FRI AM News: Hospitals facing ‘significant bottleneck’ in discharging patients to long-term care; WisBusiness: the Podcast with Khalif and Que El-Amin of Young Enterprising Society

— Hospitals in the state are facing a “significant bottleneck” in their ability to discharge patients into long-term care facilities as they grapple with higher patient volumes and other COVID-19 challenges. 

That’s according to Wisconsin Hospital Association President and CEO Eric Borgerding, who says hundreds of patients across the state “who really don’t need inpatient hospital care anymore” are occupying staffed beds. 

“For various reasons we’re again seeing nursing homes incapable, unable or in some cases unwilling to accept these patients back or for discharge,” he told in a recent interview. “Those are staffed inpatient beds that are unavailable for COVID care or non-COVID hospital care. That’s a significant element of the hospital capacity challenge right now.” 

Long-term care organizations in Wisconsin say the issue is being caused by a lack of available workers to staff nursing homes and other such facilities. 

“It’s a difficult position that long-term care organizations are in,” said John Sauer, president and CEO of the long-term care network LeadingAge Wisconsin. “We have residents that need our care and services today, and we have a staffing challenge that requires us to really stop or limit or slow the number of people who are admitted to our facilities … We have plenty of capacity but we don’t have the staff to admit more people.” 

Based on recent surveys of member hospitals and health systems, WHA estimates that as many as 400 patients in the state are currently occupying staffed inpatient hospital beds that don’t need to be there from a medical standpoint. 

One health system said 20 percent of its staffed inpatient beds were occupied by patients awaiting discharge to long-term care facilities, while a hospital in central Wisconsin reported an average of 16 patients per day waiting to be discharged, with an average stay of 20.2 days. Another health system had over 150 patients awaiting discharge, according to WHA. 

Meanwhile, Borgerding said Gundersen Health System recently reported having 56 patients waiting to be discharged, which is double the number of its COVID-19 patients and accounts for 23 percent of its inpatient population. 

Mike Pochowski, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Assisted Living Association, noted the industry’s workforce problem existed before COVID-19 and is now “the worst it’s ever been.” 

“The problem is the staffing crisis — they’re unable to find care workers to work in these facilities,” he said in an interview. “They’re limited in the number of residents they’re able to care for. If there were more staffing they could help ease the bottleneck that’s taking place.” 

Rick Abrams, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Health Care Association and Wisconsin Center for Assisted Living, agreed that the industry’s “labor crisis” is the main factor driving the bottleneck. 

While the total number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has been declining in the past week or so, hospitals around the state are still near capacity. The Department of Health Services site shows 90.5 percent of all hospital beds and 93.5 percent of ICU beds were in use as of Oct. 26. 

In November 2020, Gov. Tony Evers announced $80 million would be directed toward efforts to support skilled nursing facilities in the state, and a partnership between DHS and the Departments of Safety and Professional Services and Workforce Development would seek to address “critical staffing shortages.” But Borgerding said in an email these measures don’t seem to have helped much. 

“We have to do some serious thinking about how the current system works as it relates to patients that need to be discharged from an acute care setting. There need to be more options,” he said. 

— This week’s episode of WisBusiness: the Podcast is with Khalif and Que El-Amin, the co-founders of Milwaukee’s Young Enterprising Society. 

The brothers will be featured speakers at next week’s Early Stage Symposium, being held Thursday in Madison by the Wisconsin Technology Council. They give a brief preview of their presentation, and discuss some of the programs they’ve spearheaded through their organization since 2012. 

Khalif says the group’s Blueprint program, which provides up to $100,000 in seed capital, entrepreneurial and technology training for urban startups, will be expanding into Madison in spring 2022. 

“To tap into that demographic up there and serve some underrepresented founders in the Madison area is great, so definitely looking forward to that,” he said. 

A total of 60 companies in six different cohorts have gone through the Blueprint program since it got its start in August 2018. The latest cohort in Green Bay is nearing the end of its 12-week program, and will be holding a “demo day” next week. 

Listen to the podcast here: 

See a full list of WisBusiness podcasts: 

— The trajectory of COVID-19 hospitalizations is improving in the state’s northwest, western and southeast regions, the latest numbers from the Department of Health Services show. 

In the state’s northwest region, COVID-19 hospitalizations were decreasing by 20 percent between Oct. 13-26, the latest period for which these numbers are available. Over the same period, hospitalizations were shrinking by 18 percent in the western region, and 14 percent in the southeast region. 

No significant change was seen in patient hospitalizations for the north central, northeast, Fox Valley Area and south central regions, the DHS site shows. 

The Wisconsin Hospital Association dashboard shows 899 patients are currently hospitalized with the virus, including 271 ICU patients. Both of those numbers have decreased over the past week. 

Meanwhile, the seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases in the state has reached 1,820, continuing its largely downward trend from the recent peak in late September. 

DHS also reports 57.7 percent of the state’s population have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 55 percent have completed the vaccine series. 

See the latest DHS data on hospitalizations: 

See the WHA dashboard here: 

— Under President Biden’s $1.75 trillion spending plan, low-income uninsured people in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid would be able to purchase Affordable Care Act health plans without paying a monthly premium. 

Wisconsin is among the 12 states in the country that haven’t expanded Medicaid. 

Biden announced the spending plan yesterday. It includes measures to expand affordable child care, expand an enhanced child tax credit, invest in climate change response measures, expand Medicare coverage to include more services, boost access to affordable housing, implement a new income tax on high-income individuals and more. 

See the framework document from the White House: 

— A new solar array in Cudahy came online this week through a partnership between We Energies and ATI, a producer of specialty materials and components. 

The 7,000-panel solar project can produce enough electricity to power 700 homes under ideal weather conditions, according to a release. It was built through We Energies’ Solar Now program on land owned by ATI near the company’s Cudahy facility. 

Brendan Conway, media relations manager for We Energies’ parent company WEC Energy Group, explained that We Energies leases land for the Solar Now pilot program that would otherwise go unused. Other partners in the program include Harley-Davidson, UW-Parkside and the School District of New Berlin. 

“We install, maintain and own the solar project which feeds into our grid and serves all customers,” Conway said in an email. 

See the release: 


# Midwest Gaming Classic to bring thousands of visitors to Milwaukee

# UW-Madison researchers seek to commercialize faster, cheaper test for COVID-19

# Molson Coors sales, profits rise behind growth in craft and premium brands



– Wisconsin Farmers Union planning annual county meetings this fall


– Wisconsin Center District celebrates construction start for convention center expansion

– Boldt honored with national awards from recent projects

– Work starts on $420M Wisconsin Center District expansion 


– Dairy leaders invited to attend PDPW managers academy

– Ransomware, phishing and cyberattacks are increasingly hitting Wisconsin school districts, most recently in Janesville


– Yabuki eyes Milwaukee Art Museum’s social, digital future as he becomes chair of museum board


– DNR statement on canceled November wolf hunt


– Wisconsin’s first accessible food truck is coming to Green Bay this spring


– Bill to provide apprenticeship tuition tax break heads to Evers’ desk


– Oak Creek development would seek to fill ‘missing middle’ with larger apartments


– Kwik Trip buys Darien Food Market


– Rockwell, West Bend Mutual seek solutions from startups at Reverse Pitch MKE


– Zurn saw 50 containers delayed by ‘logistics knot’ in the third quarter


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

Greywolf Partners, Inc.: Opens first hotel in Cottage Grove, WI

UW-Madison: 40-year map project, history of cartography, draws to a close

Alliant Energy: Announces development plans for microgrid in Richland County