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Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality

January 2019 Newsletter

President's Column

President Chris Queram
Chris Queram

I’d like to use the first newsletter of the year to briefly introduce the strategic priorities that WCHQ staff will be pursuing in 2019.

Far and away the most significant– and potentially transformative – priority is to to leverage the integrated clinical/claims database we are developing in partnership with the Wisconsin Health Information Organization (WHIO). Referred to as the “health care value acceleration collaboration” (HVAC), our goal is to seamlessly integrate WCHQ’s core competencies – measurement, analytics, multi-stakeholder convening/facilitating, quality improvement, and practice transformation – in support of creating and sustaining a high-value health care system in Wisconsin.

Our decision to focus on “value” is born of a simple reality that the affordability of health care is an emerging crisis for our state and the nation. While many stakeholders are justifiably proud of Wisconsin’s perennially high rankings for the quality of health care, the per capita cost of health care in Wisconsin is unacceptably high. In the many discussions of the HVAC concept throughout 2018, WCHQ Board members confronted this reality directly and unequivocally, acknowledging that the issue must be addressed and that WCHQ is the ideal organization to take it on. Why us? Several reasons were frequently mentioned:

  • Our culture - Board members note that the presence of the word “collaborative” in our name is not incidental, it is who we are.
  • Our values – WCHQ’s founding members inculcated a foundation of inclusion, transparency, integrity, and adaptive self-governance that has enabled WCHQ to earn the trust of a broad range of stakeholders.
  • Our expertise – WCHQ is widely recognized for generating data and measures that are valid, reliable and actionable.

In the coming months, you will read and hear a great deal more about the value acceleration work. However, it is not our sole focus. Along the way, we also plan to move forward with an implementation plan to commence the public reporting of individual provider performance in 2020; to launch the nation’s first dental quality collaborative with a vision of promoting wider adoption of an integrated model of oral/systemic health; and, to issue Wisconsin’s first report on the extent of disparities in the delivery of care to diverse racial, ethnic and socio-economic populations. Oh, and lest I forget -- we will be unveiling a new logo and launching a new website in the first few months of the year.

As we prepare to embark upon this ambitious agenda, I would be remiss if I failed to thank you for your continued support of and engagement in our work. It is an honor to serve and work with you.


– Chris Queram


WCHQ Assembly will focus on "Health Care Transformation: New Roles, New Goals"

National experts, WCHQ members share how health care organizations are changing to meet the new reimbursement, practice environment
Lisa Simpson
Lisa Simpson

The transition to a value-based payment environment requires health care organizations to redesign processes and reassign roles to improve quality and increase efficiency. Wisconsin health care providers are implementing changes that will ensure their success in a new practice and reimbursement environment.

The WCHQ Assembly on February 12, 2019 at Monona Terrace will focus on “Health Care Transformation: New Roles, New Goals.” Registration is open.

At this Assembly, two national speakers will describe how federal policies and quality and reporting initiatives are impacting health care organizations in the Midwest and nation. Later in the day, WCHQ members will describe how their organizations are making changes that will enable them to thrive in the value-based payment environment.

Keynote speaker Lisa Simpson, MB, BCh, MPH, FAAP, president/CEO of AcademyHealth, is a nationally recognized health policy researcher and pediatrician and a passionate advocate for the translation of research into policy and practice. Her research and publications focus on the role of evidence and data to improve health and health care, particularly for children and vulnerable populations.

Before joining AcademyHealth, Dr. Simpson held several key positions, including serving as the deputy director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) from 1996 to 2002. She serves on the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Scholars Program National Advisory Council and the Board of Directors of the Institute for Accountable Care. In October 2013, Dr. Simpson was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine).

Tom Evans
Tom Evans

Tom Evans, MD, president/CEO of the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative (IHC), will provide an overview of the activities of the Practice Transformation Network (PTN). Supported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the PTNs are peer-based learning networks designed to coach, mentor and assist clinicians in developing core competencies specific to practice transformation. This approach allows clinician practices to become actively engaged in the transformation and ensures collaboration among a broad community of practices that create, promote, and sustain learning and improvement across the health care system.

WCHQ, a subcontractor to IHC, is working with several health care organizations in Wisconsin that have joined the PTN, including Reedsburg Area Medical Center (RAMC). RAMC President/CEO Bob Van Meeteren; Kimberly Garman, quality specialist; and, Shelly Beschta, clinic nurse manager, will describe how cultural change has enabled better communication between departments that has led to improved patient care and a more resilient organization.

As health care transitions from pay-for-volume to value, the chief financial officer’s role must change, too. Bellin Health COO/CFO Jim Dietsche will describe how his position and the finance and other departments he oversees have adapted to non-traditional payment models.

WCHQ Assemblies are held quarterly and attract more than 125 health care professionals who are committed to improving the quality of care patients receive in clinics, hospitals, home health and dental offices in Wisconsin and neighboring states. Register today. More information is available at WCHQ.org or contact Mary Kay Fahey, WCHQ.


Three WCHQ Members Receive PTN Grants to Support QI Efforts

The Compass Practice Transformation Network (PTN) created an opportunity for practices participating in the PTN to submit a grant application for a Compass PTN Quality in Action grant. The grant allows the chosen practices to receive additional funds to support their quality improvement efforts in becoming an exemplar practice. The project implementation timeline for the grant starts February 15, 2019 and ends May 15, 2019.

In collaboration with WCHQ’s PTN Quality Improvement Advisor Jill Lindwall, three WCHQ members participating in the Compass PTN – Associated Physicians LLP, Divine Savior Healthcare, and Reedsburg Area Medical Center – submitted proposals describing how they would use these additional funds to expand an existing quality improvement project within their practice. All three were notified January 11 that Compass PTN and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services leadership representatives had reviewed their proposals and that they will be awarded up to $20,000 to support their work.

Associated Physicians will use the funds to restructure the patient experience and standardize clinical workflows to provide improved outcomes and efficiencies along the entire patient health care continuum. They will focus on addressing preventive and chronic care gaps with an emphasis on hypertension and diabetes. Through optimization and development of registry reports for patient outreach and audit reports, they strive for continuous quality improvement and positive patient outcomes.

Divine Savior Healthcare will work to standardize and optimize Transitions of Care Management services with improved communication and coordination of care for patients after hospital and nursing facility discharges. They aim to reduce readmissions and improve patient outcomes while increasing patient satisfaction.

Reedsburg Area Medical Center is implementing a new EHR and plans to focus on patient portal access. This initiative will have a direct impact on how and what information the patient can access from the new EHR portal that will go live February 25, 2019. It will be crucial for the facility to educate patients so they have a good understanding of the opportunities that the new portal will provide.

All three organizations will have the opportunity to present their project at the Compass PTN Learning Community and attend the Compass PTN Innovation Symposium in Atlanta, GA in June 2019.


ABIM Foundation Trust Practice Challenge 2019

Lisa Simpson

The ABIM Foundation is building on its commitment to improve health care by strengthening medical professionalism with the launch of a Trust Practice Challenge. Through the Challenge, ABIM plans to gather existing practices that have helped build and maintain trust throughout the health care system. A “practice” could involve interactions between clinicians and patients, among clinicians, between clinicians and health systems/hospitals, or between patients and health systems/hospitals.

A few examples of the type of work they are looking for include disclosure of medical errors and subsequent apologies, guarantees of quality service levels, and endorsement of clinicians during care transitions. Winning entries will become part of a compendium of actionable strategies to foster trusting relationships in health care and will be presented at the ABIM Foundation’s Annual Forum in August 2019.

To learn more and to download a promotional flyer and entry form, visit http://abimfoundation.org/what-we-do/initiatives/trust-practice-challenge.

The submission deadline is Thursday, February 28, 2019. #TrustChallenge @ABIMFoundation