Exchange stats, Medicare news and national health advancements

November 2013 headlines


In partnership with the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA), this blog features headlines and hot button issues concerning Wisconsin hospitals, clinics and organizations. Here, you’ll read and watch videos about new legislation, hospital measurement and performance initiatives and the tools and resources you need to understand and manage today’s current, complex and controversial health care issues.

If you have other news, resources or links to share, please comment below or email Trish Skram, blogger and research content specialist for WHPRMS, at

Most Wisconsin hospitals receive bonuses under Medicare quality incentive program

Sixty percent of Wisconsin hospitals are receiving bonuses in the second year of Medicare’s Hospital Value-Based Purchasing program, one of the highest rates in the nation.

According to a Kaiser Health News analysis, 37 of the state’s 62 eligible hospitals will receive increased payment rates in fiscal year 2014 based on two-dozen quality measurements including patient satisfaction and death rates. Nationally, Medicare is raising payment rates to 1,231 hospitals, and paying 1,451 hospitals less.

Hospitals could have lost a total of 1.25 percent of payments. The amount of money at stake is expected to grow by a quarter percent each year until it reaches 2 percent. When combined with Medicare’s readmission penalty program, nearly two-thirds, or 64 percent, of participating state hospitals will receive a bonus.

“The data continues to prove that patients in Wisconsin are receiving better care than they would expect to receive in other states,” said Wisconsin Hospital Association chief quality officer Kelly Court. “The hard work of our health care employees and the proactive quality improvement efforts by our hospitals are showing positive results.” READ MORE!

900 Wisconsin residents signed up for coverage

As of November 13, only 877 Wisconsin residents managed to sign up for coverage during the first month of open enrollment on the state’s federally-facilitated health insurance exchange, according to numbers released today by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Governor declares November 21 “Rural Health Day”

In a proclamation signed Nov. 8, Gov. Scott Walker declared Thursday, Nov. 21 Rural Health Day to commend the hard work and dedication of statewide groups, hospitals, clinics and health systems in serving rural communities. The proclamation said that the main effort of rural health care has always been providing affordable health care and that many hospitals and clinics are often the economic foundation and largest employers in their communities. READ MORE!

Wisconsin Health News Lunch Briefing slated for December 10:

Exchange enrollment and preparing for 2014

A panel of experts will provide an update on federal health reform law enrollment efforts and preview changes that start January 1 at a Wisconsin Health News lunch briefing December 10, 11 am at the Madison Club in Madison. The event is sponsored by the Wisconsin Hospital Association. Panelists include Kevin Hayden, CEO, Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin; Kevin Moore, Deputy Secretary, Department of Health Services; Therese Pandl, President and CEO, Hospital Sisters Health System Eastern Wisconsin Division. This event is presented by Wisconsin Health News and Badger Bay Management. To register, CLICK HERE.

Medical experts cite obesity’s link to cancer

Cancer doctors and health policy advocates identified how the obesity epidemic is associated with an increased risk of contracting many types of cancers as well as what can be done to prevent obesity at a UW Population Health Institute Evidence-Based Health Policy Project briefing a few weeks ago.

Dr. Vincent Crynes, chief of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism, said obesity’s prevalence is going up in every state and accounted for $147 billion in U.S. health care costs in 2008. While the public generally thinks obesity triggers diabetes and heart disease, Crynes said obesity is also responsible for an estimated 14 percent of cancer deaths in men and 20 percent in women.

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Hospitals support Governors decision to delay Medicaid program changes

On November 14, The Wisconsin Hospital Association called Governor Walker’s announcement to delay implementing changes in the Medicaid program until April 1, 2014, “a good decision in the face of the Exchange’s ongoing problems.”

The delay will allow more time for adults who were set to be disenrolled from the Medicaid program January 1, 2014 to find coverage on the health insurance exchange.

“The Governor has made a good decision in the face of the Exchange’s ongoing problems. The delay keeps the Medicaid program we have today in place and unchanged through the first three months of 2014, allowing more time for the Exchange to improve,” Brenton said. “We’ll continue to work closely with our members, the Department of Health Services, the Walker Administration, the State Legislature and the federal government to reach the goal of reducing the number of uninsured in Wisconsin.”

Brenton said hospitals and health systems have committed considerable resources to help people in their communities connect to coverage. The delay gives hospitals and community-based organizations more time to implement effective and appropriate outreach strategies to the thousands of people affected by the new Medicaid policies. READ MORE!


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