March 18, 2011
Volume 55, Issue 11
State Budget Tops Public Policy Council Agenda
Medicaid Director Brett Davis tells Council additional flexibility is key to MA strategy
Speaking at the WHA Public Policy Council meeting in Madison on March 15, State Medicaid Director Brett Davis told Council members that after he met with the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, shortly after accepting his appointment, he wasn’t sure if friends and colleagues should be offering "congratulations or condolences" on his new position.
Wisconsin’s Medicaid deficit of $1.8 billion for the next biennium is a significant portion of the state’s $3.6 billion 2011-13 deficit. "I don’t think the general public can comprehend the magnitude of a $3.6 billion budget deficit," Davis said. "We are in an unprecedented challenging time."
Despite this, Governor Walker and his administration are making Medicaid a budget priority, according to Davis. "We want to do our best to keep people enrolled, that was our number one tenet, to do our best not to reduce eligibility levels," Davis said. "Everyone has seen how other states are grappling with this. They are dropping optional services and some are slashing provider payments. We have been largely able to not do that."
Davis said a key component of their Medicaid strategy is to get approval for more flexibility from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). So far, CMS has not allowed for much flexibility.
Davis said the Department has developed a list of flexibility waivers that they believe will help address the Medicaid budget problems. He added that there are currently actions they are not allowed to take, including changes in eligibility.
If CMS does not approve a flex waiver, the Department of Health Services (DHS) will be forced to reduce eligibility to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) for non-pregnant, non-disabled adults – a source of frustration for the Department. "You can’t make systems changes that would circumvent eligibility reductions, a move that just makes common sense."
DHS is forming a series of work groups to review "efficiency measures" as they are developed. Davis said he wants to ensure that DHS is regularly engaging with hospitals and to ensure that as the Department moves down a particular path, there is a mechanism in place to gain their input.
As ideas regarding the program emerge, Davis said serious conversations will be held early and often with hospitals. "We don’t want any surprises ... We need to make sure we are meeting regularly to walk through the ideas."
DHS Secretary Smith and Deputy Secretary Kitty Rhoades also plan to hold listening sessions to solicit input on the efficiency measures. The first session is scheduled for March 23 in Green Bay. Additional information on this and upcoming meetings is available at:
www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/news/Meetings/TownHall.htm. Individuals will be able to testify or submit their ideas in writing.
Davis encouraged hospitals to attend one of the listening sessions and share their cost-saving ideas. Any progress that is made will only be possible if DHS and hospitals are partners in the effort to contain costs and continue to provide a health care safety net for Wisconsin’s most vulnerable citizens.
"It’s a New World in Madison" – Uncertainty Reigns as Budget Wars Rage On
The events over the past few weeks in Madison have left an indelible mark on the State Capitol. "It’s a new world in Madison, and I suspect it will be for some time," according to WHA Executive Vice President Eric Borgerding. "It adds to the degree of uncertainty that exists."
Borgerding presented a current account of events at the State Capitol, focusing on how the state proposes to solve the massive budget deficit. Borgerding described the challenges of the $150 million general purpose revenue (GPR) shortfall in the FY11 Medicaid budget, and the $1.8 billion GPR shortfall in the 2011-2013 Medicaid budget.
WHA’s priorities in the current Medicaid budget are to:
Fully fund the FY11 Medicaid budget without enrollment or payment cuts;
Preserve the Medicaid safety net for our most vulnerable populations;
Preserve the integrity of the hospital assessment; and,
Minimize cost shifting to employers and employees from unreimbursed Medicaid costs and uncompensated care.
The Budget Adjustment Act, which was just passed, lays the groundwork for solving a portion of the 2011-13 Medicaid deficit by requiring DHS to study ways to increase "cost effectiveness and efficiency of care" in the Medicaid program and to recommend program changes. It also requires DHS to implement Medicaid program changes through federal waivers, which Medicaid Director Davis referenced in his earlier comments (see above), and through state plan amendments and administrative rules.
Borgerding said WHA will convene a study group to make recommendations to the Department on ways to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the program. The DHS study and resulting rules can address the following areas:
Cost sharing from enrollees to extent allowable by federal law;
Authorize providers to deny care if cost sharing is not met, per federal law;
Modify existing benefits, offer different benefits to different groups;
Revise provider reimbursement models for particular services;
Mandate enrollment in managed care;
Restrict or eliminate "presumptive eligibility";
Restrict benefits to non-citizens, per federal law;
Set standards for verifying, determining and redetermining eligibility; and,
Reduce income levels for determining eligibility, per federal law.
The 2011-13 budget does provide $1.3 billion to backfill the $1.8 billion Medicaid deficit. The remaining $500 million deficit will be addressed by the DHS study and new rules contained in the Budget Adjustment Act. Borgerding said the budget does include a new pay-for-performance (P4P) provision for hospitals. WHA does not have detailed information on it, but DHS has asked for hospital input and assistance as they develop the P4P program.
The budget also calls for repeal of the statute governing medical record copy fees and replaces it with an administrative rule. Likewise, the budget requires that the price hospitals pay for newborn screening cards be set in administrative rule.
WHA staff continues to analyze the state budget and meet with the DHS. To ensure that members are kept apprised of developments in Madison, staff continues to develop summary and fact sheets that outline the impact the state budget will have on hospitals. Borgerding said WHA has been meeting with legislators regularly, and he encouraged Council members to attend Advocacy Day on April 27 and to participate in upcoming WHA webinars in March and April that focus on the legislative and budget processes.
Legislative Council Study Committee Reports
The Legislative Council Study Committee on Access to Health Care released their recommended legislative proposals after meeting for several months on issues related to workforce and access to care. Their proposals, as presented to the Public Policy Council by WHA Vice President Workforce Development Judy Warmuth, were:
WLC: 0058/2, expanding pharmacists’ ability to administer influenza vaccine to individuals age six and up.
WLC: 0066/2, creating the requirement that persons seeking renewal of a license as a dentist, dental hygienist, physician, psychologist, physical therapist, physician assistant, pharmacist or clinical social worker complete a workforce survey.
WLC: 0091/1, relating to dental licensing exceptions for dental residents and interns.
WLC: 0096/1, relating to duties of local health departments.
WLC: 0097/1, requiring the repayment of state aid by medical school graduates who fail to practice in Wisconsin.
The Legislative Council Study Committee on Emergency Detention and Admission of Minors Under Ch 51 has not met since January. Matthew Stanford, WHA vice president, policy and regulatory affairs and associate counsel, said the Committee has not yet reviewed any specific legislation, but instead, has only worked on broader concepts. Stanford said it is expected that the Committee will meet in the future to recommend legislation on areas of consensus. He also explained that WHA will be pursuing legislation to reconcile Wisconsin’s emergency detention law with federal EMTALA law, and will be working with a subcommittee of WHA’s Behavioral Health Task Force on this issue.
Federal Update: PPACA One Year Later and Federal Budget
Jenny Boese, WHA vice president external relations/member advocacy, provided a summary of three priority federal issues: health care reform (PPACA) one year after enactment, the President’s FY 2012 budget and Congressional activity on the Continuing Resolution. In discussing federal health care reform, Boese provided updates on legislation being introduced, such as waiver legislation to allow states more flexibility under the PPACA, as well as gave details on various Congressional hearings, including Cong. Ryan’s Budget Committee hearing on the fiscal consequences of the PPACA. Testifying at that hearing was Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Dennis Smith.
Boese also provided a quick recap on the Continuing Resolution debate over how to fund government this fiscal year. In turning to the President’s FY 2012 budget, Boese focused on the President’s proposal to scale back states’ abilities to use Medicaid provider taxes. It appears Wisconsin would not be impacted under the President’s proposal. Forty-seven states have some form of a provider tax.
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New Legislator Profile:
Rep. Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville)
A series of interviews with newly-elected legisators, by Mary Kay Grasmick, editor
As a member of Stoughton Hospital’s Board of Directors, Rep. Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville) brings an understanding of the health care environ-ment with her to the State Capitol. Ringhand is familiar with cost shifting, and she expressed her concern about the future as the state grapples with the Medicaid budget.
"My hope is that our hospitals can continue to sustain charity care, which will be tougher and tougher until this economy turns around. I know that the hospitals in the long run will probably absorb even more of the cost of care for those with Medicaid or no insurance," she said. "I believe things will start getting better as more people get jobs and get back on their feet. They want to pay their bills and they want health care for themselves and their family."
Ringhand said she hopes hospitals can continue to ride out the economic storm.
"I know it is hard for our hospitals, and they try to be affordable; we don’t want them to have to absorb the major brunt of what could happen for people. Medicaid is a last resort for so many people already," she added.
Ringhand is concerned about cost shifting and the possibility that it could increase if people do not find employment and if Medicaid enrollment continues to grow, but she believes that one way to reduce costs in the program is to promote health. She is deeply concerned about children, in particular, and establishing healthy lifestyles early on to prevent more serious health issues later in life.
"When I was a kid, we had the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, and they really promoted that in the schools," according to Ringhand. "Now, I’m not sure that is really promoted in the schools. From a personal perspective, we need to do more to promote health and wellness and address childhood obesity. I would like to see a greater push for healthy eating, and give people a better understanding of how their personal health habits affect their health. I know it’s mentioned all the time, but I think it could make a big difference in the health of our nation."
Ringhand is no stranger to politics. The former mayor of Evansville started her political career in 1998 as an alderperson. It was her public service at the local level where she learned firsthand how state government policies and mandates impact local government. The desire to help shape those policies fostered a desire in her to run for state office.
Ringhand’s finance background will be another valuable skill as the Legislature tackles the largest deficit in its history. Economic development and getting people back to work in Wisconsin are priorities for Ringhand. A Rock County resident, she has seen the local economy devastated by job loss.
Ringhand said hospitals have a role in promoting economic development. As a member of the Board of Directors of Stoughton Hospital, she said she has seen the CEO (Terry Brenny) and members of the hospital’s administrative team become involved in the local chamber and Rotary Club.
"They (Stoughton Hospital) get involved at all levels in the community to promote good health and wellness activities," said Ringhand. "They also support the free clinic, Shalom Holistic Health, and they are active in the schools."
Stoughton Hospital, she noted, also works with local industry to help them promote internal programs that promote wellness.
"Economic development was a big campaign issue for me," she said. "Rock County was hit hard, so I have been strongly encouraging job creation and growth. We need to do whatever we can to promote, expand and improve Wisconsin’s economy and get people back to work."
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No Fee Increase for Licensed Occupations This Year
The Department of Regulation and Licensing is required to collect workload data for the Department and use that data to calculate the administrative and enforcement costs to the department attributable to each occupation or business. Every other year, they must use those calculations to recommend changes in fees for each licensed group.
This year, the calculations suggested a fee increase was necessary and appropriate for most groups, but Department Secretary Dave Ross, in submitting his report to the State Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance recommended that no increases occur to help stimulate job creation and the business climate in Wisconsin.
His recommendation was subject to a 14-day passive review by the committee. No objections were raised by the March 16 deadline, so fees will remain at the 2009-2010 level for the next two years.
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WHA Physician Leadership Conference Attracts Record Number of Hospital, Physician Leaders
The WHA Physician Leadership Development Conference, held March 11-12, drew record numbers of physician and hospital leaders. Forty-nine hospitals and health systems were represented by 110 physician leaders and 32 senior executives. Attendance has nearly doubled since it was started nearly six years ago. The annual conference is designed to help physician leaders bridge the gap between their traditional clinical training and the new leadership approaches to decision-making and problem solving they need to consider as physician leaders.
Ned Wolf, president and CEO of Lakeview Medical Center in Rice Lake, attended this year’s event with three of his physicians, including one who recently elevated to the position of chief medical officer, one who is heading up their patient-centered medical home initiative, and a third who is not yet in a formal leadership role.
"The conference was of great value to all three physicians from two perspectives. First, it gave them practical tools and techniques in coaching physicians for elevated performance. Secondly, the speakers did a very effective job in illustrating the trends in health care and the critical importance physicians, and physician leaders, must play in leading our organizations to excel in the future, I am certain we will be returning next year with both past attendees as well as new physicians who are stepping into leadership roles," said Wolf.
Ken Buser, president and CEO of Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare – All Saints in Racine attended with six members of their newly-formed physician leadership team, which included physicians, executives and community Board members. Buser indicated that his team "benefitted greatly from participating in this highly valuable experience together."
"Physicians brand new to their leadership roles and others with several years of experience…all were able to take away some very valuable learnings from the conference. The sessions generated significant post-conference dialogue among our physician leaders, as they recognize it is imperative for all of their physician colleagues to learn more about ACOs and the transformational issues related to health care reform," said Buser. "Our physicians are eager to put the performance management practices that they learned at the conference into action. Our team found the experience to be so valuable that they are already looking forward to attending next year’s conference!"
Hospital leaders are encouraged to join their physician leaders at this event, in the role of "host," which offers the opportunity to build relationships with physician leaders away from the everyday rush. Ed Harding, president and CEO of Bay Area Medical Center said this about the experience of attending with his team, "Having just stepped into the role of president & CEO of Bay Area Medical Center approximately three months ago, the WHA Physician Leadership Conference provided an excellent opportunity to sequester a core group of physician leaders and learn more about the needs and desires of our medical staff and organization."
The 2012 event is scheduled for March 9-10 at The American Club in Kohler. Mark your calendar, share this date with your medical staff and encourage your new and potential physician leaders to consider attending as part of your team.
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AHA Annual Meeting in Washington, DC April 10-13
WHA Hosts Members-Only Events
American Hospital Association (AHA) members should have received materials for AHA’s Annual Meeting to be held April 10-13 in Washington, DC. WHA will coordinate a number of special member events on April 11 and April 12, including a luncheon issue briefing, a members-only dinner and Hill visits with Wisconsin’s Members of Congress."This year’s Capitol Hill visits will allow Wisconsin leaders the opportunity to discuss issues that impact our hospitals, including Medicare payment reform, Medicaid waivers and health information technology among other pending concerns," said WHA President Steve Brenton. "It is important for members to be in the nation’s Capitol to explain how federal policy impacts hospitals at the local level."
Attendance at the AHA Annual Meeting is not required in order to participate in WHA events or Hill visits. To facilitate Hill visits, WHA staff will make appointments with members of the Wisconsin delegation on your behalf.
If you are planning to be in Washington for this event, please contact Jenny Boese, VP-External Relations & Member Advocacy, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-268-1816.
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Spending Variation Revisited, Medicaid and Best Wishes
A couple of years ago a handful of state hospital associations committed apostasy in the minds of some of their peers and national organizations by pointing out significant variation in Medicare spending across the nation and suggesting that health reform be framed around paying for value as defined by high quality and low spending. Just two years later the Healthcare Quality Coalition carries on the fight in its efforts to advance the value theme as federal agencies implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Some may recall that critics of the Dartmouth Atlas…the Medicare data resource used by value proponents…claimed that the Atlas information was hugely flawed due to its failure to adjust for illness severity and special local spending issues like wages and medical education payments. Well, such adjustments have been made by CMS actuaries and guess what?? Upper Midwestern communities continue to lead the nation in low Medicare per beneficiary spending. And every Wisconsin locale shows spending below the national average…led by La Crosse which is 20% lower than the national average
It is dangerous to play pundit about the Madison scene right now, especially for an organization that works hard to get along with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. So that won’t happen in this column. But on a related matter, it would be an oversight not to point out that Governor Walker’s proposed biennial budget bill backfills 70% of a yawning Medicaid budget hole. In fact, Medicaid is the ONLY significant state program that is actually getting new money in the next budget cycle.
Without question there will be real pain for some Medicaid providers and hardship for some Medicaid beneficiaries as the budget plays out over the coming months. And there will also be uncertainty as DHS works with organizations and groups to squeeze out additional savings necessary to balance the biennial budget. But in a very difficult year we could easily be starting from a much worse position. And the opportunity to help re-design Medicaid will be taken seriously.
As a reminder, WHA’s plan going forward is framed by four specific principles:
The current FY11 Medicaid budget deficit must be managed without enrollment or payment cuts.
The Medicaid safety net for our most vulnerable citizens must be preserved.
The integrity of the carefully constructed hospital assessment must be preserved.
Arbitrary provider payment cuts must be avoided in order to minimize new cost shifting resulting from unreimbursed Medicaid and uncompensated care costs.
Very special thanks and best wishes to Mary Starmann-Harrison as she moves to Springfield, Illinois to assume her new responsibilities as CEO of Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS). Mary, a past Chair of WHA, was always willing to do the heavy lifting that’s often necessary to advance difficult issues. Mary’s physical presence in Madison will be missed but the fact that HSHS sponsors five Wisconsin hospitals provides some comfort that she won’t be a total stranger in the future.
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Southwest Health Center CEO Announces Retirement
Southwest Health Center President and Chief Executive Officer Anne Klawiter has announced her plans to retire at the end of April after serving 22 years in the organization’s top leadership position.
"The hospital and surrounding area have greatly appreciated Anne’s impressive leadership with Southwest Health Center," said Jim Schneller, Board Chairman. "She led the organization out of financial crisis in the early years and has since unfailingly provided the hospital with outstanding leadership service. All along the way she’s been a strong advocate for high quality health care for our community."
During Klawiter’s tenure, Southwest Health Center (SHC) has expanded its services and programs on behalf of residents in southwest Wisconsin as well as its impact on the region’s health and healthcare. Among the highlights of Klawiter’s career was the 2005 opening of a new, 94,000 square foot hospital facility, a modern patient-centered replacement hospital. SHC has also been widely and consistently recognized for exemplary patient satisfaction under Klawiter’s leadership. In addition to frequent acknowledgment for its quality nursing home care and resident satisfaction, SHC has been honored with both the prestigious Press Ganey Summit Award for patient satisfaction and the national Hospital of Choice Award bestowed by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers.
"Anne has demonstrated remarkable leadership during her tenure as CEO of Southwest Health Center," said Greg Voss, regional vice president of HealthTech Management Services. "Her individual leadership has been instrumental in developing and maintaining first-class medical services for Platteville and the surrounding communities. I feel lucky to have worked with her."
Klawiter began her employment with SHC in 1973 as a staff radiologic technologist. She was promoted to chief radiologic technologist in 1976 and to assistant administrator in 1979. In 1981, the former Platteville Hospital and Nursing Home and the Cuba City Hospital and Nursing Home consolidated services to become Southwest Health Center. At that time, Klawiter was named vice president. In 1989, SHC engaged HealthTech Management Services, formerly known as the Lakewood Group and Brim Healthcare, to manage the hospital. Klawiter has served as president and chief executive officer since that time.
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Register Today for 2011 Advocacy Day
April 27, 2011 *** Monona Terrace, Madison
Make an impact in Madison by attending Advocacy Day on April 27. Register your hospital team today, including your senior leaders, trustees and volunteers, for this important event.
is available at
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The Flu Ends with U
"Have Cart, Will Travel" Propels Monroe Clinic Over 80% Mark for Employee Flu Vaccinations
If you make something easy to do, people will do it.
Gina Lanz, RN, occupational /employee health and cardiac rehabilitation supervisor at Monroe Clinic oversees the employee influenza vaccination campaign. Her goal is to make getting the flu vaccination simple, and she has found that a "flu cart" is an essential part of her overall strategy.
An immunization cart makes the rounds to all the departments during the first and second shifts. Nurses are designated in all departments and areas of the hospital to give the flu vaccine to their own employees. One nurse may cover several departments, but if additional resources are required, staff from the occupation health department is ready to step in and assist.
"Having nursing staff on the floor vaccinate their own employees has really empowered them to take ownership and ensure that they are doing everything possible to protect their patients, themselves, and their families from the flu," Lanz said.
The majority of employees can get immunized while they are on their unit. The advantage is that it becomes a shared experience, and it generates conversation. All staff are urged to get the vaccination. Those that refuse are required to sign a declination or provide proof from a provider that they received it elsewhere.
Lanz said she received a call recently from an employee who had previously refused to be vaccinated – but was now asking to get the vaccination as soon as possible because they had heard that the flu was starting to circulate.
"The biggest challenge we have with employees that refuse to be immunized is overcoming preconceived beliefs about the vaccine that were formed 10-15 years ago," Lanz added.
Employees that are vaccinated receive "wellness points" that are linked to the employee wellness program. Wellness points are earned in a variety of ways—through exercise, diet—and they can be used to get a better rate on their health insurance.
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Southwest Health Center, 1400 East Side Road, Platteville, WI 53818
HealthTech Management Services seeks an experienced health care executive for the position of Chief Executive Officer at Southwest Health Center in Platteville, WI. This rare opportunity comes with the retirement of the hospital’s current chief executive. Tracing its origins back to a hospital that opened in 1900, the current Southwest Medical Center is a 25-bed Critical Access Hospital with a 94-bed long-term care facility dedicated to providing excellent health care services for Platteville, Cuba City and the surrounding areas in Southwest Wisconsin. The replacement hospital facility was built in 2004, and since has enjoyed growth in patient volumes and physician recruitment.
Southwest Health Center offers a broad range of medical, surgical, long-term care, diagnostic and therapeutic services including 24-hour emergency care. The hospital has been recognized for several awards, including the Press Ganey Summit Award, the BUILD Wisconsin Award, and the Hospital of Choice Award. Successful candidates for the Hospital CEO position will have at least five years of acute care hospital leadership experience, along with an open, friendly and approachable demeanor and excellent communication skills. In addition, candidates should have a successful track record of physician recruitment and retention, enjoy a high level of community involvement, and demonstrate a keen awareness of the hospital’s market along with the vision and leadership to ensure a successful future for the organization. Prior hospital CEO experience is preferred, and Critical Access Hospital experience is also desired. A Bachelor’s degree in business or health care administration is needed; a Master’s degree is preferred, as is Fellow status in ACHE.
HealthTech Management Services is a hospital management company located in Franklin, Tennessee. Our company provides support services and administrative oversight that allows communities to maintain local control of their hospital and frees them to focus on their main mission: promoting health. If you share our commitment and passion for community-based health care, please contact us. For further information or to express an interest in this position, please send your resume to: HealthTech Management Services 405 Duke Drive, Suite 210 Franklin, TN 37067 Attn. Human Resources Department email@example.com Fax: 615-309-7475 HealthTech provides an employment arbitration program for applicants and employees and is an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).
Contact: Margaret Fite
Contact Phone: (615) 309-7416
Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Wisconsin Hospitals Community Benefits: Injuries and Violence
A teen arrives in the emergency department by ambulance following a terrible car accident. A child receives head injuries while bicycling without a helmet. A woman walks into the emergency department with injuries inflicted by an abusive spouse. These are stories of pain and tragedy that hospital personnel see all too often. Injury is the most under recognized major public health problem facing the country and it is the leading cause of death in people ages 1 to 44 in Wisconsin. Wisconsin hospitals devote significant resources to reduce the number of intentional and unintentional injuries that occur in the communities they serve.
Safety Fair conveys eye-catching lessons
Fire-fighting, distracted driving, Eagle 3, and the K-9 unit were some of the highlights of the 2nd Annual Oconto County Safety Fair May 15 hosted by Community Memorial Hospital in Oconto Falls.
"Exciting exhibitions and fun hands-on activities are great ways for the community to learn about safety," said Jim Van Dornick, Community Memorial Hospital CEO.
Community Memorial Hospital led a coalition of over 20 public health and safety agencies throughout the area to provide the free event.
An estimated 400 people attended. People took a turn in the driver’s seat of the distracted driving simulator, put out a fire at the fire simulator, and held on to their hats as the Eagle 3 came in for a landing. Free custom-fit bike helmets were another big hit at the Safety Fair, as was the K-9 Unit demonstration with Detective Todd Skarban and his four-legged Deputy Dexter from the Oconto County Sheriff Department. Participants enjoyed other free giveaways including CO detectors and smoke alarms from the Oconto Falls Fire Department, gun locks, safety manuals, and File of Life magnets from Community Memorial Hospital.
Community Memorial Hospital, Oconto Falls
Community program dedicated to preventing violence against women
More than 400 Fox Valley men hold a common belief — that they have the power to end violence against women. They believe through engagement and mentoring, they can alter how men of all ages think about and treat women and girls.
It began as a small program, called Voices of Men, grown from a partnership between Harbor House Domestic Abuse Services, the Sexual Assault Crisis Center, Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services and Reach Counseling Center in the Fox Cities. A year later, the effort received a boost from ThedaCare’s Community Health Action Team (CHAT), who focused their community plunge on learning the hard facts about domestic violence in the Fox Valley.
The steering committee began a four-month initiative to make Voices of Men a viable nonprofit community group. Its mission is to create awareness, to show that the less women are respected or valued, the more it ultimately sets the stage for violence to happen later.
"We live in a culture where there are a lot of behaviors that are accepted because they’ve been part of the norm, but they may not be very respectful," said Dean Gruner, president and CEO of ThedaCare. "What Voices of Men is about is trying to get those well-meaning men in our community to just be conscious of the little things we do every day that put down women."
Several subcommittees make up the whole Voices of Men movement. They include workplace discussion groups; coaching subcommittees that work with young kids and high school athletes; and a group that does simulations, to help men better understand the challenges women go through in violent situations.
"They’ve been actively working to try to identify more male mentors for youth, getting them in the lives of our young boys so they have good role models," Dr. Gruner said.
Basic aid training for 5th graders
Community health educator Nicole Hendrikse teaches essential Basic Aid Training to 5th graders in Sheboygan County. It’s a program that’s great for the kids and, as revealed in the evaluation forms, one that’s loved by the teachers, as well.
The curriculum emphasizes prevention first and always, covering basic "how-to’s" for responding to emergencies, not the least of which is to always call 911 and get help on the line and on the way.
The comprehensive curriculum, covered over a six-week period of one hour sessions, covered a wide range of topics and what to do for choking, wounds, nosebleeds, fractures, fire, poison, drugs, water safety, abuse and wheel safety (bikes, motor bikes, roller blades, etc.). Many of the instructional sessions were "hands on" exercises for the students, such as choking, compressions and bandaging.
A total of 448 students at 11 schools received this training during the 2009/2010 school year.
Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center
"Stay on Your Feet and Stay Independent" event held at new high school
Each year, nearly one-third of older Americans experience a fall. These falls can be devastating, even deadly, and costly. What’s more, most of them can be prevented.
In September of 2009, Dr. Mark Van Etten gave a presentation at the "Stay on Your Feet and Stay Independent" event sponsored by Spooner Health System; it was a one-time event held at the new Spooner High School. The session was aimed at older adults in our community, as well as friends and family members who wanted to learn how they could reduce the risk of a loved one falling—whether it’s a spouse, mom, dad, sibling, or friend.
Participants were also able to meet one-on-one with health care professionals including physical and occupational therapists, a pharmacist, a registered dietitian, and nurses. Highlights included the opportunity to receive a personalized fall risk assessment and a tuning fork test for feet and ankles.
Spooner Health System, Spooner
Aurora’s abuse response services
Aurora Sinai Medical Center is proud to be a part of the development of a network of services that served 223 women in 2009, addressing the impact of sexual assault and domestic violence through several integrated programs.
Sexual Assault Treatment Center — This hospital-based program combines aspects of a rape crisis center and a sexual assault nurse examiner program to offer victim-sensitive services to people of all ages who have been affected.
Domestic Violence Service provides safe environments with skillful staff across all Aurora Health Care settings to promote disclosure of abuse and confidential access to support services to clients from across the state and state lines. Services provided during 2009 include:
Safe Mom Safe Baby — During 2009, Aurora’s Safe Mom Safe Baby program served 100 women. This program, unique to Aurora, was developed to provide an evidence-based, collaborative model for providing sensitive and effective services to pregnant women experiencing domestic violence.
The Healing Center — In addition to the hospital-based services noted above, ongoing healing for victims of sexual violence at any point in their healing process is supported by Aurora at The Healing Center. During 2009, this one-of-a-kind off-site program provided a continuum of free services in English and Spanish to 743 survivors and reached an additional 3,831 people through community education and outreach. Healing Center services include individual counseling, support groups, advocacy, survivor-led workshops and alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, massage, Reiki, community education and training on prevention, risk reduction, partner/acquaintance abuse and recovery.
Aurora Sinai Medical Center, Milwaukee
Submit community benefit stories to Mary Kay Grasmick, editor, at
Read more about hospitals connecting with their communities at www.WiServePoint.org .
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