Hot topics in health care – November 2012

  1. Regional workshops work to reduce hospital readmissions
  2. 4.4% of Wisconsin children were uninsured in 2011
  3. Partners of WHA recognize volunteer excellence in October
  4. HealthGrades report ranks quality of hospitals in Wisconsin

Each month, in addition to marketing and communications posts, we research and explore new issues impacting Wisconsin’s hospitals and health systems. In partnership and orientation with the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA), this blog will feature headlines and hot topic issues concerning Wisconsin hospitals, clinics and organizations. Here, you’ll read about information on 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.

Regional workshops work to reduce hospital readmissions

In October, two care transition workshops were held in Rice Lake and Viroqua with nearly 300 representatives attending from hospitals, public health agencies, nursing homes, aging units, aging and disability resource centers, assisted living facilities and home health care agencies.

The workshops, facilitated by the Wisconsin Hospital Association, brought guests together to discuss hospital readmission trends, identify best practices for preventing readmissions, and to examine potential collaborations that could be used to reduce readmissions.

The participants diagrammed their local system of care and then identified opportunities for improvement. Participants were encouraged to continue group meetings and move forward with their efforts to ensure smoother patient transitions in their communities.

In addition, a new provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), will soon penalize hospitals for excessive Medicare readmissions. Wisconsin has the lowest rates if readmitting patients to the hospital in the country.

To read more, CLICK HERE.

4.4% of Wisconsin children were uninsured in 2011

According to a new report, 58,200 children in Wisconsin (or 4.4%), lacked health insurance just last year. That’s the 11th lowest rate in the country, and a slight improvement from 2009, when 5% of the state’s kids were uninsured and the state was ranked 12th. Massachusetts had the lowest rate in the country (only 1.7% of its kids lacked insurance.) Nevada continued to have the highest rate at 16.2%.

To read more, CLICK HERE.

Partners of WHA recognize volunteer excellence in October

Partners of WHA, the statewide hospital volunteer organization, celebrated hospital volunteerism and recognized volunteer excellence at its state convention October 16-18 in Madison.

Partners of WHA also awarded their annual Wisconsin Award for Volunteer Excellence (WAVE Award) to four volunteer member organizations, honoring outstanding programs in the categories of community service programs, fundraising, in-service hospital volunteer programs, and community outreach/collaboration.

The 2012 WAVE Award recipients were:

  •  Volunteers of UW Health Partners-Watertown Regional Medical Center: Safety Center
  •  St. Vincent Hospital Auxiliary: The HEAL Program (Helping Elevate thru Art & Love)
  •  Partners of Stoughton Hospital: Dancing With the Stoughton Stars
  •  Partners of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chippewa Falls: Lake Wissota “Last Chance on the Lake”

For more information about the Partners of WHA program, visit

HealthGrades report ranks quality of hospitals in Wisconsin

According to HealthGrades, patients who are cared for in Wisconsin hospitals have a lower chance of dying than in almost any state in the country. Wisconsin (at 4.4%), was among five hospitals to receive a green rating for its average risk-adjusted, in-hospital mortality rate. Wisconsin hospitals outperformed the nation for heart attacks (6.4% vs. 7.4%), heart failure (2.7% vs. 3.2%), and strokes (4.8% vs. 5.3%).

Wisconsin was below the national average for hip replacements and total knee replacements. However, risk-adjusted complication rates were above the U.S. average in gallbladder surgery, carotid surgery, and spinal fusion.

The study examined 122 hospitals in Wisconsin.  In addition to evaluating risk-adjusted mortality and complication rates for the state as a whole, it compared the distribution of Wisconsin hospitals among its three ratings (1-star, 3-star, and 5-star) with hospitals around the country.

To read more, CLICK HERE.

This post was written and researched by Trish Skram, WHPRMS certified member and blogger. She is also media/PR specialist at Mercy Health System based in Janesville, Wis.

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