WHA’s Strategic Plan and Future Advocacy Priorities Focus of Annual Board Retreat

Leaders from three state agencies discuss key issues and collaboration

August 27, 2019

The WHA Board of Directors and WHA staff held their annual strategic planning session August 14-16 in Arbor Vitae. Board member discussions focused on the WHA strategic plan and physician engagement strategies. The retreat also featured a panel discussion with key leaders from three state agencies that have a significant role in Wisconsin health care. 

WHA Chair-Elect Dan Meyer, President of Aurora BayCare Medical Center, and WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding, kicked off the meeting by highlighting recent successes with the state biennial budget process and connected those achievements to the pillars of WHA’s strategic plan and mission.
“This year’s meeting will focus on looking ahead and maintaining WHA’s top influential position in Wisconsin health care,” said Borgerding. “We will do so by staying diligent in achieving the five elements that define WHA value—responsive, knowledgeable, influential, impactful and relevant.”

Board members engaged in detailed discussions about WHA’s mission, vision, values and strategic goals. Members discussed the ever-broadening range of responsibilities and requirements aimed at hospitals and health systems, and whether these changing dynamics should be reflected in the organization’s mission and vision. Ultimately, Board members agreed the key to WHA’s advocacy success is maintaining a disciplined focus, while ensuring that all parts of the health care system, including state and local governments, fulfill their responsibilities and are a part of future strategies and solutions. 

“WHA’s top priority is delivering value to our members and doing our part to improve the health of our state through our advocacy work,” Borgerding said. “In this rapidly changing environment, we will continue to strategically position WHA to be relevant and impactful for our members as they strive to fulfill their missions and improve the health of their communities and the state.”

When they look to the future, WHA members consistently identify three areas as top concerns: 
  • Government health care programs like Medicaid and Medicare;
  • The health care workforce shortage; and,
  • The stability of the health insurance market.  
With that in mind, WHA was pleased to welcome Department of Workforce Development Secretary Caleb Frostman, Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) Commissioner Mark Afable, and Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk for a panel format dialogue with the Board. Each outlined the respective vision for their state agencies and highlighted synergies with WHA and the Wisconsin health care industry. 

Frostman covered a number of topics, including “quality communities” as a key economic development tool and noted a range of workforce programs relevant to health care training and recruitment. Willems Van Dijk highlighted the importance of funding, coverage, reimbursement and innovation in the Medicaid program and the role of WHA and its members as leaders in the transformation of health care. Afable highlighted OCI’s and the Legislature’s work to stabilize the insurance market and improve enrollment in both Medicaid and the ACA marketplace. He also discussed more timely issues, including surprise billing. 

Dr. Mark Kaufman, WHA Chief Medical Officer, presented WHA’s physician engagement strategy, collecting valuable feedback from Board members. Dr. Kaufman provided an overview of WHA’s historical work on this topic, indicating future efforts will focus on physician leadership development, education, enhancing the Physician Leaders Council and advocacy.

Finally, the Board reviewed its Self-Evaluation survey. WHA continues to perform at a very high level, providing a multi-faceted return on investment for members. Board members commented on WHA’s ability to influence policy and produce results, saying members could not fulfill their mission without WHA. 

“WHA members are fortunate to be represented by the excellent staff and resources at our disposal,” said Meyer. “This retreat was another great example of the quality and influence of WHA as an organization.”

WHA staff will spend the next several weeks digesting the many takeaways from the retreat, using the information to help craft and guide 2020 annual goals, as well as the 2020-22 update of the strategic plan. The new strategic plan will be presented at the October Board meeting.

“Our members are crucial in the development of WHA’s strategic goals,” Borgerding said. “The thoughtful and insightful feedback we received at the retreat provides excellent guidance as we rewrite our strategic plan.”

This story originally appeared in the August 27, 2019 edition of WHA Newsletter