Health systems collaborate to help kids and teens
Affinity working with other local health systems to open pediatric behavioral health clinic
01 / 16 / 2008
Maria Nelson, Media Relations
Affinity Health System
(920) 554-0686 (pager)
NEENAH--Affinity Health System, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin-Fox Valley and ThedaCare signed an agreement Jan. 15 to join forces to offer pediatric behavioral health services. The agreement is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between competing health care organizations in the fox Valley.
In a news conference at J.J. Keller & Associates Inc., Daniel E. Neufelder, president and chief executive officer of Affinity Health system; John Toussaint, MD, president and chief executive officer of ThedaCare; and Jon Vice, president and chief executive officer of Children's Hospital and Health System, pledged to work together to address a shortage of pediatric behavioral health services in the Fox Valley. According to the Fox Cities 2006 LIFE (Leading Indicators for Excellence) study, the region has more demand for pediatric behavioral services than current systems can accommodate.
According to the agreement, Chidlren's Hospital-Fox Valley will recruit at least two child and adolescent psychiatrists to the area, which will complement services already offered by Affinity, ThedaCare and Children's Service Society of Wisconsin (like Children's Hospital-Fox Valley, a member of Children's Hospital and Health System). At the same time, Affinity and ThedaCare agree to create a seamless insurance environment to help eliminate financial barriers to receiving care. The agreement also will establish a new behavioral health clinic, which will be located at the Goodwill Industries building near Highway 47 and Highway 441 in Menasha. It is expected to open in summer 2008.
"ThedaCare has a long history of collaborating with other providers when it makes sense for the community," said Toussaint. "Over the years, we have worked with Affinity to co-sponsor Gold Cross Ambulance and the Fox Cities Community Clinic, and with Children's Hospital and health System to bring Children's Hospital--Fox Valley to the Teda Clark Campus and to the people of the Fox Valley. This collaboration is especially important, because it engages our entire community in assuring that our children will have access to comprehensive behavioral health care in a way that none of us -- ThedaCare, Affinity or Children's Hospital -- could have accomplished independently."
"Fox Valley residents are fortunate that there are so many quality health care organizations here that are willing to work together to solve community issues," Neufelder said. "We're committed to working with Children's Hospital-Fox Valley and ThedaCare to bring additional behavioral health services that will promote the care of our children."
The clinic is likely to generate a $2.5 million operating loss over the next five years. Fundraising efforts have secured $2.25 million thanks to a $625,000 matching grant from the John J. & Ethel D. Keller Donor Advised Fund in the Community Foundation, and a $500,000 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant. "The Fox Valley community has offered overwhelming financial support, for which we are very grateful," Vice said. "This positions the program to raise additional funds and expand the reach and scope of services in coming years."
Other major donors include Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Kimberly-Clark, U.S. Oil/Schmidt Family Foundation, United Way Fox Cities, the Frank C. Shattuck Community Fund and several other donors from within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, Bassett mechanical, Crystal Print Foundation and Applebee's.
For the Editor:
Affinity Health System, a faith-based regional health care network, is the Fox Valley’s second-largest employer, according to the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce & Industry. For the fourth consecutive year, Affinity has been named one of the nation’s top 64 health systems based on clinical performance according to Thomson Reuters, a leading provider of information and solutions to improve the cost and quality of health care. For ten consecutive years, Affinity Health System has been named to the SDI (formerly Verispan) Integrated Health Network Top 100, an annual assessment of the 100 most highly integrated health care networks in the nation. Both St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton and Mercy Medical Center in Oshkosh rank among the top 1 percent of hospitals nationwide in terms of quality and efficiency, as determined by the 2007 Premier | CareScience Select practice National Quality Award. Members of Affinity include Mercy Medical Center and Mercy Health Foundation, Oshkosh; St. Elizabeth Hospital and the St. Elizabeth Hospital Foundation, Appleton; Affinity Medical Group, a regional network of 25 family practice and specialty clinics – 22 of which are recognized as NCQA Level III medical homes, the highest level of recognition – in 14 communities; Calumet Medical Center, Chilton; and Affinity Occupational Health.