ThedaCare Hospitals Controlling Costs

Quality Helps Keep Rate Increase at 3 Percent, Lowest in Fox Cities

ThedaCare’s commitment to providing high-quality care while keeping costs in check continues as its community-based Board of Trustees approved the lowest hospital rate increase in the Fox Cities.

The Board voted Tuesday night to approve a 3 percent hospital rate increase for Appleton Medical Center, New London Family Medical Center, Shawano Medical Center and Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah beginning Jan. 1, 2014. Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca rates will increase 2.5 percent. As of Dec. 9, the average state price increase for 2014 is 4.97 percent, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association.

ThedaCare continues to support the lowest rate increases in the area:

Hospital

 

2010

 

2011

 

2012

 

2013

 

2014

Appleton Medical Center

2.0%

3%

3%

0%

3%

Aurora BayCare

4.9%

0%

4.9%

4.9%

4.9%

St. Elizabeth Hospital

4.9%

0%

0%

2.9%

3.9%

Bellin Hospital

3%

3.5%

3.5%

3.5%

3.5%

New London Family Medical Center

2%

2%

3%

0%

3%

Riverside Medical Center

2%

5%

3%

0%

2.5%

Shawano Medical Center

4%

0%

0%

0%

3%

State Average

5.8%

5.3%

3%

1.7%

4.9%*

*Average increase as Dec. 9, 2013.
Source: WHA Information Center

ThedaCare CEO and President Dean Gruner, MD, said the modest price increase represents the healthcare system’s responsibility to the communities it serves by taking out redundancies and improving how employees take care of patients, which helps keep costs under control, especially as the economy continues to struggle. Dr. Gruner noted that in the past five years, rates rose 14.64 percent at Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark, and New London Family Medical Center; 15.65 percent at Riverside Medical Center; and 14.0 percent at Shawano Medical Center, showing ThedaCare’s consistent and predictable cost restraint.

“As everyone knows, healthcare is going through many changes, but through that chaos ThedaCare is a leader when it comes to cost containment. We continue to find ways to take unnecessary steps out of delivering care to our patients that not only improve the care we provide, but also lowers costs,” Dr. Gruner said. “We’ve found success – and received national attention – for our participation in a pilot Medicare Accountable Care Organization, for example, that has kept costs down while improving care for Medicare patients. We also know there is still more room for improvement and we continue to look for ways to control costs.”

ThedaCare is a national leader for incorporating business practices pioneered by the Toyota Production System into healthcare. Since 2003, ThedaCare has invested in redesigning care delivery based on patient input and technology and has improved patients’ access to health care. Over the past several years, ThedaCare held hundreds of “rapid improvement events,” where management, staff, doctors, and patients when possible join together as a team to improve how care is delivered while improving the quality of care provided that is valued by our patients.

In addition to greater patient satisfaction, some of ThedaCare’s past process improvements save more lives. For example, ThedaCare formed a team to study ways to improve the speed and flow of heart attack patients through the hospital. As a result, ThedaCare now ranks among the top 2 percent of health facilities in the nation for its fast “door-to-balloon” time – the time it takes to get heart attack patients from their arrival in the emergency department to clearing the blockage in the catheterization lab. These improvements extend to ThedaCare’s hospitals outside of the Fox Cities, which utilize the rural Code STEMI process to get patients to the Appleton Medical Center cath lab as quickly as possible.

ThedaCare also redesigned a typical visit to a physician’s office so patients and their medical providers can receive standard lab results before the end of their appointment. Other changes led to same-day appointments and patients always leaving with a written plan of care and important health information. 

ThedaCare™ is a community health system consisting of five hospitals: Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, New London Family Medical Center, Shawano Medical Center, and Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca. ThedaCare also includes ThedaCare Physicians, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, ThedaCare At Work, and ThedaCare at Home. ThedaCare is one of the largest employers in Northeast Wisconsin with more than 6,175 employees. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.