WHA Workforce Council Previews Annual Workforce Report

Workforce growth, top of license practice and reduced regulatory burden are essential

October 09, 2018

Ann Zenk, WHA Vice President, Workforce and Clinical Practice, presented a preview of WHA’s 2018 Annual Health Care Workforce Report for WHA’s Council on Workforce Development at their October 4 meeting. The workforce challenges highlighted in this year’s report include physician shortages in primary care, rapid growth in advanced practice clinician employment, and increased difficulty in finding entry-level workers.  The report also explores rapid adoption of telemedicine and technology, as well as electronic health records affecting and impacted by regulatory burden, trends.

“WHA created matching grant programs for graduate medical education, advanced practice clinicians, and allied health professionals to grow essential segments of Wisconsin’s health care workforce,” Zenk noted. “To meet the demands of a rapidly aging population and sustain the high-quality health care our state expects and deserves, we also need to make sure all members of the health care team can work to the top of their skill, training, and experience, and we need to remove unnecessary regulatory burdens placed on health care providers.”

Finding certified nursing assistants (CNAs) continues to be one of the most challenging issues facing the health care workforce. An adequate CNA workforce could increase access to the post-acute care options important to patients and providers. Lack of access results in overuse of inpatient and outpatient hospital services. Laura Rose, WHA Vice President of Policy, presented an update of WHA’s post-acute care efforts, including issues identified and efforts underway to improve access to post-acute care.

During Rose’s presentation, Council members highlighted their organization’s involvement in Wisconsin’s efforts to grow the CNA workforce, like the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ WisCaregiver Career program, the Department of Workforce Development’s health care apprenticeship efforts, and the Department of Public Instruction’s development of health care career pathways as part of its Pathways program.

For example, Aurora Health Care is using one of these resources to address a workforce crisis that resonated with the rest of the council.  A stunning 60% of the workers in the facilities management segment of Aurora’s workforce are 55 and older.  This number is much higher than the 17 percent reported for the overall workforce in the latest WHA hospital personnel survey.

Aurora Health Care is addressing their crisis with a Facilities Management Internship program.  Aurora would like to spread their model throughout the state, noting, “This model will attract younger members to this profession, and may also be useful for other professions, like certified nursing assistants, where we see high turnover and competition from other industries.”

Readers interested in growing segments of their workforce, better utilizing their existing workforce, or reducing regulatory burden on health care teams can contact Ann Zenk or any member of WHA’s Government Relations team.

This story originally appeared in the October 09, 2018 edition of WHA Newsletter