WPS News



Senior Airman James German saluted for Operation Fan Mail

12/24/2016

GREEN BAY, Wis.—Dec. 24, 2016—The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to Air Force Senior Airman James German and his family during Saturday’s Packers-Vikings game for Operation Fan Mail.

The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to Air Force Senior Airman James German and his family during Saturday’s Packers-Vikings game for Operation Fan Mail.

German, originally from Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan, has been serving in the Air Force for five years. He currently serves as a security forces member assigned to the 31st Security Forces Squadron at the Aviano Air Base in Italy. As a member of the security forces, he helps to maintain rule of law on the base, and is responsible for ensuring the safety of all base weapons, property and personnel from hostile forces.

He was deployed from February through August of 2016 to the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey as a part of Operation Inherent Resolve. He previously served with the 91st Missile Security Forces Squadron at the Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota from 2011-13.

A lifelong Packers fan, he is also a Packers shareholder. He attended Saturday’s game with his father, Jim, his brother, Christopher, and his aunt, Linda Jukkala.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Solutions will host a family at each 2016 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 98 individuals or families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Solutions are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628 or nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail/.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.


Marine Capt. Andrew White saluted for Operation Fan Mail

12/11/2016

GREEN BAY, Wis.-Dec. 11, 2016—The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to Marine Capt. Andrew White and his family during Sunday’s Packers-Seahawks game for Operation Fan Mail.

White, originally from Mission, Kansas, has been serving in the Marine Corps for seven years. He currently serves as a military police officer, working as the anti-terrorism officer with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Previously, he served as a platoon commander, a special reaction team leader, operations officer and company commander.

From 2011-14, White served in Okinawa, Japan and New Zealand. For much of 2016, he has served with the 13th MEU for a Western Pacific deployment, supporting operations in 12 countries including Hong Kong, South Korea, Kuwait and Iraq.

During his career, White has earned numerous awards, including Overseas Service and Sea Service Ribbons, Global War on Terrorism Medals and a National Defense Medal.

White and his family currently live in Oceanside, California. He has been a Packers fan since age 6, when he was introduced to the team by his grandfather. He attended Sunday’s game with his wife, Nicole; son, Caden; and mother, Denise.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Solutions will host a family at each 2016 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 97 individuals or families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Solutions are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628 or http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail/.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.


Dan Goldthorpe saluted Sunday for Operation Fan Mail

12/4/2016

GREEN BAY, Wis.-Dec. 04, 2016—The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to retired Army Col. Dan Goldthorpe and his family during Sunday’s Packers-Texans game for Operation Fan Mail.

Goldthorpe, originally from Dodgeville, Wisconsin, enlisted in the Army in 1983 and spent the next 32 years serving as an Airborne Ranger and infantry officer until his retirement last year.

He was stationed at many duty stations around the world during his career, encompassing 17 moves and six deployments, including Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq, Operation Joint Guardian in Kosovo, and two tours for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

During his career, Goldthorpe earned numerous awards, including the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and four Bronze Star Medals for his actions in combat. Additionally, he has been awarded the Ranger Tab and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge with a star. He has earned combat patches with the 101st Airborne Division, 10th Special Forces Group, and the 10th Mountain Division.

Goldthorpe and his family currently live in Madison, Alabama, where he works as a defense contractor. He and his family are also dedicated to supporting military families and are involved with Wounded Warriors.

Goldthorpe and his wife, Kaye, celebrated their 25th anniversary last month by attending their first Packers game at Lambeau Field. Goldthorpe is an avid Green Bay fan and also a Packers shareholder. He was accompanied at Sunday’s game by Kaye, his daughter, Lindsay, and his niece, Megan.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize active-duty military personnel or veterans. The Packers and WPS Health Solutions will host a family at each 2016 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 96 individuals or families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Solutions are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628 or http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail/.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game.


Walter Grochowina saluted Sunday for Operation Fan Mail

11/6/2016

GREEN BAY, Wis.-Nov. 06, 2016—The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to Army Staff Sgt. Walter Grochowina and his family during Sunday’s Packers-Colts game for Operation Fan Mail.

The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to Army Staff Sgt. Walter Grochowina and his family during Sunday’s Packers-Colts game for Operation Fan Mail.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Solutions will host a family at each 2016 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 86 individuals or families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Solutions are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628 or submitted online at packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.


John Rutt saluted Thursday for Operation Fan Mail

10/20/2016

GREEN BAY, Wis.-Oct. 20, 2016—The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to John Rutt and his family during Thursday’s Packers-Bears game for Operation Fan Mail.

Rutt, originally from Sterling, Illinois, was drafted into the Air Force division of the U.S. Army in 1943. After completing gunnery school in Las Vegas, he was assigned as a belly gunner for the B-17 flying fortress and eventually served as staff sergeant and training specialist at Camp Atterbury in Edinburg, Indiana, until 1946.

Following his military service, Rutt returned to his job as an office assistant in the mail room for Frantz Manufacturing, and spent his career working his way up to vice president and member of the board of directors for the company, retiring in 1985.

At age 96, Rutt still enjoys traveling regularly and watching the Packers. The only Packers game he ever attended in person prior to Thursday was a matchup with the Chicago Bears at Wrigley Field in 1956, quarterback Bart Starr’s first year with the team.

Rutt attended Thursday’s game with his daughters, Nancy Morgan and Patricia Aldrich, as well as grandsons Tim and Eric Aldrich. He also has one other daughter, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize active-duty military personnel or veterans. The Packers and WPS Health Solutions will host a family at each 2016 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 94 individuals or families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Solutions are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628 or submitted online. In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game.


Halli Stewart saluted Sunday for Operation Fan Mail

10/16/2016

The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to Halli Stewart and her family during Sunday’s Packers-Cowboys game for Operation Fan Mail.

Stewart, originally from Racine, Wis., enlisted in the U.S. Army as a combat medic in 1995 and eventually discovered her love and passion for education as a combat lifesaver instructor.

During her military career, she completed her medical training at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, and also was stationed at Fort Lewis in Washington, and Fort Knox in Kentucky. As a medic, she provided medical support for a cavalry squadron, and as an instructor, she provided first-aid and CPR training to military personnel who were not in the medical field.

She served in the U.S. Army until 2000, and soon went back to school, earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. She then began working as a high school reading teacher in Racine and soon earned her master’s degree from Alverno College.

In 2015, Stewart received the Pat Tillman Scholarship, designed for active duty service members, veterans and their spouses, which is helping her fund her studies as she pursues a Ph.D. at UW-Milwaukee.

Stewart also works as an instructional coordinator in the Racine Unified School District. She attended Sunday’s game with her son, Noah, father, Joe, and partner, Erica.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Solutions will host a family at each 2016 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 93 individuals or families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Solutions are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628 or submitted online at packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.


Packers and WPS salute combat-disabled and wounded veterans for Operation Fan Mail

10/10/2016

The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to six combat-disabled and wounded veterans during Sunday’s Packers-Giants game for Operation Fan Mail.

The veterans, all of whom served in the U.S. Marine Corps or U.S. Army, are:

  • Sgt. Gregory Haak from Oregon, Wis.
  • Cpl. Jeremy Stengel from Mukwonago, Wis.
  • Sgt. Jason Johns from Oregon, Wis.
  • Staff Sgt. Andrew Diaz from Ralls, Texas
  • Lance Cpl. Scott Kruchten from Madison, Wis.
  • Cpl. Kevin Hanrahan from Black River Falls, Wis.

Between them, the veterans served for a total of more than 48 years of military service. Their collective service includes deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq and the Western Pacific.

Many members of the group served together, and currently work closely with veterans organizations.

Highly decorated veterans, the group’s awards include numerous Meritorious Service Medals, ribbons, Purple Hearts, Commendation Medals with Valor in combat, and multiple Combat Action Ribbons per person.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Solutions will host a family at each 2016 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 92 individuals or families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Solutions are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628 or submitted online at packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.


Rachel Petri-Rose and family saluted for Operation Fan Mail

9/25/2016

The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to Capt. Rachel Petri-Rose and her family during Sunday’s Packers-Lions game for Operation Fan Mail.

Petri-Rose, originally from Racine, enlisted in the Army in 1994 as a supply specialist. In 2004, she enlisted in the Air Force as a computer networking specialist, and received commission as a logistics readiness officer in 2008.

She has been stationed at various Air Force bases around the country, and has also been deployed to Djibouti in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, as well as Morón, Spain.

Petri-Rose is currently stationed in Madison, where she teaches ROTC at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As Operations Flight Commander, she is responsible for instructing and overseeing the training of 70 cadets.

During her career, Petri-Rose has earned several medals, including the Commendation Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Expeditionary Medal and Joint Achievement Medal.

Between Petri-Rose and her husband, Bryan, who served nine years in the Army, they have moved nine times since 1996 due to their military obligations. They have been married for 20 years, and recently celebrated their anniversary by touring Lambeau Field. Petri-Rose, an avid Packers fan, is also a Packers shareholder.

Sunday’s game was Petri-Rose’s first time seeing a game at Lambeau Field, and she attended with her husband and two of their four children, Riley and Kelton.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Solutions will host a family at each 2016 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 86 individuals or families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Solutions are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628 or submitted online at packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.


WPS is part of contract award for TRICARE 2017 East Region

7/22/2016

WPS Military and Veterans Health will partner with Humana

WPS Military and Veterans Health is taking on additional contract work for TRICARE, which is the federal health and benefits insurance for active-duty military personnel, retirees and their families.

The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded Humana Government Business the TRICARE 2017 contract for the East Region, and WPS MVH is partnering as a subcontractor. The contract provides five, one-year options exercisable by the Department of Defense.

WPS MVH will provide information technology support, claims processing, and customer service functions. WPS MVH is one of the business units of WPS Health Solutions, based in Madison.

“This is exciting news for all of us at WPS,” said WPS Health Solutions President and CEO Mike Hamerlik. “By partnering with Humana, we are able to leverage our resources to secure a share of this important contract.”

The Defense Health Agency (DHA), which oversees the TRICARE program, announced its selection on July 21. The East Region comprises 30 states with approximately 6 million beneficiaries.

Currently, Humana holds the contract for the TRICARE South Region. The new East Region is a combination of the current South and North regions.

WPS MVH already has two other TRICARE contracts, providing claims administration, customer service, and related activities for the TRICARE Overseas Program and the TRICARE for Life program. WPS MVH also does contract work for the Veterans Choice program, which is operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“The award of the East Region recognizes the great work of the WPS MVH employees and those WPS employees who support the TRICARE and VA programs,” said Brian Brugger, Executive Vice President of MVH.


Dr. William Winkenwerder joins WPS Board of Directors

7/14/2016

Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs also held executive positions in insurance and health care

A nationally known health care strategist, with extensive leadership experience in the Department of Defense and the private health sector, has been elected to the Board of Directors for Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation, doing business as WPS Health Solutions.

Dr. William Winkenwerder currently is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Winkenwerder Strategies, a health care advisory and investment firm based in New York. He is an expert in health care finance, health insurance operations, federal health policy, and new technologies.

From 2001 to 2007, Dr. Winkenwerder was Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs with responsibility for a $40 billion annual budget, 132,000 personnel, and 9.2 million beneficiaries worldwide.

“Bill Winkenwerder is a national health care leader who understands the intricacies of government contracts,” said Mike Hamerlik, President and CEO of WPS. “He has a wealth of knowledge about health care delivery and technological innovations that can help transform the health care system in the United States. We are fortunate to benefit from his expertise on the WPS Board of Directors.”

From 2012 to 2014, Dr. Winkenwerder was President and CEO of Highmark Health, a Pennsylvania-based diversified insurance and health care enterprise, with revenues of $17 billion, employing 38,000 people and serving 35 million individuals. He led a transformation to create the third-largest integrated health care delivery and financing network in the nation. Highmark Health operates Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in multiple states, and provides dental insurance, vision care, and other health services. Highmark Health also operates Allegheny Health Network, comprised of seven hospitals and more than 2,500 affiliated physicians.

Earlier in his career, he held senior leadership positions at Blue Cross of Massachusetts, Prudential Healthcare, and Emory University. Dr. Winkenwerder is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, and a board-certified physician who practiced primary-care medicine.

As a thought leader, Dr. Winkenwerder has been an advocate for preventive health care, evidence-based medicine, internet technology-based solutions, and consumer engagement. He has worked closely with major national employers on their health care cost issues. He has been a health industry strategist, an adviser to presidential candidates, and a news media contributor on health issues.

A graduate of Davidson College in North Carolina and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Dr. Winkenwerder received a Master of Business Administration degree from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.


WPS Health Solutions receives case management award

6/29/2016

OnBase streamlined credentialing process for Medicare provider enrollment

The Workflow Management Coalition has presented WPS Health Solutions with a 2016 Global Award for Excellence in Case Management for its use of OnBase by Hyland to accelerate its data-driven provider credentialing process.

WPS was selected for its use of a dynamic case management solution to connect and automate information to review and enroll physicians and medical facilities that offer Medicare services.

Working with Naviant, an authorized OnBase solution provider, WPS used the OnBase enterprise information platform to:

  • Streamline its credentialing process for provider enrollment
  • Reduce printing costs
  • Simplify its reporting processes related to provider enrollment applications
  • Achieve provider enrollment timeliness and quality standards

“The OnBase case management solution provides a comprehensive view of information tied to the multiple sources our employees need to review and validate for provider enrollment submissions,” said Janet Kyle, Executive Vice President of WPS Government Health Administrators. “The solution helped us drastically reduce processing times and become one of the most efficient Medicare Administrative Contractors for provider enrollment. It’s been so successful that our executive team has decided to expand OnBase across the entire GHA division to gain additional efficiencies.”

Also receiving the 2016 award was Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance of Grinnell, Iowa. The winners were announced on June 28 during the 2016 BPM & Case Management Global Summit in Washington, D.C., where attendees learned about successful and effective business process management (BPM) and case management initiatives.

About Naviant

Founded in 1986, Naviant has been a leader and sophisticated solutions integrator within the progressive evolution of the content management industry. Naviant proudly serves over 2,500 mid-size and global organizations and is headquartered in Wisconsin. As an OnBase Diamond Authorized OnBase Solutions Integrator and Support Provider, Naviant has achieved the highest recognition from Hyland, creator of OnBase, for providing superior technical support to its customers. For more information, please visit Naviant.com.

About OnBase by Hyland

OnBase is a single enterprise information platform for managing content, processes and cases. Providing enterprise content management (ECM), case management, business process management (BPM), records management and capture all on a single platform, OnBase transforms organizations around the globe by empowering them to become more agile, efficient and effective. Enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) for the OnBase platform is available with our complementary offering, ShareBase by Hyland. To learn more about how more than 15,000 organizations are digitizing their workplaces to transform their business operations, visit OnBase.com.


Dr. Michael Ostrov promoted to Chief Medical Officer

6/21/2016

He is the Wisconsin Medical Society’s 2016 Physician Citizen of the Year

Dr. Michael Ostrov has been promoted to Chief Medical Officer for WPS Health Insurance and Arise Health Plan, according to Executive Vice President Scott Kowalski.

Ostrov, who succeeds Dr. Phil Colmenares, had been Medical Director Network and Quality since joining WPS in February 2015.

A family medicine physician, Ostrov previously was Medical Director at Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin in Madison, and Chief Medical Officer at Agrace Hospice and Palliative Care in Madison and Janesville.

In April, Ostrov was named the Wisconsin Medical Society’s 2016 Physician Citizen of the Year. He was selected for his extraordinary efforts in furthering the conversation about advance care planning and end-of-life care in Wisconsin.

A native of Detroit, Ostrov has a degree in psychology from the University of Michigan. He received his medical degree from St. Louis University and completed his residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He earned a master’s degree in administrative medicine from the University of Wisconsin.

WPS Health Insurance and Arise Health Plan are two of the branded business units of WPS Health Solutions. Other brands are WPS Military and Veterans Health, WPS Government Health Administrators, and EPIC Specialty Benefits.


WPS is honored for outstanding support of Air Force Reserve

6/7/2016

Keesler Air Force Base hosts employer appreciation event

WPS Health Solutions recently was recognized by the Air Force Reserve Command for outstanding support as an employer of Air Force Reserve Citizen Airmen.

President and CEO Mike Hamerlik represented WPS at the May 20 employer appreciation event at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi. The 403rd Wing hosted 15 employers of Air Force Reservists from across the nation.

Citizen Airmen nominated their employers for the event, which gave employers the opportunity to learn about the missions of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), Air Force Reserve and 403rd Wing.

Rob Palmer, Vice President of Government Relations at WPS, nominated WPS for the recognition and he also attended the event. An Air Force Reservist who was on active duty for 10 years, Rob came to WPS in 2015 from the Air Force Reserve Command, where he was Director of Public Affairs. Rob continues to serve in the Air Force Reserve assigned to United States Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.

“Even though I’m eligible for retirement from the Reserve, Mike encouraged me to continue to serve,” said Palmer, who holds the rank of colonel. “The support I have received from Mike, the executive staff, and the Veterans Enhancement Team has been incredible.”

Employer support is crucial to Reserve service, said Col. Frank L. Amodeo, 403rd Wing commander. “We can’t do it without your support,” he said.

The 403rd Wing is an Air Force Reserve tenant unit at Keesler that provides weather reconnaissance in support of the Department of Commerce, as well as tactical airlift to transport supplies, equipment and personnel in theaters of operation.

During a tour, employer representatives learned about the capabilities of the WC-130J and C-130J, the 41st Aerial Port Squadron, and 81st Medical Group and Keesler Medical Center.

The 403rd Wing is one of the Reserve and National Guard units that comprise 38 percent of the nation’s available military manpower.

ESGR is a Department of Defense organization established to recognize outstanding employer support, increase awareness of the law, and resolve conflicts between reservists and employers through mediation.


WPS wins Wisconsin business ethics award

5/18/2016

2016 BBB Torch Awards for Business Ethics and Integrity presented by the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau Foundation

WPS Health Solutions is one of the winners of the 2016 BBB Torch Awards for Business Ethics and Integrity, presented by the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau Foundation.

WPS was named the winner in the category for more than 500 employees; Johnsonville Sausage of Sheboygan Falls was runner-up. Earning honorable mentions were CUNA Mutual Group of Madison and ManpowerGroup of Milwaukee. Results were announced on May 17 at a luncheon in Milwaukee. Accepting the award for WPS was Jane Keller-Allen, vice president of Internal Audit, Compliance and Risk.

WPS was nominated by Arianna Schmidt, a senior at Concordia University Wisconsin in Mequon. Her mother, Holly Schmidt, works for a WPS subsidiary, Arise Health Plan, in De Pere. Arianna and her Business Policy classmates worked in groups to choose ethical businesses to nominate for the BBB program. Various WPS departments then compiled supporting documentation for the nomination application, including a testimonial from a community organization.

The Torch Awards program recognizes Wisconsin businesses and nonprofit organizations that demonstrate excellence in ethical practices, service excellence, reputation, honest advertising, peer recognition, management practices and employee training in ethical behavior. A complete list of the results is available at www.bbb.org/wisconsin.


WPS medical leader named Physician Citizen of the Year

3/18/2016

Wisconsin Medical Society recognizes Dr. Michael Ostrov for furthering the conversation about advance care planning

Dr. Michael Ostrov, Medical Director, Network and Quality, at WPS Health Solutions, has been named the Wisconsin Medical Society’s 2016 Physician Citizen of the Year.

He was selected for his extraordinary efforts in furthering the conversation about advance care planning (ACP) and end-of-life care in Wisconsin. Dr. Ostrov will receive the award during the inaugural ceremony at the Society’s Annual Meeting on Saturday, April 2, in Madison. ACP is the process of reflecting on, understanding and discussing future medical decisions, including end-of-life preference.

A family medicine physician, Dr. Ostrov joined WPS in February 2015. He previously was Medical Director at Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin (GHC-SCW) in Madison, and Chief Medical Officer at Agrace Hospice and Palliative Care in Madison and Janesville.

“Dr. Ostrov is a true inspiration to his peers, and has earned the deep appreciation of patients and families throughout Wisconsin and the utmost respect of his colleagues,” said Society Chief Executive Officer Rick Abrams.

In 2012, GHC-SCW became one of the first six organizations to join Honoring Choices Wisconsin, which is the Society’s advance care planning initiative. He also supported the work of a team from GHC-SCW in the design and implementation of a sustainable advance care planning service. At Agrace, he helped develop a program that trained staff to be ACP facilitators.

Under Dr. Ostrov’s leadership in 2015, WPS became one of the first private insurers to offer coverage for advance care planning. Starting in September 2015 for eligible members, WPS Health Insurance and the Arise Health Plan subsidiary began paying for an initial 30-minute counseling session and up to two additional 30-minute sessions within one calendar year.

“High-value health care is a key part of the WPS vision,” said Dr. Phil Colmenares, Chief Medical Officer for WPS. “We are very lucky to have Michael on the team. He genuinely believes in the WPS mission, and his efforts with regard to advance care planning reimbursement are evidence of that.”

Dr. Ostrov said he is honored to receive the award.

“In my work as a family physician, I always found it extremely rewarding to talk with my patients about their life-long health goals. Advance care planning is a new way to foster this conversation. It feels very good to see so much progress being made over the past few years through the combined efforts of the Medical Society and health systems throughout Wisconsin,” he said.

“These ACP conversations are the right thing to do for people and their loved ones, and now is the right time to bring health insurers and doctor’s offices into this picture. I have really appreciated the support many people at WPS have given me in helping create this new ACP coverage program.”

Awarded annually, the Physician Citizen of the Year Award recognizes physicians who have volunteered their time and talents to improve their communities. It also honors the recipients for the civic, economic or charitable services they provide.

With nearly 13,000 members, the Wisconsin Medical Society is the largest association of medical doctors in the state.


WPS presented with Fit-Friendly Worksite gold award

3/15/2016

American Heart Association recognizes employers that encourage physical activity, provide healthy eating options, and promote a culture of wellness

WPS Health Solutions has achieved gold-level status as an American Heart Association Fit-Friendly Worksite.

The Fit-Friendly Worksite designation recognizes employers for encouraging employee physical activity, providing healthy eating options at work, and promoting a culture of wellness. To qualify for gold-level recognition, a worksite must achieve certain criteria in each of those three categories, and all initiatives must be in place for at least one year.

In addition, a Fit-Friendly Worksite employer must adhere to a comprehensive tobacco-free policy that includes access to tobacco cessation resources and treatment options.

“As a health insurer, it’s important for WPS to encourage a healthy lifestyle for our employees,” said Scott Kowalski, Executive Vice President of WPS Health Insurance. “It’s an honor to have the American Heart Association recognize WPS for our health and wellness initiatives. We will continue to encourage employees to manage their health risks and improve their cardiovascular health.”

Fitness-related initiatives at WPS in the past year include:

  • Fitness campaigns for employees throughout the year.
  • Fitness tips on the corporate intranet and a wellness portal that provides information on walking/exercise programs.
  • Walking routes on the campus.
  • Subsidized on-site group fitness classes and personal training before, during and after the work day.
  • Wellness reimbursement program for eligible employees, up to $100 per year. Reimbursable items include gym memberships, fitness trackers, personal training, and Community Supported Agriculture healthy food programs.
  • Nutrition facts information in the cafeterias and on the intranet to help employees make informed decisions.
  • The main campus cafeterias provide employees with a salad bar subsidy. Other subsidized items include prepared salads and veggie cups in the vending areas. The subsidy encourages employees to consume healthier foods.
  • On-site wellness screening available at no cost to employees, along with an online health risk assessment.
  • WPS team for the American Heart Association Heart Walk, along with educational campaigns to raise awareness of the risk of heart disease and stroke.

First-responder program that provides training in first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and automated external defibrillator (AED) units.


Lottery sweepstakes scam

3/14/2016

WPS Health Solutions has become aware of a lottery sweepstakes scam in which fraudulent checks bearing the WPS name are being utilized. Individuals are contacted via mail with a letter from Unity Financial Company informing them that they are “winners” of a EUROPEAN, AFRICAN AND USA Consumer Sweepstake for the amount of $250,000. Accompanying the letter is a fraudulent check bearing the “Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation” name. The instructions on the letter inform the “winner” that the attached check is to help pay the processing fee of the winnings. The “winner” is instructed to return, via MoneyGram Money Transfer or Western Union, a portion of the funds from the cashed check.

Individuals receiving this letter and check should be aware that individuals may be trying to gain access to their bank accounts, or other personal information. Individuals who cash the check may be putting themselves at financial risk. Once the bank determines the check is fraudulent, the individual who cashed the check could be held responsible for returning funds back to the bank. Anyone who receives this lottery sweepstakes scam letter and check is encouraged to report it to WPS at 608-977-5000 and ask to speak to Jane Keller-Allen or Angela Julian, WPS compliance officers.


WPS and its marketing agency win 11 advertising awards

3/8/2016

Local program showcases branding initiative at WPS and its subsidiaries

WPS Health Solutions and its agency, Rippe Keane Marketing, won 11 awards at the American Advertising Federation’s annual ADDY Awards ceremony for the Madison chapter.

The awards feature a new branding strategy unveiled in 2015, as well as a WPS Medicare Supplement commercial for television and in-theater audiences.

“This is unprecedented for WPS Health Solutions and unusual for one company to win so many awards,” said Ellen Foley, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at WPS. “One video, for EPIC Specialty Benefits, won three awards, proving that the quality of work is solidly at the top of the local market.”

The awards, which were presented on Feb. 27, recognize the work of Scott Rippe and the team at Rippe Keane Marketing, as well as the WPS multimedia team and writing/editing group, both led by Stephanie Tervort.

The gold-winning entries now advance to regional competition.

Here are the awards won by WPS in conjunction with Rippe Keane Marketing:

  • GOLD: EPIC Specialty Benefits Brand Story Video (video editing category)
  • GOLD: EPIC Specialty Benefits Brand Story Video (copywriting category)
  • GOLD: WPS Medicare Supplement spot (cinema category)
  • SILVER: WPS Brand Introduction Video (voiceover category)
  • SILVER: Arise Health Plan Brand Video (voiceover category)
  • SILVER: Arise Health Plan Brand Video (copywriting category)
  • SILVER: Arise Health Plan Brand Story Video (video, branded content/entertainment, non-broadcast category)
  • SILVER: WPS Medicare Supplement spot (video editing category)
  • SILVER: WPS Medicare Supplement spot (regional television category)
  • SILVER: WPS Health Insurance Brand Video (copywriting category)
  • SILVER: EPIC Specialty Benefits Brand Story Video (video, branded content/entertainment, non-broadcast category)

More about the branding program at WPS Health Solutions:
WPS unveiled a major branding project in 2015 to focus on the distinctive characteristics of the company’s various lines of business. For years, the company was commonly known as WPS Health Insurance, but that doesn’t fully describe its diverse portfolio of products and services.

The company’s new parent brand is WPS Health Solutions. It serves as the umbrella for five other brands that directly serve customers.

They are:

  • WPS Health Insurance
  • Arise Health Plan
  • WPS Military and Veterans Health (formerly known as the TRICARE Division)
  • WPS Government Health Administrators (formerly known as the Medicare Division)
  • EPIC Specialty Benefits (formerly known as The EPIC Life Insurance Company)

Following extensive research and analysis, attributes were selected to describe each of the brands. These attributes serve as the road map to help our employees focus on providing the best possible service to our customers.


WPS announces new VP of Provider Relations

3/7/2016

Mark Xistris has decades of experience working with health care providers

Mark Xistris is the new Vice President of Provider Relations at WPS Health Solutions. He succeeds Brett Davis, who became President of Aspirus Arise Health Plan of Wisconsin.

Xistris comes to WPS from The Alliance, a Madison-based cooperative of more than 240 self-funded employers and insurance trusts. He joined The Alliance in 1997 and held positions of increasing responsibility, most recently as Vice President, Business Development and Provider Relations. Earlier in his career, he worked in managed care contracting at UW Health in Madison

Since 2005, Xistris has been a member of the board of directors of the Wisconsin Health Information Organization. WHIO is Wisconsin’s all-payer claims database, governed by a board that includes providers, insurance carriers, employers, and the state of Wisconsin. He is in his second term as treasurer and is chair of the Audit and Finance Committee.

Xistris earned a Master of Accountancy – Health Care Fiscal Management from the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


WPS chosen as one of World’s Most Ethical Companies®

3/7/2016

WPS Health Solutions has been recognized by the Ethisphere® Institute as a 2016 World’s Most Ethical Company®. This is the seventh time that WPS has been honored with the award.

Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation (WPS Health Solutions) is one of 131 companies being recognized this year.

“We at WPS take pride in having an effective compliance program, a culture of ethics, and a commitment to good corporate citizenship, effective leadership and solid governance,” said WPS Vice President of Internal Audit, Compliance and Risk Jane Keller-Allen. “The Ethisphere award validates our efforts and inspires us to continue to always do the right thing,” she said.

"Companies rely on Ethisphere to continually raise and measure the standards of corporate behavior,” said Ethisphere Chief Executive Officer Timothy Erblich. “Those that demonstrate leadership in areas like citizenship, integrity and transparency create more value for their investors, communities, customers and employees, thus solidifying a sustainable business advantage."

The World's Most Ethical Company assessment is based upon the Ethisphere Institute’s Ethics Quotient™ (EQ) framework developed over years of research and vetted and refined by the expert advice from its Methodology Advisory Panel. The EQ offers a quantitative way to assess a company’s performance in an objective, consistent and standardized way.

The information collected provides a comprehensive sampling of definitive criteria of core competencies. Scores are generated in five key categories: ethics and compliance program (35%); corporate citizenship and responsibility (20%); culture of ethics (20%); governance (15%); and leadership, innovation and reputation (10%).

The full list of the 2016 World's Most Ethical Companies can be found at worldsmostethicalcompanies.ethisphere.com/honorees/.


Shannon Frazier and family saluted for Operation Fan Mail

1/3/2016

The Green Bay Packers and Arise Health Plan paid special tribute to Capt. Shannon Frazier and her family during Sunday’s Packers-Vikings game for Operation Fan Mail.

Frazier, originally from Oconto, Wis., has served in the U.S. Army since 1996, when she enlisted as an automated logistical specialist.

During her 19 years in the military, she has served as budget officer for the United States Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C. While in this position, she was twice deployed to Afghanistan and served as a military liaison at the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) in the Pentagon.

Frazier has participated in five combat deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Inherent Resolve. She is part of a family tradition of military service, as her father, Barry Danford, is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, and her nephew, Spc. Nathan Danford, serves in the U.S. Army Reserves.

Currently, Frazier is assigned as the Commander of Charlie Detachment, 4th Financial Management Support Unit, at Fort Bliss, Texas, and she has just returned from a nine-month deployment to Qatar.

Frazier attended Sunday’s game with her mother, Suzann, and her sisters, Stacy and Sandra.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and Arise Health Plan will host a family at each 2015 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 85 individuals or families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and Arise Health Plan are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail/.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from Arise Health Plan. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.