WHA Workforce Council Considers Opportunities to Grow, Support WI Health Care Workforce

February 27, 2020

WHA’s Council on Workforce Development met Feb. 21 to learn about and to provide their expertise and experience in growing, retaining and best utilizing Wisconsin’s health care workforce.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Policy Chief Linda McCart provided an update to the council on the impressive progress being made with WHA-backed workforce grant programs focusing on graduate medical education (GME) residency, advanced practice clinicians (APC) and allied health professions (AHP).

Several members of the WHA Council on Workforce Development are utilizing GME, APC and/or AHP grants and were able to share their experience with the DHS policy chief. All agreed training programs are a costly but very necessary endeavor and that the grants are beneficial in promoting this investment. Just one component of the grant program, the GME matching grants, have spurred an investment of $32.6 million in more than 20 public-private partnerships to create new or expanded Wisconsin GME residency opportunities.

McCart shared both accomplishments and lessons learned by DHS and participants since the initiation of the first GME grants in 2013. McCart and her team are available to answer questions and break down barriers for Wisconsin hospitals and health systems wishing to utilize these grant dollars.

WHA Vice President, Workforce and Clinical Practice Ann Zenk presented an overview of WHA’s 2019 Wisconsin Health Care Workforce Report. Zenk shared information and recommendations from the report, noting that hospital data and hospital leaders’ experience and expertise provide a valuable perspective to this annual analysis that helps policymakers key in on good health care policy, and that drives WHA’s workforce agenda.

WHA Senior Vice President of Government Relations Kyle O’Brien, and WHA Director Federal & State Relations Jon Hoelter joined the group to discuss the achievement of WHA workforce legislative priorities during this session. These accomplishments include making permanent Wisconsin’s participation in the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, enabling qualified APCs to make competency determinations along with a physician for the purpose of activating a patient’s advance directive, creating enhanced penalties for violence against health care workers and reforming Medicaid telehealth regulations.

There are still barriers that must be overcome if we are to grow our workforce faster, utilize the health care workforce we have more wisely, and best leverage technology to benefit access and the workforce. Hoelter updated the council on WHA’s federal efforts to open up telemedicine access for Medicare beneficiaries and to remove arbitrary and outdated caps on GME funding.

WHA’s Council on Workforce Development is made up of human resource, nursing and executive leaders from a cross-section of Wisconsin hospitals. Contact Ann Zenk with questions or feedback about the important work of this WHA council.


This story originally appeared in the February 27, 2020 edition of WHA Newsletter