FRI AM News: ‘WisBusiness: the Podcast’ with Medical College of Wisconsin CEO Raymond


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— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” is with Dr. John Raymond, president and CEO of the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Raymond shares his perspective on the state’s health care workforce challenges as well as efforts to address them, public health trends in the post-pandemic era, health care research and more.

“We’re facing somewhat of a crisis in the health care workforce, in part accelerated by the pandemic and burnout that people are experiencing,” he said. “Our nursing workforce and the physician workforce were inadequate before the pandemic, and we’ve had many retirements and people choosing to pursue non-health care-related job opportunities.”

Raymond highlights efforts by MCW and the UW School of Medicine and Public Health to address the physician shortage over the past decade.

“We’re both turning our attention now to the non-physician workforce, because the shortage of health care workers extends beyond doctors and nurses,” he said. “It really goes across the entire spectrum.”

Raymond says public health has “come under attack” due to decisions made during the COVID-19, noting the interface between health care and politics “has become blurred.” And he said fragmentation of public health infrastructure poses an additional challenge, noting Milwaukee alone has about 12 health departments.

“They work well together, but having so many different structures makes it difficult to respond to a public health crisis,” he said.

Meanwhile, further developments in AI could have a massive impact on personalized health care for patients and health data analysis, Raymond said.

“As we go forward, customizing research to the specific populations and the disparities that they’re burdened with is a real opportunity for Wisconsin to be a health care leader,” he said.

Listen to the podcast:

See the full list of podcasts:

— The Assembly Environment Committee has approved 5-3 along party lines a bill aimed at combating PFAS contamination as Republicans rejected a Dem move to table the vote to offer more time to reach a compromise.

Rep. Katrina Shankland in making the plea said lawmakers had drafted an amendment that they are “very close” to getting a compromise on. She said the amendment relates to DNR’s ability to enforce current state and federal laws.​​

“The worst thing that could happen today is us having a party-line vote without an amendment that we can agree on, send it to the floor and risk a floor amendment strategy that fails when it’s already failed through the Senate,” the Stevens Point Dem said yesterday.

The committee voted 5-3 along party lines to reject Shankland’s motion to table the bill.
SB 312 proposes several measures, including grant programs to help eligible landowners and municipalities pay for PFAS-related testing, disposal and infrastructure upgrades.

Gov. Tony Evers has said the proposal is untenable due to restrictions on the DNR and provisions he believes could shield polluters from liability. He has proposed directly releasing the $125 million set aside for the bill to the Department of Natural Resources.

Committee Chair Loren Oldenburg said he had spoken to the bill’s author, who said it would be good to move the measure forward.

“Because from what I understand it’s not as close to getting … the agreement as has been presented,” the Viroqua Republican said.

Shankland said it was “frustrating and disturbing” to hear lawmakers weren’t closer to a compromise.

“But I will point out very clearly that people who want to move this bill forward without ensuring that there’s bipartisan consensus are basically saying they don’t want to see the money go out the door,” she said.

Rep. Todd Novak, who chaired the Speaker’s Task Force on Water Quality in 2019 with Shankland as vice chair, said: “I know what you’re saying is probably true.”

But the Dodgeville Republican said the Legislature is in a “mad dash,” adding he would “fully support” a floor amendment.

The version of the bill approved includes an amendment the Senate signed off on before passing the bill in November. The amendment drops a measure that sought to bar DNR from requiring a property owner to test for the chemical unless certain standards are met.

The committee also held a public hearing yesterday and took testimony on a GOP bill aiming to protect innocent landowners from liability for hazardous substances on their property if they meet certain requirements.

Current law requires someone who “possesses or controls” or causes the discharge of a hazardous substance to take action to restore the environment and minimize harmful effects.

DNR has said it doesn’t have the money it would need to respond to contamination if the bill becomes law and that the proposal as written would not require those responsible for contamination to report or address health risks.

— Gov. Tony Evers announced PSC Chair Rebecca Cameron Valcq, the first Latina to serve in the position, is leaving her job, effective Feb. 2.

Evers announced that he’s elevated Commissioner Summer Strand to succeed Valcq as chair. Evers appointed Strand to the commission for a six-year term that began in March.

Valcq said in a statement released through the guv’s office that now “is the right time for me to pass the baton as I leave the agency in very capable hands.”

Valcq was one of Evers’ first appointments after he was elected in November 2018. She became chair in March 2019.

“The PSC is a more transparent and accessible agency than it was when I arrived and that is evidenced by the robust engagement and participation from stakeholders, community members, and our employees,” Valcq said. “I want to thank my fellow commissioners and PSC employees for their work and service to the state. I will miss them dearly.”

See the release:

— Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, Michael Best and Baker Tilly have announced 36 finalists for the 35th Manufacturer of the Year Awards.

“Grand Award” winners will be chosen from four size categories: small (1-99 employees); medium (100-249 employees); large (250-499 employees) and mega (500 or more employees).

Winners will be announced at the Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Awards on Feb. 22 at The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee.

See the finalists:


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– Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Celebrates National Milk Day

– Republican Senate leader calls plan for state-run marijuana dispensaries a ‘non-starter’

– Wisconsin officials push RSV vaccine for pregnant moms after 3 children die from disease, nearly 600 hospitalized

– Wisconsin state lawmakers join national call for ceasefire in Gaza


– Here’s how housing prices are expected to change in Milwaukee in 2024

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– Brewers, Willy Adames avoid arbitration by agreeing to a $12.25 million contract for 2024

– Microsoft briefly overtakes Apple as most-valuable company amid AI mania

– Reports find inaccurate data, marked up costs for maintenance backlog at national parks

See these and other press releases:

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, Michael Best, Baker Tilly: Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year finalists announced

WBA: Releases Annual Wisconsin Economic Report

Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce: Executives announces 2024 leadership