Wisconsin Ranked Top State for Nurses; Among Top Ten States for Senior Health

May 12, 2017

For those of us who live here, we know Wisconsin is a great state to live, work and play. But it is always nice to have an outside group confirm what we know to be true. 

This week, Wisconsin came out on top in a WalletHub ranking of the best and worst states for nurses. The ranking was based on pay, the quality of the nursing schools, the number of elderly expected to be in the state in 2030, number of job openings, the number of health care facilities and work hours, to name just a few. See their methodology.

In a recent panel discussion in Milwaukee, WHA Board Chair Catherine Jacobson voiced her concerns about workforce shortages, including nurses. She said the aging of the population in Wisconsin is significant for what it will mean for the health care delivery system and workforce needs. 

While health care professional shortages loom, another ranking indicates Wisconsin providers are paying special attention to ensure older adults receive the care they need.

United Health Foundation’s America Health Rankings Senior Report ranked Wisconsin tenth in the nation for senior health care, up three spots from the last report in 2013.

Key findings in Wisconsin were:
  • On clinical care measures, Wisconsin was the 7th best state overall, rating 5th in the nation in diabetes management, 4th on health screenings, and 9th on hospital deaths of Medicare decedents aged 65 years and over. Since 2013, hospital deaths decreased 30 percent from 25 percent to 17.5 percent.
  • Food insecurity among seniors was low, while volunteerism was high at 7th best in the nation.
The report noted that in the past three years in Wisconsin, the geriatrician shortfall increased 19 percent, from 52.9 percent to 63.2 percent. 

“While all states struggle to recruit physicians who specialize in caring for older adults, Wisconsin’s population is aging at a faster rate than many other states,” according to WHA President/CEO Eric Borgerding. “This report confirms that we must continue to focus on creating more opportunities in our state to educate and retain geriatricians, psychiatrists and other specialists in high-demand areas of medicine.” 

That is why WHA is a strong supporter of a package of workforce, quality improvement and population health legislation known as the Rural Wisconsin Initiative (RWI). The legislative package provides matching grant funding for the training of advanced practice clinicians and allied health professionals in rural Wisconsin hospitals, state support for the expansion of quality improvement work provided by WHA and a one-time matching grant program to provide seed money for the development of medical wellness facilities and programs in rural Wisconsin. Read more here.

“The Rural Wisconsin Initiative bolsters our state’s health care infrastructure by ensuring we have a workforce in place to care for our residents by creating in-state opportunities for health care professionals to complete their education and training,” Borgerding said. “We are very proud of the fact that health care is an economic development asset in our state. We want to do everything we can to ensure we have the workforce necessary to deliver high-quality, high-value care in all of our communities.”

This story originally appeared in the May 12, 2017 edition of WHA Newsletter