Eric Borgerding became president and chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Hospital Association on Jan. 1, 2015, just the fifth person in that role since the position was established in 1944.
Before serving in his current position, Borgerding led WHA’s advocacy efforts for 13 years, as vice president for government relations beginning in 2002, senior vice president of WHA in 2003, and then as executive vice president beginning in 2007. Borgerding brought more than 25 years of experience in government relations and advocacy to the WHA top post, including time as the chief state lobbyist for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, director of legislative relations at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, and a previous stint as WHA’s director of legislative relations in the early 1990s. Borgerding first became a licensed lobbyist in Wisconsin in 1988; his career in health care, public policy and advocacy now spans over three decades.
Eric and his wife Dana have been married 32 years, have three adult children and, recently, welcomed a new grandson. Borgerding is an avid musky fisherman, collector, and historian, serving on the Wisconsin Historical Society Board.
In one of his first interviews after becoming president, Borgerding recognized WHA’s members, all of Wisconsin’s hospitals and health systems. “I'm very proud of where our state is and the commitment of hospitals and health systems across the state to quality and outcome improvement. We have just as much engagement from our smallest, 25-bed, critical-access hospitals to quality improvement as we do from our largest hospitals. That's really a testament to Wisconsin.” Borgerding also said in the interview with Guy Boulton of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “One of the reasons WHA has been so successful and one of the best parts of this job is working with some (health care) leaders in Wisconsin who really are national leaders … They make representing Wisconsin hospitals and health systems very rewarding.”
Five years later, in a video
commemorating WHA’s 100th
Anniversary, Borgerding reiterated his praise for WHA’s members by reflecting on the role of the organization. “Everything we do at WHA is about enabling our members to do what they do best, deliver great care in Wisconsin … What more could we ask than to be an advocate for individuals and organizations who are making peoples’ lives better. That is a privilege and an honor, especially in this, our one-hundredth year.”
This week, WHA made national headlines calling for bipartisan leadership and action to address the pandemic and to support the women and men who are on the frontlines of this battle. In a letter to Governor Evers and legislative leaders last Thursday, Borgerding wrote, “No one is more burned-out from COVID-19 than the health care heroes who staff our state’s hospitals, yet they go to work every day to save lives. They are tired from working months of long hours behind masks, face shields and gowns, yet remain dedicated to their co-workers, patients and communities. But their exhaustion, and increasingly their frustration, is compounded by the still unmitigated spread of COVID. The spike in cases, surge in hospitalizations and increasingly strained health care workforce is a devastating combination that calls for unity and action.”
When asked recently what he was most proud of in his nearly 19 years at WHA, Borgerding immediately responded, “Our team. These incredibly talented and dedicated professionals are in the trenches together, seven days a week these past several months, and not only provide outstanding support and service to our members, but also to each other. I can’t say enough about them, and it is my privilege to work with them.”
Borgerding’s tenure to date has been about far more than the coronavirus and coming issues of Valued Voice will feature a few highlights.