Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences

Graduate Medical Education

Benefits Conditions and Terms of Employment

The Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals offers its housestaff a comprehensive benefits package.

Air Transport Insurance
MCWAH provides accident insurance to housestaff who are involved in patient air transportation.

COBRA Insurance-Continuation for those graduating or leaving

If you are currently enrolled in our WPS Health, Delta Dental, or Delta Vision insurance, you may be eligible to continue your current coverage under MCWAH’s group policy (COBRA) for up to 18 months.

You will automatically receive COBRA election notices in the mail close to your last day of employment. Each of Health, Dental and Vision can be elected separately (for example, you can choose to continue Health only if so desired). The election is made for the initial month and can be continued for up to 18 months. Once COBRA is elected, you send a check in to the COBRA administrator each month. If you do not send a check in for a specific month, you lose your ability to continue under COBRA.

The following COBRA rates will be in effect as of July 1, 2020. Premiums are subject to increase, at a minimum, each July 1:

Health - Family coverage is $1,656.76/month
Single coverage is $669.27/month

Dental – Family coverage is $69.30/month
Single coverage is $21.62/month

Vision – Family coverage is $13.28/month
Single coverage is $5.33/month

As a member of the Wisconsin Medical Society you can contact the WMS Milwaukee Office at (414) 238-6100 to discuss the insurance provided to members. Identify yourself as a housestaff member of the Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals.

Special Notes for those Graduating or Leaving on June 30:

You will receive COBRA notices and forms in the mail in June. As noted, above, the premiums are subject to increase each July 1st. The exact premium information is not available until June. The exact premiums will be known and noted on the COBRA notices when you receive them.

Dental Insurance
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA/WFMLA)
The Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals, Inc. provides family and medical leave in accordance with the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act (WFMLA).

Our FMLA/WFMLA leave policy is outlined in detail in the Housestaff Handbook.

You may also wish to view the:
Federal Family and Medical Leave Act WHD Publication 1420 (PDF)
Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act Publication ERD-7983-P (PDF)

Additional leave of absence and related policies can be found in the Housestaff Handbook, including other leave of absence options when a housestaff member does not qualify for a FMLA or WFMLA leave of absence.
GME Training Agreement (GMETA)
Health Insurance
Health Club Resource/Discounts
Health Club Resources/Discounts
Various health club resources and discounts are available to the MCWAH housestaff.

MCW Fitness Facility
The Tonken’s Center is located on the lower level of the Medical Education Building and is open 24 hours a day. Locker rooms with showers are located directly across from the fitness center. There are no costs or fees associated with using this facility. An MCW badge is needed to gain entry to both the fitness center and locker rooms. Housestaff wanting to use these facilities should contact their program coordinator about obtaining an MCW badge.

Wisconsin Athletic Club
Has several locations and offers a discount off the joining fee. View WAC.

Wisconsin Lutheran College
MCWAH housestaff may use the recreation complex (REX) at Wisconsin Lutheran College. For a small daily or annual fee, residents and fellows will be able to enjoy the state of the art REX facility. Both daily and annual passes will require a valid MCW ID. The complete policy for using the REX is here.

WPS Active & Fit Direct Program
Offers discounts to participating facilities. WPS Active & Fit Direct Program (PDF)

YMCA Milwaukee
Offers various membership specials. Please visit the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee website for more information.
Leave Benefits
Life and Accidental Death
This policy provides $50,000 of group term life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment coverage. Your group coverage is convertible to an individual policy upon leaving MCWAH on a guaranteed basis without evidence of health.

Note that the above is just a short summary of the Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment insurance benefit. The Group Life\AD&D plan certificate (PDF), as issued by the insurance company, is the governing document and should be consulted for specific details of the coverage, benefits, limitations, and exclusions.
Long-Term Disability Insurance
Base Group Plan
This Group policy provides 80% of a housestaff’s base stipend to a maximum monthly benefit of $5,000. Disability is defined as the inability to perform with reasonable continuity the material duties of your own occupation. Benefits start two months (60 days) after the onset of disability. Benefits can be payable to social security normal retirement age (SSNRA). The policy should be consulted for specific details. This policy can be converted upon leaving MCWAH without evidence of health. Please call our agent Wisconsin Medical Society at their Milwaukee office at (414) 238-6100 with any questions and for specific details.

Note that the above is just a short summary of the Long-Term Disability insurance benefit. The Group Long-Term Disability plan certificate (PDF), as issued by the insurance company, is the governing document and should be consulted for specific details of the coverage, benefits, limitations and exclusions.

Voluntary Supplemental Individual Plan
Housestaff members are also eligible for a voluntary, supplemental, individual disability policy. The policy is True Own Occupation/Specialty coverage. Premiums are guaranteed and substantially discounted. This policy is portable and may be continued and increased upon graduation and after. This policy is handled exclusively by Wisconsin Medical Society. For details about this plan, please call their Milwaukee office at (414) 238-6100.
MCW Physicians and Clinics

The faculty of MCW includes more than 800 physicians offering high quality care in primary care as well as in every medical and surgical specialty and subspecialty.

We invite you to establish a MCW primary care physician for yourself and your family members.

MCW physicians practice at various clinics including family practice sites affiliated with community hospitals located off campus.

See Medical College of Wisconsin Physician and Provider Directory to find a doctor and to browse the major affiliated clinics by type including:

  • Primary Care Clinics
  • Walk-in/Urgent Care
  • Adult Specialty Clinics
  • Pediatric Specialty Clinics

Visit the website for services, hours, phone numbers, maps of their locations, and more.

Please contact the respective clinics to schedule an appointment. A facility fee and/or co-pay may be required by some of the hospitals.

See Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Primary Care for additional information.

You can determine whether a specific provider is in-network or out-of-network for our WPS Health insurance plan by going to Your WPS Health Insurance Plan – Who to Contact and How to find Information (PDF) and following the instructions for searching the WPS Statewide Network. Most MCW physicians and affiliated hospitals participate.

Meals, Call Rooms, Working Environment, and Laundry

Per our Affiliation Agreements, the affiliated hospitals are required to provide housestaff with the following:

  • Equipment, resources and facilities including without limitation cafeteria, library access and suitable sleeping quarters for night and weekend call.
  • Appropriate security and personal safety measures for all locations, including parking, facilities, on-call quarters, institutional grounds and any other related clinical facilities.
    Housestaff laundry services are independently coordinated by each residency and fellowship program.

Any concerns regarding these issues are addressed by the Housestaff Health and Welfare Committee.

Mental Health Program/Employee Assistance Benefit

Resident Behavioral Health Program

There can be enhanced benefits for Behavioral Health Services if you use the Student and Resident Behavioral Health Program.

MCWAH is aware of the multiple demands of residency training. In an effort to meet the unique needs of our housestaff, the Student and Resident Behavioral Health Program has been designed to assist MCWAH housestaff in obtaining the highest quality of behavioral health care in a confidential manner. This benefit also applies to spouses and children.

Housestaff who use the Student and Resident Behavioral Health Program can receive confidential referral assistance to in-network and out-of-network providers. Some referral providers offer 3 unbilled visits per academic year (7/1 - 6/30 academic year). Contact the Behavioral Health Center at (414) 955-8933 for referral assistance. For after hours (5:00 pm-8:00 am) emergencies, call (414) 805-6700 and follow the instructions to reach the clinician on call.

See Student and Resident Behavioral Health Services for additional information.

Employee Assistance Benefit

In addition, as part of the Long-Term Disability Insurance Plan provided to housestaff, an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is also offered. It is primarily an online referral service for such things as child care services, identity theft consultation, adoption resources, health clubs and fitness centers and other “work-life” services. It also includes financial and legal information in addition to a program for completing a simple will. Telephone consultation for referrals to support groups or community services is also provided. There is no charge for these EAP services for MCWAH housestaff or their immediate family members. Please view additional information concerning this benefit at their EAP website.

Professional Liability Insurance

MCWAH provides professional liability insurance for the residents and fellows it employs. Residents and fellows who are not licensed in Wisconsin are covered by MCWAH’s corporate policy. Residents and fellows who are licensed in Wisconsin have individual limits. They will receive a certificate of insurance for professional liability after they become licensed and then each year thereafter. The certificate of insurance contains the policy number, the type of insurance and the coverage limits of the policy. Residents and fellows should retain all certificates of insurance in a permanent file as they will be needed throughout their professional career. MCWAH and each of its employed, licensed physicians have limits of $1,000,000 per occurrence/$3,000,000 per aggregate loss per year. Professional liability insurance covers legal defense costs, jury awards or settlements and other expenses related to malpractice claims and lawsuits. Professional liability insurance also pays for legal costs incurred for testifying in a deposition and responding to inquiries by the Medical Examining Board.

MCWAH pays the Wisconsin Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund (Fund) for excess malpractice insurance for losses above the primary insurance policy limits for itself and each licensed resident and fellow. The Fund is administered by the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance of the State of Wisconsin.

The malpractice insurance policy that MCWAH provides covers residents and fellows while they perform duties within the scope of their training program except when they rotate to the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division (BHD) or to the Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC). Housestaff rotating at BHD fall under the statutory provisions which govern liability lawsuits against Milwaukee County. Housestaff rotating at the VAMC are covered under the Federal Tort Claims Act and the U.S. Government is responsible for malpractice liability at the VAMC.

MCWAH's malpractice insurance policy does not cover moonlighting outside of the training program. Liability insurance for moonlighting is the individual's responsibility.

Residents and fellows do not incur any expense for professional liability insurance and they never need an extended endorsement insurance policy (“tail”) after they leave their training program.

Verification of Professional Liability Insurance & Claims History

From time to time, licensed physicians need to provide proof of insurance and have their claims history verified. A claims history contains all claims against the provider that have been reported to the insurance company. Physicians need proof of past malpractice insurance policies and verification of their claims history each time they apply for hospital medical staff membership and privileges or take a position with a medical group. Primary verification occurs when the hospital or entity receives the insurance information and claims history directly from the insurance companies. The Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals (MCWAH) cannot provide claims histories because it is not the insurance company and it is not self-insured.

Physicians filling out an application for a medical staff membership and privileges are expected to report the names of all insurance companies that have insured them for professional liability. Since 1997, unlicensed housestaff have been insured under MCWAH’s professional liability policy. Licensed housestaff are also insured under MCWAH’s policy, but they have individual limits. If housestaff work in an external moonlighting outside of their training programs, they will need the malpractice insurance information from the entity or insurance company that insures them for moonlighting work as well. MCWAH insurance does not cover external moonlighting.

Each year, licensed housestaff receive a Certificate of Insurance that has the policy number, type of insurance, any extended reporting endorsements (tail), effective date of the policy and the limits of insurance. Keep all Certificates of Insurance in a permanent file. On their applications, physicians will be asked for that information.

Physicians going through medical staff credentialing must have primary verification of their insurance coverage and claims history. Housestaff will need to complete an Authorization for the Release of Information and send it to every insurance company or entity that has provided medical malpractice insurance. Each insurance company or entity who provided coverage will submit the insurance and claims history directly to the organization that is credentialing the physician. Occasionally, MCWAH is asked to verify employment dates.
Physicians need to know the dates they were employed by MCWAH in a residency/fellowship program so they can contact the appropriate insurance company. NOTE: Physicians may need to contact more than one insurance company listed below depending on their dates of training. The following information will help physicians request a claims history from the time they were in a MCWAH training program. Read the dates carefully: 
  • Prior to July 1, 1997, unlicensed housestaff were insured by the individual hospitals where they worked.
  • Since July 1, 1997, unlicensed housestaff have been covered under MCWAH’s corporate liability policies.
  • From January 1989 to June 2007, licensed housestaff (and unlicensed housestaff since July 1, 1997) employed by MCWAH were insured through Physicians Insurance Company of Wisconsin (PIC WI), now known as ProAssurance Professional Liability Group. The PIC policy was occurrence-based.

To obtain verification of your insurance and claims history from PIC, contact:
ProAssurance Professional Liability Group
Medical Assurance/ProNational/NCRIC/PIC Wisconsin/Woodbrook Casualty/Red Mountain Casualty
Madison WI
(877) 274-7007 | (205) 868-4073 (fax)
ProAssurance website

On or after July 1, 2007, both unlicensed and licensed housestaff employed by MCWAH have been insured by MHA Insurance Company that is part of Coverys. The Coverys policy is a modified claims-made with a prepaid extended endorsement ("tail").

To obtain verification of your insurance and claims history from Coverys, contact:

Camille Lavey
(800) 313-5888 | (517) 327-2550 (fax)
3100 West Rd.
Building 1, Suite 200
East Lansing MI 48823

To obtain a copy of your certificate from Coverys, contact:
Jeannette Spitzley, AIS, AINS, CISR
Underwriting Associate
(517) 886-8306 | (517) 327-2524 (fax)


The Board of Directors of MCWAH establishes stipends for housestaff. The stipend levels for the academic year beginning July 1, 2021 are:

PGI- $62,740

PGII- $63,850

PGIII- $64,970

PGIV- $66,090

PGV- $69,440

PGVI- $71,670

PGVII- $73,890

PGVIII- $75,230

The stipend is deposited directly once a month, on the last day of the month, in the individual's bank account. MCWAH offers direct deposit at most banks, savings and loans, and credit unions. The funds are available on payday. If the payday falls on a holiday or weekend, the funds are available the day before the holiday or weekend.

The Post Graduate year is the one appropriate for the program in which the housestaff is currently enrolled and is determined by the number of years remaining before successful completion of the program. Only pre-requisite years are included in the Post Graduate year determination. Example: An individual has completed 5 years of previous GME and enters the first year of a Cardiology program. The training year level would be PG IV if the individual successfully completed 3 years training in an Internal Medicine program as the pre-requisite for Cardiology.

When a question exists with respect to the Post Graduate year, the Program Coordinator should contact the appropriate Board or RRC to determine the amount of the individual’s previous training that can be counted towards their MCWAH program requirements.

Changes in monthly salary levels for housestaff advancing mid-year will occur on the 1st of the month. For housestaff whose advance date is prior to the 16th of the month, the change in salary will be retroactive to the 1st of the month. For those whose advance date is on or after the 16th of the month, the change in salary will be effective the first of the following month.

The working condition benefit will remain $1,500 for the 2021/22 academic year. This payment is intended to help defray expenses for license fees, DEA fees, license exam fees and textbooks. This is a taxable benefit that will be paid in two $750 installments; one on the December 31, 2021 paycheck and one on the June 30, 2022 paycheck. There are compliance requirements that must be met to be eligible for this payment. Housestaff who complete midyear, are paid a pro-rated amount on their last paycheck.

Note that as of 7/1/22 (2022/23 academic year), this benefit will no longer be paid in December and June installments. Instead, the amount will be paid over twelve months as an addition to and included in the stipend payments received monthly.

Summary Plan Descriptions
Vision Insurance
Worker's Compensation Insurance
Housestaff, as employees of MCWAH, are protected by Worker's Compensation insurance in case of work-related injury or illness. Any incident resulting in injury or illness must be reported promptly to the service chief or Program Director and a report form must be submitted to the MCWAH Office within 24 hours of the incident. Compensation for loss of duty assignment time or for medical expenses incurred as a consequence of such incident will be provided according to Wisconsin law.

Working Condition Fringe Benefit
The Working Condition Fringe Benefit is a $1,500 per academic year taxable payment to housestaff to help defray expenses for license fees, DEA fees, license exam fees and text books.

Housestaff are not required to submit receipts to claim this benefit. Housestaff that complete training mid-academic year will be paid a pro-rated amount on their last paycheck. The benefit will be paid in two $750 installments;one on December 31 and one on June 30. The $1,500 payment is a taxable benefit.

As noted, the working condition payment provides financial support for your DEA and licensure related fees.

You are required to obtain a Wisconsin License in compliance with MCWAH policy. Licensed housestaff must obtain a DEA number and provide a copy to the MCWAH office.

If you are not in compliance with the policies concerning DEA numbers and licensure, you will NOT receive the Working Condition payment.