May 2021

President’s Column

If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. – Peter Drucker

Gabrielle Rude, PhDWCHQ President and CEO

Wisconsin has long been a leader in the sharing of quality data to drive improvement. Indeed, WCHQ was founded for exactly this purpose with each member agreeing to publicly report measures of quality and to collaborate with other members for collective improvement. As we emerge from the pandemic, sharing data is even more critical. WCHQ and its members will use the data to identify the topics and populations that have the greatest need for improvement.

In June, WCHQ will release data that reflects calendar year 2020, the most complete view of the impact of the pandemic on health care quality to date. Already, our data through mid-2020 has revealed some concerning trends with childhood immunizations showing the most dramatic drop. We are also concerned about the impact on cancer screenings and other measures that occur at longer time intervals and anticipate we’ll see these impacts in the June reports.

WCHQ’s data repository is hosted on a new data platform that can produce member-specific results that facilitate clinical decision making. What sets WCHQ apart, however, is that we enable comparisons among care providers. Our members deliver great care, and constantly strive to improve by learning from and working with other clinicians. Wisconsin consistently ranks as one of the top states for health care quality because all providers are continuously improving. This spirit of transparency and collaboration will allow our members to identify the areas that require the most focus and get patients back on schedule for life-saving preventive care.

WCHQ will be sending members who submit data custom reports this summer. It is likely we will see opportunities to use the measure results to inform improvement and collaboration. We encourage you to engage with WCHQ’s improvement teams to share and learn as together, our goal is always to deliver better, more equitable and affordable health care.

- Gabrielle Rude

Gov. Evers Confirmed to Speak at WCHQ Improvement Event

Gov. Tony Eve

Registration is now open: In person and virtual options


WCHQ is pleased to announce that Gov. Tony Evers has confirmed that he will speak at the WCHQ Improvement Event June 29 at Monona Terrace in Madison. Bellin Health President and CEO Chris Woleske will keynote the event followed by WCHQ President and CEO Gabrielle Rude who will share WCHQ’s strategic approach to the future.

Chris Woleske

Two statewide organizations will be recognized for their work to provide critically important data throughout the pandemic. The presentations will take place just prior to Gov. Evers speech. WCHQ provider members are invited to submit their IT/analytic team or an individual to be recognized during the event. Nomination forms were emailed to WCHQ member CEOs, PR managers and executive assistants. If you would like to submit a nomination, contact Mary Kay Fahey.

The Diabetes Summit, sponsored by WCHQ in partnership with Novo Nordisk, starts in the afternoon with a presentation by former NFL player and Super Bowl MVP Ottis Andersen, followed by Kelly Charapata explaining Bellin Health's approach to helping patients manage diabetes. A session on best practices and advances in diabetes research and management will be followed by Dirk Steinert MD and JoDeen Hettenbach from Ascension Wisconsin describing how their organization is improving access to care for patients with obesity.

Ottis Andersen

Registration is open to members, corporate sponsors and annual partners. This is the first in person event WCHQ has held since November 2019. The fee to attend either in person or virtually is $75. WCHQ will be using Monona Terrace’s streaming platform for an enhanced viewing experience. Payment can be made online or by check mailed to WCHQ. See the registration form for information. Direct questions about the event or registration to Mary Kay Fahey.

WCHQ Immunization Summit June 9: Register Today

Rajiv Naik, MD

Registration closes soon.
June 9 webinar, 9-11:30 AM.

The event will feature a nationally recognized expert on vaccinations, Rajiv Naik, MD, a Board-certified pediatrician and medical director of informatics at Gundersen Health System. He will discuss vaccine hesitancy, share strategies to overcome it and introduce some innovative technological interventions to sustain improvements in vaccine rates.

Nichole Gladney

Ascension Wisconsin is actively expanding the availability of COVID-19 vaccinations to underserved communities in Wisconsin. Nichole Gladney, director of community services and impact, will explain how they are doing it and how they are engaging the community in the effort to reach those who are most vulnerable.

Stephanie Schauer, PhD, manages Wisconsin’s Immunization Program for the Department of Health (DHS). She’ll explain how they see the providers helping with the efforts to vaccinate the public and explain DHS’s response plan as the pandemic continues to evolve.

For information contact Mary Kay Fahey.

Stephanie Schauer, PhD

Improvement Teams

Obesity Advisory Group

The participation in WCHQ’s Obesity Advisory Group has been nothing short of excellent. The group continues to share best practices related to education for both clinicians and patients. Since patients who are obese often enter the health care system through primary care, it is important these clinicians are familiar with specialized care services. One member of the team suggested that a statewide registry of obesity-related services would be useful for identifying where a patient can be referred for specific care. Another suggested that a presentation on the downstream impacts of not treating obesity, both economic and health, would be helpful at an upcoming meeting. While obesity is an issue that effects all age groups, as the Advisory Group worked on a charter, they determined that the focus would be on adult obesity. This was helpful in setting the parameters for what is and what is out of scope for their work. The Advisory Group meets monthly. To join, contact Jen Koberstein.

Behavioral Health

The WCHQ Behavioral Health Assembly on April 30 featured approaches to behavioral health that will increase safety, access and traditional and non-traditional support for patients. Each presenter had a unique focus on how the pandemic has impacted people’s lives and shared their unique approaches to supporting people during this difficult time. The presenters provided resources WCHQ members will find useful in supporting their patients.

To access the materials from the Behavioral Health Assembly and additional resources, you will first need to log into and then go to the following pages:

To access these materials, your organization must be a WCHQ provider member, corporate sponsor, or annual partner. If your organization falls into one of those categories, you must first have an account in WCHQ’s Online Community. If you do not have an account go to JOIN. If you are unsure whether your organization is a member, click here  for corporate sponsors and annual partners. Contact Mary Kay Fahey for assistance.

Adolescent and Child Health

On May 17, Paul Burstein, MD FACOG, a Clinical Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, presented to the Adolescent and Child Health Improvement Team on the importance of vaccinating children from Human Papillomavirus (HPV) prior to reaching age 15. There are over 100 different strains of HPV and many of them are associated with different types of cancers. Virtually all cervical cancers, as well as a large percentage of vaginal/vulvar, anal, penile, and oropharyngeal cancers, are caused by high risk HPV.

The HPV vaccine is proven to be very effective in preventing HPV-caused cancers. Oral HPV infections, which are associated with oropharyngeal cancers, are 88 percent lower among young adults who received at least one HPV vaccine dose. From 2009 to 2016, oral HPV infections among unvaccinated men dropped by 37 percent. This is considered evidence of herd immunity against oral HPV due to widespread use of the HPV vaccine. When given on the recommended schedule and at the recommended ages, the HPV vaccine can prevent up to 90 percent of HPV-related cancers. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends routine HPV vaccination at age 11 or 12 years and vaccination can be started at age 9 . However, the vaccine is approved for use in men and women up to age 26. The Adolescent and Child Health Improvement Team discussed the importance of vaccinating children prior to age 15 to avoid the need for a third vaccine to maximize effectiveness.

To participate in these discussions and presentations, consider joining the Adolescent and Child Health Improvement team. Contact Abbey Harburn for more information.

Chronic Disease

The Chronic Disease Learning Collaborative (CDLC) heard from several presenters at their May meeting. MetaStar provided an overview of two new self-measured blood pressure e-learning modules: Taking Your Blood Pressure at Home (a patient facing module) and SMBP: Prepare and Teach Your Patient (a clinician facing module). These modules together form an SMBP education package that helps health care providers educate their patients on taking an effective blood pressure reading at home. Several WCHQ members are using e-learning for staff to teach them the techniques for helping patients learn how to take an accurate reading.

MetaStar also facilitated a discussion to gain insight into WCHQ’s members’ top issues related to chronic disease. They announced the formation of a special group focused on diabetes care and education on the community of practice and the Superior Health Connect learning management platforms. MetaStar’s Mary Funseth gave an overview of the CDC 1815 Diabetes Affinity Group. This group provides resources and a place for providers to network. If you are interested in joining the Diabetes Affinity Group, follow this link to sign up.

To join the WCHQ CDLC email Jen Koberstein.

Oral Health Collaborative

The American Dental Association (ADA) Health Policy Institute (HPI) released a report on April 19 looking at disparities in the dental workforce and the patient population. The report found the racial mix of the dental workforce does not reflect the population The HPI published on April 19 a series of infographics and data looking into racial disparities in oral health. The series also highlighted the dental care utilization among the U.S. population, finding that for all age groups, Hispanics and Blacks are most likely to face cost barriers to dental care.

According to the HPI, racial disparities due to cost barriers have decreased in children and widened for adults. The CDC identifies oral health disparities based on insurance status, race, and social determinants of health such as income and education status. Nationally, Black and Latino children are significantly more likely to have cavities in their primary and permanent teeth when compared with their white peers. Additionally, children from low-income families are 15 percent less likely to get sealants compared with children from higher-income households.

The WCHQ Oral Health Collaborative recently began discussing disparities in oral health. The group will continue to explore opportunities to measure disparities in oral health care. The Oral Health Collaborative is interested in stratifying the oral health measures using disparities indicators published in the 2019 and 2020 Wisconsin Health Disparities Reports. The members are evaluating data collection capabilities for patient demographics that would allow WCHQ to complete this analysis. Stratifying the oral health measure results will allow the Oral Health Collaborative members to identify disparities gaps and begin evaluating strategies to reduce these gaps.

For more information about the Oral Health Collaborative, contact Jen Koberstein.

WCHQ Exec Assistant Position Job Posting

WCHQ has an immediate opening for an executive assistant at its office in Madison, WI. This position reports directly to the President and CEO and serves as the primary liaison and leader of the CEO’s daily activities and interactions with members and stakeholders across the state. View the job posting.