Improve the health of the people of Wisconsin by supporting and strengthening physicians' ability to practice high-quality patient care in a changing environment.

Policy Compendium

Policy Compendium Home

View Access & Financing Policies

UNS-007: Workforce Development Recommendations

Workforce Development Recommendations: Ensuring a sufficient physician workforce in Wisconsin will require a comprehensive, multifaceted approach. The following recommendations
offer guidance to achieving that goal:

  1. Work with stakeholders to reduce the burden of financial debt on medical students: The Society should work with partners to minimize the impact of medical student loan debt and financial debt on medical students, residents and physicians’ decisions regarding their practice of medicine choices and opportunities.
  2. Support medical programs that place students in urban, rural and other underserved areas, such as WARM and TRIUMPH: These valuable programs increase the likelihood that graduates will serve in medically underserved areas and in specialties that face shortages. Admission of in-state students in WARM, and involvement in local communities as part of both programs increase the likelihood of retention.
  3. Support expansion of medical student training capacity: The expansion of MCW to establish two new community-based campuses in Wisconsin to house condensed medical programs is likely to foster a strong relationship between underserved local communities and prospective physicians, thereby increasing the chances of retention.
  4. Sustain short-term financial incentives while exploring better longer-term financial incentive alternatives: Short-term financial incentives are unlikely to solve longer-term workforce shortages. These incentives should not be removed, but there are better alternatives for use of financial resources than increasing these incentives.
  5. Carefully evaluate the need for more strategic use of GME funding: While more GME funding is needed if the number of medical graduates seeking residencies in Wisconsin increases, residencies in certain specialties have been under filled for years. Therefore, more attention is needed to evaluate GME funding as the changes are made in the medical education and health care sector of Wisconsin.
  6. Work with and bring together stakeholders to organize a new physician reentry program: As the largest association of physicians in the state, the Society should invite various stakeholders to help design a program that ensures trained, clinically inactive physicians are properly assessed and assisted to fulfill requirements for a safe and successful reentry.
  7. Work to reestablish a statewide physician health program: Because the medical profession can adversely affect the physical and emotional well-being of physicians, the Wisconsin Medical Society should work to reorganize and reestablish a physician health program to make sure that valuable health care resources such as physicians are not lost. Such a program will demonstrate the Society’s commitment to helping physicians and ensuring patient safety. This program need not be re-established within the Wisconsin Medical Society, but the Society must take the lead in ensuring that physicians experiencing substance misuse, mental illness, or similar difficulty have a non-punitive place to receive the care, treatment and help they need.
  8. Support the concept of team-based care: The Society should support the concept of team-based care and work to ensure that all professions are practicing to the optimal potential of their licenses.
  9. Maintain and expand the role of the Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation is supporting physician workforce development issues: The Foundation should continue to provide loans and scholarships to medical students, especially to those who demonstrate a commitment towards serving Wisconsin. It should maintain efforts to engage medical students with its physician members to work on community-based projects. The Foundation should strengthen its efforts to connect medical students with physician mentors. While students should be able to explore various opportunities, the Foundation should ensure that the mentors guide and encourage students to stay and practice in Wisconsin.
  10. Explore the feasibility of creating an additional loan forgiveness program or building upon the current programs: Instituting greater Government or Foundation loan forgiveness for Wisconsin residents in out-of-state residencies for primary care who return to the state to practice for at least 5 years would improve recruitment and retention.
  11. Act as a catalyst to connect medical students, residencies, and employers: The Wisconsin Medical Society should try to connect medical students, residency program directors and mentors, and health systems that employ physicians to facilitate the spreading of information on medical practice opportunities in the state and encourage prospective promising physicians to stay.
  12. Form partnerships with business communities to promote Wisconsin: The Wisconsin Medical Society should partner with business communities to brand Wisconsin as an ideal place to live and work, to attract not only health care professionals but also other potential labor market participants. This would boost the overall economy and benefit the health care sector as well.
  13. Analyze and if necessary improve the system to survey medical students and physicians: The Wisconsin Medical Society should identify gaps in the current data and work with the two medical schools and health care systems to implement surveys and to ensure higher response rates. Collecting information about students and the health care workforce is essential to understand the effectiveness of various policy alternatives and make necessary changes as issues are identified.
  14. Study and evaluate ways to reduce the financial burden on the practice of medicine: The Society should seek ways to address the financial disincentives in the practice of medicine, and investigate the impact of economic credentialing.
  15. Track Medical School Students and Residents: Work to maintain relationships with medical school students and graduates and examine where they ultimately practice with goal of keeping them in-state and bringing more back to Wisconsin. (HOD, 0413)