April 24, 2014

Walker proposals to boost health care access (AUDIO)

Gov. Scott Walker WRN file photo

Gov. Scott Walker WRN file photo

Governor Scott Walker has unveiled budget proposals aimed at improving health care access in Wisconsin. During a stop in Eau Claire on Monday, the governor said his state budget will include proposals that the state invest $23 million, towards improving health care in rural and impoverished urban areas. That’s part of a far larger, $100 million investment of new state funds towards workforce development. which the governor announced over the weekend.

AUDIO: Governor Scott Walker (9:15) 

“Having access to health care is tremendously dependent on making sure that we’ve got well trained and well prepared physicians and other medical staff that are here in the state of Wisconsin, and that stay here,” Walker said.

Elements of the plan include:

  • $1.75 million to expand the Medical College of Wisconsin’s family medicine residency program by 12 slots
  • 7.4 million to build Medical College of Wisconsin campuses in Wausau and Green Bay for the school’s new Community Medical Education Program, which hopes to graduate 25 students a year from each campus.
  • $3 million to expand UW Madison’s Academy for Rural Medicine and Training in Urban Medicine and Public Health programs
  • $4 million in matching grants to aid rural hospitals in improving infrastructure to obtain national accreditation necessary to offer medical residencies
  • $1 million for grants to hospitals to offset the cost of medical residencies in family medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, general surgery and internal medicine. Residency programs can cost $100,000 to 150,000 per student

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, 70 percent of Wisconsin medical residents stay in-state after graduation if they also perform their residency in Wisconsin. That number climbs to 86 percent if the student is a Wisconsin native. “Our belief is, if we train them here, and then we plug them into residency programs here, they’re going to stay here,” said Walker.

 Audio WAYY