Monday, April 7, 2014

2014 Wipfli-Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative Cost Champion Awards

On March 26, 2014, Wipfli LLP (Wipfli) announced the Winner and Honorable Mention award winners for 2014 Wipfli-Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative (RWHC) Cost Champion Awards. The purpose of the Wipfli-RWHC Cost Champions Awards is to encourage and share implemented cost-saving ideas suggested by a team or individual employed by a RWHC-member hospital.

Congratulations to Pharmacists Tara Yunker and Anita Lundquist of St. Croix Regional Medical Center (SCRMC) earning an honorable mention for their effort in expanding the medical center’s 340B drug program to SCRMC's employee health plan which included an incentive for participants to purchase drugs through the medical centers mail order pharmacy.

Through Tara and Anita’s efforts, starting July 2012, SCRMC offered an alternate mail order pharmacy, which combined incentives to use SCRMC's medical staff and pharmacists to have their pharmacy purchases qualify for 340B pricing. Based on this effort the employees have saved $197,000 in costs through reduced deductibles and coinsurance in calendar year 2013. The employer, SCRMC, saved $161,000 versus what the cost would have been had it been filled by a retail pharmacy. The employer also saved $19,000 in pharmacy benefit management fees.

Utilization of this program is approaching 50% of the total historic drug spend. In addition it negated an increase in premiums for 2014.

I want to extend a special thanks to Tara and Anita for their contribution in making SCRMC a great place to work.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

MyChart: Manage your health care. Online. Anytime. Anywhere.

Starting this April, patients and caregivers at St. Croix Regional Medical Center will be able to access their personal health records via MyChart once they have registered. MyChart is a free service of SCRMC. It gives patients controlled access to portions of the same medical records used by their providers, in any browser or via phone app in a timely manner.

Because MyChart is integrated with the EMR (Electronic Medical Record), it’s easy for patients to get involved and engaged in their own health.
• Email a question to your provider
• Schedule and cancel clinic appointments
• Receive reminders for upcoming clinic appointments
• View and print your immunization history
• Receive lab results for most tests
• View after-visit summaries and hospital discharge instructions
• Access your health information using mobile devices

Overtime, I believe that one in four SCRMC patients will take advantage of MyChart's capabilities. I personally became a MyChart user this week.

For more information, go to our website (, to sign up, or ask for a packet at the medical center or community clinics.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

20th Annual Women’s Health Conference - March 20 and 27

For twenty consecutive years, St. Croix Regional Medical Center (WI) has partnered with Polk County WI Public Health, Chisago County MN Public Health, Fairview Lakes Medical Center (MN), and the Hazelden Foundation to host an annual free Women’s Health Conference that consistently attracts over 500+ area women. The coalition is committed to women’s health screening and awareness, and to improving their lives.

Held on two evenings, March 20th and March 27th, this community event offers practical health and wellness seminars, health-related activities, plus information and inspiration for women of all ages, while primarily focusing on those from 20 to 70. Throughout each of the conference’s two evenings, women can participate in health screenings, mini- massage, interact with health professionals and learn about such topics as diabetes prevention, stress reduction, yoga, heart disease, and adult immunizations, as well as listen to dynamic keynote speakers and enjoy healthy snacks.

We are excited to announce that Joan Steffend, television personality, will be the conference’s featured speaker on March 20, following health screenings. Dr. Gretchen (Phillips) Bosacker, and a cooking demonstration by the Cooks of Crocus Hill, will be the features of the second night, March 27.

No Pre-registration required. Hazelden CORK Center, Center City, Minnesota

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fit to Win!

It is true, Spring is on its way! Though right now it does not feel that way in Wisconsin/Minnesota. Beyond the weather, it is good time to get moving.

SCRMC is offering a fitness challenge for the month of March. To be eligible to win a “Fit Bit” activity monitor, schedule a wellness visit with an SCRMC provider and track your exercise for one month (at least 15 min per day x 4 days per week). Turn in your exercise tracking sheet to one of our community clinics or athletic trainers to be entered in the drawing by April 2. It’s a simple step forward and any provider is willing to help you GET MOVING! Take the challenge today!

For more information visit

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wear Red this Friday for Heart Awareness

Women (and I will include Men) throughout America will Go Red For Women this February to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease. “Heart disease and stroke claim more women’s lives each year than the next seven causes of death combined, and nearly twice as many as all forms of cancer, including breast cancer,” said Augustus O.Grant, M.D., Ph. D., president of the American Heart Association.

“We need a bold color like red to draw attention to heart disease, which is women’s greatest health threat,” said St. Croix Heart cardiologist, Dr.Glenn Nickele. “Red symbolizes women’s power to take control of their health and passion for the women whose lives have been affected.” The American Heart Association is encouraging everyone to wear red — such as a red dress, shirt, hat or other item — on February 7 in support of all women who have been touched by heart disease or stroke. For more information, go to

Friday, December 6, 2013

Rural Hospital Strategies for a Value Based Future

Tuesday of this week, SCRMC leadership, Board members, and physicians had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Clint MacKinney present rural hospital stategies for a value based future.

The presentation focused on the current context for rural health care and the ever increasing demand for health care value. Within Clint's message, he discussed the transfer of risk from payers to providers which is fundamental to health care reform. Bottom line, this transition from volume-based strategies to a value-based system will require rural hospitals to redefine their mission and redesign their operations. In the end, he outlined specific strategies that could help rural hospitals successfully manage this volume to value transformation. For a small independent rural care delivery system like SCRMC, his perspective was insightful.

Bio: Dr. MacKinney has worked in rural health care for 30 years – the first 14 years as a rural family physician, practicing the full scope of family medicine. He has both owned a private practice and worked with large health care systems. Currently, Dr. MacKinney works as an emergency department physician in rural Minnesota.

Dr. MacKinney is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Management and Policy at the College of Public Health, University of Iowa. He is also Deputy Director of the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) Center for Rural Health Policy and Analysis.

Dr. MacKinney regularly writes and presents nationally. Dr. MacKinney's professional interests include rural health policy, rural health care delivery and financing innovations, physician and administration relationships, health care value, and population-based healthcare.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to pause and count our blessings. It is a time to give thanks for everything we are grateful for during the past year. As I reflect on everything that has happened in my life, both professionally and personally, I feel truly grateful and blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful and caring people. With the many distractions and negativity that is aboundant today, what really matters is our famly and friendships. They should never be taken for granted. This Thanksgiving, please take the time to reflect on what is good. We all truly do have a lot to be thankful for.

All these and many more are my wishes for you!
Happy Thanksgiving...