From the Editor – Finding answers – and value – in health care

Posted on Feb 4, 2013 :: Editor
Margaret LeBrun
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

IT’S A TOPIC THAT’S TOP OF MIND FOR every business owner these days. And though questions continue to swirl around just who will be responsible for what – and especially, how much – the impact of the Affordable Care Act is starting to take shape.

Since the act was signed into law over a year ago, health industry professionals have held their heads above the waves, treading water, so to speak, as the many details were worked out. Some even held their breath, waiting to see if the results of the November election might have led to a total policy reversal.

The most forward thinking among them, however, have long anticipated that change was inevitable. Our cover story this month offers a look at what regional health care providers such as ThedaCare, led by Dr. Dean Gruner, have been doing to incorporate best practices in lean processes, electronic medical records and rewarding physicians based on patient outcomes versus the old-fashioned fee for service model.

Coincidentally, the February issue of Consumer Reports magazine also looks at health care in Wisconsin – and ThedaCare, along with Marshfield Clinic, earned the highest Consumer Reports Rating in six out of seven measures (for details, visit the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality Performance & Progress Report website at www.wchq.org/reporting.). For the record, all the medical groups in Wisconsin scrutinized by Consumer Reports did better than the national average.

In her Insight cover story, contributing writer MaryBeth Matzek not only explores what providers in our area are doing to improve patient care, but also what the ACA means to business owners of all sizes. In particular, it offers a bright spot for very small business owners and entrepreneurs. Check out the story, “Solution seekers” to find out.

The region’s strides in health care value are among the many highlights in a new tool recently made available by New North, Inc. (See UP FRONT – “The right tool for the job”) The New North Business Locator guide, a 22-page booklet filled with data on the benefits of doing business in Northeast Wisconsin, was distributed at the New North Summit in December and is available to anyone interested in data that makes the case for locating a business here. It also includes facts on workforce productivity, graduation rates, transportation and freshwater resources, to name a few.

Collaboration is, of course, key to the success of economic development in the New North. A notable collaboration was recently announced between the Milwaukee-based Medical College of Wisconsin and St. Norbert College. Starting in 2015, medical students will study at the De Pere campus’s new science building, scheduled to open that year. Read about it in this month’s economic development report on Brown County (“Looking to the future”).

Developers say health care and educational facilities were among the few industries that continued to keep the construction sector afloat during the recent recession. Obviously, moving projects forward is all about funding. In “Skin in the game,” contributing writer Tom Groenfeldt talks to bankers about what it takes these days to fund new construction. While their standards remain high for business loans, they are doing more lending than they had in recent years.

As we at Insight Publications prepare to host our fourth annual InDevelopment conference on Feb. 19 at the Oshkosh Convention Center, we know the biggest question on the minds of attendees will be, “Where is the money?” Our keynote speaker, Mark Barbash, is gearing up to answer that question. For details, visit our InDevelopment page.

Look for our Insight booth at the Oshkosh chamber’s annual business expo on Jan. 31, also at the Oshkosh Convention Center. Then a few weeks after InDevelopment, we’ll also be at the Green Bay Business Expo on March 5 at the KI Convention Center.

Hope to see you there!

Margaret LeBrun

About Margaret LeBrun

Co-Publisher, Executive Editor View all posts by Margaret LeBrun →