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Brenny: Stoughton Hospital ready for challenges and a ‘bright future’
Annual report indicates increased community benefit, more patients served
Uniﬁed Newspaper Group
Stoughton Hospital has been serving Stough-ton residents and those of neighboring communities for 109 years.This year, the hospital was again recognized with awards for patient satis-faction in both general hospital services and its emergency department, for information and manage-ment systems in its elec-tronic medical records, and also as a healthy workplace for employees.In an interview about the hospi-tal’s annual report to the commu-nity, Presi-dent and CEO Terry Brenny said data indi-cate that in its 2012-13 fiscal year Stoughton Hos-pital continued a trend of serving more people and increasing its value to the community.The report says the hos-pital served 17,472 people during its fiscal year, from Oct. 1, 2012, to Sept. 30, 2013. Brenny said the hospital serves more people each year.“We’re having growing numbers of encounters,” Brenny said. “Because of our increased community health education, more out-patient service and the fact that we have more physi-cian clinics affiliated with us and more physicians affiliating with Stoughton Hospital, we’re encoun-tering their patients with increased frequency. So that number is trending upwards.”The
spoke with Brenny last Thursday, when we recorded some of his responses to our ques-tions.
Are there certain benchmarks that you look at to assess the hospital’s annual perfor-mance?
In terms of an operating margin, we budget and try to achieve a 3 percent operating mar-gin financially. That means that after we collect a net dollar of revenue – and that’s after discounts, char-ity subtraction, bad debt, people that don’t pay their bills – when we’re left with an actual dollar of revenue and then we subtract our expenses, we have about 3 cents left on a dollar to reinvest back into the hos-pital. So this past year, and this is based on our audit and financial information, we achieved a positive mar-gin of 3.7 percent, which is good but not excessive, and well in line with industry norms on overall financial performance. In regard to patient sat-isfaction quality measures, all places try to achieve 90 percent satisfaction or bet-ter. Stoughton Hospital for years now has been at 95 percent or better in patient satisfaction and in many quality safety indicators when compared with our norms. That’s why we achieved a lot of those awards you see on the inside cover of the annual report to the community.
So when you’re assessing the hospital’s annual performance, you look at both that profit margin and also levels of patient satisfaction?
Yes, and quality safety measures, how well we’re serving the commu-nity, the community ben-efit and our commitment to wellness. We’re seeing our role and mission shift to wellness more and more. In the past hospitals were responsible for treating people for sicknesses and injuries and making sick or injured people better. But a major part of our role and mission now is population health – optimizing patient health so that we actually keep well people from get-ting sick, which is kind of a different application of the mission. We’re still here to make sick people well, but we also see it as important to keep well people from getting sick.And so we’ve been doing a lot in community health education.
Is that a recent shift in the hospital’s focus?
I’d say over the last five years the health indus-try in general has been becoming more commu-nity-minded and promot-ing wellness proactively, because to contain the escalating cost of health care, we have to do more preventive and proactive health and do what we can to prevent people from get-ting sick in the first place.That would reduce demand for our healthcare services and reduce acute and chronic diseases, etc. That’s a major shift in the country right now.
You mentioned that the hospital has a “triple aim” in its mission. Can you explain what that’s about?
Our goal, and the National Institutes of Health, promote the triple aim, which is basically three goals: optimizing population health (which we just talked about – pro-active wellness), optimiz-ing the patient experience – having exceptional qual-ity, safety and high patient satisfaction with outcomes; and then value-based pur-chasing where Medicare/ Medicaid third-party pay-ers are shifting to pay us more for demonstrated evidence-based quality outcomes rather than just volume of procedures ren-dered.Historically, and even to some extent today, doc-tors and hospitals are paid by the volume of work that we do – the more patients we see, the more x-rays we do, the more lab work done, the more procedures rendered by doctors renders higher charges and more reimbursements. However, third-party payers now are shifting away from that and pay-ing more on value and outcomes. They are giving incentives to hospitals that achieve better outcomes and withholding or assess-ing some penalty payments to healthcare providers that don’t measure up to indi-cated norms and targets. We’re doing fairly well at that with our HMO con-tracts and with Medicaid. We’ve achieved some val-ue-based compensation, moreso than just being paid for volumes of procedures or numbers of patients admitted. I think that’s the right way to go in the future, and we all feel an obligation toward achieving that triple aim and bending the cost curve and containing future healthcare cost increases.
How would you sum up the overall assess-ment of the hospital from the annual report?
I feel confident that we’re up for the chal-lenges of the Affordable Care Act and the healthcare exchanges and health and repayment reform that are coming down the road. We feel that we are well posi-tioned to face those chal-lenges and we feel that we have a real solid, bright future.In regard to wellness, I also want to acknowledge some other organizations who are on board with us. Stoughton Hospital is a charter member of the Stoughton Wellness Coali-tion. We were formed in 2006, and it’s a coalition of the hospital, the City of Stoughton and the Stough-ton Area School District. We meet monthly to plan community health events and activities for the com-munity. For example, the unused medication disposal drop and the syringe drop, health fairs, and Stough-ton in Motion activities at the school district. We’re working on keeping the community healthy. It does take a community to raise a child but we also think it takes a community to opti-mize public health.And so we’re working with our constituent part-ners along these lines and we’ve also partnered with Oregon and Evansville and McFarland wellness coali-tions around us, because they’re part of our service area and we want to export our mission to them as well.
Statistics for current fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2012 – Sept. 30, 2013)
Stoughton Hospital age:
109 years old
greater than 95 percent
Total community benefit:
Number of employees:
370, about 265 full-time equiva-lents
about $16 million
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Rife & Scope
Nomination papers due Jan. 7
Uniﬁed Newspaper Group
Just a few days remain for candidates to gather signatures need to get their name on the spring elec-tion ballot.Familiar faces – includ-ing four alders and the mayor – will all be on the ballot.Stoughton Mayor Donna Olson is up for another four-year term. Alders Tim Swadley (D-1), Paul Lawrence (D-2), Greg Jen-son (D-3) and Tom Sel-sor (D-4) have seats set to expire, as well. Recently appointed alder Ross Urven’s seat will be up for a 2-year term.Three members of the Stoughton Area School District Board of Educa-tion are up for re-election in April – board president Liz Menzer, Brett Schum-acher and recently appoint-ed Bev Fergus. People run-ning for school board posi-tions do not have to gather signatures, but no one else has turned in completed candidate paperwork to the district.
Two seats are up for reelection in the Town of Rutland – Sup. Jim Lunde and Sup. Jeanette Walker. The town will hold a cau-cus at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 21, at the Rutland Town Hall, 785 Center Road, Stough-ton.Town of Pleasant Springs supervisors Jay Damkoehler and Janiece Bolender are up for reelec-tion. The town board will hold a caucus this month.No elections are sched-uled for the Town of Dunkirk, as the town holds elections in odd-numbered years.Town of Dunn voters have no municipal officials up for election this spring, but will be able to vote for school board seats.
Dane County Sup. Carl Chenoweth (Dist. 35) has submitted papers for reelection, however no challengers have filed doc-uments, according to the county clerk’s office.Dist. 36 Sup. Cynda Sol-berg – who covers the area north of Stoughton and into Cottage Grove – has also filed for reelection. Dist. 37 Sup. Bob Salov has also announced his intention to seek reelec-tion. Salov covers the towns of Dunkirk and Rut-land.Dist. 34 Sup. Patrick Miles – who covers the Town of Dunn – will seek reelection, as well.Dane County Circuit Court judges John W. Markson and William E. Hanrahan also face reelec-tion. Nomination papers for the seats went out Dec. 1 and must be returned by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014.The spring election will be held Tuesday, April 1. A Feb. 17 primary will be held, if necessary. Nomination forms and election materials are available from your local clerk, or online at gab.wi.gov.