her thanks for his assistance.

Aurora Medical Center in Oshkosh

Sacred Heart Hospitalís Community Care Program provides hope to those in need

"There is hope here." This inspiring quote by Blessed Mother Teresa is not just a slogan emblazoned upon our doors. More importantly, it is a fundamental belief Sacred Heart Hospital upholds each and every day, which is clearly demonstrated by our commitment to caring for everyone who walks through our doors, especially the poor and marginalized Ė the most vulnerable of our society.

In a very tangible way, Sacred Heart Hospital provides "hope" to thousands of individuals by allocating millions of dollars of support to serve those in need throughout western Wisconsin. In demonstrating our faith-filled obligation to the community, last year Sacred Heart Hospital provided $11 million of non-billed Community Care services to aid uninsured and underinsured patients experiencing economic hardship. Sacred Heartís Community Care Program directly reflects the hospitalís Mission, and the Gospel mandate, to provide health care to all people, regardless of their ability to pay ó allowing for eligible patients to have their hospital bills partially or entirely forgiven.

Meredith Braun is one example of a patient in need of our hope-filled and benevolent care. Being just short of qualifying for Medicare, she was forced to seek assistance after a series of ongoing medical issues. Meredith, a former Sacred Heart employee, was already familiar with the great care and compassion the hospital provides to all of its patients. In her case, mounting medical bills made her financial assistance a true blessing. Meredith was grateful for the assistance, having stated that it meant "more than you could realize."

Meredith isnít alone in receiving support from our hospital when it is needed most. Aaron Matthews, a 22-year-old full-time student and father, was also facing a period of despair and hopelessness. Aaron did not have insurance, so when the bill came due for a life-saving surgery, he sought assistance so that he would not be forced to leave school and give up on his education. With the assistance from the Community Care Program, Aaron was able to continue his education and be a fully active and healthy father.

Offering bountiful assistance to all, especially the most vulnerable, is a fundamental and sacred obligation of Sacred Heart Hospital. Father Edmund Klimek, our Senior Priest Chaplain, stated, "The Hospital Sisters set an exceptional standard of providing compassionate healthcare to all who are in need, regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, or ability to pay. This is a standard that we remain fervently committed to living up to as we carry on the delivery of health care in the 21st century." In continuing that whole-person healing tradition upon which the hospital was founded, Sacred Heart is proud to exemplify its Core Values through the assistance of Meredith, Aaron and many others like them who come to us seeking quality care and compassion.

Sacred Heart Hospital, Eau Claire

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