ThedaCare chosen for complex-care initiative

6 systems participating in national program

ThedaCare is one of six organizations selected to participate in a program aimed at better meeting the complex medical and social needs of high-need, high-cost patients.

Transforming Complex Care is a national initiative funded through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and led by the Center for Health Care Strategies. The goal is to help ThedaCare and five other health care organizations enhance existing complex care programs.

“It’s a great honor and very exciting for ThedaCare and Northeast Wisconsin to be selected for this program and to receive a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,” said Dr. Sandra Groenewold, a family medicine physician with ThedaCare Physicians and physician lead of the local program. “The grant will allow us to work with Gold Cross Ambulance to help decrease unnecessary emergency department visits and to check up on certain patients to help reduce their need for hospitalization.”

Patients with complex needs account for disproportionate health care costs. They often have many medical, mental health and substance use treatment needs, and face social and economic challenges that also complicate their health outcomes, said Allison Hamblin, vice president of strategic planning at CHCS.

“Health care providers and health systems across the country are looking to implement complex care models based on emerging best practices,” she said. “Transformingcomplex care will enable leading health organizations to more effectively address the social determinants of health for high-need, high-cost patients, and will offer lessons for replication that maximize existing community strengths.”

ThedaCare was competitively selected to participate in the initiative, along with five other sites intentionally drawn from small- to mid-sized cities. Each will receive funding support and participate in a learning collaborative offering 1:1 and group technical assistance, peer exchange and tools. Other sites participating in the initiative are AccessHealth Spartanburg in South Carolina, Mountain Pacific Quality Health Foundation in Montana, OneCare Vermont in Vermont., Redwood Community Health Coalition in California and VCU Health System in Virginia.

Over the next two years, the participants will refine strategies across six key areas for improving care: care model enhancements; data and analytics; workforce development; financing and accountability; governance and operations; and policy and advocacy.

As the program progresses, CHCS will share lessons and tools from the sites’ experiences.

“Caring for patients with complex needs requires innovative programs that go beyond medical issues to address unmet social needs,” said David Adler, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “The Transforming Complex Care sites will support a culture of health by building the evidence base on improving care for high-need, high-cost patients.”

ThedaCare serves over 200,000 patients annually and employs over 7,000 healthcare professionals throughout the region. ThedaCare has hospitals in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose, as well as 34 clinics in nine counties.