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Rep. Kind and Dr. Don Berwick Visit La Crosse, Discuss High Quality Low Cost Care Systems

Press Release

Location: Unknown

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind and Dr. Don Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) (the top government official overseeing the Medicare and Medicaid programs) today visited La Crosse and met with about 125 health care providers from Gundersen Lutheran Health System and Mayo Clinic Health System to discuss health care reform, Medicare and Medicaid benefits, and the local models of care delivering some of the nation's lowest cost yet highest quality medical outcomes.

"Our hospitals and clinics have long been providing the kind of high quality low cost care that the rest of the nation should be looking to as a model," said Rep. Kind. "Updating our delivery systems nationwide, to produce care focused on outcomes instead of volume, is the only way to get our health care costs under control in the long-run. I am pleased that Dr. Berwick was able to visit these high performing facilities and meet with the committed providers that consistently deliver some of the best, most coordinated care in the country."

"You have a diamond mine here in the Midwest," said Dr. Berwick. "People can learn a lot from Wisconsin."

Kind and Berwick sat down with hospital administrators and about 125 doctors, nurses and other providers from Gundersen Lutheran Health System and Mayo Clinic Health System at the Mayo facility in La Crosse. The various networks of clinics and hospitals in western Wisconsin are known for consistently providing affordable and efficient high quality care. During health care reform, these health care systems were often looked to as a blueprint for a national model of care to bring about similar results to patients nationwide.

"As the largest private employer in Western Wisconsin serving 22 communities, we value any opportunity to share our ideas on high value care with Dr. Berwick," said Dr. Robert Nesse, CEO of all Mayo Clinic Health System. "Mayo Clinic continues to collaborate with Dartmouth and others on high value care and will share that expertise with Dr. Berwick, Congressman Kind, and lawmakers in hopes of improving patient care outcomes and reducing the overall cost of care throughout the nation."

"It is always a great opportunity to meet with the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services," said Sigurd B. Gundersen III, MD, Medical Vice President of Gundersen Lutheran Health System. "La Crosse County has consistently been cited as one of the most efficient Medicare service areas in the country. Today we had the opportunity to show Dr. Berwick how we have been able to be innovative with great patient outcomes."

"We would like to thank Dr. Berwick and Congressman Kind for coming to the La Crosse area to listen to our concerns and discuss opportunities in healthcare policy," said Dr. Tim Johnson, CEO of Mayo Clinic Health System, La Crosse. "As part of our discussions, we asked for help in keeping blunt funding cuts and burdensome regulations from undermining our efforts to transform healthcare. We feel further cuts that are not linked to quality and incentivizing value will short-circuit our goals."

Rep. Kind and Dr. Berwick also met with hospital administrators and more than 200 health care providers from Marshfield Clinic, Mayo Clinic Health System, and Sacred Heart Hospital at the Mayo facility in Eau Claire as well held a rural roundtable in Black River Falls with about 30 rural health care providers and administrators from throughout western Wisconsin.

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