WCMEW Conference Focus on Collaboration, Health Care Workforce Issues

WHA: Policy, practice and payment all influence supply and demand

September 29, 2017

As two famous Pete’s noted—Drucker and Peter Sanderson, MD, medical director, informatics and ambulatory regulation, Ascension Wisconsin in his conference session—“If you want to predict the future, create it.” 

More than 100 health care workforce stakeholders gathered September 27 at the Wisconsin Council on Medical Education and Workforce (WCMEW) conference, “The Future Landscape of Wisconsin’s Health Care Workforce,” to collaborate, compare perspectives and create solutions to Wisconsin’s workforce challenges.

As Ann Zenk, WHA vice president, workforce & clinical practice noted, “Workforce reports from WHA, the Wisconsin Center for Nursing and other tools and resources, such as those created by the Department of Workforce Development (https://jobcenterofwisconsin.com/HealthCare/Default.aspx), inspire us to collaborate, cooperate and act together, to create the workforce needed to sustain Wisconsin’s top-quality health care now and in the future.”

Zenk, along with Bob Van Meeteren, CEO, Reedsburg Area Medical Center (RAMC) and Bruce Palzkill, deputy administrator, Department of Workforce Development (DWD), participated in a panel: “Public Policy that Bolsters the Wisconsin Health Care Workforce,” moderated by Kyle O’Brien, WHA senior vice president, government affairs. The panelists and O’Brien discussed policies and health care trends that impact the health care workforce. 

“Technology is advancing at a rapid pace,” said Zenk. “We have an opportunity to work with technology experts, educators, policymakers, health care leaders and clinicians to build technology, policy and processes that serve the patient and the health care team, rather than a workforce to serve technology.” 

Van Meeteren shared an example of how RAMC is approaching this paradigm through the use of virtual scribes to support providers documenting in electronic health records.

Palzkill said interns are another way to grow a workforce locally. “Of those who complete an internship, 62 percent join the company as an employee,” he said. Palzkill highlighted DWD’s Fast Forward program. 

Building on Palzkill’s point, O’ Brien added, “The Rural Wisconsin Initiative is built on the foundation that physicians who complete a rural residency in Wisconsin stay in Wisconsin to practice in rural areas.”

O’Brien and Van Meeteren both cited engaging with legislators as a key takeaway for attendees. “Workforce is a big issue, and it is a focus of the State Legislature,” O’Brien said, “Now is the time to engage.”

Zenk said, “We all understand health care and the issues we’re facing, and we even have ideas for how to solve them, but what we don’t always know is how to get there.”  She offered attendees a roadmap developed by WHA, noting, “Using WHA’s 3Ps model, Practice, Policy, and Payment, allows health care organizations and their trustees, educational institutions, policymakers, community leaders, and other key stakeholders to assess recommendations and determine priorities, evaluate feasibility and foresee barriers, and choose next steps to translate recommendations into policy, practice and payment changes.”

The 3Ps were referenced by presenters and attendees throughout the day, including by Elizabeth Petty, MD, senior associate dean, academic affairs, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Petty noted, “When we think about the 3Ps and education and workforce, we should add two more—pipelines and preparation.” 

To learn more about WHA’s 3Ps Model, see 2017WHA3Ps.pdf or contact Ann Zenk at 608-274-1820 or azenk@wha.org.

This story originally appeared in the September 29, 2017 edition of WHA Newsletter