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University of Wisconsin

Top Flex Activities

CAH Quality Improvement

In 2019, the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health (WORH) sponsored a Risk Management 101 Workshop that explored major risks facing hospitals today and gave risk managers an opportunity to practice Failure Mode, Effects Analysis and Root Cause Analysis to promote continuous learning and improvement.

In addition to reimbursing critical access hospitals (CAHs) for participating in the American Heart Association's (AHA) Get with the Guidelines for Stroke improvement, WORH is recruiting CAHs to work on coronary artery disease improvement.

New in 2019, WORH has a cohort of 10 CAHs working on sepsis care tracking and improvement.

WORH will be pursuing two new antibiotic stewardship initiatives this year. One is a research project studying Fluoroquinolone prescriptions in CAHs. The other is a cohort of 12 CAHs tracking antibiotic use, attending webinars on antibiotic stewardship, and sharing best practices.

CAH Operational and Financial Improvement

The Wisconsin Flex Program has provided funding for four CAHs and their financial improvement projects. All CAHs have reporting requirements that are submitted to the WORH. They continue to monitor and update WORH’s Operational and Financial Assessment as needed, using the most current data available from the Flex Monitoring Team (FMT).

CAH Population Health Improvement 

WORH has several population health improvement projects. The Flex Program is funding three CAHs obesity reduction projects over a four-year period.

One CAH is receiving funds for a substance abuse project targeting opioid use.

A new project they are pursuing this year is providing in-home health screening to 50 farmers or their family members.

Rural Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Improvement 

In 2019, WORH collaborated with several EMS stakeholder organizations to support Wisconsin EMS Advocacy Day. EMS leaders from around the state came together to discuss key issues facing rural EMS and offer constituents the opportunity to discuss these issues with their legislators. WORH will be presenting three EMS leadership workshops throughout the state.

Please provide information about network activities in your state to support Flex Program activities.

There are several new networks working together in Wisconsin this year. In addition to stroke care, they will have networks for sepsis care, antibiotic stewardship, and coronary artery disease. These networks meet via teleconference to support quality improvement efforts.

Program Statistics

Do you have any hospitals interested in converting to CAH status?:
Type of Organization University
Staffing (FTE) 3.4
Website Organization Website 
Number of CAHs 58

Flex Program Staff

John Eich
State Office Director, Wisconsin
(608) 261-1890

Specialty Areas / Background

  • Strategic planning
  • Marketing
  • Evaluation

State Office Director since January 2006 

Kathryn Miller
Flex Coordinator, Wisconsin
(608) 261-1891

Specialty Areas / Background

  • Grant writing
  • Long-term care
  • Conference planning

Flex Coordinator since September 2008 

Penny Black
Data and Evaluation Program Manager, Wisconsin
(608) 261-1887

Data and Evaluation Program Manager


Data and Evaluation Program Manager since July 2014

Kevin Jacobson
Rural Communities Program Manager, Wisconsin
(608) 261-1888

Specialty Areas / Background

  • Grant writing
  • Community health
  • Loan assistance programs

Rural Communities Program Manager since April 2007 

Kye Richards
Program Assistant, Wisconsin
(608) 261-1883

Program Assistant since September 2014

This project is/was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UB1RH24206, Information Services to Rural Hospital Flexibility Program Grantees, $1,009,121 (0% financed with nongovernmental sources). This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.