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HealthPartners western Wisconsin hospitals are among top U.S. rural hospitals for excellence

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Access to health care services is critical to good health, but it can prove challenging for the 60 million Americans who live in rural areas.

Today, on National Rural Health Day, the Chartis Center of Rural Health and the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) recognized top-performing rural hospitals across the U.S.

Amery Hospital & Clinic, Hudson Hospital & Clinic and Westfields Hospital & Clinic were highlighted in the following categories:

  • Amery Hospital & Clinic: Overall excellence in quality and outcomes;
  • Hudson Hospital & Clinic: Overall excellence in outcomes;
  • Westfields Hospital & Clinic: Overall excellence in quality and patient perspectives.

Hospitals recognized reflect top quartile performance among all rural hospitals in the nation.

“National Rural Health Day provides the ideal opportunity to spotlight the power of rural and recognize those facilities excelling in quality, patient satisfaction and outcomes,” said Michael Topchik, National Leader, the Chartis Center for Rural Health. “We’re thrilled to partner with NOSORH on this program and commend this year’s recipients who are working diligently to provide quality care within their communities.”

Across the U.S., it’s easier to access a doctor in urban areas than for citizens living in rural areas. Rural communities often have fewer physicians. It’s part of the reason HealthPartners launched its Western Wisconsin Rural Family Medicine Program. The inaugural two residents, Catherine Kress, DO, and Jessica Miller, MD, are in their first year of residency at Methodist Hospital. In 2019, they’ll move to Amery Hospital & Clinic and Westfields Hospital & Clinic, respectively, for the last two years of the residency.

Dr. Kress is from Eau Claire, Wis., and saw the value of rural health care delivery from a young age thanks to her mother – also a doctor.

“I always knew that I wanted to help people. My early experiences in health care led me where I am today,” said Dr. Kress. “Especially in a rural place where the local clinic sees a variety of patients, this family medicine residency will help me provide the most benefit to the community.”

Dr. Miller has a special interest in reducing inequities in health care and appreciates the high volume of complex patients she’s seeing during the first year of the residency at the larger metropolitan hospital.

“I’ve already seen great examples of nurses and doctors caring for patients at Methodist Hospital,” said Dr. Miller. “I’m excited to take these skills into western Wisconsin’s rural communities, reduce disparities there, and build relationships with my patients.”

For more information on the HealthPartners Western Wisconsin Family Medicine Residency Program, visit

About the Performance Leadership Awards

The Performance Leadership Awards are determined each year using iVantage Health Analytics’ Hospital Strength INDEX®, the industry’s most comprehensive and objective assessment of rural hospital performance. Leveraging data from public data sources, the INDEX aggregates data from 50 rural-relevant metrics across eight pillars to derive a single overall percentile rating for all Critical Access Hospitals and Rural & Community Hospitals. The Performance Leadership Awards spotlight top performance in the areas of Quality, Outcomes and Patient Perspective.


The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) was established in 1995 to assist State Offices of Rural Health in their efforts to improve access to, and the quality of, health care for America’s 61 million rural citizens. NOSORH enhances the capacity of SORHs to do this by supporting the development of state and community rural health leaders; creating and facilitating state, regional and national partnerships that foster information sharing and spur rural health-related programs/activities; and enhancing access to quality healthcare services in rural communities.

About The Chartis Group

The Chartis Group® (Chartis) provides comprehensive advisory services and analytics to the healthcare industry. With an unparalleled depth of expertise in strategic planning, performance excellence, informatics and technology, and health analytics, Chartis helps leading academic medical centers, integrated delivery networks, children’s hospitals and healthcare service organizations achieve transformative results. The Chartis Center for Rural Health (CCRH) was formed in 2016 to offer tailored services, performance management solutions, research and education to rural hospitals and facilities. Learn more at