With a major boost from the Medical College of Wisconsin, the number of physicians in southeast Wisconsin has increased by more than 400 percent the past 50 years, but some communities — particularly Milwaukee’s central city — remain underserved, according to a new report.
The physician-to-patient ratio in southeastern Wisconsin exceeds the national average, according to the report released Monday by the Wisconsin Policy Forum, formerly known as the Public Policy Forum. The ratio today is 521 physicians per 100,000 population compared with 119 physicians per 100,000 in 1967, the report found.
Of course, the number of people living in Wisconsin has greatly increased since 1967, so the increase in the number of physicians practicing actually exceeds the 400 percent increase in the per-100,000 patients ratio.
The Medical College of Wisconsin was created in 1967 after the closing of Marquette University School of Medicine. In 1978 it relocated to the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center campus in Wauwatosa. The Wisconsin Policy Forum reviewed how well the private medical school has performed in achieving goals set in 1967 by the Heil Commission, which called for public and private financing to create the regional medical center including the Medical College.
The Medical College has “largely fulfilled” the goals established 50 years ago by a commission that included civic leaders from the Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC), said Rob Henken, president of the Wisconsin Policy Forum.
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