September 14, 2012
Volume 56, Issue 37

Two Percent Medicare Spending Sequester Would Hit Wisconsin Health Care Economy Hard

Wisconsin hospitals could take an economic hit of more than $100 million per year as a result of the two percent sequester of Medicare spending mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011. That is in addition to the mandatory reductions under the health care reform law that the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) estimates will reduce payments to Wisconsin hospitals by some $2.6 billion over the next ten years.

According to a report released September 12 by the American Hospital Association (AHA), the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Nurses Association (ANA) at a press conference in Washington, DC, in addition to the economic losses, Wisconsin could stand to lose nearly 15,000 jobs in the health care sector over the next nine years of the sequester.

"The Medicare two percent sequester, on top of the cuts already baked into the health reform law, could have damaging consequences to Wisconsin’s high-quality, high-value health care delivery system," according to Wisconsin Hospital Association President Steve Brenton. "We understand the critical fiscal situation that faces our nation and the need for shared sacrifice across all sectors of our economy, but continued cuts to the Medicare program will force high-performing states like ours to reassess services, programs and employment needs and could diminish Wisconsin’s ability to attract business growth."

The report, produced by Tripp Umbach, a firm specializing in conducting economic impact studies, measures the anticipated effect of these cuts in Medicare payments on health care providers and other industries. The Tripp Umbach model reflects how reductions in Medicare payment for health care services will lead to direct job losses in the health care sector, reduced purchases by health care entities of goods and services from other businesses which in turn will lay off workers, and reduced household purchases by workers who lose their jobs. As the impact of these cuts ripples through the economy, jobs will be lost across many sectors beyond health care.

The health care sector has long been an economic mainstay providing stability and growth, even during times of recession. The Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that nationally, health care created 169,800 jobs in the first half of 2012 and accounted for one out of every five new jobs created this year. According to a study released by WHA and UW Extension in 2011, hospitals employ more than 100,000 people in Wisconsin communities.

The Tripp Umbach report and other resources are available at The WHA economic impact report is at

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Wisconsin Hospitals Fare Well Under New CMS Readmissions Policy
WHA informs Congressional Delegation, State Legislature

On behalf of its members, WHA recently informed Wisconsin’s Congressional Delegation and Members of the State Legislature about the good news on hospital performance under a new policy being implemented by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in October. The provision, enacted under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), penalizes hospitals for "excessive" Medicare readmissions. The maximum amount a hospital can be penalized is one percent of their Medicare payments, which will increase to two percent in 2013 and three percent in 2014. The penalty focuses on patients who return to a hospital, up to 30 days after their discharge, because of complications.

"The good news for Wisconsin is that we have among the lowest rates of readmitting patients to the hospital in the country," said WHA President Brenton in his letter. He added, "This positive outcome is not dampening Wisconsin hospitals’ efforts to reduce patient readmissions even more through initiatives like the Wisconsin Hospital Association’s (WHA) Partners for Patients, among others."

WHA’s correspondence referred to a recent analysis published by Kaiser Health News which confirms Wisconsin’s rank. The report showed that 39 of 65 (60 percent) of Wisconsin’s hospitals will not be penalized under the new CMS policy, and no hospital in Wisconsin will receive even half of the full penalty. Among states with more than 20 hospitals subjected to the new readmission penalties, Wisconsin ranks 5th lowest in penalties. See table below for how Wisconsin compares to neighboring states.




Affected Hospitals




Max 1% Penalty




.5-.99% penalty




.01-.49% penalty




0% penalty




Hospitals’ collaborative efforts include making sure patients understand their discharge instructions and medications and ensuring a good transition to a physician or other care setting once a patient is discharged. However, even after doing all of this, the impact a hospital can have on a patient’s successful recovery is limited once they leave the hospital. This reality is why WHA repeatedly expressed concerns that Congress and the Administration must focus the policy on avoidable readmissions. Regardless of the fact that this is not addressed under the current CMS policy, WHA is pleased to see that Wisconsin hospitals perform well even under an approach that needs more refinement.

Read WHA’s letter to Senator Ron Johnson at:

Read WHA’s memo to the Wisconsin Legislature at:

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Political Action Fundraising Campaign Reaches 78% of Goal
2012 goal is to raise $250,000 by year’s end

Totals to the 2012 Wisconsin hospitals state political action funds fundraising campaign continue to climb. More than $13,000 has been raised in the last two weeks, putting the total raised to date at $194,270 from 308 individuals.

The 2012 campaign continues its strong pace, $36,000 ahead of last year at this time and nearly $10,000 ahead of the 2010 record-breaking year.

So far individuals are contributing an average $631, well above last year’s average of $525. Of the total contributors so far, 47 are members of the Platinum Club who have contributed $1,500 or more to the 2012 campaign.

All individual contributors are listed in The Valued Voice by name and affiliated organization on a regular basis. Thank you to the 2012 contributors to date who are listed below. Contributors are listed alphabetically by contribution amount category. The next publication of the contributor list will be in the September 28 edition of The Valued Voice.

For more information, contact Jodi Bloch at 608-217-9508 or Jenny Boese at 608-274-1820.

Contributors ranging from $1 to $499
Arendt, Kathleen Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Ashenhurst, Karla Ministry Health Care
Bair, Barbara St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Beglinger, Joan St. Mary's Hospital
Bell, Kristine Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Bernklau, Robert Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Biros, Marilyn SSM Health Care-Wisconsin
Bliven, David Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Bosio, David Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Boson, Ann Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital
Bowers, Laura SSM Health Care-Wisconsin
Brenholt, Craig St. Joseph's Hospital
Brenton, Andrew Wisconsin Hospital Association
Burgener, Jean Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Buss, Diane St. Mary's Hospital
Bychinski, Paul Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Censky, Bill Holy Family Memorial
Clark, Julie St. Joseph's Hospital
Clesceri, Maryann Aurora Health Care
Coil, Joseph St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Cox, Tamarah Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Culotta, Jennifer St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Dahl, James Fort HealthCare
Dalebroux, Steve St. Mary's Hospital
Danner, Forrest Aspirus Wausau Hospital
DeRosa, Jody St. Mary's Janesville Hospital
Dettman, Amy Bellin Hospital
Dietrich, Dean Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Dodd, Petra Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Drengler, Kathryn Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Dufek, Nancy Memorial Medical Center - Ashland
Elliott, Roger St. Joseph's Hospital
Entenmann, Kim St. Joseph's Hospital
Fabich, Robb Aspirus, Inc.
Facey, Alice St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Fielding, Laura Holy Family Memorial
Francaviglia, Stephen Aurora Health Care
Freimund, Rooney Bay Area Medical Center
Fuchs, Thomas St. Joseph's Hospital
Gajeski, Lynn St. Vincent Hospital
Garavet, Scott Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Garibaldi, Isabelle Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - All Saints
Garvey, Gale St. Mary's Hospital
Giedd, Janice St. Joseph's Hospital
Govier, Mary Holy Family Memorial
Granger, Lorna ProHealth Care, Inc.
Gresham, James Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Groskreutz, Kevin St. Joseph's Hospital
Grundstrom, David Flambeau Hospital
Gulan, Maria Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Halida, Cheryl St. Joseph's Hospital
Hamilton, Mark
Hattem, Marita Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Hedrington, Brian Sacred Heart Hospital
Hieb, Laura Bellin Hospital
Hill, Nick St. Joseph's Hospital
Hinker, Jennifer Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Hinton, George Aurora Sinai Medical Center
Hockers, Sara Holy Family Memorial
Hoege, Beverly Reedsburg Area Medical Center
Holub, Gregory Ministry Door County Medical Center
Hueller, Julie Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Huemmer, Paul St. Mary's Hospital
Jelle, Laura St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Jensema, Christine HSHS-Eastern Wisconsin Division
Jensen, Russell St. Mary's Hospital
Johnas, Nancy Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Johnson, George Reedsburg Area Medical Center
Jones, Mary Meriter Hospital
Karow, Deborah Ministry Health Care's Howard Young Medical Center
Keene, Kaaron Memorial Health Center
Kelsey Foley, Kathy Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Kempen, Jacob Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Kepchar, Dennis Ministry Health Care
King, Steve St. Mary's Hospital
Klay, Lois St. Joseph's Hospital
Klein, Tim Holy Family Memorial
Kleinschmidt, Sherry Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Kocourek, Cathie Aurora Medical Center in Two Rivers
Koss, Gail Aspirus, Inc.
Krause, Carolyn Meriter Hospital
Lachecki, Therese Memorial Medical Center - Ashland
Lambrecht, Randy Aurora Health Care
Lampman, Sandra St. Mary's Hospital
Larson, William St. Joseph's Hospital
Leonard, Mary Kay St. Mary's Hospital
Lewandowski, Terri Ministry Our Lady of Victory Hospital
Logemann, Tim Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Lucas, Roger Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Lynch, Sue Mayo Health System - Franciscan Healthcare
Marcouiller, Don Memorial Medical Center - Ashland
Margan, Rob Wisconsin Hospital Association
Maroney, Lisa
Mason, Paul Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - All Saints
Maurer, Mary Holy Family Memorial
McMeans, Scott Holy Family Memorial
Meicher, John St. Mary's Hospital
Merline, Karen
Merrick, Marianne St. Mary's Hospital
Mohr, Carol Sacred Heart Hospital
Moss, Kenneth Meriter Hospital
Murphy, Thomas Aurora Health Care
Neeno, Joan St. Mary's Janesville Hospital
Nelson, Dean St. Mary's Hospital
Nevers, Rick Aspirus, Inc.
Nguyen, Juliet Sacred Heart Hospital
Norton, Marcella Aspirus Wausau Hospital
O'Hara, Tiffanie Wisconsin Hospital Association
Ojala, Theresa St. Mary's Hospital
Olson, Bonnie Sacred Heart Hospital
Olson, Keri St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Ose, Peggy Riverview Hospital Association
Peck, Lori Memorial Health Center
Peiffer, Susan Sacred Heart Hospital
Pempek, Kalynn Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Penczykowski, James St. Mary's Hospital
Pennebecker, Allen Ministry Saint Michael's Hospital
Platt-Gibson, Melanie St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Prunty, Brian Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Quinn, George Wisconsin Hospital Association
Reinke, Mary Meriter Hospital
Reynolds, Kristen Aurora Health Care
Richbourg, Mary Sacred Heart Hospital
Rocheleau, John Bellin Hospital
Roethle, Linda Bellin Hospital
Roundy, Ann Columbus Community Hospital
Rozenfeld, Jonathan St. Mary's Hospital
Rubenzer, Deanne St. Joseph's Hospital
Rudolph, Wade Sacred Heart Hospital
Rueber, Joel Aspirus, Inc.
Samuelson, Bonnie Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Sanicola, Suzanne Columbia St. Mary's Columbia Hospital
Saunaitis, Tamara Meriter Hospital
Schaetzl, Ron St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Schraufnagel, Patricia Memorial Medical Center - Ashland
Schwartz, Mary St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Scinto, Jeanne Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Sczygelski, Sidney Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Sender, Jon
Sheehan, Heather Hayward Area Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home
Sio, Tim Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - All Saints
Slomczewski, Constance Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - All Saints
Statz, Darrell Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative
Steevens, Alan St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Stelzer, Jason St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Stewart, Jeff Children's Hospital and Health System
Strasser, Kathy Aspirus, Inc.
Sullivan, Anne Memorial Medical Center - Ashland
Tapper, Joy Milwaukee Health Care Partnership
Teigen, Seth St. Mary's Hospital
Thornton, Eric St. Mary's Janesville Hospital
Thurmer, DeAnn Waupun Memorial Hospital
Tobin, Susan Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Turner, Sally Aurora Health Care
Tuttle, Kathryn Memorial Medical Center - Ashland
Voelker, Thomas Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Walker, Troy St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Wanless, Kathy Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Watts, Susan St. Vincent Hospital
Wojciechowski, Gary Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Woleske, Chris Bellin Psychiatric Center
Worrick, Gerald Ministry Door County Medical Center
Wysocki, Scott St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Zaher, Beth
Zeller, Brad Hayward Area Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home
Contributors ranging from $500 to $999
Arca, Marjorie Children's Hospital and Health System
Bablitch, Steve Aurora Health Care
Banaszynski, Gregory Aurora Health Care
Bard, Jeffrey Aurora Health Care
Bonin, Christopher Aurora Health Care
Borgerding, Dana
Brooks, Alenia Aurora Health Care
Bultema, Janice
Carlson, Dan Bay Area Medical Center
Chess, Eva Aurora Health Care
Chumbley, Bud Aspirus, Inc.
Clough, Sheila Ministry Eagle River Memorial Hospital
Dietsche, James Bellin Hospital
Eckels, Timothy Hospital Sisters Health System
Ewing, Thomas Aurora Health Care
Fields, Mary Aurora Health Care
Garcia-Thomas, Cristy Aurora Health Care
Guffey, Kerra Meriter Hospital
Hart, Shelly Aurora Health Care
Heifetz, Michael SSM Health Care-Wisconsin
Houlahan, Beth
Huettl, Patricia Holy Family Memorial
Hyland, Carol Agnesian HealthCare
Jacobson, Terry St. Mary's Hospital of Superior
Joyner, Ken Bay Area Medical Center
Just, Lisa Aurora Medical Center in Hartford
Kellar, Richard Aurora West Allis Medical Center
Kerwin, George Bellin Hospital
Klimisch, Ronald Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Larson, Margaret Mercy Medical Center
Lentz, Darrell Aspirus, Inc.
Lewis, Gordon Burnett Medical Center
Mantei, Mary Jo Bay Area Medical Center
May, Carol Sauk Prairie Memorial Hospital
McDonald, Brian Aurora Health Care
McNally, Maureen Froedtert Health
Miller, Jim Children's Hospital and Health System
Nelson, Dave SSM Health Care-Wisconsin
Nelson, James Fort HealthCare
Potts, Dennis Aurora Health Care
Richards, Theresa Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital
Rickelman, Debbie WHA Information Center
Roberts, Paula Children's Hospital and Health System
Samitt, Craig Dean Health
Schafer, Michael Spooner Health System
Selberg, Heidi HSHS-Eastern Wisconsin Division
Shabino, Charles Wisconsin Hospital Association
Stuart, Philip Tomah Memorial Hospital
Swanson, Kerry St. Mary's Janesville Hospital
Talley, Barbara St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Taplin Statz, Linda SSM Health Care-Wisconsin
VanCourt, Bernie Bay Area Medical Center
Wilk, Leonard Aurora Medical Center in Grafton
Zenk, Ann Ministry Saint Mary's Hospital
Zorbini, John Aurora Health Care
Contributors ranging from $1,000 to $1,499
Anderson, Sandy St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
Bailet, Jeffrey Aurora Health Care
Bedwell, Elizabeth Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Britton, Gregory Beloit Health System
Buck, Catherine Froedtert Health
Byrne, Frank St. Mary's Hospital
Canter, Richard Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Court, Kelly Wisconsin Hospital Association
Deich, Faye Sacred Heart Hospital
Falvey, Patrick Aurora Health Care
Fischer, Edwin Fort HealthCare
Francis, Jeff Ministry Health Care
Frank, Jennifer Wisconsin Hospital Association
Garcia, Dawn St. Joseph's Hospital
Gunn, Veronica Children's Hospital and Health System
Gutzeit, Michael Children's Hospital and Health System
Herzog, Mark Holy Family Memorial
Hilt, Monica Ministry Saint Mary's Hospital
Hymans, Daniel Memorial Medical Center - Ashland
Johnson, Charles St. Mary's Hospital
Kelch, Elaine
Kosanovich, John Watertown Regional Medical Center
Lappin, Michael Aurora Health Care
Loftus, Philip Aurora Health Care
Mattes, Dan Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Mohorek, Ronald Ministry Health Care
Natzke, Ryan Marshfield Clinic
Niemer, Margaret Children's Hospital and Health System
Peterson, Douglas Chippewa Valley Hospital
Radoszewski, Pat Children's Hospital and Health System
Reynolds, Sheila Children's Hospital and Health System
Ricci, Anthony Aurora Memorial Hospital of Burlington
Robertstad, John ProHealth Care - Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital
Roller, Rachel Aurora Health Care
Russell, John Columbus Community Hospital
Size, Pat
Tempelis, Eric Gundersen Lutheran Health System
Uhing, Michael Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Westrick, Paul Columbia St. Mary's Columbia Hospital
Wolf, Edward Lakeview Medical Center
Contributors ranging from $1,500 to $1,999
Alig, Joanne Wisconsin Hospital Association
Barney, Steven SSM Health Care-Wisconsin
Bloch, Jodi Wisconsin Hospital Association
Boese, Jennifer Wisconsin Hospital Association
Clapp, Nicole Grant Regional Health Center
Coffman, Joan St. Joseph's Hospital
Eichman, Cynthia Ministry Our Lady of Victory Hospital
Geboy, Scott Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman
Gorelick, Marc Children's Hospital and Health System
Grasmick, Mary Kay Wisconsin Hospital Association
Hahn, Brad Aurora Health Care
Harding, Edward Bay Area Medical Center
Levin, Jeremy Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative
Maciver, Carolyn Aurora Health Care
Meyer, Daniel Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay
Postler-Slattery, Diane Aspirus Wausau Hospital
Potter, Brian Wisconsin Hospital Association
Stanford, Matthew Wisconsin Hospital Association
Wallace, Michael Fort HealthCare
Warmuth, Judith Wisconsin Hospital Association
Contributors ranging from $2,000 to $2,999
Brenton, Mary E.
Duncan, Robert Children's Hospital and Health System
Erwin, Duane Aspirus, Inc.
Jacobson, Catherine Froedtert Health
Kachelski, Joe Wisconsin Statewide Health Information Network
Katen-Bahensky, Donna
Kief, Brian Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital
Leitch, Laura Wisconsin Hospital Association
Little, Steven Agnesian HealthCare
Merline, Paul Wisconsin Hospital Association
Mettner, Michelle Children's Hospital and Health System
Neufelder, Daniel Affinity Health System
Normington, Jeremy Moundview Memorial Hospital & Clinics
Oliverio, John Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
Pandl, Therese HSHS-Eastern Wisconsin Division
Sanders, Michael Monroe Clinic
Sexton, William Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital
Starmann-Harrison, Mary Hospital Sisters Health System
Taylor, Mark Columbia St. Mary's, Inc.
Woodward, James Meriter Hospital
Contributors ranging from $3,000 to $4,999
Borgerding, Eric Wisconsin Hospital Association
Fish, David Hospital Sisters Health System
Turkal, Nick Aurora Health Care
Contributors $5,000 and above
Bjork, Tanya
Brenton, Stephen Wisconsin Hospital Association
Size, Tim Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative
Tyre, Scott Capitol Navigators, Inc.


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ACHE Leaders Panel Draws Large Crowd
Healthcare in Wisconsin: Leading through Change

At a capacity crowd at the GE Healthcare Institute in Waukesha, WHA’s Executive Vice President Eric Borgerding moderated an American College of Healthcare Executives (WI Chapter) program focused on the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s health reform ruling (PPACA) and how Wisconsin is positioned for the future.

"WHA is proud of our strong partnership with ACHE and very glad to be a part of their forward-looking programming," said Borgerding. "Today’s event brought together Wisconsin’s current and future hospital and health system leaders to not just learn, but engage in a constructive dialogue about the future. WHA is a broad-based advocacy organization, and the members of ACHE are one of our most important audiences," Borgerding said.

The 100 attendees heard a two-part panel discussion featuring several Milwaukee-area health care system leaders, including Froedtert Health President & CEO Catherine Jacobson and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare (Wheaton) Senior Vice President of Physician & Revenue Operations Coreen-Dicus Johnson, as well as State Representative Jeff Stone (R-Greendale). To provide the policy perspective, a second panel included government relations professionals from Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin (Children’s), Wheaton and GE.

When asked what was the most immediate short-term impact of the PPACA ruling, Froedtert’s Jacobson pointed to the law’s Medicare payment reductions, which have already begun. WHA estimates Medicare reductions to Wisconsin hospitals will be approximately $2.6 billion over ten years. "It’s a sign of things to come," Jacobson said.

Wheaton’s Dicus-Johnson indicated the law’s long-term impact will be far greater when provisions like individual mandatory insurance coverage and health insurance exchanges come on line in 2014.

There was agreement that the future was somewhat unknown, with Children’s Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy Michelle Mettner saying, "I like to think of the health care reform as a verb, we are ‘reforming.’" Wheaton’s Vice President of Strategic Planning and Government Relations Julie Swiderski called the PPACA ruling "just one more piece of the puzzle and not a complete path forward."

Throughout the conversation, panelists talked about how Wisconsin is already a leader in providing high quality, more efficient care, and how health care providers are working to "hardwire" that throughout their organizations. GE Healthcare Americas Government Relations Leader Matt Williams made a point of saying, as WHA has been doing, that this is exactly why Wisconsin’s health care system should be viewed as an economic development tool for the state. See WHA’s website for details on a WHA initiative to promote, educate and demonstrate why the value of Wisconsin’s health care should be viewed as an asset to economic development at

All panelists believed Wisconsin as a state and its health care providers have been moving forward with "reform" for years and will continue to do so regardless of what the future holds.

"Change is coming," said State Rep. Jeff Stone. "Wisconsin has been a leader in many areas already…We are in a position to lead our country."

Brett Norell, president of the ACHE-Wisconsin Chapter, commented that this program was one of the largest turnouts for an ACHE education program. "By today’s attendance we see that our members are engaged and want to be the leaders of tomorrow’s health care future. We appreciate our ongoing collaboration with the Wisconsin Hospital Association that affords us the opportunity to make sure our members have high quality programming right here in our state."

There are a variety of additional events planned for this fall in which WHA and the Wisconsin Chapter of ACHE are collaborating. On September 21, WHA and ACHE are bringing ACHE Face-to-Face Education options (formerly Category 1) to hospital leaders at the inaugural WHA Leadership Summit. More information is available at Registration is still open.

On October 12, WHA President Steve Brenton will provide an overview of the challenges and opportunities facing health care in Wisconsin at a Wisconsin Chapter of ACHE networking and educational event titled "In the Aftermath of the Supreme Court Decision - What Does This Mean for Wisconsin Healthcare?" Information and registration for this October 12 program can be found at

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Hospitals Praise WHA Quality Initiative During Site Visits in Northern Wisconsin
"The common thread among hospitals is the focus on patient safety"

Wisconsin is often referred to as a "leader state" in the national Partnership for Patients initiative for its hospitals’ quality improvement work in the past. However, that is not stopping them from finding new and better ways to improve the safety and quality of their patient care.

The WHA Partners for Patients initiative, with the support of the WHA quality team professionals, is already starting to make a difference for the 108 participating hospitals. Tom Kaster, WHA quality coordinator, saw that first hand in his first hospital site visits in Northern Wisconsin. He found that hospitals are reporting that the WHA Partners for Patients initiative is working well, and provides structure to the improvement work that is going on in hospitals across the state.

"If there is a common thread among all the eight hospitals that I visited, that is a laser focus on patient safety," Kaster said. "There has been a spillover effect into other areas of the hospitals, which equates to our initiative helping to grow the quality improvement ‘bandwidth’ in Wisconsin, and that is just incredibly powerful."

A summary of each of Kaster’s hospitals visits follows:

Ministry Health Care’s Howard Young Medical Center, Woodruff
Karen Lauer, Director of Quality; Judy Nelson, Risk Manager; Laura Magstadt, Director of Nursing and Operations

Howard Young is making progress on a number of improvement projects, ranging from increasing hourly rounding to finding better ways to help geriatric patients. Staff plans to incorporate "small tests of change" to assist in the implementation of their improvement projects.

Ministry Eagle River Memorial Hospital
Janet Yoder, Quality Specialist, and Laura Magstadt, Director, Nursing and Operations

Kaster reported that Eagle River Memorial has developed a successful culture of safety. They have been administering a HELP (Hospital Elder Life Program) program that is designed to target the safety needs of the geriatric population. They are also working with Howard Young on implementing a program to better address the needs of patients with delirium.

Memorial Medical Center, Ashland
Nancy Dufek, Director of Quality; Sara Waby, CAUTI Lead; Kathy Tuttle, Readmissions Lead

Ashland has been doing interesting root cause analysis on their infection prevention initiative. In addition, they have tested different interventions in their readmissions initiatives. They are turning their sights to working to reduce readmissions by collaborating with other organizations in the community that are involved in caring for patients after they are discharged from the hospital.

Rusk County Memorial Hospital, Ladysmith
Jan Neuman, Director of Quality; Amanda Shimko, RN, Med/Surg Coordinator; Pat Schnepf RNC, Cardiac Rehab/ICU Coordinator; Janie Baetsle, RN, PI/Infection Control Coordinator

Rusk County is very involved in reducing readmissions. They launched the DKAT as well as a patient education project and correlated it with their EMR system. The staff liked the concept of "small tests of change" over a broader implementation of change.

Hayward Area Memorial Hospital
Sharon Probyn, PI /Peer ReviewCoordinator; Trina Sjostrom, M/S Nurse supervisor who is heading the team, and Mickie Harwick, RN, team member

Hayward’s teams are focused on reducing falls and pressure ulcers. Staff has also been trialing some interventions. Despite having increased staffing demands during the summer, they have been able to keep up with the webinar and reporting requirements of the program. They are poised to start the fall with rapid improvements utilizing small tests of change.

Flambeau Hospital, Park Falls
Jane Eaton-Nyman, Director of Organizational Integrity; Liz Schreiber, Director of Patient Care Services; Joan Korpi, Occupational Therapist

The Flambeau Hospital staff had nothing but praise for the WHA Partners for Patients initiative. They said it is helping them build their capacity to improve quality and appreciated that the structure of the program helped keep them on track. For their falls initiative, they developed an interdisciplinary team that included rehab. Kaster discussed with the team how they can bring their patients into the quality and safety equation and brainstormed ideas on how Flambeau can facilitate having patients recognize staff for communicating effectively and being safe.

Indianhead Medical Center-Shell Lake
Beth Esser, Director of Quality, and Doris Laursen, Director of Nursing

Indianhead is working on both CAUTI and readmissions. They are working with a local nursing home to ensure that the care transition was consistent on all shifts. They are paying special attention to their congestive heart patients as they address readmissions.

Spooner Health System
Clint Miller, Director of Patient Care Services, Jill Andrea, Director of Quality, Marilyn Nordquist, Assistant Director of Patient Care Services, Jody Stuenkel, ER/OR Supervisor, Diane Neste, Director of Social Services

Spooner has completed one patient education readmission-related intervention, and they are in the process of implementing several more. They are excited about their participation in the new Transforming Care at the Bedside (TCAB) initiative which launches the end of September.

The WHA quality improvement advisors plan to visit their assigned hospitals at least two times throughout the Partners for Patients Collaborative. The site visits establish a valuable connection between WHA and its member hospitals.

"Site visits help us understand the needs of each hospital, and they provide a vehicle for sharing best known QI methods throughout our state," according to Kelly Court, WHA chief quality officer. "We are fortunate in Wisconsin to work with hospitals that embrace quality improvement and believe that our work is never done when it comes to improving the safety, quality and value of care."

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Gov. Walker Named to NGA Economic Development and Commerce Committee

Governor Scott Walker was named to the National Governors Association (NGA) Economic Development and Commerce Committee by NGA Chair Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and NGA Vice Chair Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin.

The Economic Development and Commerce Committee has jurisdiction over a broad range of issues in the areas of transportation infrastructure, telecommunications, international trade promotion, financial services regulation, science and technology development and affordable housing. Members of the committee ensure that the governors’ views are represented in the shaping of federal policy.

"I am excited to serve as part of the NGA Economic Development and Commerce Committee over the next year," said Walker. "As governors, we are uniquely positioned to influence federal legislation and regulations that affect national and state economic policies."

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WHA Foundation 2012 Global Vision Awards Honor Two Community Initiatives

The WHA Foundation has selected the Rural Health Initiative, Inc., nominated by ThedaCare; and the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership, nominated by Froedtert Health on behalf of the five participating health systems including Aurora Health Care, Children’s Hospital & Health System Inc., Columbia St. Mary’s Inc. and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, as the recipients of the 2012 Global Vision Community Partnership Award.

The "Rural Health Initiative, Inc."(RHI) was formed as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization in 2003 by ThedaCare and its Community Health Action Team after identifying and exploring the unfavorable health care circumstances faced by rural Wisconsin farm families. RHI’s mission is to improve access to health care, preventive services and community resources, as well as increase health status, healthy behaviors, and occupational safety for farm families in the rural northeast Wisconsin region. The program delivers free preventive and safety services through a Rural Health Coordinator, who makes health care house calls to the farms to conduct health screenings, perform health risk assessments, make referrals and disseminate health and safety information literally at the kitchen table or in the barn. The initiative currently serves more than 325 farm families in Shawano County, which is about 40 percent of the region’s farming community. Forty percent of the program’s participants were referred to resources with 96 percent following through on those referrals. And maybe the strongest testament to the program’s success is its expansion into neighboring counties, with expansion into Outagamie County and Waupaca County since its inception.

The "Milwaukee Health Care Partnership" (MHCP) was launched in 2007, with a mission to improve coverage, access and care coordination for medically underserved Milwaukee County residents. This mission engendered collaboration among health care providers throughout the county, as the leaders of the five health systems came together to develop a coordinated and collaborative approach to improving care for underserved populations. Today, MHCP also includes collaboration and participation from four federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), the Medical College of Wisconsin, the state, city and county public health agencies, and other collaborating organizations. MHCP serves as the convener, catalyst, clearinghouse, broker and advocate for improving health outcomes, eliminating disparities and reducing total health care costs in Milwaukee County. The efforts of MHCP have led to a more than 20 percent expansion in Medicaid coverage since 2008. The FQHCs have expanded their scope of services to achieve a 9.2 percent increase in patient utilization, providing over 368,000 clinic visits in 2011. And, through emergency department care coordination efforts, there are currently more than 600 patient referrals made from Milwaukee County hospital emergency departments to primary care health homes each month.

The WHA Foundation’s Global Vision Community Partnership Award was created in 1995 to recognize the efforts of WHA members in meeting the documented health needs in their communities through creativity, innovation, partnership, and collaboration. To date, the Award has honored 32 innovative programs in communities throughout Wisconsin.

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WHA Education: Chargemaster Coding Updates and Implementation for 2013

On December 11, WHA is offering "Chargemaster Coding Updates and Implementation for 2013," a one-day seminar focused on the 2013 reporting requirements and CPT and HCPCS coding revisions and additions impacting your Chargemaster.

The new 2013 edition contains more than 700 changes. Almost 150 of the CPT guidelines have changed, as well as 568 codes. This program will cover those changes affecting the facility’s chargemaster plus review the new, deleted, revised CPT and HCPCS codes, as well as the revised CPT modifiers.

Chargemaster/APC coordinators, coding staff, office managers, CFOs, and others who are responsible for charge generation processes are encouraged to attend this event.

This Chargemaster seminar will be held Glacier Canyon Lodge at the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells on Tuesday, December 11. A brochure with registration form is included in this week’s packet and online registration is available at For registration questions, contact Lisa Littel at 608-274-1820 or email

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AHA Schedule H Project extended through October 15

The American Hospital Association is encouraging hospitals to participate in year two of AHA’s Schedule H Project by submitting a copy of their 2010 Schedule H forms to a secure Ernst & Young website (, now available through October 15. Participants in the project will receive a report summarizing the response of similar hospitals to questions such as total community benefit levels and percentages, bad debt expenses and community building activities. No participant’s name or identifying information will be disclosed as part of any feedback or report. AHA will use the gathered information to advocate for needed improvements to Schedule H and to oppose changes to Schedule H or tax exemption based on misinformation about hospitals’ commitment to providing benefits to their community.

For more on the Schedule H Project, contact AHA Member Relations at (800) 424-4301. To view last year’s Schedule H benchmark report, based on 600 Schedule H forms representing nearly 900 hospitals, visit

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Member News: Cumberland Healthcare Names New CEO

Mike Gutsch is the new CEO of Cumberland Healthcare. He assumed his position earlier this summer.

With more than 20 years of experience in hospital, long-term care and clinic financial management, Gutsch says he is passionate about helping people in the rural health care setting. Gutsch’s executive experience includes directing the financial and chief operations at several hospital and long-term care facilities throughout Wisconsin and Alaska.

Gutsch attended the University of Wisconsin for accounting and business. He is also a fellow with the American College of Healthcare Executives.

"I am honored and excited to lead Cumberland Healthcare. I believe rural health care is the foundation of bringing communities together. We all are definitely battling tough times right now with healthcare reform, but I strongly believe Cumberland Healthcare has what it needs to get through this stretch. I’m extremely honored to be named Cumberland Healthcare’s new leader," Gutsch said.

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Gov. Walker, Donald Driver Encourage Child Car Safety Education

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 12 years of age. In addition, about 80 percent of child safety seats are not installed properly. Those alarming statistics were shared at a September 14 press conference where Governor Scott Walker and Green Bay Packer wide receiver Donald Driver emphasized the importance of safely securing children in child safety seats.

The Governor and Driver announced that during National Child Passenger Safety Week—September 16-22, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation will begin offering a DVD and online video that explains how to secure children safely in a car seat.

The DVD includes short demonstrations of the proper use of infant and toddler seats, booster seats, and seat belts. WisDOT plans to partner with birthing centers to provide the instructional DVD to new parents as they leave the hospital with their newborn. With the help of the Wisconsin Hospital Association, WisDOT will be providing this DVD free of charge to birthing centers throughout the state. The centers are encouraged to brand, duplicate, and distribute the DVDs, which should arrive in hospitals the week of September 17.

To view the DVD, visit For more information contact Jill Benkert at (608) 266-0550 or

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Wisconsin Hospitals: Promote Your Flu Clinics Online with Flu Finder

With the flu vaccine now available, Wisconsin hospitals are already working in their communities to ensure that people receive the vaccine by promoting and hosting flu clinics. Hospitals, clinics and health systems that are sponsoring flu clinics are encouraged to complete the online form for health providers at so the information can be added to the online resource, Wisconsin Flu Finder. Flu clinic information is also available to the public by calling 2-1-1, which is a free call.

The goal among health providers and public health officials in Wisconsin this fall and winter is to keep the spread of influenza in check through education and vaccination campaigns. Wisconsin hospitals have long been advocates for and proponents of getting the flu vaccine.

This year, the Centers for Disease Control reports that vaccine is readily available. The federal Affordable Care Act requires private health plans and Medicare to offer the vaccine coverage without co-pays or deductibles. Uninsured children are covered under the federal Vaccines for Children program.

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Wisconsin Hospitals Community Benefits: Healthy Growth and Development

Early growth and development have a profound effect on health across the life span. Developmental disabilities can often be mitigated if they are detected early. Every week in Wisconsin almost 100 infants are born with low birth weight, and about six percent of those will die before their first birthday. Hospitals are striving to decrease infant mortality by providing pre-conception and inter-conception care to those affected by poor birth outcomes.

Riverside Medical offers perinatal class to teens

When Debra Jones goes into Waupaca High School, she hopes that some of the information she shared during a perinatal class offers valuable information for pregnant teens or those who become pregnant later in life.

"I feel it helps them be more prepared if they do end up being pregnant or if they know friends who are pregnant and they can help them understand it might not be as scary," said Debra, a nurse at Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca. "Kids that age don’t like to talk to parents. It’s a lot different than watching a baby story on TV."

During the class period, Jones covers topics like signs of pregnancy, what to expect at the hospital, some of the equipment used during delivery and more. "It’s not the same as a prenatal class," noted Debra, adding that she would recommend such classes to students who are pregnant.

She also brings in some equipment for students to see and touch. "I think it helps if they are able to get a hold of some of the equipment and touch it too and realize it’s not there to hurt them but to help them," said Jones.

Debra enjoys sharing information and connecting with the students. "I think the most enjoyable part for me is just being able to meet these kids and realizing that even though I am old enough to be their mom or grandma, they still look at me like I know what I’m talking about," she said.

Jones has also reached outside the classroom in offering more of a prenatal class for teens.

"I look at this as something that has expanded from the class that was started at the high school," she said. "I think it’s going to be a good thing to be able to help young people there so that they know they have some areas of information and resource that they didn’t have before."

Riverside Medical Center, Waupaca

Increasing the likelihood of having a full-term baby

Every week of a pregnancy is crucial to a newborn’s health. Nationally, a trend has been noted that more and more births are being scheduled a little early for non-medical reasons. Experts are learning that this can cause problems for mom and baby. If possible, it’s best to stay pregnant for at least 39 weeks. With each decreasing week of gestation below 39 to 40 weeks, there is an increased risk of complications like respiratory distress, jaundice, infection, low blood sugar, extra days in the hospital (including time in the neonatal intensive care unit), and in some cases, even death of a newborn.

To help raise awareness about this important aspect of a healthy pregnancy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched a multi-faceted perinatal health campaign in 2011 called "Strong Start." This awareness campaign is designed to let women and health care providers know that if a pregnancy is healthy, it is best to wait for labor to begin on its own, rather than scheduling an induction of labor or a Cesarean section.

Stawant Dhillon, MD, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Fort HealthCare, says, "We regularly conduct our own internal audits of patient care. Our practice really changed years ago to establishing a firm tradition of only delivering babies as close to full term as possible. This decision was based on the results of our own observations and research at Fort Memorial Hospital. We instituted our practice of doing things this way before the rest of the country did, even years before the national recommendation was established."

The work of the pediatricians, obstetricians/gynecologists, and obstetrics nurses and staff at Fort Memorial Hospital in Fort Atkinson is also prominently featured among the Wisconsin Association of Perinatal Care, to share best practices and research findings with other hospitals in Wisconsin.

Fort HealthCare, Fort Atkinson

CenteringPregnancy – a group program supporting positive pregnancy outcomes

Women face many normal challenges with a pregnancy – changes in their bodies, changes in their roles, changes in their relationships. Add to that the fact that some women may not have a strong support system or role models, and pregnancy quickly becomes even more of a challenge.

Wheaton Franciscan – St. Joseph Campus offers a program to help women who face larger-than-normal challenges. Developed by the Centering Pregnancy Institute, the CenteringPregnancy program combines three major components of care during a pregnancy: health assessment, education, and support. These components are all addressed in a group setting of six to eight women with similar due dates. After being referred into the program, the women learn care skills, participate in facilitated discussion, and develop a support network.

The program is held 10 times during the pregnancy, in two-hour sessions with a nurse practitioner. During these group sessions, women may listen to a speaker or see an educational video, visit with a physical therapist who talks about the body mechanics of pregnancy, or talk with social workers about various support organizations available after delivery. The women are taught to take their own blood pressure and the importance of monitoring their weight. In addition to the clinical aspects of pregnancy, women also bond and offer support and reassurance. Tips are exchanged, common pregnancy complaints are acknowledged, and some of the women are in contact outside of the group.

"It’s really exciting to see how the women bond through the learning and sharing," said Amber Grant, a nurse practitioner who co-leads the St. Joseph CenteringPregnancy program. "Hearing that other women are experiencing the same thing helps normalize the pregnancy experience."

Lisa Lockett, the nurse practitioner who co-leads the program, acknowledges what an important part is played by the mutual support of a group setting. "The groups empower these women – they motivate each other to learn and change, and provide support in overcoming issues or concerns. It is really satisfying to see, from the clinical role, what an impact this has on health outcomes. It’s a good thing for mom and her baby."

Wheaton Franciscan – St. Joseph, Milwaukee

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