In Case You Missed It: Gov. Evers Highlights Budget Investments to Bolster the Healthcare Workforce and Address Shortages

April 25, 2023 7:57 AM | Becca Liebers

Gov. Tony Evers recently highlighted initiatives in his 2023-25 biennial budget targeted at bolstering the healthcare workforce and addressing shortages of nurses, certified nursing assistants (CNA), and other healthcare professionals that are impacting Wisconsinites’ access to healthcare. The governor highlighted these initiatives during his visit to the University of Wisconsin (UW)-Eau Claire campus to host a roundtable discussion with nursing students about the workforce challenges facing the industry and the healthcare system as a whole.

Gov. Evers’s budget recommends providing UW-Eau Claire with up to $9.4 million through the Workforce Innovation Grant Program, which the governor is proposing to continue in his 2023-25 biennial budget, to support their efforts to alleviate workforce shortages in key fields like healthcare. In partnership with Mayo Clinic Health System in Northwest Wisconsin, this funding aims to help the university create innovative curriculum and clinical experiences to graduate more nurses, including adding six new degree programs in growing healthcare fields.

Gov. Evers included the following proposals in his budget bill to help bolster Wisconsin’s healthcare workforce:

  • A $100 million investment in the Workforce Innovation Grant Program to grow the state’s healthcare workforce. The grant program, previously funded with federal COVID relief dollars, provides grants to regional organizations to design and implement innovative plans that help solve the state’s workforce challenges.
  • $22.5 million over the biennium to establish a separate, ongoing Innovation grant program for healthcare employers to engage in improved recruitment and retention of long-term care providers.
  • $10 million over the biennium for the Wisconsin nurse educators program, which provides incentives for nursing professors to stay in Wisconsin to teach the next generation of nurses.
  • $8 million for the WisCaregiver Careers program, which aims to address the shortage of CNAs in the state by supporting the recruitment, training, and retention of individuals to care for nursing home residents across Wisconsin.
  • $5 million in supplemental funding for the Worker Advancement Initiative to provide grants to local workforce development boards to connect individuals to healthcare-related opportunities and to support efforts by technical colleges and nursing schools to reduce barriers to graduation and assist students in pursuing health-related careers.
  • $7 million over the biennium for a new psychiatry residency program through the Medical College of Wisconsin.
  • $1.5 million for the Qualified Treatment Trainee grant program, which facilitates the licensure and certification of individuals obtaining or already possessing a graduate degree in psychology, counseling, marriage and family therapy, social work, nursing, or a closely related field.

Although the Legislature plans to rewrite the governor’s budget bill from the ground up over the next few months, they are expected to keep some of the proposals recommended by Evers. It is also important to point out that lawmakers understand the need to address the state’ healthcare workforce shortage.

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