BHCG offers numerous meetings, events, symposiums and forums throughout the year for our member employers and various stakeholders to learn from industry experts and each other. In 2020, we offered a substantial number of these gatherings – mostly virtual – which brought real value to BHCG membership while also allowing member employers to share best practices, strategies and lessons learned. Many of these events were open to the public, highlighting BHCG’s ongoing commitment to responsible corporate citizenship.
Delivering Value Series Symposiums
The 2020 Delivering Value Series consisted of five symposiums. Attendees gained insights from BHCG’s best in class strategic partners and health care industry leaders to address the most pressing health care benefits issues today.
For example, symposium attendees learned about leading services and strategies from two of our best in class strategic partners including:
- Quantum Health – single point of contact care coordination, navigation and patient advocacy services
- Navitus Health Solutions – transformative pharmacy benefit management aligned with employer needs
In addition, attendees heard from:
- Covering Wisconsin about how employers can help their low income and part-time employees gain health insurance coverage, focusing on impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic
- Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers participated in a discussion about how to get people back to workplaces safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic and how health disparities can be addressed in underserved communities, given the impact the pandemic is having on them
- BHCG member employer Kohl’s and American Cancer Society (ACS) about the special alliance they’ve forged to make an outsized impact on the rate of cancer, while improving health equity in the community, as well as the health of Kohl’s associates
- Attorney John Barlament about how COVID-19 is impacting employee benefits and learned about new transparency and wellness regulations and other benefits law topics
Judging by the feedback we received, the five symposiums this year achieved their stated goal. Attendees gained valuable insights into current, critical health care and benefits issues and how to address them.
Executive summaries along with presenters’ slides and audio recordings are available for all the 2020 DVS symposiums on the BHCG website.
Employers have played a significant role in the COVID-19 crisis – reassuring and supporting employees and their families, as well as working through strategies for mitigating the spread of the virus, and the challenges faced in every area of business. As a membership organization for employers, BHCG has helped employers, their employees and the community face these challenges by developing a Coronavirus Resources & Information webpage and organizing and sponsoring two COVID-related webinars.
Coronavirus Resources & Information Webpage
This page includes a comprehensive list of links from local and national organizations regarding legal, governmental and medical and health resources that can provide guidance for employers and their advisors. The page is routinely updated as new resources and information is made available.
Best Practices & New Legal Mandates for Employers Confronting COVID-19
As our community began to face the COVID-19 crisis early in the year, employers played a significant role in reassuring and supporting their employees and their families. On April 1 (and repeated on April 8), we sponsored a webinar about the multiple challenges employers were confronting related to the Coronavirus pandemic. Panelists included Quarles & Brady Labor and Employment attorneys John Barlament and Sean Scullen, along with Dr. Gregory Brusko, chief clinical officer at Ascension Wisconsin
The presentations provided employers with information to address the COVID-19 pandemic in both the workplace and community. They were provided with information on best practices and new legal mandates from the panelists. After the panelists presented, several BHCG member employers shared the best practices they implemented to address the pandemic.
Stopping the Spread of COVID-19 – Opportunities for Employers to Lead
BHCG, The Alliance and WEA Trust and Health Tradition Health Plan hosted a webinar on Thursday, December 10, with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Population Health Institute. The webinar featured Dr. Jon Meiman, Chief Medical Officer and State Epidemiologist for Environmental and Occupational Health at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Dr. Meiman discussed the critical role employers play in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19, including: understanding Public Health’s role in working with employers; being aware of the resources available to them; and sharing effective messages with their employees and families.
Introduction to BHCG’s High-Performance Health Plan
On December 15 and 16 we held four webinars – two for employers and two for brokers/consultants – introducing Centivo, BHCG’s partner in developing Wisconsin’s first high-performance, primary care-centered health plan solution. BHCG leadership and Executive Steering Committee members and senior executives with Centivo shared information, including:
- BHCG’s strategic vision for a high-performance health plan solution, including the need for cost-effective care delivered by a primary care-centered model incorporating payment for value
- A foundational understanding of key Centivo health plan elements incorporated in this high-performance model
- Timelines for next steps in the engagement and development process of this new solution to be offered to employers, beginning January 1, 2022
- How the high-performance model might fit into an employer’s health plan offerings in 2022 and beyond
- Centivo’s support for brokers and consultants in incorporating and implementing high-performance solutions
Wisconsin Health Information Organization (WHIO) Call to Action: Self-Funded Employers, We Need Your Data
(WHIO) delivers critical insights into the health of the people of Wisconsin and evaluates the state’s health care delivery and payment systems through Wisconsin’s largest source of health-related information. It includes claims data on approximately 4.5 million insured lives submitted by Medicaid, commercial and Medicare Advantage insurers, and self-funded employers in all geographic areas of the state.
To ensure the continued validity and reliability of the WHIO database it is critical to obtain data from all available data sources in the state. This webinar was a call to action to self-funded employers to learn more about the WHIO databases.
Jeffrey Kluever, BHCG executive director and WHIO board member and WHIO’s CEO presented information about the database’s many uses and how self-funded employers can become a data contributor to WHIO and help increase the value of health care in our state.
Rand 3.0 – Employer Hospital Price Transparency Project & Study Results
In 2020, BHCG, in conjunction with The Alliance and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, organized two webinars related to RAND’s Employer Hospital and Price Transparency Project. The hospital price transparency study is an ongoing national employer-led initiative to measure and publicly report the prices paid for hospital care at the hospital-and service-line level. This project is driven by self-funded employers from across the country with leadership from the RAND Corporation.
The May webinars included a presentation from Chris Whaley, policy researcher for RAND. He provided an overview of the project, the methodology used, the benefits for employers and how to become involved in the next iteration of the study. The more self-funded employers providing their data, the stronger the data becomes.
On September 24, BHCG, The Alliance and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce were again presenting sponsors (joined by co-sponsors Aon, Fond du Lac Area Businesses on Health, Hays Companies and Lockton Companies) of two webinars where more than 325 employers, providers, brokers/consultants, other stakeholders and the media heard about the latest RAND study. Chris Whaley presented results of RAND 3.0.
The results, based on substantial claims data from 2017 and 2018, revealed prices employers and their employees paid for hospital care in Wisconsin were nearly three times what Medicare would have paid for the same services – putting our state in the top ten of the most expensive states for hospital care in the country.
Using the same claims database, the study also showed prices paid for professional services in Wisconsin were more than 330 percent of what Medicare paid for the same services, making Wisconsin the third most expensive state for professional services in the country.
These results make it evident quality and cost transparency is more critical than ever – health care is simply unaffordable for many employers and employees who must share the cost burden.
Little did we know our Annual Meeting held on January 28 would be the last in-person BHCG event of 2020. The meeting, entitled A Forum for Good, was conducted in the atrium of the Fiserv Forum (the home of the World Champion Milwaukee Bucks). The meeting focused on a review of BHCG’s successes in the past year, the GNS Healthcare Physician Value Study results and provider and employer perspectives on the potential uses for the Study.
The Leading Change, Creating Value Award was presented by BHCG’s Executive Steering Committee Members Cara Olson of Sendik’s Food Markets and Tina Kowalczyk of Schreiber Foods. Wisconsin Health Information Organizations (WHIO) data contributors were presented the award in recognition of their commitment to improving health care transparency, quality and cost efficiency through information-driven decisions.
Insights from industry experts and member employers
Representatives of BHCG member employers gathered to learn from industry experts and each other about topics related to health care and benefit offerings. Due to the pandemic, Benefits Forum events were held virtually throughout the year. In 2020 industry experts shared insights concerning the following topics:
- Kohl’s and the American Cancer Society partner to fight cancer
- Telehealth and consumer activation strategies
- New health plan regulations issued by the IRS and DOL related to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Health plan performance review for 2019 and YTD 2020