Froedtert Health has seen it all, and other news

Ex­pe­ri­ences re­flect those hap­pen­ing na­tion­ally

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS - An­dis Robeznieks

The ex­pe­ri­ences of Mil­wau­kee’s Froedtert Health sys­tem dur­ing the past sev­eral weeks rep­re­sent some­thing of a mi­cro­cosm of what the na­tion’s health­care sys­tem as a whole is go­ing through.

The sys­tem dis­cov­ered a virus in its com­put­ers, it opened a new $25 mil­lion out­pa­tient fa­cil­ity and, most re­cently, it cre­ated a new clin­i­cal group prac­tice by for­mally con­sol­i­dat­ing with a group it had a long-stand­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion with—fac­ulty physi­cians from the Med­i­cal Col­lege of Wis­con­sin.

The new group will op­er­ate at the 30 lo­cal clin­ics run by Froedtert and the Med­i­cal Col­lege. More than 250 physi­cians had more than 710,000 pa­tient vis­its at those clin­ics in fis­cal 2012, ac­cord­ing to a Froedtert news re­lease.

The new in­te­grated prac­tice will be known as Froedtert & the Med­i­cal Col­lege of Wis­con­sin Com­mu­nity Physi­cians. Dr. Mark Lodes, chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer for the Froedtert & the Med­i­cal Col­lege Clin­i­cal Ven­tures Group, will lead the or­ga­ni­za­tion as its first pres­i­dent. There will be an eight-per­son board, with Froedtert and the col­lege ap­point­ing four mem­bers each.

“This agree­ment is just the be­gin­ning. Many de­ci­sions will be made in the next six months to cre­ate the or­ga­ni­za­tion and its struc­ture,” Lodes said in the re­lease. “Our pa­tient-cen­tric care model uses data-driven best prac­tice meth­ods and aims to pro­vide great value to our pa­tients by de­liv­er­ing ap­pro­pri­ate, timely care in the most cost- ef­fec­tive set­ting.”

It was noted in the re­lease that one of the goals be­hind the agree­ment is to pro­vide ac­cess to Med­i­cal Col­lege of Wis­con­sin physi­cians in a less costly set­ting than at its aca­demic med­i­cal cen­ter. Froedtert Hospi­tal spokes­woman Kath­leen Sieja said the move was also driven by the pre­vi­ous ac­qui­si­tion of cer­tain clin­ics where Med­i­cal Col­lege of Wis- con­sin physi­cians prac­ticed.

“They were just sort of dis­parate groups that had to be aligned,” she said. “This is a more ef­fi­cient method to do it.”

Sieja added that Froedtert “doesn’t have plans to de­velop an ac­count­able care or­ga­ni­za­tion with the Med­i­cal Col­lege of Wis­con­sin.”

Mean­while, Froedtert Health also is deal­ing with a com­puter virus that was dis­cov­ered this past De­cem­ber that “may have al­lowed an unau­tho­rized per­son to ac­cess a Froedtert Health em­ployee’s work com­puter ac­count,” ac­cord­ing to an an­nounce­ment on the Froedtert web­site.

“This was not a case where some­body stole a lap­top,” Sieja said. “A com­puter virus, we dis­cov­ered, got into some of our files that were stored in our net­work.”

It ap­pears that no med­i­cal or fi­nan­cial records were ac­cessed or af­fected, and no in­for­ma­tion ap­pears to have been moved or copied, she said.

“The virus may have touched some of our other files,” Sieja said, so let­ters were sent to 43,000 pa­tients and a call cen­ter was cre­ated to an­swer pa­tient ques­tions con­cern­ing the virus.

About the same time the virus was dis­cov­ered, the Froedtert Health Menomonee Falls Clinic opened. Sieja said the fa­cil­ity re­places an ex­ist­ing clinic. Froedtert will lease the five-story 145,000-square­foot build­ing that was built and is still owned by Ryan Cos. US, a na­tional con­struc­tion com­pany. The build­ing houses 60 physi­cians and more than 250 peo­ple on staff, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease.

It’s the third build­ing Ryan has built for Froedtert. It in­cludes a phar­macy and a com­mu­nity room for health ed­u­ca­tion classes. It of­fers car­di­ol­ogy, der­ma­tol­ogy, eye care, pri­mary care, obstetrics/gyne­col­ogy, ortho­pe­dics, pain man­age­ment, po­di­a­try, ra­di­ol­ogy, sleep medicine, surgery and other med­i­cal spe­cial­ties.

Froedtert Health re­cently opened a new out­pa­tient fa­cil­ity.

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