As Wisconsin talks about attracting and growing more jobs, the state has a critical advantage that can easily be overlooked — and it shouldn’t be.
When you think of infrastructure, it’s easy to think of roads and bridges and other public improvements that are important to the quality of life.
Quality schools are vital to the vitality of a community.
In the La Crosse area, we talk about the beauty of the rivers and bluffs — and how they help us attract visitors and tourists.
Representatives of the Wisconsin Hospital Association and top health care leaders from La Crosse to Prairie du Chien recently visited the Tribune’s editorial board with an interesting message that we need to remember: Quality health care is crucial to our economy and a critical driver of our economy and our quality of life.
And quality health care is a competitive advantage for Wisconsin as it works to grow the economy. As companies look to expand or relocate in our state, excellent health care is one of the best benefits a company can offer to its employees.
The La Crosse area has long been blessed with some of the top health care nationally — something we’ve long touted.
But as a state, Wisconsin consistently receives high rankings from an independent federal agency as one of the best in the nation.
Our hospitals are well ahead of the national curve when it comes to emphasizing quality outcomes instead of quantity of procedures.
Part of that comes from integrated health care systems that utilize forward-thinking process improvement to boost outcomes while cutting costs.
Of course, it helps that Wisconsin has top-quality universities and colleges that help produce terrific doctors, nurses and other health care professionals who practice in our state.
The state hospital association points out that across Wisconsin, more than 700 low-income or uninsured patients receive care free of charge each day.
From free medical and dental clinics to community education health programs, the state’s hospitals provide an estimated $1.4 billion each year in community benefits.
More than 110,000 people are employed by the state’s hospitals — with an estimated economic impact that totals $28 billion.
We should appreciate the transparency that Wisconsin hospitals provide.
If you’re looking to compare health care costs, www.WiPricePoint.org is a valuable tool that has received national acclaim.
If you’re looking for quality measures, you can check www.WiCheckPoint.org.
Of course, the Health Science Consortium in La Crosse — which includes the two health care systems and the three institutions of higher education — provides excellent collaboration in education and public health.
The consortium’s catalysts for healthier care include the community health scoreboard and initiatives to curb binge-drinking and other improve on other community health risks.
Those are healthy partnerships that wouldn’t happen without the leadership of health care providers.
As Wisconsin works to attract business, our region and state should tout the critical advantage of quality health care.