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Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality

January 2020 Newsletter


President's Column

President Chris Queram
Chris Queram

Board Approves Value Acceleration Report, Sets Direction for WCHQ in 2020

At its January meeting, the Board gave formal approval to the WCHQ Value Acceleration Report. A full year in the making and suffused with significant member input, the report is a thoughtfully curated set of best practices focused on providing better, more affordable care for the population that was selected by our members: patients with diabetes and multiple chronic conditions.

The report was produced by a Steering Team comprised of subject matter experts charged with identifying interventions that result in better outcomes and lower costs. Reporting to the WCHQ Value Acceleration Advisory Group, the steering team solicited best practices from WCHQ members. These were then evaluated by the steering team to determine if they could be successfully implemented in other health care organizations. Those that passed this test were included in the report.

All the recommended strategies were shown to improve clinical quality, not surprising for a state known for high-quality health care, but importantly, many were also promising because they increased value by redesigning practice and changing payment strategies and benefit plans.

The Value Acceleration Initiative (VAI) is not new work, but for it to be successful, we knew we had to develop deeper relationships with purchasers and payers. That is why at their January meeting the WCHQ Board also approved a new membership category for payers and insurers. By including payers in our work, changes can be made in reimbursement models based on not delivering more care, but by delivering the right care with consideration toward developing alternative payments agreements with providers that reward effectiveness and innovation.
When the Board approved the VAI, it noted that the desired results will only be achieved if all health care organizations support and implement the clinical best practices. In doing so, a new community standard of care will be set in Wisconsin for patients with diabetes and multiple chronic conditions.

The next step is to broadly promote the report and the strategies it contains to our members. Our goal is to increase awareness and prompt conversations between provider and payer organizations to embed the strategies into clinical practice supported by new payment models.

The WCHQ Board views this work as an imperative in addressing the rising cost of health care with the same rigor as was applied 20 years ago to improving quality. WCHQ will start small with one specific patient population, learn and share what works, and once improvement is achieved and sustained, adopt a new priority. The value acceleration work is built on the time-honored belief in Wisconsin that what can be measured, can be improved. Our work at WCHQ will continue to be based on using data to inform our work and the dedication of our care givers to find the best way to care for patients and improve health.

We look forward in 2020 to partnering with you, our members and stakeholders, to improve value and create a healthier future for our friends, neighbors and the people we have never met. Thank you for the privilege of serving you.

Chris Queram

New WCHQ Board Members: Truwit, Potter, Mahaffey, Bartle

WCHQ welcomed four new members to the Board of Directors at its January 14 meeting:

  • Jonathon Truwit, MD, is enterprise chief medical officer at Froedtert Health and The Medical College of Wisconsin and he holds the rank of tenured professor of medicine (pulmonary) at the Medical College.
  • Brian Potter is senior vice president and chief operating officer at the Wisconsin Hospital Association
  • Cathy Mahaffey, CEO, Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative
  • Bradley Bartle, chief actuary and vice president of applied analytics, Dean Health Plan

Other Board Changes:

Stephen Brenton, Past President/ CEO, Wisconsin Hospital Association, transitioned to an at-large Board position, and Mark Moody, former president/CEO, WEA Trust, left the WCHQ Board at the end of 2019 following nine years of service.

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Moody joined the Board in 2010 and brought with him experience gained across his career, not only by leading a payer organization but also as Wisconsin’s Medicaid Director for several years.

“Mark has always had a strong interest in and a passion for WCHQ’s mission,” according to WCHQ CEO Chris Queram. “He believes that collaboration can create new opportunities for payers, insurers and providers to work together to not only improve health care quality, but to help people live healthier lives. We have appreciated his commitment to improving health care in Wisconsin, his leadership on the Board and his friendship.”


Registration Open for April 21 Assembly:  Focus on Behavioral Health

Neftali Serrano, PsyD

Registration is open for the April 21 WCHQ Assembly at Monona Terrace in Madison from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., which will focus on behavioral health. The keynote speaker is a nationally known expert on integrated behavioral health services in the primary care setting, Neftali Serrano, PsyD.

Dr. Serrano is CEO of the Collaborative Family Healthcare Association, a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting integrated care as the standard of care. Dr. Serrano is a leader in integrated behavioral health with more than 19 years’ experience practicing, consulting, and researching on the subject. He has devoted much of his career to working with Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), starting integrated care programs and consulting with clinics in under-served settings to assist with implementing the primary care behavioral health (PCBH) model. Dr. Serrano's research interests include program development evaluations and outcome studies related to PCBH. In 2014, Dr. Serrano edited an e-book titled, “The Implementer’s Guide to Primary Care Behavioral Health,” a practice management handbook.

Several member organizations who participate in the WCHQ Behavioral Health Steering Team will present in the afternoon. They include:

Behavioral Health Treatment: Adolescents

  • Monica Case, MBA, Director, Behavioral Health and Physical Rehab Services, UnityPoint Health – Meriter Hospital
  • Howard Wiese, BSN, MSN, Nurse Manager, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Inpatient Unit, UnityPoint Health - Meriter
  • Sarah Schlough, LCSW SAC, Program Supervisor, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Intensive Outpatient Services, UnityPoint Health – Meriter

Monica Case is currently the Director of Behavioral Health and Physical Rehab Services at UnityPoint Health – Meriter hospital in Madison Wisconsin. Case has been employed with Meriter for 15 years. She has worked in a variety of settings, including acute care hospitals, outpatient services and as a consultant. Case has previously held administrative and direct care positions in Iowa, New York and Pennsylvania. She began her career as an occupational therapist, providing care in inpatient rehab and adult psychiatry units and has worked in a variety of settings, including acute care hospitals, outpatient services and as a consultant.

Howard Wiese, BSN, MSN, is currently the Nurse Manager of UnityPoint – Meriter’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Inpatient Unit in Madison, WI. Wiese has worked as a registered nurse in the mental health field for 11 years, and he has been with UnityPoint Health since 2018. He started his career working in the adult psychiatry unit at St. Mary’s Hospital. He obtained a master’s degree from Edgewood College and spent a year teaching in their accelerated nursing program.

Sarah Schlough, LCSW SAC, is currently the Program Supervisor of Unity Point – Meriter’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Intensive Outpatient Services in Madison, WI. Schlough has worked with children and adults in the mental health field for 11 years. She began her career as a Mental Health Professional in the Dane County Jail, providing mental health services to incarcerated adults. Her additional experience includes working with youth and families, providing therapy both within the home and the clinic setting. Schlough has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in Substance Abuse from Edgewood College (Madison, WI), and she has a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Substance Abuse Counselor (SAC) in the state of Wisconsin.

Treating Chronic Pain and Health Issues in the Context of Behavioral Health

  • Michael Larsen, PhD, Marshfield Clinic Health System

A clinical psychologist in pain management, Dr. Michael Larson conducts comprehensive evaluations and provides pain management education and psychological treatment. He has a special interest in pain health psychology, depression and anxiety in the context of health or pain problems psychology of weight management, sleep difficulties and opioid medication management. Dr. Larson works with patients to find and treat the source of pain to improve their physical, emotional and occupational function. He aims to help patients and their families develop and achieve goals so they can return to an active and fulfilling life.

Telehealth: A Resource in Improving Access to Behavioral Health

  • Jessica Small, PharmD, Vice President, Operations, Advocate Aurora Behavioral Health Services

Jessica Small has over 15 years of behavioral health leadership experience as both a service line leader and as a pharmacist. She has oversight of the operations for inpatient and ambulatory services across the state of Wisconsin. Advocate Aurora Behavioral Health Services offers the full continuum of care for behavioral health patients, including ambulatory and hospital-based services. As part of the comprehensive services provided within Advocate Aurora Behavioral Health Services, Jessica oversees its telepsychiatry program and the expansion efforts to help improve access to care for patients across the state.

Alcohol Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) in the Clinical Setting

  • Laura Sanders, MSSW, Great Lakes Addiction Technology and Transfer Center

Sanders is with UW-Madison, School of Engineering and is an independent consultant. She has designed, delivered and facilitated SBIRT training across multiple educational platforms since 2001. Representing the Great Lakes Addiction Technology and Transfer Center, she will explain the use of SBIRT in the clinical setting. SBIRT is a cost-saving, patient centered, one-on-one clinical prevention service. SBIRT interventions can be used to reduce risky drinking, identify individuals who need more intensive interventions and bolster the resolve of persons who are drinking within recommended guidelines. SBIRT interventions have proven to reduce injuries, ED visits, hospitalizations, arrests and car crashes.

Direct questions about the Assembly to Mary Kay Fahey. For information related to WCHQ’s Behavioral Health Steering Team, including how to join, contact Sarah Wright.

Koberstein Joins WCHQ as Oral Health Program Manager

Jenifer Koberstein

Jenifer Koberstein joined the WCHQ January 6 as the Oral Health Program Manager.  In her new position, Koberstein will work on the continued development of the WCHQ Oral Health Collaborative. 

 In 2017, WCHQ was approached by the Dental Quality Alliance at the American Dental Association to share its expertise in developing a collaborative, forming consensus around measures, and driving improvement for medical providers.  WCHQ, five dental members and other stakeholders have since collaborated to develop three quality measures which will be publicly reported later this year. 

 In her previous position, Koberstein was with Dental Lifeline Network, formally known as the National Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped, where she led the program services department in new and existing initiatives. She also worked on special projects including prevention services to those with disabilities and providing educational resources to people about the connection between their medical conditions and their oral health. Prior to her time at Dental Lifeline, Koberstein spent more than 20 years working in the behavioral health field. 

 “We are excited to have Jen join our team. Her experience in both the medical and dental fields will help WCHQ staff and our members gain a better understanding on how to better integrate these services to deliver better, more affordable care that will help our patients live healthier lives,” said Chris Queram.

A New Year Brings New Learning Opportunities from WCHQ

Let WCHQ help you reach your 2020 improvement goals. This is the perfect time of year to join a steering team. Currently, WCHQ has three steering teams up and running. To join, email the contact person below.

Behavioral Health Steering Team:

The Behavioral Health Steering Team meets monthly via webinar and twice a year in person. Members are currently working on a new depression screening toolkit, which includes a clinical and administrative workflow for easy adoption of depression screening and management. The toolkit is set to be released in Spring 2020. If you’re interested in joining the steering team, please contact Sarah Wright.

Chronic Disease Learning Collaborative: 

The Chronic Disease Learning Collaborative meets monthly via webinar and covers a wide range of topics, including hypertension, diabetes, undiagnosed with hypertension, cholesterol management, and team-based care. Shared learning and dissemination of best practices helps members improve on their chronic disease quality metrics. The topic for the January 27th webinar is prediabetes with a presentation by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. If you’re interested in joining the steering team, please contact Sarah Wright.

Adolescent and Child Health:

The Adolescent and Child Health Steering Team meets monthly via webinar and covers several topics related to adolescent and child health, with focus on well-child visits and developmental screening. Upcoming meetings will focus on adolescent tobacco use and vaping, confidentiality for minor patients, and the CMS Child Core Measure Set. If you’re interested in joining the steering team, please contact Abbey Harburn.

Wisconsin Partnership Program to Host Advancing Health Equity 2020

Exploring Approaches and Achievements in Advancing Health Equity through Community Partnerships

The Wisconsin Partnership Program at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health will host Advancing Health Equity 2020 on April 15, 2020. This one-day conference will highlight how community-led partnerships are working to achieve health and health equity in Wisconsin.

  • When: Wednesday, April 15, 2020
  • Where: Madison Marriott West, 1313 John Q Hammons Dr., Middleton, WI 53562
  • Schedule:
    • 8:30 a.m. - Registration
    • 9:00 a.m. - Conference
    • 5:00 p.m. - Networking Reception
  • Cost: None; The Wisconsin Partnership Program is pleased to present this conference free of charge.

Community-based nonprofits, students, faculty, public health organizations, health funders, policy
makers and others across the state are encouraged to attend to learn more about:

Community-led efforts to achieve health and health equity

  • Experiences, best practices and common barriers in expanding health impact across Wisconsin
  • How philanthropy can address health equity

The Wisconsin Partnership Program recognizes that our communities and state thrive when we build strong foundations for health. Learn how community-led partnerships are addressing health and health equity by strengthening the foundations for health through:

  • Economic Stability
  • Neighborhood and Built Environment
  • Social and Community Context
  • Education
  • Access to Healthcare

The event provides an excellent opportunity to explore the many different approaches, challenges and opportunities for achieving health equity, from the perspectives of community organizations, health systems and academic partners. View the conference schedule and registration information here.

The Wisconsin Partnership Program at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health is committed to improving health and well-being through investments in community partnerships, education and research. The Wisconsin Partnership Program was established at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health in 2004, through an endowment gift from Blue Cross Blue Shield United of Wisconsin’s conversion to a stock insurance corporation. To date, the Wisconsin Partnership Program has awarded more than 500 research, education and community partnership grants totaling more than $237 million to improve health and advance health equity in Wisconsin.