A new tool will speed the licensing process for Wisconsin workers in health care fields by better connecting the state’s licensing agency – the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) – with the Universities of Wisconsin.
DSPS Secretary Dan Hereth and Universities of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman joined UWM College of Health Professions and Sciences Dean Kim Litwack on Nov. 14 to announce LicensE Educator Access Portal, or LEAP.
The portal was used in a pilot program last year involving five nursing schools, including UWM’s, and is now ready to expand to other health care fields. Results from the pilot use showed LEAP greatly improved the timeframe for licensing, Hereth said.
“Since I was appointed 15 months ago, DSPS has improved licensing in fields from dentistry, pharmacy and even plumbing,” Hereth said. “LEAP is the latest step in this process, and it will allow us to further streamline all licensing of health care professions.” Hereth noted that professional licensing goes beyond just protecting the public by also contributing to talent attraction and retention.
With the tool, participating educational institutions in Wisconsin will receive access to LicensE, the DSPS platform for licensing applications. Institutions can see their student rosters, verify program completion and graduation, and identify what steps might be missing to assist students through the licensing process.
“The demand for health care workers is critical in Wisconsin and we need to work together to make this transition seamless,” Litwack said. “More than 80% of UWM graduates stay in the state of Wisconsin, so this really helps the workforce and overall needs of the region.”
About 900 students in UWM’s College of Health Professions and Sciences apply for licenses annually, said Litwack, in professions from registered nurses and physical therapists to audiologists and speech language pathologists.
“Just last week, our Board of Regents asked the legislature to release $32 million in state funding to help grow the number of graduates in four high-demand fields, including nursing and health care,” Rothman said. “If this funding is approved, we anticipate expanding our capacity to educate nearly 2,400 more nurses across Wisconsin in the next five years. So, this new portal could not come at a better time for the Universities of Wisconsin.”
DSPS administers more than 250 state licenses across a wide array of professions. In addition to launching LEAP, DSPS has established a dashboard that gives real-time information on how quickly new applications are reviewed and documentation is generated.