Faced with an aging population and other factors – such as harsh winter weather – a new report forecasts that Wisconsin may see a shortage of more than 2,000 physicians by 2030. The Wisconsin Hospital Association says much is being done now to avert that deficit.
WHA President-CEO Eric Borgerding said the hospital association has focused efforts on ensuring that as physicians graduate from medical school there are opportunities for them to complete a medical residency in Wisconsin, and establish practice here.
The WHA 2011 Physician Workforce Report outlined how important medical residencies are to keeping physicians in Wisconsin. “We know if a student growing up in Wisconsin attends a Wisconsin medical school and completes a residency here, there is an 86 percent chance that physicians who specialize in primary care will practice in Wisconsin,” Borgerding said. “We called it the ‘86 percent equation’ and we have been focusing on each of the components from a public policy perspective. It is a textbook example of identifying a problem, working with WHA members and physician leaders.”
The report, from the Wisconsin Council on Medical Education and Workforce, notes that the state has also made significant progress expanding medical school class size at both the Medical College of Wisconsin, which has opened two new campuses, and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, which has gradually increased the class size of its Wisconsin Academy of Rural Medicine program since its inception in 2007.
“We know we can keep about 70 percent of the physicians regardless of where they grew up who attend Wisconsin medical school and complete an in-state residency,” said Dr. Chuck Shabino, WHA chief medical officer. “Where a physician completes a residency is the best predictor of where they will establish a practice.”