Health Transformation Awards

In 2015, The Alliance Board of Directors established the Health Transformation Awards program to recognize people and/or organizations that demonstrate alignment with The Alliance mission of moving health care forward.

Now is the time to nominate someone for the 2017 award – and find out what some of our previous winners are doing to continue to transform health care.

2017 Call for Nominations

If you know of an individual or organization that is moving health care forward we urge you to nominate them for our 2017 award. The 2017 Health Transformation Award ceremony will take place at The Alliance Annual Seminar on May 16 at the Monona Terrace in Madison, Wis.

Use our award criteria below to help identify nominees.

Award Criteria

Specifically, award recipients must demonstrate their commitment to promoting effective change in the health care marketplace based on one or more of the following criteria:

  • Exploring new approaches to delivering care.
  • Exploring new approaches to paying for care.
  • Improving the quality of care using a systematic, process-oriented approach that can be adapted and implemented by other organizations.
  • Collaborating with other organizations to develop innovative solutions to significant health care problems.
  • Advancing our understanding of how to engage consumers in making better decisions about their care.
  • Providing extraordinary leadership among employers related to health benefits, specifically by representing employers’ interests and/or developing a consensus on important issues among a significant number of employers.

Nomination Form

As we call for 2017 nominations, we wanted to take a quick look back at the individuals and organizations who were recognized in 2015 and 2016 for making a positive impact on health care in their communities.

2015 Award Recipients 2016 Award Recipients
Dianne Kiehl, former executive director,
The Business Health Care Group
Beaver Dam Community Hospital
QualityPath Designated Hospitals and Doctors

  • St. Mary’s Hospital
    Dr. Vijay Kantemneni
  • St. Clare Hospital & Health Services
    Dr. Christopher Dale
  • Rockford Memorial Hospita
    Dr. Michael Chmell
    Dr. Mark Barba
  • Monroe Clinic
    Dr. Lance Sathoff
  • Meriter Hospital
    Dr. James Bowers


The Leapfrog Group
  • SMARTCare
    Dr. Thomas Lewandowski
    Dr. Anthony DeFranco
    Dr. Tim Bartholow


Natasha Plank-Ottum,
Plank Enterprises
Valerie Shields,
QualityPath First Patient
Webcrafters, Inc.

An Update from Three Award Recipients

So what have the award recipients been up to since they received The Alliance’s Health Care Transformation Award?

Beaver Dam Community Hospital

Beaver Dam Community Hospitals

For the third year in a row, BDCH has received a prestigious Top Hospital Distinction Award. This award is given to hospitals who demonstrate excellence in hospital safety and quality through the Leapfrog Hospital Survey.

BDCH is still the first and only rural community hospital in Wisconsin to receive this award.

Beaver Dam Community Hospital (BDCH) received a Health Transformation Award in 2016 for its work in improving quality of care using a systematic, process-oriented approach that can be adapted and implemented by other organizations.

BDCH is also making a commitment to their community by participating in the Blue Zones Project which helps improve the region’s overall health and wellness. The Blue Zones Project draws upon more than 200 evidence-based practices to help restaurants, schools, churches, grocery stores and worksites make sustainable changes that encourage healthier choices.

Their goal is to help Dodge County become the healthiest county in the state. To learn more about their work with the Blue Zones Project visit

The Leapfrog Group

The Leapfrog Group

The Leapfrog Group is continuing to lead the way in identifying facilities that may be harmful to an individual’s health. For more than 16 years, Leapfrog has inspired and led a movement uniting purchasers and patients to use transparency to improve the safety and quality of our health care system.

It is reported that 1,000 people die a day from a preventable hospital error. The Leapfrog Group is trying to reduce that number by collecting data from hospitals and making the community aware by giving them a grade from A to F.

The Alliance is a regional leader for The Leapfrog Group in Wisconsin to help spread the word about their work. And we also include their safety scores on our Find a Doctor site to make all of our enrollees aware of the quality of care they may receive if they choose to go to a specific facility.

Leapfrog’s commentary is now appearing on national networks such as Forbes, The Huffington Post and the Wall Street Journal.


SMARTCare was awarded a health transformation award back in 2015 to the three physicians who helped develop the program.

SMARTCare stands for Smarter Management and Resource Use for Today’s Complex Cardiac Care. The program is designed to improve care for patients who have non-emergent chest pain due to heart disease at the right time and place.

SMARTCare aims to achieve three goals:

  1. Reduction of imaging procedures not meeting appropriate use criteria.
  2. Reduction in the percentage of percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs) not meeting appropriate use criterial while achieving high levels of patient engagement and lower rates of complications. PCIs, which is also called angioplasty, is used to open blocked coronary arteries without surgery.
  3. An increase in the percentage of stable ischemic heart disease patients with optimal risk factor modification.

The program is being tested at five locations in Wisconsin and five locations in Florida and received funding of more than $15 million from the American College of Cardiology Foundation.

On Aug. 19, 2016, the program released a year one evaluation report.

The report states that the many different methods and tools being tested in the program will help save money by:

  • Performing fewer unnecessary tests and procedures; SMARTCare can reduce unnecessary care to less than 8 percent of procedures.
  • Eliminating prior authorization, which delays the delivery of appropriate care to the patient and increases administrative expenses for the health plan and physician.

Cheryl DeMars

Cheryl DeMars

President & CEO at The Alliance
Cheryl DeMars joined The Alliance in 1992, assuming several roles before becoming CEO in December 2006. Cheryl works with the Board of Directors and senior leadership team to establish the strategic direction of the cooperative.

Cheryl participates in a number of national and regional initiatives that align with The Alliance’s mission of controlling costs, improving quality and engaging individuals in their health. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the board of the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality.

Prior to joining The Alliance, Cheryl was a program manager at Meriter Hospital in Madison. She earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Cheryl DeMars