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Mile Bluff Medical Center and Stoughton Hospital Association Win Quarles & Brady and Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative Community Engagement Award

MADISON, Wis. (July 31, 2017) — The national law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP and the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative (RWHC) today announced the winners of their fourth annual Community Engagement Award. The winner of the $2,500 grant is Mile Bluff Medical Center in Mauston, Wis. The second place award of $500 was given to Stoughton Hospital Association in Stoughton, Wis. The awards are provided by Quarles & Brady.

RWHC is a cooperative of 41 rural acute, general medical-surgical hospitals throughout Wisconsin. The award recognizes two RWHC Member Hospitals demonstrating excellence in strengthening community health and wellness partnerships. Past honorees include Fort HealthCare, Southwest Health Center, Upland Hills Health, Columbus Community Hospital, Sauk Prairie Healthcare, and Edgerton Hospital & Health Systems.

"Rural hospitals in Wisconsin are partnering with their communities to improve health care outside the walls of the clinic and hospital," said Tim Size, executive director of RWHC. "It is a true privilege to once again honor these grass roots efforts, which are so much a part of what makes rural Wisconsin a great place to live and work."

Mile Bluff Medical Center was honored for its Substance Abuse Free Environment (SAFE) in Juneau County Coalition. Juneau County's top health concern is substance abuse, and it can be especially hard to combat in rural communities because of limited resources for prevention, treatment, and recovery. In 2017, Juneau County was designated a Tier 1 Priority High Need Region by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) due to its high opioid death rates, hospitalizations, and emergency medical service runs. SAFE in Juneau County and Mile Bluff Medical Center have partnered to attack the issue on several fronts, including bringing a Medication Assisted Treatment Hub and Spoke model to Juneau County; providing free medication lock boxes to patients; and training all prescribing staff in the CDC recommendations for opioid prescriptions and is enforcing a new policy for chronic pain management with opioids.

Stoughton Hospital association is being recognized for the work it is doing to the mental health of seniors through its Geriatric Psychiatry Program in partnership with several local organizations, including the Aging Disability Resource Center of Dane County, the Alzheimer's & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin, and the Stoughton Area Senior Center. The hospital reached its goal to become a dementia-friendly facility in part by expanding and supporting programs in collaboration with local senior facilities, churches, and the city recreation department. The hospital then took its learnings to the community, hosting educational sessions for businesses, nonprofits, government entities, and other organizations to discuss making Stoughton dementia friendly. Future initiatives include quarterly Dementia Live events and continuing to expand the number of businesses that are dementia trained.

Sarah Coyne, a partner with Quarles & Brady and a member of the Health Law Group in the firm's Madison office, has a longstanding relationship with RWHC and many of its member hospitals, and is delighted to partner with RWHC to offer this recognition for community engagement. "We enjoy watching these initiatives succeed and can't wait to see what next year brings."

The organizations will receive their awards at the RWHC board of directors meeting in September.

About Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative (RWHC)

Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative (RWHC), headquartered in Sauk City, Wis., has been providing affordable and effective services to healthcare organizations since 1979. RWHC is owned and operated by 41 rural acute, general medical-surgical hospitals. The Cooperative's emphasis on developing a collaborative network among both freestanding and system-affiliated rural hospitals distinguishes itself from alternative approaches. RWHC offers a variety of programs and services to its members, as well as other clients across the nation.