FRI AM News: Experts discuss solutions to health care workforce crisis; WisBusiness: the Podcast with Rose Oswald Poels, Wisconsin Bankers Association

— Experts say addressing the health care workforce shortage will require a combination of new technologies, changes to federal immigration policy and other regulations, lower costs for medical training and more. 

The experts spoke yesterday during a luncheon event hosted by, and UW-Milwaukee at the university’s Zilber School of Public Health. 

Sen. Patrick Testin said one silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic was the removal of “red tape and regulatory hurdles” for medical professionals. 

The Stevens Point Republican and Senate Health Committee vice-chair argued this proves “that we can get government out of the way and allow the professionals to actually do their jobs, empower providers to operate at the highest level of their license and show them that the sky hasn’t fallen.” Testin is also on the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee. 

Meanwhile, the head of long-term care provider Cedar Community in West Bend said higher levels of reimbursement are needed to cover the cost of providing care. Nicole Pretre, a gerontologist and president and CEO of the not-for-profit organization, called for more support at the state level. 

“We need to be able to pay our workers a living wage, and in order to do that, we need funding,” she said. “We need established payment standards that will actually cover the total cost of care — not just the cost of caregiving — but the support services that go with that … that’s really the key for us.” 

She and Testin agreed on the need for immigration changes at the federal level, with Pretre highlighting an “opportunity for us to look at worker visas and visa programs for essential workers” in health care and other industries. Testin said “serious comprehensive immigration reform” could lead to a more diverse health care workforce. 

Dr. Leonard Egede, a professor of medicine with the Medical College of Wisconsin, said scholarships and subsidies for medical students would help bolster the education pipeline — especially for specialties with relatively lower pay such as pediatrics. 

The discussion also touched on the role of technologies such as telehealth in filling workforce gaps. 

Testin said tools like this can help providers deliver care, and Egede noted telehealth in particular shows promise for mental health treatment. Still, Pretre said solutions like these can’t fill every gap, noting “technology can’t help toilet someone, technology can’t help feed someone.” But Egede said the efficient use of technology can free up resources needed to support personal care services like these. 

UW-Milwaukee Physical Therapy Program Director Wendy Huddleston emphasized the importance of health care workers enjoying their jobs and seeing value in what they do. 

“Too often at for-profit organizations, it’s all about the bottom dollar, and therapists in any kind of rehab field are being asked to do more with less and really not have their hands on their patients, which makes the job less rewarding, and people are leaving the profession,” she said. 

She also discussed how the program is working to improve diversity in the field, noting more than 70 percent of all physical therapists nationwide are white. As part of an effort to make the profession more representative, the university has moved to a “holistic admissions process” that values community connection and personal experiences over grade point average alone, she said. 

“That person with that 3.0 is now getting in because they have a passion to work with a particular community, they might be bilingual, they might have lived experience that we feel will really bring to the profession a unique perspective,” she said. 

Watch a video of the panel here: 

— Testin also said lawmakers this session are working to revive a bill that would broaden the scope for advanced practice registered nurses. 

When asked about forthcoming legislative priorities after yesterday’s panel, Testin said these nurses are “limited in their ability to actually carry out their jobs” in the state. He said Wisconsin is one of a handful of states with such limits in place. 

Advanced practice registered nurses, or APRNs, have met advanced educational and clinical practice requirements, according to an overview from the American Nurses Association. 

“Last session, we worked on a bipartisan bill to basically allow them to operate at the highest level of their scope,” Testin told “Unfortunately, the bill got vetoed. I won’t dive into all the details as to why that was, but we do think this is a critical piece of the puzzle with improving access to care and quality of care here in the state.” 

In a column published last year in the Capital Times, leaders of the Wisconsin Nurses Association and the WNA’s Nurse Practitioner Forum slammed Gov. Tony Evers for vetoing the legislation. 

See their column here: 

See Evers’ veto message on the bill: 

— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” is with Rose Oswald Poels, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Bankers Association. 

She discusses the economic outlook for the rest of 2023, describing bankers’ perspective as optimistic but cautious. 

“The banking industry, as providers of money for customers and businesses, is very strong,” she said. “So banks are well-positioned and well-prepared to help customers, both individuals and business customers, through any potential challenges that may come.” 

But she predicted “a little bit of recession-like behavior” at some point this year, and said banks are concerned about what that could mean for the financial health of their customers. 

She also highlights trends that WBA members are tracking such as home sales figures, inflation, energy prices, unemployment and more. 

“Unemployment is still extremely low, and really predicted to stay low,” she said. “There’s just a lot of job openings out there that are going unfilled, and … we just don’t have enough workers for the jobs we have.” 

Listen to the podcast here: 

See the full list of podcasts: 

See a recent story on the state’s banking industry: 

— In the latest episode of “Talking Trade,” Orbis Corporation Senior Director of Global Logistics Mike Heindselman says trade compliance efforts need to be company-wide to be effective. 

“There’s no compliance without teamwork,” he said. “This can’t be one faction, or one department, or one functional area of a company that’s leading the charge on that. It has to be multiple areas that understand the goal, how it impacts them and why we are doing this.” 

To ensure that broad understanding, he underlines the importance of senior management buy-in as well as coordinated education. 

Heindselman also shares his perspective on the status of international tariffs and how they’ve influenced compliance efforts. 

“One challenge that we found was sourcing from different markets,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of people that were entrenched in certain markets that now had to learn the nuances or the ins and outs or specifics of a different market where they’re getting product overseas.” 

Watch the latest episode here: 

“Talking Trade” is now available in audio form on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts. Subscribe and find more episodes here:

— Fiserv can earn up to $7 million in WEDC tax credits if it hits certain capital investment and job creation targets, according to a release from the agency. 

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. yesterday announced it would provide these performance-based tax credits to the Brookfield-based financial services company to support its headquarters relocation project in downtown Milwaukee. 

WEDC says Fiserv is expected to lease more than 150,000 square feet of space and invest about $40 million into the new facilities. As part of the Business Development Tax Credits contract, the company will be required to create more than 250 new full-time jobs over the next five years and retain its current workforce in the state to receive the tax credits. 

Meanwhile, the city has also approved $11.6 million in tax incremental financing for the project, including up to $4.6 million for public infrastructure and $7 million for renovations, the WEDC release shows. 

See more details: 

— Assembly Regulatory Licensing Reform Committee Chair Rep. Shae Sortwell said it seems like the Department of Safety and Professional Services has made “significant progress,” noting a decrease in complaints about licensing delays.

Sortwell, of Two Rivers, and other Republicans have criticized DSPS and its former secretary, Dawn Crim, for licensing backlogs. Former Assistant Deputy Secretary Dan Hereth, who spoke yesterday at an informational hearing, took on the role after Crim resigned over the summer.

Sortwell said the difference was “night and day” between Crim and Hereth.

“Just as a general observation that I’ve had with the department under your leadership: to be perfectly frank, it seems like night and day between when you had been in charge there, versus the previous secretary,” Sortwell said. “I didn’t personally know the previous secretary, but that was part of the problem, is we didn’t seem to have a relationship with that department.”

The Joint Legislative Audit Committee earlier this week approved an audit of the agency, despite calls from Dem members for a plan to ensure the audit wouldn’t worsen licensing delays. Dems argued the agency is already understaffed and lacking resources, and needs more support from the Legislature.

Hereth yesterday highlighted changes DSPS has made aiming to improve efficiency, including:

*Expanding its online licensing application portal to include all the more than 240 credential types the agency offers by the end of the year;

*A new system that automatically tells staff which applications have submitted new material and need to be reviewed;

*Using federal pandemic relief funds to add 22 new contract staff to its call center to help answer customer questions; and

*A partnership with the online platform CE Broker to help credential holders fulfill and track education requirements for their licenses.

— Gov. Tony Evers’ budget will propose increasing the eligibility for a property tax credit for veterans and surviving spouses, which would provide an additional $53.2 million in tax breaks over the biennium.

Under his plan, the existing credit would be extended to those with a disability rating of at least 70 percent. Currently, eligibility is set at 100 percent disabled. That move would cost $43.2 million.

Evers also wants to expand the credit by offering it to those who otherwise qualify but rent instead of owning their home. That would provide about $10 million in tax relief, according to his office.

Evers yesterday rolled out a series of initiatives to support Wisconsin’s 300,000 veterans. Beyond expanding the property tax credit, the guv called for about $17 million in new funding for veterans programs. That includes a mix of general purpose revenue, segregated funds and other sources.

One of the biggest initiatives would provide $6.7 million to the Department of Veterans Affairs to help address recruitment and retention needs for nursing positions. Evers also pledged to provide more funding for the state veterans homes but didn’t include a dollar figure. 

See more at 

<br><b><i>Top headlines from the Health Care Report … </b></i> 

— Black patients with the autoimmune disease lupus are much more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than other groups, according to a recent UW study. 

And state health officials have announced a year-long multimedia campaign to promote the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline to Wisconsin residents. 

<i>For more of the most relevant news on COVID-19, reports on groundbreaking health research in Wisconsin, links to top stories and more, sign up today for the free daily Health Care Report from and</i> 

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# The pandemic caused Wisconsin manufacturers to shore up domestic supply chains

# A downtown mass timber apartment tower plan is growing. It would be among the world’s tallest.

# Expansion of Hiawatha and airport train station in motion as state’s 2050 rail plan eyes much more



– Nominations open for Wisconsin Potato Industry Board 


– Headwinds remain in Mortenson’s last Milwaukee construction cost index of 2022

– Madison names 3 design finalists for Lake Monona waterfront


– Pell grant-eligible Wisconsin students could have college costs covered for 4 years at UW-Madison

– Bucky’s Pell Pathway to cover full cost of UW-Madison for Wisconsin Pell students


– The Buzz: This Lake Winnebago bar reopened with a new look and expanded menu

– New Wisconsin restaurant won’t allow tipping but will pay servers $20 an hour and share profits


– Groundbreaking celebrated for medical office building at Loomis Crossing development


– Mercury Marine president will become president and CEO of Menasha Corp.


– Palermo Villa to add 200 jobs, open frozen pizza plant in Jefferson


– Biden visit presents ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ for Laborers

– Wisconsin visit sets stage for likely Biden reelection bid


– Across Wisconsin, developers are finding ways to transform shuttered big-box stores and malls

– Fiserv awarded state incentive of up to $7 million for downtown headquarters move

– Wisconsin offering Fiserv $7 million in tax credits, including millions to retain HQ in state


– Kohl’s names new chief merchandising and digital officer


– Goal Post Bar has been Bellevue’s ‘Cheers’ for decades, serving up Friday fish and friendly faces


– New passenger rail corridors in Wisconsin could take years despite infusion of federal dollars, Amtrak leader says


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