The Catalyst

The Catalyst

At the Forefront of Change – 20 Years and Going Strong


In 2003 a study commissioned by the Greater Milwaukee Business Foundation on Health found health care costs in southeast Wisconsin were 39 percent above the Midwest average. This alarming report prompted the CEOs of several large, Milwaukee-based employers to be deeply concerned about our region’s ability to thrive economically and maintain jobs.

Pushing more and more of these costs onto employees was not an option for a variety of reasons beyond recruitment and retention – long-term health and productivity were at stake as well. Fortunately, these visionary CEOs (led by Rockwell Automation’s Don Davis) understood the potential power of their collective influence.

As major local health care purchasers, they realized they had the clout and political cover to help raise the value of health care and move the market toward a more sustainable health care system for the benefit of all. Armed with a purpose, and the opportunity to collaboratively explore bold initiatives and demonstrate responsible corporate citizenship, the Business Health Care Group was formed in 2003 by 11 corporations with headquarters in southeast Wisconsin.

Creating value

Over the past two decades BHCG’s committed member employers have made remarkable strides in using data-driven strategies to improve the value of health care in our region – both quality and cost by:

  • Identifying how and where the best care is delivered to facilitate dialogue with health systems and provider groups about adopting more effective practice patterns and utilizing value-based pricing
  • Helping employers motivate plan members to make better choices using transparency tools and informed guidance from multiple sources
  • Building an ever-growing portfolio of employer solutions featuring preferred rates, performance guarantees and exclusive product offerings from strategic partners offering best in class:
    • High-Performance health plan and claims administration
    • Pharmacy benefit management
    • Care coordination, navigation and patient advocacy
    • Health care and benefits spending tools and analytics
    • Informed decision-making
  • Networking, education, support and legal resources to get in-depth information, share best practices and drive continuous improvement

Health care reimagined

The culmination of BHCG’s efforts over the past two decades was the launch last year of Wisconsin’s first high-performance primary care-centered health plan solution in partnership with Centivo. The BHCG-Centivo high-performance plan represents a more cost effective, employer-aligned health plan that:

  • Establishes more effective patient-provider relationships by directing patients to high value providers
  • Encourages coordinated care by incentivizing the use of high value primary care providers who are responsible for getting patients the right treatment at the right time
  • Creates a far more sustainable cost picture through direct partnership with providers to make more effective use of financial resources – a win-win for all.

Celebrating 20 years of success

From significantly slowing health care cost trend far below regional and national averages for its member employers to producing effective primary care relationships that drive better decisions and patient management, there is much to celebrate as BHCG embarks on a third decade of success. Certainly, there is more work to be done, but BHCG has clearly demonstrated the power of alliance and collaboration to improve health care value for all.

Many thanks to all of those who have been integral to BHCG’s accomplishments over the last 20 years. As we embark on the next 20, we encourage all employers to join us on this journey. Please watch for further information about our 20th anniversary events throughout the year – we look forward to celebrating our collective success with you!

Jeffrey Kluever

If you have questions or would like more information about BHCG, please feel free to contact me at or 262-875-3312 X1.

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