TUE AM News: Hospitals, health systems have $119 billion impact on state economy; ThedaCare barring young children from hospitals during flu season

— Hospitals and health systems in the state have a $119 billion impact on the state’s economy, according to a recent report from the Wisconsin Hospital Association. 

Hospitals alone contribute $47 billion to Wisconsin’s economy in labor income, total income, and industrial sales and revenue, the report shows. 

In an introduction to the report, WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding noted the health care industry is one of the state’s largest employers and “strongest economic drivers.” 

“Wisconsin can attract people and businesses to our state because the health care sector provides family-supporting jobs across a wide spectrum of worker educations — from high school to an advanced degree,” Borgerding said. 

The report shows hospitals in the state had around 209,000 workers in 2016, including 108,000 direct jobs and nearly 101,000 indirect and induced jobs. That number swells to 571,900 jobs when taking the overall health care sector into account. 

According to WHA, for every 10 jobs created in the state, another nine jobs are created elsewhere in Wisconsin. 

Total health care sector jobs in the state grew 30 percent from 1998 to 2017, while total state employment increased by 12 percent. Over the same period, hospital employment in Wisconsin grew by 24 percent. 

See more: http://www.wisbusiness.com/2020/hospitals-health-systems-have-119-billion-impact-on-state-economy/ 

— In response to rising flu numbers, ThedaCare is temporarily barring children under the age of 12 from visiting patients in seven hospitals in Wisconsin. 

The new restriction is being implemented at hospitals in Appleton, Berlin, Neenah, New London, Shawano, Waupaca and Wild Rose. It doesn’t apply to outpatient or clinic services, and some exceptions will be made for patients’ young siblings who don’t present cold or flu symptoms. 

Across the country, numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Protection show more than 2,900 people have died from the influenza virus this flu season, and that’s expected to continue increasing. 

In a release, ThedaCare cites numbers from the state Department of Health Services showing Wisconsin had 17,210 cases of the flu during the 2018-2019 flu season. 

Dr. Jennifer Frank, chief medical officer of the Clinically Integrated Network at ThedaCare, says the best way to prevent the flu is to get this year’s vaccine. 

“The flu can be a severe illness, especially for the very young, the very old, those with chronic health conditions and pregnant women,” she said. “That’s because those groups run the highest risk of developing a complication from the illness.”

See more: http://www.thedacare.org/News-and-Events/Company-News/thedacare-temporarily-restricting-children-to-visit-patients.aspx 

— The Amazon fulfillment center located in Beloit is expected to launch by next year’s holiday season, according to a project update from the massive online retailer. 

The 1-million-square-foot center is expected to support 500 new full-time jobs.

Amazon has spent more than $3 billion in Wisconsin on its local fulfillment centers and compensation for employees between 2010 and 2018. The project update shows the company’s investments in the state contribute an additional $1.6 billion to the state’s economy. 

Plus, Amazon estimates its activities in the state have created another 4,000 indirect jobs aside from the workers it’s hired directly. 

The company has two fulfillment centers in Kenosha and three facilities in Milwaukee, including a Prime Now shipping hub, an Amazon Fresh grocery site, and a delivery station. And Shopbop, an online retailer Amazon acquired in 2006, is headquartered in Madison. 

See a previous story on Amazon’s presence in the state: http://www.wisbusiness.com/2018/amazon-employs-over-4000-full-time-workers-in-wisconsin/ 

— Lawmakers are seeking co-sponsors for a bipartisan bill that would limit interest rates on payday loans, arguing they trap people in “an endless cycle of debt” with predatory lending practices. 

According to the memo, these short-term loans have average annual interest rates of 486 percent in Wisconsin. Under the new bill, the category for licensed lenders would be expanded and would place new requirements on payday loan providers. 

The memo shows the bill would prohibit these lenders from charging annual interest rates higher than 36 percent. Under the bill, any payday loan with greater than 36 percent annual interest would not be enforceable. 

The legislation was authored by Sens. Andre Jacque, R-De Pere, Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, and Steve Nass, R-Whitewater. In the memo, the lawmakers draw a connection between the new bill and the federal Military Lending Act of 2006. 

That law instituted a 36 percent rate cap for active-duty service members and their families on payday loans. 

“This wildly successful rule has protected service members and their families from falling into a cycle of debt that would harm themselves, their families and/or make them unable to perform their duties in the military,” they wrote in the memo. 

The bill’s supporters say the Protection from Predatory Lending Proposal will extend the same protections to all Wisconsinites. 

The deadline for co-sponsorship is Jan. 13 at 5 p.m. 

See the memo: http://www.wisconsinlobbyists.com/resources/Co-Sponsorship%20Memos/1.3.2020/LRB-1179%20limiting%20interest%20rates%20on%20payday%20loans%20and%20loans%20by%20licensed%20lenders%20Memo.pdf 

— Five Wisconsin companies have been named as finalists in the annual Main Street Makeover Contest from WEDC, which provides $10,000 for storefront upgrades to the winning business. 

Across the state, businesses from 34 designated areas in the Wisconsin Main Street Program nominated themselves for a “makeover” that will take place in spring 2020. 

This year’s finalists are: First Class Cosmetology of Beloit, a beauty school first opened in 1991; Chefusion of Green Bay, a restaurant in the city’s Broadway district; Flex & Burn of Kenosha, a personal fitness program; Ted’s Pizza Palace, a restaurant located in Menomonie; and Kingsley Crossing of Shullsburg, a destination business with retail clothing, an ice cream shop and a bar for coffee and wine. 

The winner, to be announced later this month, will work with Main Street program staff and consultants from Milwaukee-based RetailWorks on a renovation plan that will be carried out in late spring. 

See the release: http://wedc.org/blog/5-businesses-named-finalists-in-wisconsins-main-street-makeover-contest/ 

— St. Croix Hospice, which has a presence in five Midwest states including Wisconsin, has hired Susan Freeman as its new chief operating officer. 

Freeman has more than three decades of experience, including 20 years in hospice care. She also recently served on the executive board for the Alabama Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.


“Health care is constantly evolving but taking care of others is still the foundation,” she said. “As the leading provider of hospice care in the Midwest, St. Croix Hospice’s growth has been based on a culture of caring, which I was very drawn to.” 

St. Croix Hospice has 31 branches in Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota and Nebraska. 

See the release: http://prnmedia.prnewswire.com/news-releases/nationally-recognized-healthcare-leader-susan-freeman-joins-st-croix-hospice-as-chief-operating-officer-300981180.html 


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