Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality: Collaborative Continues to Grow Statewide

For further information, please contact:

Jeffrey Remsik, (414) 270-3000 ext., 222

MILWAUKEE (July 22, 2005) – Four new healthcare providers in southeast Wisconsin have joined the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality, helping the organization provide businesses and consumers in the state with comparative healthcare quality and cost data.

The new Collaborative members are: Covenant Medical Group in metro Milwaukee and All Saints Medical Group in Racine, joining under their parent organization, Wheaton Franciscan Services; Agnesian HealthCare in Fond du Lac; and ProHealth Care Medical Centers in Waukesha.

“The Collaborative is about building trust between providers, purchasers and consumers of healthcare. Even though we compete in the marketplace, we also can all work together through the Collaborative to improve the quality of healthcare in the state,” said John Toussaint, MD, chairman of the Collaborative and president/CEO of Appleton-based ThedaCare.

“Our patients have the right to know what kind of care they can expect from us, and this measurement will help us to continually improve the care we deliver,” said Jim Ketterhagen, MD, chief quality officer for Covenant Healthcare. “The best way to gauge improvement is to have measurable targets.”

“The expansion of the Collaborative will increase its value because it means that more hospitals and physician groups will be reporting their comparative quality and cost data. The availability of credible, comparative data will enable employers to begin to change the way they purchase healthcare and reward those providers with the best outcomes and most rational costs,” said Christopher Queram, member of the Collaborative’s Board of Directors and CEO of the Alliance.

“Agnesian HealthCare is accountable for the care that we provide to our patients,” said Bob Fale, president and chief executive officer

Agnesian HealthCare. “Consumers need access to facts that can help them make informed healthcare decisions. Participation in the Collaborative offers us an opportunity to benchmark ourselves to other providers, as well as to network with other providers in order to develop best practices.”

Earlier this year, the Collaborative published its second Performance & Progress Report, which includes quality and cost data from some of Wisconsin’s most quality-conscious healthcare provider organizations. The measures are based on the Institute of Medicine’s Six Aims for Improvement, including Timeliness, Efficiency, Patient-Centeredness, Effectiveness, Safety and Equity.

The Collaborative’s Performance & Progress Report is the first:

Developed in collaboration with healthcare providers, purchasers and consumers;
Created with measures that span the continuum of care, including the doctor’s office, hospital setting and pharmacy counter; and,
Based on data audited and verified by an independent third party.

“Joining the Collaborative is a natural extension of ProHealth Care’s commitment to providing high quality health care at a reasonable cost,” said Peter Geiss, MD, medical director of ProHealth Care. “We have been a leader in providing hospital information, and as a member of the Collaborative we will be able to expand our efforts to include physician quality data.”

New Collaborative members will soon begin submitting their data for validation by MetaStar, the Collaborative’s independent auditor. Data from the new Collaborative members will be available when the next full Performance & Progress Report is published. The current Performance & Progress Report is available online at www.wchq.org.

The new members will work with existing members, employers and consumers to develop and refine additional healthcare quality and cost measures and share best practices.

“We look forward to using this benchmarking opportunity to build on the excellent clinical care and service that our physicians provide. This is another measurement tool that will further demonstrate our accountability to the public for the quality of care we provide,” said Loren Meyer, MD, vice president-quality and medical education, All Saints Healthcare.

Healthcare providers that wish to join the Collaborative can visit the organization’s Web site for more detailed information on measures, the reporting process, timetables and costs.

The Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality is a group of multi-specialty physician groups, hospitals, health plans, employers and labor organizations from geographically diverse areas of the state that have come together to develop and share best practices and quality outcomes. The Collaborative was founded in 2003 on the principle that by focusing on improving quality, better care for patients and more rational costs will result.

In addition to the four new members, Collaborative participants are: Advanced Healthcare, Milwaukee; Affinity Medical Group, Oshkosh; Aspirus Wausau Hospital, Wausau; Bellin Health, Green Bay; Columbia St. Mary’s, Milwaukee; Dean Health System, Madison; Franciscan Skemp Healthcare, La Crosse; Froedtert & Community Health, Milwaukee; Gundersen Lutheran, La Crosse; Luther Midelfort, Eau Claire; Marshfield Clinic, Marshfield; Medical Associates Health Centers, Menomonee Falls; Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; Meriter Hospital & Physicians Plus Insurance Corporation, Madison; Prevea Health Services, Green Bay; Sacred Heart Hospital; Eau Claire; Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Marshfield; St. Marys Hospital Medical Center, Madison; ThedaCare, Appleton; University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics, Madison; and University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation, Madison;.

Business partners include The Alliance, Appleton Ideas, Badger Meter, Inc., DaimlerChrysler Corp., GE Healthcare, Schneider National, Sentry Insurance, Serigraph, Inc., The Trane Company, United Auto Workers, WEA Trust and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.