Friday Five is a segment that asks five questions to a mover and shaker within the Wisconsin Healthcare community. This week we sat down with U.S. Congressman Ron Kind, from Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District. Congressman Kind is a native of La Crosse, he graduated from Logan High School and still lives there today. Congressman Kind has served in Congress since 1996.
1. What advice do you have for someone considering a career in healthcare?
Health Care is a growing industry in Wisconsin and across the country, making it a promising industry for health care professionals. In addition, with the passage of health care reform, not only will more people will have access to the health care system, meaning a greater demand for health care professionals, but claims forms and other administrative tasks will be streamlined, allowing health care professionals to spend more time with patients and less time filling out paperwork.
2. What do you enjoy most about living in Wisconsin?
We are fortunate in Wisconsin to have an abundance of natural resources right in our backyard. I enjoy hunting and fishing, hiking, and camping – spending every chance I get on the Mississippi River and outdoors with my family.
3. How have you supported the Wisconsin healthcare community while in office?
I supported the Affordable Care Act, putting Americans in charge of their health care decisions and providing stable, affordable coverage to those who have health care as well as expand coverage to 32 million Americans who do not. I also led the way to include value as a component of Medicare reimbursement in the health care reform bill. For too long, our providers have been reimbursed at rates that don’t reflect the quality of care delivered. The provisions included in the bill will change that.
Through negotiations, I helped secure an additional $400 million to increase physician payments in low cost areas, effective immediately. In addition, another $400 million in Medicare payments was included to ensure that hospitals in the lowest quartile of reimbursement get a boost. Starting in fiscal year 2011, hospitals will receive an additional reimbursement over two years to make up for the current reimbursement disparity. The increased payments are just a bridge until the Institute of Medicine (IOM) is able to complete studies, which Secretary Sebelius and the Administration will commission, on updating the geographic adjustment factors for physicians and the wage index for hospitals. The two IOM studies, the same which were included, through my leadership, in House of Representatives passed bill, will begin next month. The studies will make recommendations to update the Medicare geographic adjustment factors by 2013 and to incentivize value and quality in Medicare by 2014.
In addition, I have been an advocate for initiatives to help recruit and retain physicians in rural communities as well as a long time advocate for physician and nurse education and loan repayment programs to help train our next generation of health care providers.
4. What is your vision for the future of healthcare in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin providers currently lead the nation when it comes to quality care at affordable prices. Our providers were looked to as national models throughout health care reform because of the quality, cost effective care they are delivering. I expect our health care providers to continue building on that record of success by making even greater strides toward providing more integrated and coordinated care, implementing more health information technology, and providing an even higher quality of care.
5. We are all becoming more personally responsible for our own health, what do you do to stay healthy?
Personal responsibility plays a large role in maintaining a healthy mind and body. I try to make sure I’m eating a balanced, nutritious diet and I exercise regularly. I enjoy getting outside and throwing a football with my boys when I can and enjoy biking and spending time outdoors around our family farm.
Learn more about Congressman Kind by visiting his website: http://kind.house.gov