March 2, 2018

Volume 62-Issue 9

Gov. Walker Signs Health Care Stability Reinsurance Bill at Wisconsin Hospitals

A key priority for WHA—keeping care affordable and accessible

Gov. Walker signs a bill into law at Tomah Memorial Hospital

Gov. Scott Walker signed Senate Bill 770 into law February 27 during stops at Tomah Memorial Hospital and HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center in Green Bay. The legislation, Act 138, is aimed at keeping local health care accessible and affordable by creating a state reinsurance program to stabilize rising health care premiums on the individual health insurance market.

According to the Governor, the bill became necessary after leaders in Washington failed to act on health care reform. WHA President/CEO Eric Borgerding echoed those comments. “WHA not only watched, but vigorously engaged with our federal elected officials over the past year as debate about the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act ebbed and flowed in Washington, D.C. Along with a diverse coalition of Wisconsin business and health care organizations, WHA called on Congress to act as the individual market became more unstable. We were disappointed when nothing was done to address these concerns.”

The legislation will allow the state Office of the Commissioner of Insurance to request a State Innovation (1332) Waiver to stabilize rising health care premiums in the individual market. The Governor’s administration estimates it will reduce premiums for those in the individual market by 13 percent in 2019 and 12 percent in 2020 using a combination of approximately $50 million state and $150 million in federal funds. The original bill provided state funding through a mandatory lapse from the Medicaid program.

WHA successfully lobbied the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) to remove this mandatory Medicaid lapse from the original bill. The non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau stated the Department of Health Services had few ways to achieve these proposed savings necessitated by a mandatory lapse, but could resort to provider reimbursement cuts to find additional revenue to meet the lapse requirements. WHA applauded the JFC’s actions in a memo to state lawmakers supporting passage of the final bill.

In his remarks prior to signing SB 770, the Governor highlighted his recent visits to local hospitals where he spoke with patients about the importance of receiving quality, affordable care in their own communities. “By driving premiums down, it’ll make it more accessible for folks who had it, a number of whom even under the Obamacare exchange said they just couldn’t afford not just the premiums, but the copay. So this will help not only premiums go down, but it will bring more choices back in, more competition back in, and that’s really about access points to health care out there,” said Walker.

“WHA believes everyone should have access to high-quality, affordable health insurance, but it is clear that we cannot rely on solutions from the nation’s capital. We must take action at the state level to mitigate premium increases and ensure choice and affordability in the individual market,” said Borgerding. “We applaud Governor Walker’s leadership in developing, and the Legislature’s bipartisan support in passing, SB 770, which creates a reinsurance program aimed at sustaining coverage expansion in Wisconsin—a key priority for WHA in Madison and in Washington, D.C.”

Gov. Walker signs a bill into law at HSHS St. Mary's Hopsital Medical Center in Green Bay

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Still Time to Register Your Team for Advocacy Day 2018 – March 21 in Madison

WHA 2018 Advocacy Day brochure

WHA is still accepting registrations for Advocacy Day 2018, but you should get your team registered soon so you can be part of making an important, visible impact in the state capitol.

As always, Advocacy Day 2018 will have a great lineup of speakers, including morning keynote Mara Liasson, national political correspondent for NPR. Four confirmed legislative leaders will also participate in the panel discussion, including Sens. Testin and Erpenbach, as well as Reps. Sanfellipo and Kolste.

The afternoon of Advocacy Day is always a highlight as hundreds of attendees take what they’ve learned and meet with their legislators in the state capitol. Speaking up on behalf of your hospital by meeting with your legislators during Advocacy Day is essential to help educate legislators on your hospital and on health care issues.

Make your plans now to join over 1,000 of your peers from across the state at Advocacy Day 2018 March 21. More information and online registration are available at www.whareg4.org/2018AdvocacyDay.

For registration questions, contact Kayla Chatterton at kchatterton@wha.org or 608-274-1820.

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Hoelter Joins WHA Government Relations Team

WHA has another addition to its public policy and government relations team. Jon Hoelter has joined WHA as its new director of federal and state relations effective February 26.

Jon Hoelter

“Jon has over a decade of experience crafting and implementing health care policy in both Washington, D.C. and Madison, Wisconsin,” said WHA President/CEO Eric Borgerding. “He has a deep interest in health care, knows the issues and the policymaking process, and will immediately help expand our presence and impact at both the federal and state levels. The WHA team is excited to welcome him aboard.”

“I’m excited to be joining such a great organization focused on making Wisconsin a national leader in providing high-quality, accessible and affordable health care,” Hoelter said. “I’m looking forward to being part of the team that promotes these priorities for Wisconsin’s hospitals at the state and federal levels.”

Hoelter comes to WHA from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), where he has served as DHS legislative advisor since July 2015. In addition to his policy and legislative responsibilities at DHS, Hoelter served as the DHS Secretary’s designee for the Child Abuse, Neglect, and Prevention Board; Criminal Justice Coordinating Council; Early Childhood Advisory Council; and Office of Children’s Mental Health - Collective Impact.

Before joining DHS, Hoelter served as the senior policy advisor to Gov. Scott Walker, advising the Governor on issues related to Public Instruction (DPI), Health Services (DHS), Children and Families (DCF), and Office of Commissioner of Insurance (OCI). Hoelter chaired the Governor’s Read to Lead Development Council and led the National Governors Association Health Workforce Policy Academy for Wisconsin. 

Prior to joining Walker’s staff in 2013, Hoelter served nearly three years in the Washington, D.C. office of Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy. Hoelter became senior legislative assistant, specializing in health care issues and staffing Congressman Duffy on the House Committee on the Budget. Prior to going to Washington, Hoelter served four years as a research assistant in the office of state Rep. Mary Williams.

Hoelter has a Bachelor’s Degree in political science and sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Hoelter is the latest addition to WHA’s policy and advocacy team. On February 12, WHA announced the hiring of Lisa Ellinger, vice president, public policy, and Kari Hofer, vice president, advocacy.

“Jon, Kari and Lisa add even more depth to WHA’s highly talented team, and will help us continue extending our reach and growing our agenda,” said Borgerding. “The impact our members have in their communities across the state goes far beyond the walls of their hospitals. WHA goes where its members are, and we will continue expanding our capabilities to craft and consistently deliver relevant, proactive policy agendas in synch with our members, focusing on the continuum of care.”

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Understanding New APC Grant Training Opportunities Focus of WHA Webinar

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is in the process of developing a Request for Applications (RFA) for new advanced practice clinician training grants. The release of the RFA is tentatively scheduled for mid-March. To assist members in better understanding the new grant opportunities and the application process, WHA is hosting a complimentary webinar March 19, which you can register for at www.whareg4.org/RWIGrantWebinar.

The new grant program, proposed by the Rural Wisconsin Initiative and included in the state’s 2017-2019 biennium budget, is designed to increase the number of physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses practicing in Wisconsin’s rural communities by supporting new training sites in rural hospitals and clinics. As currently envisioned, the grants will encourage partnerships among small rural hospitals and clinics, education providers and health systems. Hospitals and clinics in communities with populations of less than 20,000 will receive priority for funding. Year one funding is designed for developing the infrastructure to facilitate quality training. The grants are capped at $50,000 per applicant per year and require a dollar for dollar match.

The webinar is scheduled for Monday, March 19 from 10:30 – 11:30 am. There is no cost to participate in this webinar, but pre-registration is required. To register for this webinar, visit www.whareg4.org/RWIGrantWebinar.

For questions about the grant opportunities, contact Ann Zenk at azenk@wha.org. For registration questions, contact Kayla Chatterton at kchatterton@wha.org or call 608-274-1820.

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WHA Announces Virtual Journal Club for Clinicians

Focus on antimicrobial stewardship

Judicious use of antimicrobials is key to preventing hospital-acquired infections and curbing the epidemic of multi-drug resistant organisms; however, the best available evidence can sometimes be buried in 20+ pages of clinical guidelines. As a clinician, it can be difficult to know the best way to stay current on the dos and don’ts of antimicrobial stewardship. In an effort to assist, WHA is excited to announce a four-part virtual Journal Club on antimicrobial stewardship topics for clinicians.

The series will include the following sessions, with content appropriate for physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses and quality professionals:

  • When to Test and When to Treat…A Deep Dive on Asymptomatic Bacteriuria

            April 12, 12-1 pm CST

  • Evidence-based Strategies to Avoid Prescribing Unnecessary Antibiotics

            June 11, 12-1 pm CST

  • Evidence-based Strategies to Prescribe Antibiotics More Effectively

            August 13, 12-1 pm CST

  • Pre-op Urinalysis Before Orthopedic Surgery…What is the Current Evidence

            October 15, 12-1 pm CST

The series will be hosted by Robert Redwood, MD, MPH. Dr. Redwood is WHA’s physician improvement advisor, works full time as an emergency and preventive medicine physician at Divine Savior Hospital in Portage and is chair of the hospital’s antimicrobial stewardship committee.

The virtual Journal Club series will utilize Zoom technology, allowing participants to see each other and converse, as well see the presenter and his material. Those participating in the live sessions have the ability to earn continuing education credit. The sessions will also be recorded and available for future viewing. To register for individual sessions or the full series, visit www.whareg4.org/WebJournalClub. There is no cost to participate in the Journal Club, but pre-registration is required.

Mark your calendars and feel free to spread the word. For questions about content, email Beth Dibbert at bdibbert@wha.org. For registration questions, contact Kayla Chatterton at kchatterton@wha.org or call 608-274-1820.

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WONE Annual Convention, April 4-6

“Creating and Sustaining a Culture of Resilience: Priorities for Today’s Health Care Leaders,” is the theme for this year’s Wisconsin Organization of Nurse Executives (WONE) annual convention.

The convention includes opportunities to network with other nurse leaders and managers. Anyone who has responsibilities for leading and managing RNs will benefit from the educational agenda and is welcome. A full convention brochure is included in this week’s packet and is available online, along with online registration, at www.cvent.com/d/3tqsyv.

The convention will open with a keynote presentation from Diane Sieg, RN. Using real-life stories from her 23 years as an emergency room nurse, she will inspire pride and passion for nursing. She will share the seven habits of highly resilient nurses and habits that can immediately be implemented into work and life.

Closing speaker Kelly Swanson will present a hilarious and powerful motivating program based on her book, Who Hijacked My Fairy Tale?, which focuses on busting the negative mindsets that block the path to peace and prosperity.

The agenda also includes a variety of sessions, including a legislative and regulatory update; ways to find clarity, purpose and balance; and strategies to enable staff to remain effective in challenging times.

For registration questions, contact Kayla Chatterton at 608-274-1820 or kchatterton@wha.org.

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Fast Facts from the WHA Information Center: March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

WHA Information Center logo

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability in the United States, contributing to about 30 percent of all injury deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the top three leading causes for TBI are falls, unintentional blunt trauma and motor vehicle crashes.

According to data collected by the WHA Information Center, between October 2016 and September 2017, there were 8,238 inpatient admissions for treatment of traumatic brain injury in Wisconsin hospitals, 16,957 emergency room visits and 1,708 observation visits for the same diagnosis.

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

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