April 14, 2017
Volume 61, Issue 15

Register Today for 2017 Wisconsin Rural Health Conference, June 21-23

Registration is now open for the 2017 Wisconsin Rural Health Conference, June 21-23, at Glacier Canyon Lodge at The Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells. This annual event is the statewide forum for examining the issues that impact small and rural hospitals most, networking and collaborating with colleagues, and bonding with your team of senior staff and members of your hospital board of trustees.

Each year, WHA’s Council on Rural Health acts as the planning committee for this conference, and again this year, they have crafted an interesting and diverse education agenda.

This year’s opening keynote speaker is J.D. Kleinke, medical economist and author, who will provide an up-to-the-minute look at the realistic options for legislators looking to replace the ACA, while minimizing political damage to themselves and economic damage to health care insurers, providers and beneficiaries. In addition, the 2017 agenda includes a presentation by Sam Quinones, journalist and author of Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic.

A variety of breakout sessions will give attendees the opportunity to examine and discuss models changing the delivery of and access to rural health care and ways in which data and technology are improving health care for rural populations. The conference will also include the popular education track focused on governance issues, including succession planning for a new senior leader, a hospital trustee’s role in physician recruitment and retention, and understanding CMS and state surveys.

Make attendance at this year’s conference a priority by registering today. A brochure is included in this week’s packet and online registration is available at http://www.cvent.com/d/w5qpcq.

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Give Your Physician Leaders the Foundation to Successfully Lead Quality Improvement
WHA Physician Quality Academy – Register Now

Physicians are often assigned a role with a hospital or health system’s quality department or committee, or they are asked to lead a quality improvement project. Knowledge about quality improvement tools and principles can increase the likelihood that a physician will be more successful in and comfortable with his/her leadership role.

The WHA Physician Quality Academy is a two-day quality curriculum, co-led by physicians and quality professionals and geared toward all levels of physician quality engagement, from the general workforce to medical director, physician champion, or director of quality.

According to WHA President/CEO Eric Borgerding, "The WHA Physician Quality Academy is a resource our hospital and health system members request from the Association to assist them in engaging their physicians and helping them lead quality improvement efforts within their health care organizations."

The Academy is offered twice in 2017, allowing physicians to choose the cohort that works best for his/her schedule: Cohort #1 will be held May 10 and July 21, and Cohort #2 will be September 29 and November 3. The full event agenda and online registration are available at www.cvent.com/d/wvq5nm. An event brochure is included in this week’s packet as well. For more information, contact Jennifer Frank at jfrank@wha.org or 608-274-1820.

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New Legislator Profile: Rep. Ron Tusler (R-Harrison)

Rep. Ron Tusler was inspired to serve in the Legislature by the example set by his great-grandfather, Sen. Gordon Bubolz. Sen. Bubolz served in the Wisconsin state senate and was best known for his conservation of Northeast Wisconsin’s state parks, including High Cliff State Park.

"I love my country, state and hometown. I never served in the military, but I feel that I owe our state and country a great debt," Tusler said. "Serving in the Legislature is an effort to do my share for a state that has given me so much."

Tusler has personal experience with Wisconsin’s high-quality health system, as his mother has been battling cancer.

"Anybody who has been sick knows how important our health system is. We all need it," according to Tusler. "What we are doing in Wisconsin in health care is remarkable."

He said Wisconsin is not known for "patting ourselves on the back," instead "we just set new goals for excellent care."

Tusler pointed out Wisconsin’s low uninsured rate, access to care and the fact that "anyone who really needs care, for the most part, is receiving it."

"We have a lot to be proud of in this state, and we’re thankful for our nurses, doctors and everyone involved in the health care profession," he added.

Tusler is a strong supporter of the Rural Wisconsin Initiative, a package of legislation designed to address needs for rural communities including health care, workforce, technology and education. Part of that package, developed in close cooperation with WHA, will provide additional funding for training opportunities for advanced practice clinicians and allied health professionals.

"If we can get some professionals to start their careers in rural Wisconsin, and give them an incentive on a small scale, the kind of program we are developing has a lot of potential," Tusler said. "Rural Wisconsin is where many opportunities exist."

Tusler said high-quality health care is instrumental in attracting new industry and business to the state.

"When a business looks to build, they look at the services that are available," Tusler said. "I think health care is definitely a factor important to businesses staying in our state and being successful. I also think companies are aware of how important good health care is to them."

Tusler has experience working on emergency detention cases on behalf of the state public defender’s office. He knows some of the issues involved and the importance of getting people the mental health services they need.

"The underlying mental health issues are much more prevalent than people realize, at younger ages and even in later years," he said. "Identifying those issues early on saves lives."

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Governor Visits Three Hospitals to Celebrate Project SEARCH

Gov. Scott Walker visited three hospitals to highlight the success of workforce development initiatives, such as Project SEARCH that work to employ people with disabilities. Walker visited HSHS St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay, Aspirus Riverview Hospital in Wisconsin Rapids, and Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. Project SEARCH teaches students marketable, transferable and competitive skills to help them transition into Wisconsin’s workforce. Several Wisconsin hospitals and health systems in the state support Project SEARCH.

"A top priority for us as we continue to move Wisconsin forward is rewarding work," Governor Walker said. "This means removing barriers to work so that anyone who wants a job can find a job—and a good-paying career. We know a strong Wisconsin workforce is one that celebrates and promotes the unique abilities and talents of all employees, including those with disabilities. Workforce development programs like Project SEARCH help make this a reality by providing students with disabilities with the practical skills and experience they need to thrive in the career of their choice."

During the most recent federal fiscal year, 4,615 people with disabilities entered Wisconsin’s workforce, helping to drive the state’s disability employment rate up to 41.2 percent. According to the 2016 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, Wisconsin ranks among the top ten states in the nation for employing people with disabilities.

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Grassroots Spotlight: Rep. Gallagher Visits Door County Medical Center, Sturgeon Bay

On April 12, Rep. Mike Gallagher visited Door County Medical Center (DCMC) and the DCMC Dental Clinic to meet with senior leaders and learn about how DCMC invests in local programs to impact community health. Gallagher is seeking to understand the impact of health care reform on rural areas like Door County to inform his efforts as a newly-elected legislator.

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WHA Offering Education on Newly Available Expedited Physician Licensure Process
Interstate Medical Licensure Compact process is now operational

With the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact’s voluntary expedited licensure process becoming operational this month, WHA will be offering a 45-minute webinar on how the new Compact process can help physicians more quickly receive a Wisconsin medical license or a license in another state if the physician already holds a medical license in a Compact state. WHA General Counsel Matthew Stanford will present information on eligibility, which states are participating in the Compact, completing the application process, fees, how to maintain a Compact expedited license and considerations for utilizing the Compact expedited process versus the traditional licensure process.

The webinar, scheduled Tuesday, May 23 from 12:00-12:45 pm, is being offered through a partnership between WHA and the Wisconsin Medical Group Management Association (WMGMA). There is no fee to participate in this webinar, but pre-registration is required. Registration is now open at: www.cvent.com/d/z5qq0r.

Wisconsin joined the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact through the enactment of legislation in December 2015, which was a key legislative priority for WHA. To apply for a medical license through the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact expedited process, individuals should visit https://imlcc.org.

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Save the Date: WHA Emergency Preparedness Conference September 20, Madison

Plan now to attend the WHA Emergency Preparedness Conference, "Ready to Respond." The conference will feature Vincent Covello, PhD, an international expert on crisis and risk communications. Dr. Covello will both keynote the conference and offer a deep-dive afternoon session specifically for public information officers. HSS EM Solutions will present an overview of emergency planning for an active shooter, a presentation that health care organizations have said is extremely valuable to their staff, especially to those responsible for working with and in the hospital ER. A third presentation by the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene will advise the audience about infectious disease outbreaks past, present and future and how to be prepared for these outbreaks.

This conference will be valuable to public information officers, emergency preparedness directors, infection prevention directors and emergency department directors. The full event agenda and registration information will be available soon. Mark your calendar today and plan to attend this one-day event September 20 in Madison.

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