Central Wisconsin

Payment System Rewards Hospitals for Quality of Care
Meeting Truven Health Analytics standards save lives and health dollars
Ministry Saint Clare’s one of Becker’s Hospital Reviews 100 Great Community Hospitals
Patients can access ATM-style prescription drugs in Merrill
Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center is named a top 100 critical access hospital
Hospitalists provide convenient access to specialized and coordinated care


Payment System Rewards Hospitals for Quality of Care

A recent study issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reports that Ministry Saint Clare’s Hospital in Weston is leading the way in Medicare’s Hospital Value Based Purchasing (VBP) program in Wisconsin.

Ministry Saint Clare’s had the top score reported for Wisconsin’s acute care hospitals with a total performance score of 82.6. Ministry Saint Clare’s was one of five Ministry hospitals named in the top 10 acute care facilities. It was joined by Ministry Saint Michael’s Hospital in Stevens Point; Saint Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton; Ministry Saint Mary’s Hospital in Rhinelander and Mercy Medical Center in Oshkosh.

"The results of this most recent report demonstrate the efforts we are making at Ministry Saint Clare’s to continue to improve the quality of care we provide to our patients," stated Mary Krueger, President, Ministry Saint Clare’s Hospital. "Our caregivers continue to find ways to improve the patient care experience and this report is one of the visible milestones of the progress we are making."

Established by the Affordable Care Act and launched in October of 2012, the VBP program implemented a new approach to the payment system where hospitals are paid for inpatient acute care based on the quality of care, not the quantity of services provided. It is a significant step to linking Medicare’s payment system to improved healthcare quality, including the quality of care provided in the inpatient hospital setting. Hospitals are rewarded based on how closely they follow best clinical practices and how well hospitals enhance patients’ experiences of care.

The program implements value-based purchasing to the payment system that accounts for the largest share of Medicare spending, affecting payment for inpatient stays in over 3,500 hospitals across the country. Only the largest hospitals in the nation are taking part at this time and it does not apply to the smaller critical access facilities. The program is funded by a withhold that will eventually increase to 2 percent from all participating hospitals’ Diagnosis Related Group (DRG) payments.

According to Stewart Watson, MD, President of Ministry Medical Group, "The Values Based Purchasing program was designed to promote better clinical outcomes for hospital patients, as well as improve their experience of care during hospital stays. We work hard to continually improve the overall patient experience and our teams at Ministry Saint Clare's and all across our healthcare system should be proud of these achievements."

Specifically, hospital value-based purchasing seeks to encourage hospitals to improve the quality and safety of care that Medicare beneficiaries and all patients receive during acute-care inpatient stays by:

  • Eliminating or reducing the occurrence of adverse events (healthcare errors resulting in patient harm).
  • Adopting evidence-based care standards and protocols that result in the best outcomes for the most patients.
  • Re-engineering hospital processes that improve patients’ experience of care.

According to the latest report, 24 of 64 Wisconsin hospitals that qualified for the VBP program will see a decrease in their payments as a result of the scores which balance clinical care and patient experience. The VBP program releases results once per year with adjustments of DRG reimbursement taking effect in October.

Ministry Saint Clare’s Hospital is an all-digital provider of quality, compassionate care offering a wide range of primary and specialty services as an anchor of the Weston Regional Medical Center. In addition to 24-hour emergency-level III trauma and surgical services, Ministry Saint Clare’s was the first hospital in central Wisconsin to become an Accredited Chest Pain Center and features major medical and surgical specialties to meet the needs of central Wisconsin and beyond.


Meeting Truven Health Analytics standards saves lives and health dollars

In 2013, Ministry Saint Clare’s Hospital was named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals® by Truven Health Analytics formerly the healthcare business of Thomson Reuters. Truven Health Analytics is a leading provider of information and solutions to improve the cost and quality of healthcare. Hospitals do not apply, and winners do not pay to market this honor.

Ministry Saint Clare’s earned Top 100 recognition for the first time. It is the only hospital to make the Top 100 from central and northern Wisconsin and one of only four ranked in Wisconsin.

Truven reports that if all Medicare inpatients received the same level of care as those treated in the award-winning facilities:

  • More than 164,000 additional lives could be saved
  • Approximately 82,000 additional patients could be complication free
  • $6 billion could be saved
  • The average patient stay would decrease by nearly half a day

If the same standards were applied to all inpatients, the impact would be even greater.

"This is a significant accomplishment made possible by the dedication and commitment of our physicians and staff," said Ministry Saint Clare’s President Mary Krueger. "Our philosophy is to best utilize technology to compliment our bedside care in implementing best practices and evidence-based medical guidelines to improve our overall performance." The Truven Health 100 Top Hospitals® study evaluates performance in 10 areas: mortality; medical complications; patient safety; average patient stay; expenses; profitability; patient satisfaction; adherence to clinical standards of care; post-discharge mortality; and readmission rates for acute myocardial infarction (heart attack), heart failure, and pneumonia.

The study is celebrating its 20th year, and has been conducted annually since 1993. The winning hospitals are announced in the February edition of Modern Healthcare magazine.

To conduct the 100 Top Hospitals study, Truven Health researchers evaluated nearly 3,000 short-term, acute care, non-federal hospitals. They used public information — Medicare cost reports, Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) data, core measures and patient satisfaction data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Compare website.

"The winners of the 100 Top Hospitals award have driven the national benchmarks higher every year for 20 years. This year’s winners have brought even higher value to their local communities better quality, higher efficiency and high patient perceptions of care, while confronting the challenges of massive industry-wide transformation to implement healthcare reform, "said Jean Chenoweth, senior vice president at Truven Health Analytics. 

More information on this study and other 100 Top Hospitals research is available at 100tophospitals.com.


Ministry Saint Clare’s one of Becker’s Hospital Reviews 100 Great Community Hospitals

Ministry Saint Clare’s Hospital in Weston is one of Becker’s Hospital Review’s "100 Great Community Hospitals," a list based on hospitals’ quality of care and service to community.

According to Becker’s, the 100 Great Community Hospitals have fewer than 550 beds and minimal teaching programs. The listing includes facilities that are independent or part of larger health systems.

Ministry Saint Clare’s is one of seven Wisconsin hospitals selected for the listing.

It follows the facilities selection as a Top 100 Hospital by Truven Health Analytics and designation as the top acute care hospital in Wisconsin based on best clinical practices and enhancing patient experience in the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services Value Based Purchasing Program.

"This is another example of our staff’s commitment to provide the quality of care and the experience patients expect," said Ministry Saint Clare’s President Mary Krueger.

The Becker's Hospital Review editorial team selected community hospitals based on rankings and awards from iVantage Health Analytics, Truven Health Analytics (formerly Thomson Reuters), Healthgrades and The Joint Commission.

Becker's Hospital Review features up-to-date business and legal news and analysis relating to hospitals and health systems. Our content is geared toward high-level hospital leaders, and we work to provide valuable content, including hospital and health system news, best practices and legal guidance specifically for these decision-makers. Each of the 12 annual issues of Becker's Hospital Review reaches approximately 18,500 people, primarily acute-care hospital CEOs and CFOs.


Patients can access ATM-style prescription drugs in Merrill

Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center has begun offering InstyMeds®, a fully automated ATM-style machine that dispenses acute prescription medications directly to patients immediately before leaving the emergency department. The system offers a safe, convenient way for patients to receive their prescription medications.

"This new system allows patients direct access to acute medications in our Emergency Department before they leave," said Ministry Good Samaritan Pharmacy Manager James Mason. "We think this will provide a great service to our patients, especially during overnight and weekend hours."

The InstyMeds system automates the entire process from the prescriber issuing the prescription, to the patient obtaining their medications, and payment collection. The patient can obtain their medications and be on their way in about the same time it takes them to use their bank ATM.

"This added convenience will help our patients fill prescribed medications at any hour and put them on the road to faster recovery," says Dr. Robyn Schertz, Emergency Department Medical Director at Ministry Good Samaritan.

InstyMeds access for patients is possible only after Ministry Good Samaritan providers enter prescriptions electronically and give patients a voucher with a unique security code. Using the touch-screen of the InstyMeds dispenser, the patient enters the unique security code and their date of birth. The patient then swipes a debit or credit card to pay for the prescription. After the machine performs a triple bar code safety check, the pre-packaged, labeled product is dispensed from the machine to the patient. The entire process typically takes a couple of minutes.

Mason added that it’s important to note that Ministry Good Samaritan’s InstyMeds system will only fill prescriptions from providers of the Emergency Department and Walk-In Clinic and does not provide capability for refills and other prescriptions from outside the facility.

Mason also added that the system will enhance patient compliance. Studies show that 30 percent of prescriptions that doctors write go unfilled and costs the healthcare industry $289 billion a year. The added convenience of the InstyMeds system increases the likelihood that the patient will fill their prescription and comply with the prescribed medication treatment plan.

InstyMeds provides the only fully automated, ATM-style prescription medication dispensing system for outpatients. With nearly two million prescription medications dispensed, InstyMeds’ mission is to make patients better, quicker, by providing immediate access to acute medications. For more information, call 1.866.467.8963 or visit www.instymeds.com.


Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center is named a top 100 critical access hospital

Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center in Merrill was recently named one of the iVantage HealthStrong™ Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) in the United States. A member of Ministry Health Care, Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center provides healthcare services to Merrill and the surrounding region and is sponsored by the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother. It is a 25-bed critical access hospital that offers a range of primary and specialty care services.

Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) are certified to receive cost-based reimbursement from Medicare. The reimbursement they receive is intended to improve their financial performance and thereby reduce hospital closures. Each hospital must review its own situation to determine if CAH status would be advantageous. CAHs are certified under a different set of Medicare Conditions of Participation that are more flexible than those of other acute care hospitals.

Ministry Good Samaritan is joined in the recognition by Ministry Door County Medical Center in Sturgeon Bay as two of 13 Wisconsin CAHs to earn the designation. Wisconsin placed more Critical Access Hospitals on the Top 100 list than any other state.

In total, one-third of the top 100 Critical Access Hospitals are found in the upper Midwest in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. As of the beginning of 2013, there are more than 1,300 certified CAHs in the country.

"This recognition once again proves that the state of Wisconsin is a national leader in healthcare quality," said Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center President Mary Krueger. "Ministry Good Samaritan plays a vital role for the people of Lincoln County and this recognition is possible because of the dedicated commitment of our staff to provide excellent service and quality to our patients."

Small and rural hospitals play a critical role in providing efficient and effective healthcare that is on par with other larger suburban and urban counterparts. "Rural hospitals have new and difficult demands that are best managed with actionable information," said John Morrow, executive vice president of iVantage Health Analytics, Inc. "The Hospital Strength Index reflects the multiple challenges of running a hospital by incorporating the measures on which the industry has worked to gain consensus and standardization."

Findings of the iVantage Health Analytics study on the nation’s Critical Access Hospitals shed new, multi-dimensional light on the characteristics of the Top 100 performing CAHs. The 2013 "Benchmark Performance for Critical Access Hospitals" study is a trending study of the rural hospital industry. Key findings of the study include:

  • Top 100 CAHs include 60 multi-year Top Performers with 40 new facilities joining the ranks in 2013
  • Top 100 CAHs perform as well or better at the median overall than the full census of all U.S. general acute care hospitals
  • Top 100 CAHs are disproportionately located in the Northern half of the United States with nearly one third located in three contiguous Upper Midwest states (13 in Wisconsin; 9 in Minnesota; 9 in Iowa)
  • Top 100 CAHs face the least population-based demand for future healthcare services while their Quality is near the Top Quartile when compared to all U.S. general acute care hospitals
  • Top 100 CAH performance is in the Top Quartile of all U.S. general acute care hospitals in the Financial and Cost & Charge categories of the study
  • Top 100 CAHs are equally divided in terms of organizational structure – (52% are independent; 48% are system-affiliated).

The iVantage HealthStrong™ Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals scored best among critical access hospitals on the iVantage Health Analytics’ Hospital Strength Index™. The 2013 Top 100 CAH announcement is the second release of this important designation. The Hospital Strength Index is the first-ever comprehensive rating of CAHs and the results recognize the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals that provide a "safety- net" to communities across rural America – measuring them across 56 different performance metrics, including quality, outcomes, patient perspective, affordability and efficiency. More information can be found at www.iVantageHealth.com/HSI .

iVantage Health Analytics™ is a privately held healthcare business intelligence and technology company serving more than 500 hospitals across the United States. iVantage Health Analytics provides comparative healthcare analytics by integrating disparate market, clinical, operational, and financial data into a single, enterprise-wide platform for executive level business intelligence. For more information, visit www.iVantageHealth.com.


Hospitalists provide convenient access to specialized and coordinated care

Ministry Health Care is pleased to welcome Mikhail Barchugova, MD, who recently joined the Hospitalist Department at Ministry Saint Clare’s Hospital in Weston.

Mikhail Barchugova, MD
are physicians who do not work in a doctor’s office, but work at the hospital and specialize in caring for patients who are hospitalized.

In many areas of the country, personal physicians are referring their patients to hospitalists when their patients are sick enough that they can no longer be cared for in the outpatient setting at the doctor’s office.

Dr. Barchugova received his medical degree from Petrozavodsk State University in Russia. He had extensive critical care and anesthesiology training in Russia and Germany. He then completed an internal medicine residency at St. Mary’s Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.

"As a hospitalist, my role is to take care of people when they are inpatients," said Dr. Barchugova. "My goal is to understand the full range of medical problems my patients might be experiencing and to provide personalized care to every patient."

Dr. Barchugova enjoys spending time with his wife, Ministry Health Care physician Olga Barchugova, and their three daughters.

Sachin Lamichhane, MD, also joined Ministry Saint Clare’s Hospital as a hospitalist.

Sachin Lamichhane, MD
As a hospitalist, Dr. Lamichhane specializes in caring for people while they are inpatients at the hospital. Hospitalists manage a full spectrum of serious illnesses and specialize in coordinating care around the clock.

Dr. Lamichhane can perform procedures such as intubation, catheterization, and venous puncture. Hospitalists are able to keep a close eye on patients, answer questions, monitor treatment in a timely manner, and coordinate care in conjunction with the patient’s primary healthcare provider.

Dr. Lamichhane earned his medical degree from Saint Petersburg State Pediatric Medical Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia. He completed his residency in internal medicine at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, New York.

"I believe in good communication with my patients," said Dr. Lamichhane. "Good communication not only builds trust, it helps expedite the healing process."

In his spare time, Dr. Lamichhane enjoys reading, running, watching documentaries and movies, and spending time with his family.


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