President’s Column: The Peak is Never Passed

January 03, 2019

As we close the books on another eventful and successful year, I first and foremost want to thank our members for their tremendous support of WHA and our work. We are truly honored to be the voice of some of the consistently best performing hospitals and health systems in the nation. Our partnership remains strong and has never been more important as we navigate, together, the ongoing twists and turns of health care.  

Uncertainty, perpetuated largely by inability to coalesce around health care policy, has become the norm today. A sharply divided President and Congress in Washington, D.C., a seemingly as divided Governor and Legislature in Wisconsin and now a third lawsuit threatening to overturn every single aspect of the Affordable Care Act, with nothing in its place, assure this environment will persist in 2019 and beyond. Amidst this ongoing turmoil, some things have remained steady and consistent: the quality of Wisconsin health care and the role, relevance and reach of WHA. 

Once again, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) ranked Wisconsin health care as some of the very best. According to the AHRQ, in 2018 our state had the 4th best health care in the country, and 1st in the Midwest. Since AHRQ began issuing rankings, Wisconsin has been in the top four 10 of 12 years, ranking first in the nation in 2006, 2008, and 2017 and second in 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2015. We stand on these achievements while reaching even higher, because quality care results in better outcomes for patients and ultimately improved value for Wisconsin employers.  

For our part, WHA’s priorities and agenda are more focused than ever on crafting and delivering results that enable our members to do what they do best—continue delivering top quality, high-value health care. Whether it be reforming antiquated telehealth regulations, growing and modernizing the health care workforce, working to stabilize insurance markets, fighting for fair reimbursement from government health care programs, forging new partnerships with business leaders or expanding data and analytics to improve care, 2018 has been another great example of WHA’s relevant work and impactful accomplishments. One of WHA’s Board members paid us the ultimate compliment when she recently wrote, “WHA is a large part of why Wisconsin is number one in health care. WHA’s passion, knowledge, strategy, and support is exceptional. Please pass along my appreciation to the fantastic team for all they do for our hospitals and the people of the state who count on great health care!” 

The feeling is mutual! We are privileged to represent Wisconsin’s hospitals and health systems and fortunate to work with tremendous health care leaders. 

WHA celebrates its 100th year in 2020, a century of health care advocacy. Over those years our purpose has been shaped by the times and circumstances, our value tested by the ability to anticipate and affect directions and outcomes. So as we wrap up a successful 2018 and, briefly, take stock of what was accomplished, we never lose focus on what can be. WHA will always be a “valued voice,” but today we advocate, advance, and lead.

To quote my favorite lyricist, “From first to last, the peak is never moment’s high, and glory rolls on by, like a streak of lightning that flashes and fades in the summer sky.” Indeed. WHA never settles. We will always focus on what’s next.  

Speaking of what’s next…from our team to yours, wishing you all a safe and successful 2019! 

Eric Borgerding, 

To receive a copy of WHA’s 2018 Annual Report, contact Sherry Collins at 608-274-1820.

This story originally appeared in the January 03, 2019 edition of WHA Newsletter