President’s Column: Giving Thanks for Our Members

November 22, 2017

With 2018 squarely in view, we begin taking stock of all that has happened this year. A lot has been accomplished so far in 2017, which is shaping up to be another outstanding year for WHA. I’m excited to share more next month, but before we start patting ourselves on the back I want to take a moment to reflect on you, our members.

Associations can’t exist without members, that is, without the dues they pay to fund operations. We thank you for investing in WHA, and strive every day to earn and sustain that support by listening to you, initiating relevant public policy, achieving meaningful outcomes and delivering unquestionable value. (Speaking of value, I’m very pleased to note that 2018 will mark the fourth time in the last six years that WHA will not raise dues). 

But associations, particularly impactful advocacy organizations like ours, cannot thrive without engaged members. Indeed, member partners who go above and beyond writing the dues check by investing things even more valuable—their knowledge, experience, and insight, their time helping create and advance difference-making public policy, and most importantly, their voices. 

As staff, we see the impact our members have every day. Our broadening advocacy agenda is crafted based on your input, and our accomplishments in Madison and Washington, DC simply would not be possible without your buy-in and commitment. I’ll talk more about our 2017 achievements in the coming weeks, but today I want to acknowledge how your engagement has not only supported but helped advance our advocacy work. 

Here is a “by the numbers” look at what you have done to support our advocacy operation and engage with WHA to advance our agenda in 2017:               

  • 99.5% - percentage of WI hospitals/health systems that that are members of WHA (and have been since 2002)
  • 100% - retention rate of WHA members since 2002
  • 1,000+ - WHA members who attended Advocacy Day
  • 615 – WHA members who visited their state elected officials on Advocacy Day
  • 7,117 - emails sent to elected officials in response to WHA action alerts
  • 1,290 – phone calls made to elected officials as a result of WHA action alerts
  • 510 – letters written to elected officials stemming from WHA alerts
  • 3,612 - members who participated in WHA educational programming
  • 302 – individual contributors to the Wisconsin Hospitals PAC and Conduit
  • 59 –hospital and health system CEOs who took time to meet one-on-one with WHA senior staff
  • 55 – meetings held by WHA member-driven councils, task forces, work groups, regions and boards. 
  • 25 – WHA member-hosted roundtable meetings with elected officials, attended by nearly 300 members
  • 18 – WHA members who testified at legislative hearings across the state
  • 6 – WHA-organized trips to Capitol Hill in Washington, DC with nearly 50 members joining
  • 1 – Where the Wisconsin Hospitals Conduit ranked in the last election cycle


And speaking of your impact, WHA talks a lot about Wisconsin’s great health care system, but you and the health care professionals on your team are the ones who actually make it happen, aided by sound public policy. Together, our members have made Wisconsin the best place in the country for health care. More to come on that, too, but please know it is our privilege to represent and partner with some of the very best hospitals and health systems in the country. 

On behalf of the entire WHA team, a giant “thank you” to our members across the state for all the different ways you support and partner with WHA. We are here for you, and you have been here for us.  

Best wishes for a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

Eric Borgerding

This story originally appeared in the November 22, 2017 edition of WHA Newsletter