DHS Announces Weekly Newsletter to Keep Public Informed of COVID-19 Response and Vaccine Progress

State residents can sign up for weekly emails containing updates, news, and resources

The Department of Health Services (DHS) announced today a newsletter the public can sign up for to get direct information about the COVID-19 response and vaccine rollout. Every Friday, a COVID-19 update newsletter will be sent via email to people who sign up to receive it. Registration is now open, and archived copies of the weekly newsletter will also be available.

“Throughout this pandemic, we have remained committed to keeping the residents of Wisconsin as informed as possible,” said Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “The more quality information we have, the more effective we can be in making healthy and safe choices. That is why we have regularly updated data dashboards and science-based guidance on our website, and it is also why we want to add a weekly newsletter to our communications toolbox.”

View the entire news release.

Frontline Wisconsin Health Care Workers Appeal for Safe Practices

New Stop the COVID Spread! coalition message draws upon experiences of overwhelmed health care workforce

Madison, WI– “We need your help.” That’s the underlying message from statewide health care workers in the latest “Stop the COVID Spread!” coalition public education announcement that begins airing on broadcast TV, radio, and digital platforms throughout Wisconsin today. The new ad—the fifth put out by the coalition—comes as Wisconsin continues to face unrelenting COVID-19 case counts with hospitals throughout the state operating near or at full capacity. Health care providers featured in the new coalition message include Green Bay’s Bellin Health, Marshfield Clinic Health System, and UW Health in Madison, with a joint plea to the public to help curb the spread of the virus: “We’re on the frontlines. It’s our job to save lives and get people better. But fighting this pandemic puts our families at risk, too. We need your help. ask up, wash your hands, and if you go out, stay at least six feet apart. Please, do this for your family, and ours.”

The real-life perspectives shared in the spot are those of Chelsea Rangel, RN, and Hilary Faust, MD, from UW-Health; Sumithra Tirunagaram, MD, and respiratory therapist Karen Masanz, from Marshfield Clinic Health System; Jessie Schaumberg, RN, and Paul Casey, MD, from Bellin Health.

“While news of forthcoming COVID-19 vaccinations is encouraging, we need to remain vigilant in practicing safe behaviors to curtail virus spread,” said Wisconsin Hospital Association president and CEO Eric Borgerding. “Our frontline health care heroes need your help, as their ability to provide care to our loved ones and neighbors is being strained. Overcoming this health care crisis requires all of us working together.”

“You don’t have to put your life on the line like the folks who work in healthcare, grocery stores, restaurants, or hardware stores. All you have to do is wear a mask, practice social distancing and do your part to stop the spread of the coronavirus to keep people from dying,” added Brandon Scholz, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Grocers Association. “Is that too hard to do and too much to ask?”

Since its launch in October, the “Stop the COVID Spread!” coalition has grown quickly to include more than 125 of Wisconsin’s leading health care, business and advocacy organizations. The organizations have joined together in a campaign to educate the public about the seriousness of the growing crisis in Wisconsin and the critical and growing need for preventative measures. A full list of member organizations is below.

You can watch the full video at: https://youtu.be/GIRW7xTyhDM

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For more information click here

 

Stop the COVID Spread! Coalition Pushes New Message of Bipartisan Cooperation

Congressman Pocan, Speaker Vos join together to urge Wisconsin residents to stay safe

Madison, WI— Keeping ourselves, our friends, neighbors, and loved ones safe is not political.

That’s the message delivered by Republican Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Democratic Congressman Mark Pocan, who appear together in the latest “Stop the COVID Spread!” coalition public education announcement aimed at combating the pandemic raging throughout Wisconsin. The new ad, the coalition’s fifth, will begin airing on broadcast and digital channels throughout the state today as rampant community spread of COVID-19 continues to stress the state’s health care system.

Representing different political parties, geographic areas and bodies of government, Congressman Pocan and Speaker Vos have come together for a cause that all Wisconsin residents can agree on: beating COVID-19. “After another election, it’s clear we have differences, but we can also agree,” says Speaker Vos in the ad. “We can still live our lives and be sensible and safe.” Both elected officials speak about the importance of preventative measures including wearing masks, hand washing, practicing social distancing, and staying home whenever possible. “We have to do all we can to stay safe,” adds Congressman Pocan.

“Wisconsin needs unified responses to the COVID pandemic and aligning around a common message is critical,” said Eric Borgerding, President and CEO of the Wisconsin Hospital Association. “We’re grateful to Speaker Vos and Congressman Pocan for joining us to send the public a crucial message about working together to slow COVID’s spread.” “We all need to do our part to stop the spread of COVID and get Wisconsin out of this public health crisis,” added Wisconsin Counties Association Executive Director Mark D. O’Connell. “As Congressman Pocan and Speaker Vos have demonstrated, keeping Wisconsin safe is something upon which we can all agree.”

Read the full article here

 

ACHE-WI 2020 Board Election

Voting is now open for the 2020 ACHE-WI Board of Directors.  Eligible members have been sent an email with instructions on voting.  A link to each candidate’s full application and their biographical information is available below and on the ballot.  All active and life ACHE-WI members are eligible to cast one ballot for up to four candidates.  After reviewing all the candidates, please mark your selections on the ballot.  Voting will close at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, November 11, 2019.

2020 Slate of Candidates

Jennifer Benrud, MBA, NHA

Executive Director, Prevea Health (Eau Claire)

Candidate Application and Resume (link)

Kelly Boggs, MBA (re-election)

Director of Network Engagement, Aspirus Network (Wausau)

Application and resume (link)

Aaron Budd, MBA

(re-election)

Director, Medical Imaging Operations, SSM Health (Janesville)

Application and resume (link)

Teresa Lindfors, FACHE, MBA, RN

(re-election)

VP Growth & Development, Stoughton Hospital (Stoughton)

Application and resume (link)

Tim Prince, MHA, FACHE

(re-election)

Senior Advisor, Findorff Strategic Insights (Madison)

Application and resume (link)

Carl Selvick, PharmD, MBA, FACHE

Senior Director Clinic Operations, Fort Healthcare (Fort Atkinson)

Application and resume (link)

 

Olson Receives ACHE Chair-Elect Nomination

David A. Olson, FACHE, chief strategy officer, Froedtert Health, Milwaukee, has been nominated as the 2017–2018 chairman-elect of the American College of Healthcare Executives, an international professional society of 40,000 health care executives.

The election will take place at the Council of Regents meeting preceding ACHE’s 60th Congress on Healthcare Leadership in Chicago in March, 2017. If elected, Olson will serve the first part of a three-year term in ACHE’s consecutive chairmanship offices: chairman-elect, chairman and immediate past chairman.

Board certified in health care management as an ACHE Fellow, Olson has served on the ACHE Board of Governors since 2014. He also served as the ACHE Regent for Wisconsin from 2004 to 2007; as a member of the Wisconsin Chapter of ACHE board of directors from 2004 to 2009 and in 2011; on the editorial board of the Journal of Healthcare Management, the official journal of ACHE, from 2007 to 2010; and on numerous ACHE committees throughout the years.

Register now for Nov. 1 Hospital and Health System CEO Roundtable

Panelists:

  • Damond Boatwright, Regional President of Hospital Operations, SSM Healthcare of Wisconsin
  • Mark Herzog, President and CEO, Holy Family Memorial
  • Matthew Heywood, President and CEO, Aspirus

Register now.

 

The 2016 WHN Newsmaker Series is sponsored by:

AARP,   Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin,

Godfrey & Kahn, Humana,  Mayo Clinic Health System, 

Wisconsin Hospital Association

Register now for Oct. 18 Insurance CEO Roundtable

Join us for one of our most anticipated events of the year. Insurance leaders will discuss their industry’s most pressing issues during a roundtable discussion moderated by Wisconsin Health News Editor Tim Stumm.

Panelists:

  • Sherry Husa, CEO, MHS Health Wisconsin
  • Dustin Hinton, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Wisconsin
  • Paul Nobile, President, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin

Register now to reserve your spot.

Register now for Oct. 4 panel on healthcare consumerism 

As patients take on an increasing share of their healthcare costs, they are becoming more engaged consumers. The shift is likely to transform how healthcare is delivered and how providers and payers communicate with their members.

But is healthcare something that can really be shopped for like other industries? What factors are patients most interested in when making decisions? How are payers and providers responding? What will it mean for healthcare costs?

Learn more at a Wisconsin Health News Panel Event, Tuesday, Oct. 4 at the Milwaukee Athletic Club.

Panelists include:

  • Jeffrey Bahr, Executive Vice President, Aurora Medical Group
  • Patrick Cranely, Chief Operating Officer, MercyCare Health Plans
  • Tony Fields, Regional Healthcare Director, Walgreens

Register now.

Local hospitals get good marks from feds

APPLETON – The federal government has released ratings of hospitals nationwide, but Wisconsin health care leaders say the numbers don’t necessarily add up.

The new Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) ratings by the federal Department of Health and Human Services evaluate 64 quality measures up to five stars. Those measures address everything from patient satisfaction and mortality rates for common ailments that land patients in hospitals to infection rates for different types of procedures.

But are these measures helpful to consumers and patients in the Fox Valley? Buyer beware, hospital and physician groups say.

“I do think this is a good first step, but there are some real flaws,” said Donn Dexter, chief medical officer of the Wisconsin Medical Society, a physician advocacy group. “The playing field is null and equal, and the measurements aren’t always applied equally to all hospitals.”

In the Fox Valley, almost all of the hospitals received three-star or four-star ratings. St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton, Aurora Medical Center and Mercy Medical Center in Oshkosh, were four-star hospitals in the southern part of the Fox Valley. In the Green Bay area, Bellin Memorial Hospital and Aurora Baycare Medical Center also had four stars.

All seven medical centers affiliated with Appleton-based ThedaCare received three-star ratings. The seven medical centers are in Appleton, Berlin, Neenah, New London, Shawano, Waupaca and Wild Rose.

ThedaCare is supportive of ratings like these being publicly available, said CEO Dean Gruner in a statement to USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin, citing other rankings from Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality and the Wisconsin Health Information Organization.

“The CMS star rating is new and we will learn as we go,” he said. “We always use feedback to help us further improve the great work of our team members.”

Dexter said it’s important to be wary of the rankings though, depending on whether the information is from patients’ opinions or the medical center has a smaller number of patients.

“If your patient comes in and wants narcotics for pain, and you don’t give them narcotics because while it’s easy, it’s not appropriate and because you want to prevent them from being addicted, you can get a very adverse rating (for patient satisfaction),” Dexter said. “Even though, you did the right thing.”

Robert Batt, a University of Wisconsin-Madison business professor, said he liked how CMS included reporting from patients.

“Surveys tend to have people with extreme opinions, but even at that, it’s real data of real patients who were there and who can say something,” he said.

Hospitals could also have higher infection rates according to the CMS data after certain surgeries or ailments, for example, but only because they had one patient who received that surgery and subsequently got an infection, Dexter said.

A smaller rural hospital, often referred to as critical access hospitals, will also likely rank lower than a large hospital with research capabilities, like UW Health in Madison or Froedert in Milwaukee, he said.

“It’s just not the same thing and we have to understand that,” Dexter said. “Interpreting these rankings with a little skill takes time.”

Patients with chronic illnesses or conditions should not just evaluate the general measures, but look at specific measures for their condition, said Patrick Falvey, chief transformation officer at Aurora Health Care.

If a patient has heart issues, they should dive deeply into measures related to cardiovascular health, for example, Falvey said. But, if hospitals perform well overall on the general measures, hospitals likely have a “solid foundation” of medical practice.

Beyond individual hospitals, Wisconsin as a whole has higher rated hospitals than its counterparts nationwide. All but three hospitals statewide scored at least three stars or higher.

Officials with the Wisconsin Hospital Association said the group is happy that Wisconsin scored well on the ratings. Dexter had similar sentiments, saying Wisconsin is in a much better place overall compared to other states.

“However, we are concerned that the large number of different hospital ratings that exist and the complexity of how these ratings are calculated can cause confusion for health care consumers,” said Kelly Court, Wisconsin Hospital Association’s chief quality officer, in a statement to USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin. “Hospitals are working hard to improve the quality of the most important services they provide, which may or may not be reflected in this new rating.”

Northeast Wisconsin CMS hospital ratings

  • St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton — 4 stars
  • Aurora Medical Center in Oshkosh — 4 stars
  • Mercy Medical Center in Oshkosh — 4 stars
  • Bellin Memorial Hospital in Green Bay — 4 stars
  • Aurora Baycare Medical Center in Green Bay — 4 stars
  • Holy Family Memorial Hospital in Manitowoc — 4 stars
  • Ripon Medical Center in Ripon — 4 stars
  • Aurora Medical Center in Two Rivers — 4 stars
  • ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton — 3 stars
  • ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah — 3 stars
  • ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-New London — 3 stars
  • ThedaCare Medical Center-Waupaca — 3 stars
  • ThedaCare Medical Center-Berlin — 3 stars
  • St. Agnes Hospital in Fond du Lac — 3 stars
  • ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano — 3 stars
  • St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay — 2 stars
  • Calumet Medical Center in Chilton — rating not available

Madeleine Behr: 920-996-7226, or mbehr@postcrescent.com; on Twitter @madeleinebehr

Read article here.

Register now for Oct. 4 panel on healthcare consumerism

As patients take on an increasing share of their healthcare costs, they are becoming more engaged consumers. The shift is likely to transform how healthcare is delivered and how providers and payers communicate with their members.

 

But is healthcare something that can really be shopped for like other industries? What factors are patients most interested in when making decisions? How are payers and providers responding? What will it mean for healthcare costs?

 

Learn more at a Wisconsin Health News Panel Event, Tuesday, Oct. 4 at the Milwaukee Athletic Club.

 

Panelists:

  • Dr. Jeffrey Bahr, Executive Vice President, Aurora Medical Group
  • Patrick Cranely, Chief Operating Officer,  MercyCare Health Plans
  • Tony Fields, Regional Healthcare Director, Walgreens

Register now.