Highlights: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Wellness Summit presented by BizTimes Media

Thanks for embodying the hard work and spirit of our state. #Fourward #OnWisconsin

Thanks for embodying the hard work and spirit of our state. #Fourward #OnWisconsin

Milwaukee’s Fight for Air Climb Breaks Another Record for American Lung Association

—- American Lung Association Press Release —-

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Nation’s Top Climb Raises $625,000 – First and Only Lung Association Climb to Surpass $600,000!

MILWAUKEE — On Saturday, March 22, the American Lung Association in Wisconsin hosted the #1 ranked Fight for Air Climb in the nation. Over 2,700 participants raised $625,000, again beating out Lung Association climbs in more populous cities around the country. Climbers scaled the U.S. Bank Center in downtown Milwaukee, climbing 47 floors, 1,034 steps.

“We are so proud of our climbers, volunteers and staff,” said Linda Witucki, Executive Director of the American Lung Association in Wisconsin. “We surpassed last year’s record-breaking total by almost $70,000 and are thrilled that those proceeds can be put to work immediately in the fight against lung disease, funding research, education and advocacy.”

This year, more than 250 emergency responders (firefighters, police, SWAT teams) raced to the top wearing full gear – jackets, helmets, air packs and boots. Corporate teams, family teams and individuals climbed for friends and loved ones with lung disease. And new to this year’s event, children were allowed to take part in the climb, making it a unique opportunity for the whole family.

“We had families climbing together, ‘ultimate’ participants who climbed multiple times and climbers with asthma and COPD. We heard some incredible stories of hope and courage, as many were climbing in honor or in memory of someone who has been impacted by lung disease.” said Witucki.

Top Finishers Include:
 
Top Male Overall
Sal Impellitteri, Oak Creek, WI; 5:39

Top Female Overall
Becca Clifford, Hartford, WI; 6:52 

Top Ultimate Climbers (Seven Climbs in ONE hour)
Jason Larson, Golden Valley, MN – Total time – 51:51
Holly La Vesser, New Berlin – 54:19

Top Firefighters/Law Enforcement – Individuals
1.  Joe Gapinksi, West Allis Fire Department; 7:27 
2.  Joel Johnsrud, Sheboygan Fire Department; 8:06 
3.  Efrem Capetillo, Sheboygan Fire Department; 8:30
4.  Tyler Schmitt, Sheboygan Fire Department; 8:35
5.  Jesse Schwark, West Allis Fire Department; 9:00

Top Firefighters/Law Enforcement– Teams
1.  West Allis Fire Department; 8:47
2.  Sheboygan Fire Department; 8:53
3.  Manitowoc Fire Department; 11:10
4.  SWAT Climb 14 (Milwaukee); 11:27
5.  Oak Creek Local 1848 Fire Explorers; 11:39

But speed wasn’t the only thing that counted.  Fundraising is also a competitive sport.

Top Five fundraising teams:
1.  Baker Tilly Milwaukee — $21,695
2.  Northwestern Mutual Life — $13,702
3.  Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield — $12,501
4.  Godfrey & Kahn — $11,020
5.  Climbing Cahlamers — $8,579
 
Top five individual fundraisers were:
1.  Donna Scaffidi (Milwaukee) — $7,675
2.  Chris Cahlamer (New Berlin) — $5,907
3.  Jerry Medinger (Waukesha) — $5,734
4.  Jon Skavlem (Franklin) — $2,595
5.  Gina Maniscalco (Pewaukee) — $2,410

Top Five Firefighter/Law Enforcement — Teams:
1.  Lauderdale/LaGrange Fire Department — $7,311
2.  Eagle Fire Department — $5,780
3.  Milwaukee Junior Fire Institute — $4,326
4.  Milwaukee Police Department — $4,290
5.  Climb 4 Captain Larson (Kenosha Fire Department) — $4,248

Top Five Firefighter/Law Enforcement — Individuals:
1.  Chuck Roberts, Eagle FD — $2,385
2.  Eric Taylor, Lauderdale/LaGrange FD — $2,021
3.  Jeff Markham, Lauderdale/LaGrange FD — $850
4.  James Tayler, Lauderdale/LaGrange FD — $845
5.  Jacob Johnsrud, Manitowoc FD — $750

The American Lung Association thanks all of its sponsors, including Presenting Sponsor, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield; Venue Sponsor, U.S. Bank Center; Media Sponsor, Today’s TMJ4; Godfrey and Kahn, S.C. and Froedtert/Medical College of Wisconsin.

Proceeds benefit the American Lung Association in Wisconsin, fighting lung disease through research, education and advocacy. The Lung Association funds lung cancer research with some of the country’s top researchers, provides services and education for those who suffer from lung disease, advocates for healthy air and provides smoking cessation services.

Photo above: American Lung Association in Wisconsin

The surest sign of spring yet.

The surest sign of spring yet.

BCBS Association blog: Saving Lives through Education: CPR Programs Teach Lifesaving Skills

From the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association’s blog:

Nearly 400,000 cardiac arrests occur every year in locations other than a hospital, and in 89 percent of those instances, an individual dies because he or she didn’t receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately from someone nearby.

..six Anthem BCBS entities in 14 states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin) joined with the AHA to launch a three-year campaign to raise awareness of Hands-Only CPR as a lifesaving method and to increase the likelihood of people performing CPR in an emergency.

Click the headline link above to read the full blog post. You can learn more about Hands-Only CPR by visiting www.heart.org/handsonlycpr.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, nearly one‐fifth (19.6 percent) of traditional Medicare beneficiaries who had been discharged from a hospital were re‐hospitalized within 30 days, and 34 percent were re‐hospitalized within 90 days. 
Source: Jencks SF, Williams MV and Coleman EA. “Rehospitalizations among Patients in the Medicare Fee-for-Service Program.” New England Journal of Medicine, 360(14): 1418-1428, April 2, 2009.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, nearly one‐fifth (19.6 percent) of traditional Medicare beneficiaries who had been discharged from a hospital were re‐hospitalized within 30 days, and 34 percent were re‐hospitalized within 90 days. 

Source: Jencks SF, Williams MV and Coleman EA. “Rehospitalizations among Patients in the Medicare Fee-for-Service Program.” New England Journal of Medicine, 360(14): 1418-1428, April 2, 2009.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Offers Seniors Tips for Bouncing Back from Hospitalization

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MILWAUKEE – March 25, 2014 – Imagine you’ve been in the hospital. You’ve eagerly waited for the day you could go home. When that day finally arrives, you’re thrilled. It’s a safe bet the last thing you want to do is to have to return to the hospital.

Unfortunately, far too many people are returning to the hospital after receiving care there, particularly seniors. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, nearly one‐fifth (19.6 percent) of traditional Medicare beneficiaries who had been discharged from a hospital were re‐hospitalized within 30 days, and 34 percent were re‐hospitalized within 90 days.* The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has estimated the cost of hospital readmissions at $15 billion.

“We know that many of these instances are unavoidable,” said Dr. Michael Jaeger, managing medical director, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin. “However, some are preventable, which is unfortunate since hospital stays can expose patients to a host of complications, including possible infections, as well as being costly, stressful and inconvenient.”

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield which serves thousands of seniors in Wisconsin through its Medicare plans, offers the following tips for making sure a hospital stay doesn’t end up turning into a roundtrip.

Understand discharge directions. The transition home really starts before the patient leaves the hospital. It is critical to understand hospital discharge directions. This isn’t as easy as it sounds since patients may be medicated, stressed, groggy or confused. For that reason, it is recommended that patients repeat instructions to their physicians to make sure they understand them. It also may help to write down the instructions or enlist a family member or caregiver to help document them. Another way for a patient to smooth the transition home is to make sure someone at the hospital contacts their primary care physician (PCP) with information about their condition and treatment. People with chronic conditions see many different doctors. It is important for those doctors to communicate with each other.

Fill prescriptions and take them as prescribed. Upon being discharged from the hospital, it is important to fill prescriptions immediately and take them as prescribed. Patients should make sure to understand the timing, dosage and frequency of each drug. Also, patients should take care to understand how existing medicines, including over-the-counter drugs, interact with new drugs. Finally, if any drugs have been stopped, it’s important to ask why. It may be helpful to get a pill organizer to keep track of medicines.

Get follow-up care. According to America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), half of patients who were re-hospitalized within 30 days did not have a physician visit between the time of discharge and re-hospitalization, suggesting one of the reasons people end up back in the hospital is lack of follow-up care. That is why it’s so critical for people to transition from the hospital to their PCP. Patients should schedule follow-up appointments with their regular doctor and keep them. The PCP can coordinate care, making sure patients aren’t exposed to dangerous drug interactions or unnecessary tests. Anyone with trouble getting a timely appointment can call their insurer for help.

Eat properly. People recently discharged from the hospital need to get proper nutrition, including following any dietary restrictions. Appetite is often suppressed after an illness; however, if someone is too sick to eat due to pain, nausea, inability to swallow, etc., then they should contact their doctor.

Take advantage of programs that are there to help. People with Medicare Advantage plans may have access to resources, including case managers, to help them return safely to their homes. Case managers may be able to help a recently discharged patient find transportation to doctor appointments, address potential safety issues in the home and help them locate community programs offering everything from meal delivery to free or discounted medicines. These people are experts at understanding the system and it is their job to help.

Know when things aren’t getting better. Patients should understand which symptoms require immediate intervention and return to the hospital, if necessary. People who aren’t getting better shouldn’t wait for their next appointment.

Be an engaged consumer. Many trips to the hospital occur without warning. However, people with advance notice have resources available to help them research quality and cost. Information about readmission rates for certain hospitals, for example, is available at www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov, where visitors can enter a procedure and a zip code, select three hospitals, and click “Outcome of Care Measures” to compare results.

“Most of us will have to go to the hospital at some point in our lives,” said Dr. Jaeger. “The key is being an engaged patient to prevent hospitalization from becoming a downward spiral, both physically and financially.”

Anthem is a PPO plan, an HMO plan and a PDP plan with Medicare contracts. Enrollment in Anthem depends on contract renewal.

Y0071_14_19087_I_05 01/13/2014

*  Jencks SF, Williams MV and Coleman EA. “Rehospitalizations among Patients in the Medicare Fee-for-Service Program.” New England Journal of Medicine, 360(14): 1418-1428, April 2, 2009.

Slideshow: Preventing Hospital Readmission - 5 Steps for Seniors to Take

Please click on the title slide above to view the slideshow.

Alternatively, the slideshow may be downloaded as a PDF here.

This information is provided by Anthem BlueCross BlueShield. Anthem BlueCross BlueShield  has PPO plans, HMO plans and PDP plans with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Anthem BlueCross BlueShield plans depends on contract renewal. This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider for advice about treatments that may affect your health.

Milwaukee Business Journal: Fight for Air Climb fundraiser tops $615,000

From the Milwaukee Business Journal:

The Fight for Air Climb Saturday at the U.S Bank Center in downtown Milwaukee raised more than $615,000 for the American Lung Association of Wisconsin, organization officials said over the weekend.

…Top corporate fundraising teams included Baker Tilly Milwaukee ($21,030), Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield ($11,600), Northwestern Mutual ($11,464) and Godfrey & Kahn SC and friends ($10,420).

Click the headline link above to read the full article on the Business Journal’s website.

Milwaukee Business Journal - Slideshow - 2014 Fight for Air Climb

Click the headline link above to view great photos from the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Scott Paulus, including several of the Anthem Firefighter Challenge.

2014 American Lung Association Fight for Air Climb - Milwaukee