October 2021

President’s Column

Gabrielle Rude, PhD
WCHQ President and CEO

Culture is not created, it is cultivated. Cultivation is the process of developing something; to be successful we not only need to create the components of an organizational culture but also provide the continual attention to ensure that the culture continues. Organizations that cultivate a culture of creativity, individual responsibility and transparent collaboration have been better positioned to thrive in this time of unknowns.

Nearly one year ago, when I became WCHQ’s CEO, our staff had been working virtually for over half a year. WCHQ was more prepared for this new virtual reality than many organizations in that we already conducted much of our member-facing work via webinar and even had several staff located outside our main office. That said, we would be challenged to maintain our culture of collaboration as we focused on meeting the needs of our health system members who were undergoing revolutionary changes of their own due to the pandemic.

Last month I emphasized how important participation is to WCHQ’s culture of improvement. Along with participation, we work to cultivate collective action. That is because as a membership organization, most of the actual work that drives improvement for the State of Wisconsin has always occurred outside of our office. The true organizational culture is one that happens when the leader is not in the room, a reality that occurs even more often in this virtual environment. WCHQ is continually focused on cultivating relationships, expectations, evolving goals and other tools to ensure that Wisconsin’s culture of continual improvement in health care continues even when we meet virtually and even during a pandemic.

Register Today: “The Impact of the Pandemic on Adolescent and Child Health”

“Understanding the Impact of the Pandemic on Adolescent and Child Health”
November 16, 2021
11 AM – 1 PM



One of the most pressing problems brought on by the pandemic is related to ensuring that behavioral health issues can be identified and appropriately treated when children and adolescents present with these issues.

On November 16, 11 AM – 1 PM, WCHQ will host a webinar that will help clinicians understand the problem and be able to identify appropriate resources. “Understanding the Impact of the Pandemic on Adolescent and Child Health” will feature speakers from organizations that can address the issue from different perspectives and offer resources to those working in this area. The speakers and topics include:

Voices of Wisconsin Students: Learning, Coping and Building Resilience During COVID-19
Sharon E. Belton, PhD
Director, Wisconsin Institute for PublicPolicy and Service - Research Partners
University of Wisconsin System

Bringing Youth Perspective to Health Care Quality Improvement
Amy Olejniczak, MS, MPH
PATCH Program Founder & Director

A Rapid Transition to Telebehavioral Health Services at Children’s Wisconsin
Jenny Walczak, PsyD
Clinical Director of Mental and Behavioral Health
Children’s Wisconsin

Kristin Kroll, PhD
Assistant Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin
Pediatric Psychologist, Children’s Hospital of WI

Support for Primary Care: Wisconsin Child Psychiatry Consultation Program
Matt Jandrisevits, PhD
Child & Adolescent Psychologist, Children’s Wisconsin
Wisconsin Child Psychiatry Consultation Program

Clinical staff who have patient contact (providers, nursing and other patient care staff); quality improvement, managerial, and administrative staff whose work involves promoting staff change; and clinicians in pediatric, family medicine and behavioral health practices that work with children and adolescents will find value in this education event.  

This webinar is a members’ only event – there is not a registration fee for WCHQ provider members, annual partners and corporate sponsors. If you have questions, contact Mary Kay Fahey.

WCHQ will sponsor Executive Summit on Health Disparities December 3

We are all too familiar with the impact the pandemic has had on the health of people of color and those with few resources. While the statistics were new, the issue was not. In its first Health Disparities Report, WCHQ identified where disparities in health outcomes and care exist in Wisconsin. Now, we have an opportunity to use that data to begin to identify and eliminate gaps in care in our state.

On December 3, 2021 WCHQ is hosting a virtual Executive Summit on Health Disparities. Invitations to participate were sent to every WCHQ member health system and medical clinic CEO about 4 weeks ago with a request to designate one person to represent your health system or clinic at the Summit.

WCHQ is pleased to have two well-known health leaders co-chairing this work, Dr. Sue Turney, Chief Executive Officer of Marshfield Clinic Health System and Cathy Jacobson, President and CEO of Froedtert Health. Dr. Turney and Ms. Jacobson will preside over the Summit and offer their perspectives on the importance of this work as it relates to urban and rural areas of the state.

Tim Prince, MHA, FACHE, senior advisor, strategic project alignment at Findorff, will facilitate the Summit.

At the Summit, the leaders of WCHQ provider organizations will be asked to commit to working on one or two specific health disparities in their communities over the next two years. During that time, WCHQ members will receive customized status and progress reports and will be encouraged to have a representative participate on a WCHQ-facilitated improvement team. At these meetings, WCHQ members will be able to network with others working on the same topic, share best practices and explore new resources.

If your health system has not designated a representative to participate in the virtual Summit December 3, contact Abbey Harburn. WCHQ is also recruiting WCHQ provider members to the improvement team, contact Abbey for more information.

Improvement Teams


Payers, Providers Share Ideas To Improve Care to Those with Obesity

Since early in 2021, the WCHQ Obesity Advisory Group has been meeting monthly to discuss issues related to obesity. An on-going discussion has been to the identify what works in terms of best outcomes and what is covered so patients and providers know when a service or treatment involves out-of-pocket expenses. To learn more about coverage, the Advisory Group invited payers to a group meeting.

Representatives from nearly all of Wisconsin’s provider-owned health plans and two health alliances that serve employers participated in the meeting with members of the Advisory Group.

The point was made that obesity may not be identified as a chronic condition, but it contributes to chronic disease and it is a cost driver. Controlling obesity, or preventing a person from becoming obese, can save thousands of dollars in health care costs while improving their quality of life. Providers and insurers agreed that they need to make the business case to employers that preventing and treating obesity will save them thousands of dollars in health care costs.

A physician on the Advisory Group made the point that it is clear in his patient population that treating obesity leads to fewer medications for other conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes, but data is required to make that case to payers and employers. Going forward, it was suggested to narrow the focus to one chronic condition that is impacted by obesity, such as diabetes, and gather cost-savings related data.

This group will continue to meet and work on specific obesity-related topics that will improve the care for and capture the cost savings associated with treating obesity. If you are interested in joining this conversation, contact Jen Koberstein.

Behavioral Health

Workforce Wellbeing an Important Topic as COVID Surge Persists

Workforce wellbeing is vital to an organization’s success and is top of mind for the WCHQ Behavioral Health Improvement Team during recent meetings. Health systems are reporting the latest COVID surge, coupled with staff shortages, is putting immense pressure on staff who are already exhausted. The team has been discussing ways to support staff and acknowledge the pressures they are facing. One WCHQ member shared some short videos on tips to help care team members during this time. The tips include helping team members combat isolation, how to seek help, and restoration when time is limited. Please share as appropriate with your teams.  

Tip #1: I Can’t Do This Again

Tip #2: I Don’t Have Time for Any of This

Tip #3: When I Look Back on This  

Tip #4: The Vaccine Conversation

Tip #5: Caring for the Unvaccinated

Tip #6: Together

The American Medical Association provided this set of tips for caring for yourself, your team members, and patients during the pandemic.

WCHQ acknowledges the incredible commitment and sacrifices you have made during the past 18 months. If you are interested in joining the WCHQ Behavioral Health Improvement Team contact Jen Koberstein.

Chronic Disease

Literacy Resources for Diabetes Management Programs

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recognizes October as Health Literacy Month with an emphasis on personal and organizational health literacy. Health literacy efforts support individuals in finding and understanding health-related information to further support informed decision making.

Many health care professionals are tasked beyond health literacy toward a more inclusive person-centered approach. A journal issue from Diabetes Care recognized a task force comprised of individuals from the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) for providing context and examples of preferred language to motivate, promote behavior changes, and improve outcomes with language.

Consider how you might take this approach within your Diabetes Self-Management Education & Support Programs. Powerful language can be person-centered, non-judgmental (free from stigma), respectful, and encourage patient/provider collaboration.

Join the WCHQ Chronic Disease Learning Collaborative to gain insight regarding relevant topics and shared best practices with other peers within the health care industry. Contact Sheryl Pierce for information.  

Oral Health

WCHQ Oral Health Collaborative Focus on Patient-Reported Outcomes

In follow-up to the third annual Oral Health Summit held last July, the WCHQ Oral Health Collaborative members agreed to continue pursuing the adoption of a patient-reported outcome tool. During the Summit, keynote presenter Mike John, PhD, MPH, presented on patient-reported outcomes. He believes that collaborating with other dental practices to collect data will help determine whether a treatment works for patients. Patient-reported outcomes are an important datapoint in evidence-based dentistry.    

Patient-reported outcome measures look at four dimensions of oral health, including oral function, orofacial pain, orofacial appearance, and psychosocial impact. These four dimensions have a significant impact on patient quality of life and assessing the patient’s perception is key to providing excellent oral health care.

If you are interested in more information about the Oral Health Collaborative contact Jen Koberstein at jkoberstein@wchq.org.