WHA Lauds Grants to Help Create New Physician Training Programs in Rural, Underserved Areas

Mary Kay Grasmick, 608-274-1820, 575-7516

MADISON (May 28, 2014) --- The news that six Wisconsin hospitals will receive grants to help them establish new residency training programs in their communities was well-received by the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA).

WHA praised the grants program, which will provide $3.3 million over the next three years to the six hospitals.  The funds will be used by the hospitals to create new medical residencies for physicians to complete their training in rural or underserved areas of the state.

“WHA is extremely pleased to see six hospitals receive grants to help them provide this advanced training,” said WHA President Steve Brenton. “These hospitals are assuming a huge responsibility and committing a tremendous amount of human and financial capital to create the infrastructure necessary to educate and train new physicians for Wisconsin. The grants will boost these efforts by providing the support these organizations need to build much-needed new residency programs.”

Gov. Scott Walker included funding for the new residency programs in the 2013-2015 biennial budget; a move that was supported by research from, and strongly backed by, WHA.

A 2011 study by WHA, 100 New Physicians a Year: An Imperative for Wisconsin, predicts the Badger State will face a shortage of 2,000 physicians by 2030 if steps are not taken to address the problem.  According to the same study, new physicians are much more likely to practice in the area where they complete their residency, a finding that drove the funding initiative.    

“We applaud Governor Walker’s and the Legislature’s remarkable investment in Wisconsin’s future physician workforce. The grants will go a long way in helping these hospitals establish new on-site residency programs that will educate and train primary care physicians who will care for Wisconsin patients and families for years to come,” according to WHA Executive Vice President Eric Borgerding. “Ensuring that Wisconsin has an adequate supply of physicians to meet the demand for care is a top WHA priority and we are committed to continue partnering with state and federal policymakers, Wisconsin’s medical schools and our members to build on these important steps.”

The Association credited members of the Joint Finance Committee for maintaining the Governor’s residency funding initiative in the last budget.  Specifically, WHA praised Reps. John Nygren and John Klenke who met with hospital leaders and residency program directors in Green Bay to discuss the impact this program will have on addressing Wisconsin’s physician workforce shortage.  Today’s grant announcement from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reaffirms the demand that currently exists to provide additional graduate medical education opportunities all across the state of Wisconsin.      

The physician workforce issue is a high priority for the Wisconsin Hospital Association, whose members employ the vast majority of Wisconsin’s practicing physicians.  WHA was instrumental in helping to create the Wisconsin Council on Medical Education and Workforce (WCMEW). Since its inception, WCMEW has been a leading voice in identifying Wisconsin health care workforce needs and in crafting sound public policy solutions.

WHA has issued two comprehensive reports that have catalyzed high-level engagement and action among stakeholders interested in expanding Wisconsin’s medical education and training system.  A link to WHA’s most recent report, “100 New Physicians a Year: An Imperative for Wisconsin” is here:






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