By the Business Facilities Staff
From the May/June 2013 issue
BF: Wisconsin health care is ranked as being among the highest quality in the country. What does that mean to employers who are considering locating to Wisconsin?
EB: We believe access to great health care is as important in determining where to locate a new facility as good roads and utilities. Access to high quality, efficient care means that employers are getting value for the dollars they spend on employee health benefits. Value is the relationship between the quality of care provided and the costs of delivering the care.
In Wisconsin, we are focusing on improving quality as a way to address cost. High quality care means that patients are receiving the right care, in the right place, at the right time to ensure the best possible outcome. If patients receive the best care, they are back to work sooner and have better overall health.
BF: Many elements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) require care coordination across settings. What does that mean and how is it an advantage for patients and payers?
EB: Wisconsin’s health care providers are highly integrated, which means they work together to put the patient first and ensure that care is coordinated across settings. Care coordination improves efficiency, reduces cost and increases patient satisfaction. Our health care systems invest heavily in primary care physicians because they are the first point of entry and are the patients’ navigators through their entire episode of care.
For example, when care is coordinated, it is less likely that a patient will be readmitted to the hospital. In 2012, Wisconsin hospitals reduced their readmission rates by 15 percent. In states that are less integrated—or more “siloed”—it is much more difficult to achieve those types of results.
BF: Wisconsin health care systems have reached out to employers to help them hold down health care costs. What are some of the examples of this collaboration?
EB: Wisconsin health care providers view business and industry as partners. We want good-paying, family-sustaining jobs in our communities, and we understand that we have a role in helping our employer partners reach that goal together.
Our health care systems work directly with employers to lower costs and improve access by offering on-site clinics, conducting health risk assessments and by developing custom programs that address employee health needs. For many health systems, their knowledge on how to lower employee health care costs comes from their own experience and innovations they have applied in their own work environment.
BF: Hospitals are facing large payment cuts due to health reform and the sequester. Can they continue to provide high quality care when they face such large cuts?
EB: The cuts are going to impact providers in every state. We believe that the nature of Wisconsin’s integrated health care delivery system positions us to deliver effective, efficient care in what will be a value vs. volume-based environment. These cuts are a significant challenge, but our health systems consistently put patients first and financial restraints will not deter them from their continued commitment to improve care and achieve high-quality outcomes.