May 4, 2018

Volume 62-Issue 18

WHA Medicaid Policy Work Group Kicks Off 2019-21 Biennial Budget Planning

Eric Borgerding, Lisa Ellinger, Heather SmithOn May 3, WHA reconvened the WHA Medicaid Policy Work Group (MAWG) to assist in identifying the highest priority issues for WHA to advance during the 2019-21 biennial budget. The MAWG will meet over the next several months to guide the development of the WHA biennial budget strategy pertaining to Medicaid policy. The MAWG has provided valuable and informative feedback during the past several budget cycles.

Wisconsin Medicaid Director Heather Smith provided an overview of the Medicaid budget and administration priorities, which include opioid abuse, telehealth and health care workforce recruitment. Smith welcomed ideas from WHA membership as the Department of Health Services develops their agency budget this summer.

WHA Medicaid Policy Work Group meeting May 3, 2018
WHA President/CEO Eric Borgerding encouraged the Work Group to think creatively about targeted reimbursement strategies, and to think “beyond the hospital walls” to initiatives with community partners that influence overall population health and ensure other stakeholders are at the table.

Lisa Ellinger, WHA vice president, public policy, provided an overview of Medicaid funding and enrollment, a status report on the reinsurance (1332) and childless adult (1115) waivers, and facilitated a group discussion on reimbursement, financing, coverage, care coordination and population health.

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WHA's Post-Acute Care Work Group Panel appears at LeadingAge Spring Conference

Post-Acute Care Work Group PanelA panel of members from WHA’s Post-Acute Care Work Group was invited to the LeadingAge Spring Conference in Wisconsin Dells May 3 to share information about the Work Group’s recommendations and to have a dialogue with post-acute care providers about pressing issues in post-acute care.

Patient transition from the hospital to a post-acute setting or to the home is a crucial time which, if handled properly, can reduce a patient’s chance of being readmitted to the hospital. Successful transitions require effective communication between providers and families. To facilitate communication about best practices for care transitions, the Work Group has developed a statewide conference on care transitions, developed by WHA in conjunction with LeadingAge and other post-acute care providers, which will be held June 5 in Appleton. Panelists and audience members offered many additional suggestions for improved transitions, including providing accurate and complete discharge summaries upon admission of the patient to post-acute care; on-site visits by hospital and post-acute providers to each other’s facilities during care transitions; and communication between hospital and post-acute administrators and clinicians. 

The workforce shortage in post-acute care is a serious issue that was addressed by the panel and the audience. A recently released report, “The Long-Term Care Workforce Crisis,” prepared by LeadingAge and other long-term care provider organizations, shows serious workforce issues that have worsened over the past two years. The Department of Health Services Wisconsin Caregiver Careers program was mentioned as one solution to partially alleviate the crisis. The Program provides free training and testing for certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and a retention bonus for CNAs who remain employed for six months or more. As of May 3, more than 1,000 people had signed up for the program.

This lively discussion with almost 100 attendees showed the importance to hospitals, post-acute providers, and patients to address post-acute care. WHA will continue its focus on this important issue throughout 2018 and beyond.

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President's Column: Hospital Week 2018: In Service to Others

Eric BorgerdingMay 6-12 is both National Nurses Week and National Hospital Week, the time each year when we recognize and appreciate those in Wisconsin who dedicate their careers to making our health care some of the best, most accessible in the country. There are more than 150,000 committed people employed in Wisconsin health care, all contributing in some way to the care of others.

We are reminded of that dedication at many times, in many ways, but no more so than on April 26, when the Wisconsin health care community was stunned by the crash of an Ascension Wisconsin Spirit Medical Transport helicopter near Hazelhurst. Three people, all members of the flight team, lost their lives. They were just a few miles from their home base, returning to Howard Young Medical Center in Woodruff after transporting a patient to Madison.

We were devastated by the news. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the crew, their families and loved ones.

helicopter imageAll of Wisconsin’s dedicated caregivers, their families and those who love and support them, make sacrifices every single day to serve their fellow human beings. They devote their lives to helping people they don’t know, in times of their greatest need, often putting themselves at risk for the sake of others. Each deserves recognition and our gratitude, not just during this special week, but every week and every day.

Any loss of life is difficult. When such loss comes in the course of a selfless act, in service to others, it is even harder to fathom or reconcile. It is painful, and felt far and wide. Tragedies like this remind us not only how precious life is, but how thankful we are for those who work every day to preserve it, even at the risk of their own.

The WHA team expresses its deepest sympathies to the families, loved ones and colleagues of pilot Rico Caruso, 34, Hazelhurst; crewman Klint Mitchell, 30, Watersmeet, MI; and crewman Gregory Rosenthal, 43, Mosinee.

During this special week, please keep these dedicated health care servants and their loved ones in your thoughts and prayers—and take a moment to thank someone who works in service to others in Wisconsin health care.

The Howard Young Foundation has set up a “Helping Hands” fund to benefit the families of the Ascension Wisconsin Spirit Medical Transport team. Visit www.howardyoungfoundation.org to make a donation. You may also mail donations to the Howard Young Foundation, PO Box 470, Woodruff, WI 545468-0470 (make checks payable to Howard Young Foundation – Spirit).

Eric Borgerding,

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Hospitals and Partners Practice Emergency Plan for Pandemic Response

29 hospitals participate in South Central WI Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition exercise

Over 270 hospitals, EMS, trauma, public health, and other emergency response personnel from South Central Wisconsin—including representatives from 29 hospitals—gathered in Madison last month to practice an emergency plan to respond to an influenza outbreak.

The exercise provided opportunities for collaboration during a response to an influenza pandemic, including communication and information sharing, point-of-dispensing operations, medical surge coordination, and management of fatalities and shortages in drugs and medical supplies. While the Coalition’s exercise focused on how to respond to an influenza outbreak, the emergency plan that was tested is applicable to any pandemic or infectious disease outbreak.

“Participants left the exercise realizing that we are stronger together as a coalition than any of us working alone,” said Jennifer Behnke, MPH, coordinator, South Central Wisconsin Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition, which organized the exercise. “We can leverage this capacity for coordination and collaboration to effectively respond to emergencies of all kinds.”

The Coalition is a group of health care organizations and emergency preparedness and response partners (e.g., hospitals, EMS, trauma, and public health) in 14 counties in South Central Wisconsin that collaborate for the common goal of uniform and unified response to mass casualty incidents and other emergencies, including pandemics. The Coalition receives funding and other support from the Wisconsin Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Program (WHEPP), which is a program administered by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services in partnership with WHA and other stakeholders to support emergency preparedness planning and response.

If you have questions regarding emergency preparedness, contact Andrew Brenton, WHA assistant general counsel, at 608-274-1820 or abrenton@wha.org, or visit: www.wha.org/emergencyPreparedness.aspx.

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2018 Wisconsin Rural Health Conference, June 27-29 in Elkhart Lake

Make your plans now to attend the 2018 Wisconsin Rural Health Conference, scheduled June 27-29 at The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake. This annual event is the statewide forum for examining the issues that most impact small and rural hospitals, networking and collaborating with colleagues and bonding with your team of senior staff and members of your hospital board of trustees.

Make attendance at this year’s conference a priority by registering today. The conference agenda and online registration are available at www.cvent.com/d/3gqkxj.

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Call for Nominations: 2018 Global Vision Community Partnership Award

Nominations due to WHA Foundation by July 13

WHA Foundation logoGlobal Vision Award logoWHA Foundation logoGlobal Vision Award logoHonor one of your hospital’s community health projects by submitting a nomination for a 2018 Global Vision Community Partnership Award, presented by the WHA Foundation.

This competitive grant award is presented to a community health initiative that successfully addresses a documented community health need. The Award, launched by the WHA Foundation in 1993, seeks to recognize and support ongoing projects that support community health.

Any WHA hospital member can nominate a community health project. The project must have been in existence for a minimum of two years and must be a collaborative or partnership project that includes a WHA member hospital and an organization(s) within the community. The official call for nominations for the 2018 award is included in this week’s packet.

Nominations are due July 13, 2018. Nomination forms can also be found on the WHA website at www.wha.org/global-vision-comm-partnership.aspx. For more information about the award, contact Jennifer Frank at jfrank@wha.org or 608-274-1820.

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WADVS Annual Conference for Directors of Volunteer Services, June 14-15

The Wisconsin Association of Directors of Volunteer Services (WADVS) is hosting its annual conference for health care directors of volunteer services June 14-15 at Holiday Inn American Center in Madison.

This annual event provides health care volunteer resource professionals the opportunity to think differently about their roles in the overall delivery of care and identify best practices from fellow colleagues and leaders in the field. The 2018 conference will include sessions focused on recruiting, retaining and engaging volunteers, as well as improving customer service and combating burnout.

Anyone who is responsible for volunteer management in a health care setting is welcome to attend. In addition, those who hold the CAVS certification can earn continuing professional education hours to maintain that certification.

Full conference information and a registration form can be viewed at www.wadvs.org. Questions should be directed to Dawn Meier at dawn.meier@ssmhealth.com.

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Fast Facts from the WHA Information Center: May is Mental Health Awareness Month

WHA Information Center logoThis month focuses on information that will encourage positive actions and protective measures for one’s own mental health and whole-body health.

The WHA Information Center has provided some information from 2017 regarding mental health in Wisconsin. Unless specified below, WHA Information Center reviewed inpatient, observation and emergency department visits.

  • Number of ER visits where mental health was the reason for the visit:  68,724 (3.7%)
  • Average length of stay for inpatient mental health disorders (includes acute care and psychiatric care facilities and units):  7.9 days
  • Percentage of visits for 13-18 year olds where mental health disorders were the reason for the visit or admission:  11.2%
  • Percentage of adult visits and admissions where a diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder was present:   0.9%
  • Number of visits or admissions classified with substance dependence or abuse: 45,849 (1.8%)

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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