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Key State Panel Backs MCW Health Care Workforce Initiative

March 22, 2013

The Wisconsin State Building Commission approved state financing to support the Medical College of Wisconsin’s (MCW) community-based medical education programs in central and northeast Wisconsin. The innovative Community Medical Education Program (CMEP) will strengthen Wisconsin’s physician workforce and help meet the state’s health care needs in underserved rural and urban areas.

The Building Commission approved $7.4 million for building renovations and remodeling, as well as technology improvements at two new regional campuses in Green Bay and Central Wisconsin. Each community-based campus will eventually train at least 25 new students per year to address Wisconsin’s impending physician shortage and mal-distribution of physicians. According to a recent report by the Wisconsin Hospital Association, Wisconsin needs to train or recruit 100 new doctors a year to keep up with demand.

“I would like to thank the Building Commission for supporting our innovative approach to medical education and recognizing that MCW’s Community Medical Education Program will benefit the entire state,” said John R. Raymond, Sr., MD, MCW President and CEO. “Our new education model is specifically designed to more quickly infuse well-trained physicians into the workforce, addressing the state’s physician shortage and increasing access to quality primary care in medically underserved areas.”

In both Central Wisconsin and in Green Bay, MCW will be developing facilities at multiple locations for the medical education programs, and will be partnering with regional health systems and area colleges and universities, many of whom echo their support of the Commission’s decision.

"The Wisconsin Hospital Association applauds the Governor and the Wisconsin State Building Commission's commitment to securing a future strong physician workforce for our state by approving almost $7.4 million to the Medical College of Wisconsin for the establishment of new medical education programs in the Green Bay and central Wisconsin area. This investment will help meet our shared goal of increasing the number of physicians providing care in Wisconsin." said Wisconsin Hospital Association President Steve Brenton.

Bernie Patterson, Chancellor, UW-Stevens Point, said, “The Building Commission has shown tremendous foresight by prioritizing investments in the education and health care of Wisconsin residents. This is a terrific day for our community and region.”

"We are gratified by the Building Commission's support of the Medical College of Wisconsin's community medical education initiative. This farsighted investment will pay off in better health care for hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites in our corner of the state, and St. Norbert College is proud to be a partner in the effort," said Thomas Kunkel, President of St. Norbert College.

“Bellin College is in full support of the Medical College of Wisconsin’s community-based medical education initiative. The College endorses this project as our campus will serve as the location for a simulation center where future nurses, radiologic technologists, and physicians can master their skills in a safe environment. Building strong academic partnerships that foster the growth of health care education is pivotal to our mission, vision and values,” said Connie J. Boerst, EdD, RN, President and CEO of Bellin College.

Mid-State Technical College President Dr. Sue Budjac added, “This community-based model is a great opportunity to improve independent healthcare in central Wisconsin. These medical education programs are especially valuable with respect to our area’s unique needs and rural setting.”

"The initiative by the Medical College of Wisconsin to extend medical education and training in Northcentral Wisconsin is an important and much–needed contribution to solving, very directly, the physician needs of this region, particularly in the area of primary care,” said Keith Montgomery, Dean and CEO of UW-Marathon County. “It will contribute to the well-being of communities throughout our region. UW-Marathon County stands ready to support this initiative through college ‘pre-med’ education programming and by enhancement of STEM education in K-12 in our county and region."

The CMEP initiative will now be considered by the full State Legislature as part of the two-year state budget bill. If approved by lawmakers, the proposal will be signed into law by Governor Scott Walker, who previously announced his support for the program and shares MCW’s vision for strengthening the state’s physician workforce and providing new economic opportunities for Wisconsin.

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