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Rep. Kind and Dr. Don Berwick Visit Eau Claire Hospitals, Discuss High Quality Low Cost Care Systems

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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 Eau Claire hospitals and met with more than 200 health care providers from Marshfield Clinic, Mayo Clinic Health System, and Sacred Heart Hospital to discuss health care reform, Medicare and Medicaid benefits, and to further examine 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 tour and 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 more than 200 doctors, nurses and other providers from Marshfield Clinic, Mayo Clinic Health System, and Sacred Heart Hospital today at the Mayo facility. The forum covered topics ranging from access to primary care to health care reform implementation to chemotherapy drug shortages.

The various networks of clinics and hospitals in west-central 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. Kind and Berwick also toured the special procedures lab and the cardiology unit at Sacred Heart Hospital.

"It's an ongoing improvement process," said Dr. Randall Linton, president and CEO of Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. "We have a 20-year history of building an integrated system that delivers high value, coordinated care to our patients. We have made great advances, but there is still much to be done."

"Dr. Berwick has laid out a vision for reforming America's health care system through the simultaneous pursuit of three aims: improving the experience of care, improving the health of populations, and reducing the costs of health care," said Faye Deich, Chief Operating Officer of Sacred Heart Hospital. "Western Wisconsin is leading the nation in pursuing these aims and we are proud to be innovators in serving patients better. This special region of Wisconsin collaborates to offer high quality, low cost access to health care that serves as a national model."

"We truly appreciate the leadership of Dr. Berwick and Rep. Kind in creating an atmosphere conducive to the type of innovative solutions that allowed us to be so successful in the recently concluded CMS demonstration project," said Dr. Karl Ulrich, President and CEO of Marshfield Clinic. "While we've clearly shown that it is possible to cut costs while improving the quality of care, we can also testify to the fact that it takes hard work and continuous dedication by everyone at an organization to make it happen."

Rep. Kind and Dr. Berwick also met with hospital administrators and nearly 100 health care providers from Gundersen Lutheran and Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse today 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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