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  • October 04 2011

    CHC 2011: A paradigm shift to wellness

    Michael Wallace is speaking during CHC 2011 at a Power Session on Monday, Oct. 10 at 1 p.m.

    We are all waiting for various federal and state health reform mandates to become final. Few have confidence that any will offer solutions that guarantee access to care while simultaneously improving the reimbursement hospitals and doctors receive for the incredible work they do. All that is certain is that uncertainty will prevail.

    Today's medical care is said to account for only ten percent of overall health status. The environment (5 percent), social factors (15 percent) and lifestyle and behavior (40 percent) all have greater impact on community health. If the healthcare system can ever address the chronic health problems endemic to society, then delivery of care must evolve from “react and respond” to “predict and prevent.” There must be a paradigm shift that creates regional cultures of wellness.

    At Fort HealthCare, we now believe the answers to the greatest challenges of modern healthcare- improving population health, enhancing the healthcare experience and reducing per capita costs of care- are right in front of our eyes. In fact, right here within Fort HealthCare's south central Wisconsin primary service area- Jefferson County and parts of Dane and Walworth. We believe that by creating our very own regional culture of wellness, we can tackle healthcare's greatest problems. Therefore, Fort HealthCare's mission statement has evolved to become: Improve the health and well-being of our community. The vision statement is now: Be the healthiest community in Wisconsin. Our strategies for addressing these issues include keeping area residents engaged with primary care, active and physically fit, well in their work place, safe in their community and out of the hospital. Our goal is to promote wellness, prevention and early detection on the front end and to offer better management of chronic disease when it does occur.

    We have our work cut out for us. Despite Fort HealthCare's efforts to favorably impact the health of our patients, serious health, social, economic and environmental issues remain. Obesity, diabetes, tobacco and alcohol abuse and other serious problems are prevalent. The ability to influence and reward the positive health behaviors of Fort HealthCare employees has provided impetus for new community wellness initiatives. We've provided significant financial incentives to staff enrolled in our health and dental programs. We've also worked with Cerner to create a step challenge for area employees that is occurring right now. I strongly agree with the suggestion that it is paramount for hospital and health system employees to lead the way and serve as role models for healthy living.

    Essential to Fort HealthCare's ability to improve the health and well-being of the community are the partnerships created with area employers, churches, schools, and non-profit and governmental agencies. This new perspective on the organization's role in influencing both the health of individuals and the economic welfare of the region is shown in this graphic.

    A graphic representation of Fort HealthCare's new mission and vision statements. An interactive version of this image can be found at

    The Compass project's Cerner's Millennium EHR will allow us to provide the highest quality, safest medical care possible and help our patients manage their own healthcare. Compass will support clinicians' ability to make the right decisions and provide the right care at the right time and provide aggregate and individual data to monitor and reward positive health behavior. This will ultimately help us improve the long-term physical welfare of the community- resulting in improved long-term economic benefit for all.

    I know that creating regional cultures of wellness is a major transformation for everyone. Today we are all in the health care business. Tomorrow, I hope to be in the health business. I will be especially pleased if you join me on this journey. You'll feel better, I promise.

    Mike Wallace joined Fort HealthCare as President and Chief Executive Officer in June 2006. He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, where he received a Master of Health Administration degree. He received his Bachelor's degree from DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind. Mike has achieved Fellow status with the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and is Board certified in health care management. He is a two-time winner of the ACHE Regents Award-Early Career Healthcare Executive, and is a past winner of the Iowa Hospital Association Young Executive Achievement Award.

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