4 breakthrough topics making Wisconsin health news


42 rural Wisconsin hospitals at risk of losing Medicare payments

Forty-two Wisconsin rural hospitals could be facing a significant loss of special Medicare payments under a recommendation by the Obama Administration.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports the proposal from the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services would strip special payment status from two-thirds of the nation’s 1,328 critical access hospitals — those not considered to be in sufficiently remote areas — including 42 in Wisconsin.

Medicare reimburses critical access hospitals at 101 percent of their reasonable costs. To qualify, hospitals can’t have more than 25 inpatient beds, and must be more than a 35-mile drive from the nearest hospital, or 15 miles in areas with mountainous terrain or only secondary roads.

However, a number of hospitals were added to the classification that didn’t meet the distance requirement, but were deemed “necessary providers” by their state. These hospitals are permanently exempted from the distance requirement.

For a listing of hospital affected, CLICK HERE.

WHA joins Healthier Hospitals Initiative

The Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) recently joined as a supporter of the Healthier Hospitals Initiative, a national organization aimed at promoting health care environmental sustainability. Gundersen Health System was one of the 13 initial health system sponsors of the campaign, which now includes more than 600 hospitals and health care systems nationwide.

For details, CLICK HERE.

Childhood obesity rates are stagnant in Wisconsin

A new report says Wisconsin’s childhood obesity rates have not declined. Wisconsin was one of 20 states involved in the study that experienced no significant change in obesity rates for these 2 to 4-year-old children from low-income families, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) report said.

Nationwide, about one in eight preschoolers is obese. Twenty-nine percent of 2 through 4-year-old children participating in Wisconsin WIC program were overweight or obese as of 2008.

For details, CLICK HERE.

Below is a video of this week’s health care trends from HealthWatch and brought to you from the Channel 3000 WISC TV news team.

Updated physician codes of conduct (MED 10)

In August, the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board voted to approve updates to its unprofessional conduct codes for physicians and send them to the Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) for publication.

Setting clear standards to ensure protection from doctors accused of crimes against patients was a major disciplinary rule change in the new MED 10, according to former board chair, Dr. Sheldon Wasserman. Additionally, the new MED 10 will improve efforts to crackdown on fraud through medical bills, doctors deceitfully claiming certification and false advertising.

The updated MED 10 will likely go into effect Oct.1, 2013.

For details, CLICK HERE.

This post was written by Trish Skram, blogger and research content specialist for WHPRMS. Trish also manages Mercy Health System’s public relations and social media efforts. To read more about Trish, CLICK HERE.

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