MHA Presents Special Recognition Award to Four Healthcare Advocates
Posted on June 28, 2019
During the MHA Annual Membership Meeting held June 26-28, the MHA honored four individuals with its Special Recognition Award for their extensive contributions to healthcare. Each of the winners uniquely influences healthcare in Michigan. The winners include state Sen. Peter MacGregor (R-Rockford); L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Executive; Mary Ursul, senior advisor, Coverys, East Lansing; and Marilyn Litka-Klein, vice president of health finance, MHA, Lansing.
Sen. Peter MacGregor is serving his second term representing the 28th Senate District. He has served on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Health and Human Services since 2014 and has chaired the subcommittee since 2016.
MacGregor has championed several issues that are important to Michigan hospitals. He has secured full funding over the last three years for graduate medical education, ensuring that residents are adequately trained. He helped obtain full funding for the rural access pool and obstetrical stabilization fund to support rural healthcare, including an additional $6 million over fiscal years 2018 and 2019. He is among the legislative champions seeking to provide $15 million from state general funds for Michigan’s critical access hospitals, which provide care to people in remote areas.
MacGregor has been a longtime co-sponsor and supporter of legislation to ensure access to surgical care across Michigan by allowing certified registered nurse anesthetists to provide anesthesia services without direct physician supervision.
MacGregor introduced a bill that became law as Public Act 359 of 2016, increasing and promoting the use of and access to telehealth services. The act allows patients in remote areas to reduce travel to receive care, lowers the cost of care, and maximizes the patient care hours available to providers.
L. Brooks Patterson has been Oakland County Executive since 1993. Some of the goals met during those 27 years include full employment, creating or retaining tens of thousands of jobs, a continued AAA bond rating partially credited to Patterson’s multiyear budgeting process, and more. In 2008, Patterson created Medical Main Street, powered by Oakland County, Michigan. The highly successful alliance focuses on growing the life science industry in the county and Southeast Michigan.
But what Patterson has done to steadfastly support the auto no-fault insurance law is what the MHA and its members are most grateful for.
For many years, various proposals for no-fault reform would have endangered ongoing care for people catastrophically injured in car accidents. During those years, Patterson testified before legislative committees, wrote op-eds and letters to editors, included open letters on the Oakland County website, held news conferences alongside other county executives, and otherwise publicized the need for no-fault coverage to continue.
As the MHA continues to seek opportunities to positively affect the implementation of the recently enacted no-fault reform law and educate the public on how it affects them, the MHA welcomes the voice of L. Brooks Patterson in the fight to protect adequate coverage for auto accident victims.
Mary Ursul joined Coverys in 2006, holding several executive positions before becoming executive vice president of the multiline insurance company in 2014. She recently stepped back to become the company’s senior advisor.
Ursul is a longtime friend and partner of the MHA. In 2007, when the MHA Service Corporation insurance services were sold to Coverys’ precursor, she was instrumental in ensuring a smooth transition. As executive vice president, she was an important driver of Coverys’ continuing support as an MHA Circle of Honor sponsor, the association’s highest sponsor distinction. She also initiated the company’s sponsorship of the MHA 100 Year Anniversary celebration in 2019.
Ursul has strongly supported the MHA Keystone Center Patient Safety Organization (PSO), as demonstrated by setting up a program encouraging Coverys clients to enroll in the PSO to learn best practices for improving safety.
Ursul has served several years on both the MHA Quality and Accountability Committee and the MHA Service Corporation Advisory Council. A faithful contributor to the MHA Health Political Action Committee, she has helped support healthcare champions in the Legislature.
The MHA Special Recognition Award honors Ursul for her ongoing support of the MHA as she looks toward her upcoming retirement.
Marilyn Litka-Klein is a certified public accountant who has been part of the MHA Policy department since 1996. As vice president of health finance, she works extensively on issues related to major healthcare payers, including Medicare, Medicaid and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Her knowledge of health finance issues has made her a valuable member of the MHA leadership team for more than two decades.
Before joining the MHA, Litka-Klein was director of finance and controller at Sparrow Hospital and Health System, Lansing.
Litka-Klein has been staff secretary of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Benefit Administration Committee and the Blue Cross Payment Practices Committee for many years and has served on many other finance-related committees.
Litka-Klein has also been active with the Healthcare Financial Management Association, the American Hospital Association, and the state hospital association finance and policy group.
The award was presented before her planned retirement and honors her significant efforts on behalf of Michigan hospitals to protect the vital funding that supports access to care. An avid traveler, Litka-Klein plans to take many more trips overseas in the coming years.
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