February’s hot topics in health care: Quality improvement event, Medicaid expansion news, health care documentary

  • WHA hosts free quality improvement event March 12 and 13
  • WHA supports Medicaid expansion
  • Producers start work on health care documentary
  • CMS approves AIDS/HIV medical home

WHA hosts free quality improvement event March 12 and 13

The Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) is pleased to announce Don Berwick, MD, will keynote Wisconsin’s biggest quality improvement event of 2013. The event, called The Partners for Patients “Catch the Wisconsin Wave” will be March 12 and 13 in the Wisconsin Dells.

Don Berwick, MD, the nation’s leading voice on health care quality, is a former head of CMS and the founder of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). In addition to Dr. Berwick, the agenda will a variety of national caliber keynote speakers to inform and inspire staff of Wisconsin hospitals, including: Brian Boyle, author of “Iron Heart,” sharing his inspiring story; Dr. Jay Kaplan of IHI, an advocate for physician engagement in quality improvement; Dr. Stacy Nelson of VitalSmarts, a Master Trainer of Crucial Conversations in the hospital setting; and, Dr. David Williams of IHI and TrueSimple, focusing on measuring for improvement.

There is no cost to attend, but pre-registration is required and space may be limited. To register, CLICK HERE.

WHA supports Medicaid expansion

On February 1, the Wisconsin Hospital Association announced that it supports expanding Medicaid as called for, but no longer required, under the federal health reform law. The hospital association noted that over the past five years uncompensated care at Wisconsin hospitals has increased from nearly $700 million per year to more than $1.1 billion. That’s on top of $2.6 billion in impending Medicare reimbursement cuts that will be partly used, the hospital association says, to fund the law’s coverage expansion.

Under the law, the federal government pays the full cost of expanding Medicaid for the first three years for childless adults making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. By 2020, federal funding phases down to 90 percent. States can pull out at any time. Unlike many states, Wisconsin covers that population through BadgerCare Plus Core. But, Core was capped in October 2009. Since then enrollment has dropped to less than 21,000, while a waiting list to get on the program has grown to more than 146,000.

“Above all, our hospital and health system members, national leaders in innovation and reform, are looking for stability, especially when it comes to covering our most vulnerable populations,” said WHA president Steve Brenton in a press release. “We believe WHA’s position is a measured approach that makes good fiscal and policy sense. There will be much debate on this issue with valid opinions on both sides, but at the end of the day, in this time of uncertainty, we cannot have fewer people with coverage and more uncompensated care.”

To read WHA’s press release, CLICK HERE. To read more details from Wisconsin Health News, CLICK HERE.

Producers start work on health care documentary

According to the Wisconsin Health News newsletter, the producers of a documentary that provided inspiration for the Wisconsin Medical Society’s advance care planning initiative are working on a second film. Consider the Conversation: A Documentary about Unintended Consequences is scheduled for release in early 2014 and will explore the patient/physician relationship.

Co-producer Michael Bernhagen is a member of the Statewide Steering Committee for the medical society’s Honoring Choices Wisconsin program.

For more information, CLICK HERE.

CMS approves AIDS/HIV medical home

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has signed off on the Wisconsin Health Home for Individuals with AIDS/HIV. Medical homes offer patients individualized, patient-centered and coordinated health care that accomplishes the goals of saving costs across the health care system.

AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin President and CEO, Mike Gifford, said the approval by CMS of its model of care is an endorsement of the effective care that AIDS Resources Center of Wisconsin offers to HIV patients throughout Wisconsin. “It sets the stage to assure that everyone with HIV receives excellent and comprehensive care.”

Medical homes are a part of the Department of Health Services’ overall goal of changing Medicaid’s service delivery and reimbursement structure from a volume-based system to one based on value and health outcomes. The benefit is available to eligible members who are enrolled in the BadgerCare Plus Standard Plan, BadgerCare Plus Benchmark Plan, BadgerCare Plus Core Plan or Wisconsin Medicaid.

To read more, CLICK HERE.

This post was researched and written by Trish Skram, blogger and research content specialist for WHPRMS. To read more, CLICK HERE.

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