Adolescent and Child Health
WCHQ is supporting its members as they begin to reopen pediatric clinics and catch up on routine care of children and adolescents. WCHQ members met twice in June to discuss strategies, best-practices, and potential roadblocks when reopening pediatric clinics during the COVID-19 pandemic. Members reported that the continued use of telehealth has been a challenge as physical clinics reopen, requiring changes in both culture and workflow in order to continue the use of telehealth where appropriate. The steering team plans to hold additional discussions in July to share strategies and brainstorm best practices for encouraging the use of virtual visits.
The WCHQ Adolescent and Child Health steering team regularly monitors improvement on publicly reported measures as well as steering team-only measures. At the June steering team meeting, the team reviewed the Spring 2020 publicly reported data and improvement on the pediatric suite of measures, including well-child visits and immunizations for adolescents and children. The team also began brainstorming relevant education topics that will assist members in identifying improvement strategies.
For more information on WCHQ’s adolescent and child health work, please contact Abbey Harburn.
WCHQ is building a member-wide registry of health systems that have integrated behavioral health. The registry will describe the type of model or spectrum of integrated care at each health system and the tool used if tracking patient outcomes. With this information, members will better understand the behavioral health landscape in Wisconsin. Members can then ask questions or reach out to specific health systems that have implemented similar models of integrated care that they would like to implement. Adoption and expansion of integrated behavioral health might increase as members can more easily find peers for support and best practice sharing.
We continue to support members in their recovery through the COVID-19 pandemic. At the June 8 Behavioral Health Steering Team meeting, members shared details on plans for hosting in-person group therapy sessions while complying with using social distancing guidelines and actions to safely bring patients with severe mental illness or medication needs into the clinic.
WCHQ members are focused on supporting the mental health of their employees and care teams.
Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin: Thomas Heinrich, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine and Behavioral Health Physician Champion Adviser, states they are supporting healthcare workers, including students, residents, and pharmacists, through virtual support groups and virtual one-on-one visits. Behavioral health staff are rotating hours where healthcare workers can call-in as needed for mental health support and to join group sessions. The behavioral health staff have also rolled out a primary prevention resiliency program for health care workers.
ProHealth Care: Jon Marschall, PsyD, Clinical Psychology in Behavioral Health Services, states they are putting together a task force for secondary stress to try identifying and reducing any preventable outcomes of COVID-19. This includes working towards resiliency building. Behavioral health staff are providing hour timeslots and support group sessions for mental health support for health care workers. Coping strategies include mindfulness and processing exercises.
Access Community Health Center: Beth Zeidler Schreiter, PsyD, Chief Behavioral Health Officer, states they are addressing the health and wellness of health care workers through various avenues and strategies. Behavioral health staff hold twice a week 15-minute lunchtime virtual sessions on mindfulness and meditation for all staff. The team created a gratitude tree for all staff to view and add their own written messages of gratitude on the tree leaves. Weekly Caring for Clinicians sessions are led by behavioral health staff with medical providers to provide support, debriefing, and collegiality. Wellness and resiliency are added to the agendas of all staff meetings, and wellness resources and links are updated routinely on their main organizational webpage for staff. For more information, contact Sarah Wright.
Chronic Disease: In-person Visits on the Rise as Telehealth Declines
WCHQ member health systems are diligently working to re-open clinics to provided needed care to patients who have been overdue for physicals and routine screenings, while making provisions to provide the safest possible care.
WCHQ members have implemented new processes, that include a requirement that staff wear masks at all times, patients are screened in advance of appointments and they have eliminated the use of waiting rooms. These changes are occurring rapidly and while providers increase face-to-face visits and continue to offer telehealth visits. While telehealth visits are declining, WCHQ members have recognized that they have played an important role in the patient care that will endure beyond this pandemic.
WCHQ member organizations are reporting a significant backlog of patients who are overdue for important tests and screenings. Clinics are prioritizing patients with chronic diseases and proactively reaching out to patients to schedule appointments yet these delays in care may impact quality of care measures. WCHQ recently published performance results for 2019 and noted that across WCHQ’s membership, diabetes Blood Sugar (A1c) Control measure showed a significant improvement from the six months prior, with more than 183,000 patients in control. This represents an increase of over 8,000 patients from the previous reporting period. Hypertension control rates remained stable; a significant feat given that WCHQ’s members perform consistently better than the national average . Going forward, WCHQ and its members are focused on ensuring patients receive the care they need to ensure continued positive outcomes.
WCHQ facilitates a regular meeting of members, the WCHQ Chronic Disease Learning Collaborative, which guides and supports improvement on diabetes and hypertension control. Future meetings will cover topics ranging from team-based care, self-measured blood pressure monitoring, addressing health disparities, as well as other topics. WCHQ members are welcome to join meetings at any time throughout the year. Contact Cara Winsand to learn more about the Chronic Disease team.
Oral Health Collaborative
The Oral Health Collaborative team is focused on COVID-19 issues related to teledentistry, emergency dental care and reopening offices. Procuring PPE is a major challenge in the dental community. All health care professionals, including dentists, will find this guidance recommendation valuable on the proper procedures associated with decontaminating PPE. The Wisconsin Department of Health shared the guidance document with WCHQ in advance of it being sent directly to all licensed health care professionals.
The dental collaborative members have reviewed their unblinded, quality-of-care data reports and are planning a quality improvement project. The group expects to publicly report new oral health measures later this year.
If you are interested in learning more about the Oral Health Collaborative, contact Jen Koberstein.