— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” is with Dustin Hinton, president and CEO of UnitedHealthcare in Wisconsin and Michigan.
He discusses the health insurer’s plans to launch a new health plan for employers in southeastern Wisconsin at the start of 2023. UnitedHealthcare last month announced it would be introducing the NexusACO accountable care organization to the Wisconsin market in January.
Advocate Aurora Health, Froedtert Health and Medical College of Wisconsin and Children’s Wisconsin will be “tier 1” providers for the benefit plan in eight southeastern counties: Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha and Kenosha.
“This is exciting for us, because typically we’ve offered a broad network where … our members have the choice to go anywhere,” he said. “But what happens here is, we have that extra benefit for tier 1 providers, because we are doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work with the systems … so that they can help the member close gaps in care.”
Hinton explains the health plan aims to deliver “a better experience for the member, and hopefully improves their overall health.” Plus, he says it will provide cost savings for both employers and members.
He also shares his perspective on the latest industry trends, touching on the move toward eliminating out-of-pocket costs for certain critical prescription drugs such as insulin.
Listen to the podcast here: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2022/wisbusiness-the-podcast-with-dustin-hinton-unitedhealthcare-2/
See the full list of WisBusiness.com podcasts: https://www.wisbusiness.com/category/podcast/
— Monkeypox vaccination clinics in Dane and Milwaukee counties are seeing high levels of demand following state officials expanding eligibility for the vaccine.
The state Department of Health Services recently announced expanded eligibility for the JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine for high-risk groups. Since late last week, Public Health Madison & Dane County spokeswoman Morgan Finke says the agency’s call center has fielded more than 200 related messages.
PHMDC has booked all available vaccination time slots through the end of next week. But Finke said in an email “it is important that vaccination happens within 14 days of exposure, so we will prioritize those who need a vaccine within that window.”
She noted Dane County has identified six cases of monkeypox, and currently has enough JYNNEOS doses to vaccinate 75 people per week. The agency says individuals can sign up for its monkeypox newsletter to get general updates, including information about vaccine availability.
Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Health Department says it has filled all initial appointment times and has received an initial shipment of 200 monkeypox vaccine doses. The department says it’s working with local organizations such as sexual health clinics to reach out to eligible clients and patients in “a strategic effort to protect the most vulnerable population.”
“This is a significant step in combating monkeypox in Milwaukee, but unfortunately there is currently not enough vaccine for everyone eligible,” Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson said in a statement. “I understand the urgency to get vaccinated, but we ask for you to please be patient.”
As of Wednesday, the city of Milwaukee had two confirmed cases of monkeypox and the state overall had identified 22 cases, according to Milwaukee health officials.
In last week’s eligibility announcement, DHS said it’s been allocated 1,486 doses of the monkeypox vaccine from the federal government — enough to vaccinate 743 people.
Federal officials yesterday declared monkeypox a public health emergency. The CDC reports a total of 6,617 monkeypox/orthopoxvirus cases in the United States.
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— A dozen Wisconsin counties saw net new construction of less than 1 percent over the past year, according to a preliminary report from the state Department of Revenue.
Growth statewide was 1.71 percent, which local officials pointed out is well below the inflation rate of more than 9 percent.
Net new construction is a key figure for local governments because it’s the cap the state uses for property tax levy increases.
The numbers were released this week before they’re certified on Aug. 15.
Among counties, Kenosha saw the highest growth at 3.48 percent, while Adams County was at 2.83 percent and St. Croix County 2.8 percent.
Dane and Milwaukee counties — the state’s two largest — were at 2.52 and 1.1 percent, respectively.
Of the counties that saw growth of less than 1 percent, most were in northern or western Wisconsin.
Bayfield County saw the smallest growth at 0.64 percent, while Ashland County next door was at 0.69 percent.
See the preliminary growth numbers for each municipality:
— The executive director of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities is calling on policymakers to “reform the way municipalities are funded.”
The organization notes every municipality has a different net new construction number, but the statewide number for 2022 of 1.71 percent is “falling well short” of the inflation rate of 9.1 percent.
“We call on the state to recommit itself to its historic partnership in support of local services because our current system that is tied to net new construction is a recipe for economic disaster for Wisconsin’s local communities,” Executive Director Jerry Deschane said in the release.
Manitowoc Mayor Justin Nickels, the League’s president, argues local governments “need other funding sources and options, outside of property taxes, in order to provide services that enhance our community’s quality of life.” That includes police, fire, ambulance and other such services.
— The Department of Natural Resources has announced an investigation of an Enbridge Line 5 oil spill near the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa reservation in the Ashland area.
DNR in a statement said it is investigating soil contaminated with oil along the pipeline 1 mile west of the reservation near Old Airport Road and Holmes Road. The reservation’s land includes more than 30,000 acres of wetlands, nearly 500 miles of rivers and streams, and dozens of miles of Lake Superior coastline.
DNR said Enbridge believes the spill is from an old discharge rather than a leak and shut the pipeline down in response to finding the contaminated soil. Enbridge and DNR employees have not found any evidence the spill came from an ongoing leak, according to the DNR statement.
The pipeline is again running at full pressure with no signs of a leak.
Enridge must now submit documentation of their spill mitigation efforts and how much soil was contaminated to DNR.
See the statement:
— The head of the Wisconsin Technology Council says embedding high-voltage transmission lines in highway rights-of-way could help avoid construction delays despite higher costs.
In a recent column, Tech Council President Tom Still says this approach to electricity transmission has several benefits such as making room for new broadband infrastructure, improving electricity grid resiliency and adding capacity for “moving large amounts of wind and solar power.”
“Higher construction cost is a likely barrier, but the time saved by not routing overhead lines through natural or populated areas could make up the difference,” Still wrote in the InsideWis column. “Why spend years fighting public opposition if there is a chance to use existing rights-of- way with fewer delays?”
Advocates discussed the opportunities and hurdles presented by this idea during a recent Wisconsin Technology Council event in Madison.
See coverage of that discussion here: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2022/advocates-touting-approach-to-building-transmission-lines-alongside-broadband-and-ev-charging/
# Xcel Energy seeking developers for renewable energy projects in Upper Midwest
# Generac sales surge as power grid fears outweigh inflation concerns
# Mining company plans to drill for gold and copper near Wausau next winter
– Class III milk price dips to $22.52 during July
– Findorff names Matt Breunig VP of operations
– Is wage growth slowing in metro Milwaukee? Here are the latest figures
# FINANCIAL SERVICES
– Wisconsin African American Chamber names new CEO
# HEALTH CARE
– Evers announces more EMS funding in Wisconsin
– U-Haul plans to build new facility in Kaukauna
– TMJ4 announces Susan Kim’s new role as Chamraz switches from 10 p.m. news
# REAL ESTATE
– Work to resume on $59 million, 233-unit Broadway housing site after 2 year delay
– Art to Wagyu beef: A look into the latest on Iron Horse’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy
– Florida firm plans to buy, redevelop former Shopko store in Onalaska
– Pick ‘n Save store at Ruby Isle in Brookfield to close
# SMALL BUSINESS
– Heartland Produce Co. named Kenosha County Business of the Year
– USA Triathlon expected to attract 18,000 to city, bring $6.2M in economic impact
– Kathleen Gallager: How a Madison area non-profit is accelerating demand for psychedelic mushrooms used to treat mental illness
– CrossFit games expected to pump up economic activity in Madison
– Wisconsin State Fair to open its gates today
– Gov. Evers joins Midwest governors to create Lake Michigan EV route
– Park Falls receiving $3.75M grant for water utility
# PRESS RELEASES
<i>See these and other press releases: