Hundreds Gather for WHA Data Collection/Quality Reporting Conference

October 31, 2019

More than 200 hospital and ambulatory surgery center staff from around the state gathered in Wisconsin Dells on Wednesday for an important Data Collection & Quality Reporting Conference. The meeting was a joint effort by the Wisconsin Hospital Association Information Center (WHAIC) and the WHA Quality Improvement and Performance Team. 

The day-long event highlighted how accurate and thorough submission of discharge data can result in powerful health care quality and public policy efforts. While data collection and submission can appear on the surface to be yet another administrative task, numerous speakers highlighted both the potential use of these data and gave examples of how analysis can lead to impressive health care improvements:

  • WHA Chief Quality Officer Beth Dibbert presented on health equity and engaged the audience in helping drive home the point that our patients identify themselves in many ways, in particular as it relates to race, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation and gender identity. As a state, we have a huge opportunity to improve not only the quantity of this data collection, but the quality of that data as well. Dibbert encouraged the audience to set an organizational commitment to health equity, provide opportunities for self-reported identifiers, validate the data, connect the dots from data to patient outcomes and communicate these findings. 
  • Anne Allen, WHA clinical quality Improvement advisor, presented the importance of documenting and assigning ICD-10 Z-codes in order to begin to understand how the social determinants of health factors into overall health. Analyzing this data can help reduce costs, improve patient outcomes and exceed patient expectations. 
  • Joyce Zweifel from SSM Health Strategic Business Development did a lunch presentation focusing on how SSM utilizes all the data sources the WHAIC has and produces. She stressed to the group the importance of data submission quality, completeness, integrity and timeliness.

WHAIC also announced at the conference that it has met federal requirements to become a Certified Qualified Entity (QE) under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Qualified Entity Certification Program. This enables WHAIC to eventually receive Medicare Parts A and B medical claims data and Part D prescription drug claims data for use in evaluating provider performance. WHA is the only hospital association in the country to attain this status. 

“We’re extremely proud of the WHAIC for attaining this impressive status,” said WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding, who kicked off the conference with an update on the state of Wisconsin’s health care. “We’re also very excited about how this data informs good public policy in areas like expanding health care coverage, helping to identify areas of workforce needs, and discovering where to best target resources to improve population health.”

Borgerding described areas where WHAIC data has helped improve and advance public policy in just the past year, such as:

  • Volume of ED visits related to opioid abuse,
  • Dental-related ED visits and non-traumatic dental care provided in EDs,
  • Medicaid patients with more than seven trips to the ED in a year,
  • Comparing Medicaid-related hospital admissions vs. releases via the ED, and
  • Providing data on hot-topic issues such as births in rural hospitals and hospital stroke care capabilities 
“Facts and data lead to health care improvements, plain and simple,” Borgerding said. “Compiling those facts and data is where WHAIC is so valuable, and therefore how all of you who supply that data are, too.”

WHAIC has completed the first of three phases in the CMS Qualified Entity Program process. Over the next several months the WHAIC will be working with the federal government to finalize qualification for receiving Medicare claims data – which will likely occur in the first half of 2020. 

Contact Jennifer Mueller, WHAIC Vice President and Privacy Officer for more information.  

This story originally appeared in the October 31, 2019 edition of WHA Newsletter