Catherine Jacobson to Chair the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership

Froedtert Health CEO Leads Collaboration of Health Care Leaders


Catherine Jacobson, President and CEO of Froedtert Health, will serve as the next chairperson of the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership, a public-private consortium dedicated to improving health care for underserved populations in Milwaukee County. Jacobson succeeds Mark R. Taylor, recently retired CEO of Columbia St. Mary’s Health System.

Jacobson will work with Joy Tapper, the Partnership’s Executive Director to advance the members’ strategic goals, which focus on ensuring adequate and affordable health insurance coverage, improving access to quality health care providers and services, and enhancing care coordination across the delivery network. Her two-year term began in July, and follows a dynamic year of insurance coverage changes related to the Affordable Care Act, during which more than 120,000 low-income Milwaukee residents became eligible for public or private health insurance.

“This is an important time for the Partnership,” says Jacobson. “With many more people in Milwaukee County enrolled in BadgerCare Plus, or entering the health insurance Marketplace, we need to assure that there is adequate access to primary care and specialty services, including behavioral health care, in Milwaukee’s underserved neighborhoods. The health systems, community health centers, and our academic and government partners recognize that our collaborative work is essential to improving the health of vulnerable populations – and our community overall.”

“The Partnership members are grateful for the leadership provided by Mark Taylor and his predecessors,” adds Tapper. “As a health system executive and community leader, Cathy continues a strong commitment by the board to leverage the Partnership’s unique role to improve health outcomes, reduce disparities, and reduce the overall cost of care.” Through 2013, almost half of Milwaukee County’s population was considered medically vulnerable. Currently, 33% of county residents are now covered by a Medicaid program (54% of Milwaukee children are covered by BadgerCare), and 10-12% are estimated to be uninsured at any given point.

Since the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership’s formation as a public / private consortium in 2007, its members have aligned funding to improve care delivery in low-income communities, successfully moved thousands of uninsured individuals into coverage, increased capacity at safety net clinics, and increased access to affordable medications. Its ED to Medical Home initiative has garnered national recognition for successfully linking over 35,000 uninsured and underinsured emergency department patients to primary care medical homes since 2009, demonstrating a 44% reduction in subsequent hospital visits. These activities are in addition to individual member contributions; including the health systems’ community benefit investments, which combined with charity care and Medicaid shortfalls for under-reimbursed services in Milwaukee, totaled $513.6 million in 2013.

About Catherine Jacobson

Catherine Jacobson joined Froedtert Health in 2010 as the Executive Vice President of Finance and Strategy. She became President of Froedtert Health in 2011, responsible for all operations of the health system as well as strategic and financial planning. She assumed the CEO role in 2012. Prior to joining Froedtert Health, Jacobson spent 22 years at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago in a variety of roles including chief financial officer of Rush’s health plan and as chief compliance officer for the health system. She was appointed chief financial officer and treasurer of the health system in 2002 and was senior vice president of Strategic Planning and Finance, chief financial officer, and treasurer until 2010. Since her arrival in Milwaukee in 2010, Jacobson has been actively engaged in community organizations.  She currently serves on the boards of directors for the United Way of Greater Milwaukee, Blood Center of Wisconsin, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, and the Wisconsin Hospital Association. She is a member of the Greater Milwaukee Committee and the UW-Milwaukee College of Health Sciences Dean’s Advisory Board. Jacobson is also the Chair of the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center Board and the Integrated Health Network of Wisconsin Board.  Her regional and national involvement includes the Board of Ohio-based Mercy Health (formerly Catholic Health Partners) and the Governing Council of the AHA Section for Metropolitan Hospitals.

About the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership

Founded in 2007, the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership is an unincorporated, managed consortium committed to improving coverage, access and care coordination for low income uninsured and Medicaid receipts in Milwaukee County. Members include the five Milwaukee-based health systems – Aurora Health Care, Children’s Hospital and Health System, Colombia St. Mary’s Health System, Froedtert Health, and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare; the four federally qualified health centers – Progressive Community Health Centers, Milwaukee Health Services, Inc., Outreach Community Health Centers, and Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers; the Medical College of Wisconsin; and the City, County and State health departments. In 2012, the Partnership received the Wisconsin Hospital Association Foundation’s Global Vision Award for creativity, innovation, partnership and collaboration in meeting community health needs. In 2011, the Partnership received the American Hospital Association’s NOVA Award for hospital-led collaborative efforts to improve community health.   The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and other national health care organizations have also recognized the Partnership for its collaborative work. For more information, visit