MHA Statement on Department of Defense Approving State Request for Healthcare Staffing Support

MHA CEO Brian Peters

The following statement can be attributed to Brian Peters, CEO of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.

Brian Peters

The current situation facing our hospitals and health system is dire and today’s approval by the U.S. Department of Defense to grant clinical staffing support is desperately needed to provide relief to our vital healthcare workforce. Many hospitals throughout the state are operating at capacity, delaying nonemergency medical procedures and placing their emergency departments on diversion. Receiving these teams of federal caregivers can only help those hospitals.

We want to commend Gov. Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for making the formal request on behalf of Michigan hospitals and express our gratitude to the Department of Defense for granting this request so quickly.

However, the strain on our healthcare system is severe and we still need the public’s help to slow the extreme growth of cases and hospitalizations. Please get vaccinated, whether it is your first dose, vaccination for your children or a booster dose. Adhere to the public health advisory and wear a mask in crowded indoor gatherings. And contact your primary care provider or seek care at an outpatient setting for nonemergency medical needs. Together we can get through this crisis, but it will take all Michiganders doing the right thing.

Headline Roundup: Michigan Hospital CMOs Urge Action Against COVID-19

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The MHA published a consensus statement Nov. 22 on behalf of chief medical officers of Michigan’s community hospitals urging the public to take action to help slow COVID-19 growth throughout the state.

Below is a collection of headlines from around the state that reference the statement and focus on the severity of the situation facing Michigan hospitals. Coverage also includes the request the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services made on behalf of Michigan hospitals to the Department of Defense for teams of medical personnel. Included are interviews conducted by MHA CEO Brian Peters and MHA CMO Dr. Gary Roth.

Monday, Nov. 29

Sunday, Nov. 28

Saturday, Nov. 27

Friday, Nov. 26

Thursday, Nov. 25

Wednesday, Nov. 24

Tuesday, Nov. 23

Monday, Nov. 22

Members with questions on COVID-19 efforts and resources should contact Ruthanne Sudderth, and any questions regarding media requests should be directed to John Karasinski at the MHA.

Michigan Hospital Chief Medical Officers Urge Public to Help Address Alarming COVID-19 Situation

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The following statement is made on behalf of chief medical officers of Michigan’s community hospitals.

One year ago, Michigan faced a frightening increase in COVID-19 cases as the winter holidays approached. In response to Gov. Whitmer’s call for limits on social gatherings, we collectively followed responsible and proven measures that reduced the spread of COVID-19, saved lives and protected our state’s healthcare system.

For the 2021 holiday season we are already approaching the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Michigan since the pandemic began. As of Sunday, Nov. 21, 3,785 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized, including 784 in our intensive care units (ICUs). The vast majority of patients in the ICU and on ventilators are unvaccinated. In addition to these high numbers of COVID-19 patients requiring emergency care and hospitalization, we are seeing high numbers of patients with other medical conditions requiring care. This combination is straining or exceeding the capacity of emergency departments and hospitals across the state. We cannot wait any longer for Michigan to correct course; we need your help now to end this surge and ensure our hospitals can care for everyone who needs it.

Across the state, resilient and dedicated healthcare workers in hospitals stand ready to care for emergency medical needs, but the reality is most hospitals throughout the state have more patients in their emergency departments than they do available rooms and staff to care for them. This results in long wait times, patients being placed in hallways or conference rooms, and diverting patients away from a hospital because there is no physical room or medical staff available to accept more patients.

You may have seen reports that some hospitals are at a pandemic level red — which indicates the highest level in that facility’s emergency preparedness plan. We are extremely concerned because our best predictions are that COVID-19 patients will continue to increase during the weeks ahead as we enter the yearly flu season. At the same time, the need for care for heart disease, cancer and other diseases will continue at some of the highest rates we’ve seen in recent history.

The evidence shows that patients who receive monoclonal antibody therapy early have markedly lower rates of hospitalization and complications from COVID-19. Many hospitals have reprioritized staff and resources from ambulatory services such as testing, outpatient treatment or rehab to free up caregivers to dispense monoclonal antibody therapy and vaccines in the hope of reducing hospitalization and death. While these actions may lead to longer wait times for ambulatory services, it is important that patients who meet the criteria seek out monoclonal antibody therapy to reduce the chance of a hospital stay.

As the chief medical representatives of the healthcare systems in Michigan, we are asking all Michigan residents to recognize the following:

  • Hospitals are operating at contingency levels of care, which means waiting times are longer and staffing shortages are now the norm and not an exception.
  • This situation is a result of our ongoing pandemic response, the serious illness of non-COVID-19 patients, the increased length of stay of all patients, and the resulting high number of patients in Michigan hospitals.
  • Just as hospitals and the staff working inside are and have been working at capacity, our emergency medical services (EMS) are also stressed and overworked. There may be times when capacity in the system is not adequate to accommodate the usual response and speed of transport, especially for out-of-area transfers.
  • If the pressure on hospitals and EMS increases further, we all risk facing increasing delays and challenges in accessing care for everyone who needs emergency services and inpatient hospital care.

Knowing this situation, we call on everyone to do their part to lessen the pressure on the healthcare system:

  • If you are not already vaccinated, get your vaccine right away or complete your vaccine series. Find a location for vaccination at vaccine.gov. The evidence shows vaccines are effective at keeping people out of the hospital and off ventilators. Vaccines are free and available to those ages 5 and up at many pharmacies, doctors’ offices and health departments across the state.
  • If you are vaccinated, get a booster dose of vaccine, which is now approved for everyone ages 18 and above.
  • If you have questions about the vaccines, please reach out to your medical provider.
  • Carefully consider where you seek healthcare. A primary care office, virtual visit or urgent care may be the best accommodation as hospital and emergency departments are seeing high demand. Despite this, for emergency conditions such as stroke symptoms, chest pain, difficulty breathing or significant injury, you should still seek emergency care. Know that emergency departments are doing all they can to provide safe and timely access.
  • Practice physical distance at indoor events and gatherings, including the use of face masks and other protection.
  • If you are aware of a potential COVID-19 exposure, get tested and limit your interaction with others until you have a negative test and/or have passed the recommended quarantine period.
  • Recognize that hospital and EMS staff are shorthanded and under extreme pressure. Extend patience and thoughtfulness to those who are working the hardest to support and care for our family members and friends.

Our healthcare teams have worked tirelessly for the past 20 months to serve every community in our state. Now more than ever, they need your support.

Combating the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Week of Nov. 15

MHA Covid-19 update

MHA Covid-19 updateMichigan is once again among the states with the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases in the nation, with the New York Times reporting that Michigan and Minnesota lead the country in cases per capita. On Nov. 19, there were 3,424 adults hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19, in addition to 50 children. Meanwhile, 60.3% of Michiganders aged 5 and older had been fully vaccinated as of Nov. 19.

The MHA continues to keep members apprised of pandemic-related developments affecting hospitals through email updates and the MHA Coronavirus webpage. Important updates are outlined below.

FDA Amends EUA to Allow Booster Shots to Fully Vaccinated People Aged 18 and Up

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended the COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorizations (EUAs) Nov. 19 to allow all individuals 18 years of age and older to receive booster shots of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was scheduled to meet later that day to discuss additional clinical recommendations.

In its news release, the FDA said the expanded authorization for the booster doses is based on its analysis of immune response data that supported use in the previously authorized populations for boosters. Groups previously included in the EUAs were fully vaccinated individuals who are 65 years of age and older and who are 18 through 64 years of age at high risk of severe COVID-19 and/or experience frequent exposure to the coronavirus through living situations or workplaces.

Prior to the FDA announcement, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer encouraged residents to plan to get the booster doses as soon as they are authorized. The governor noted that more than a million booster doses have been administered within the state and urged everyone to get vaccinated and receive the booster shot.

Booster doses should be administered at least six months after the second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and at least two months following the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Updated information for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are available on the FDA website that provide details on the booster shots.

Members with questions on vaccines may contact Ruthanne Sudderth at the MHA.

MDHHS Announces Face Mask Advisory for Holiday Season

As both COVID-19 and influenza cases rise throughout the state, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) will issue a face mask advisory and offer guidance to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases during the holidays.

The department’s news release indicates it recommends everyone over the age of 2 wear a face mask at indoor gatherings regardless of their vaccination status. Establishments are also urged to implement policies to ensure that customers, employees and visitors wear masks. The advisory will remain in effect until further notice.

During a Nov. 19 news conference, MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel, Chief Medical Executive Natasha Bagdasarian, MD, and others also urged Michigan residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu as soon as possible. The two vaccines can be administered simultaneously. Darryl Elmouchi, MD, MBA, president of Spectrum Health West Michigan, shared information about the unprecedented numbers of patients hospitals are seeing. He said Spectrum Health has 370 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, 86% of whom are unvaccinated against the disease.

Additional information on the COVID-19 pandemic is available to members on the MHA Community Site and the MHA COVID-19 webpageQuestions on COVID-19 and infectious disease response strategies may be directed to the MDHHS Community Health Emergency Coordination Center (CHECC).

Trustee Insights Edition Highlights Workforce Trends

The latest edition of Trustee Insights, the monthly digital package from the American Hospital Association (AHA), is now available. This month’s issue includes a report on the latest forces and trends affecting healthcare human resources, including education, training and the evolving practice landscape, growing the workforce to keep pace with demand, and the effects of the pandemic on the workforce.

In addition, the newsletter features tips for new CEOs on how to establish and nurture an effective strategic partnership with the board.

The expanded website and enhanced monthly e-newsletter of Trustee Insights are available through the AHA Trustee Services webpage. They are free, do not require AHA membership and include articles, tools and webinars. Those interested in subscribing to AHA Trustee Insights may do so online.

For information about MHA trustee resources, contact Erin Steward at the MHA.

Webinar Offered to Apprise Providers on Transgender Issues in Healthcare

Transgender and gender nonconforming individuals deal with many common fears that can be debilitating. Healthcare providers need to understand the obstacles that this population faces to improve medical care for their patients. The MHA Health Foundation Transgender Healthcare Dignity Model and Certification webinar will assist providers in their awareness of these issues by reviewing:

  • The differences between gender identity, gender expression, biological sex, sexual orientation and romantic orientation.
  • Understanding personal bias and perception of the differences between gender identity, gender expression, biological sex, and sexual and romantic orientation.
  • Benefits and examples of providing options for patients in the areas of gender identification, preferred name, legal name and preferred pronouns.
  • The differences between the social and medical transition process.
  • How providers can make changes to reduce fears of the transgender patient in a medical setting.

The webinar is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 9, and MHA members can join for a single connection fee of $395. MHA members can include up to five participants from the same organization for a connection fee of $1,900. Members should contact Erica Leyko at the MHA to register.

By participating in the Transgender Healthcare Dignity Model and Certification webinar, participants may earn up to 4.0 ACHE Qualified Education Hours toward initial certification or recertification of the Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) designation.

Medicare Premiums and Deductibles Announced for 2022

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that the Medicare Part A deductible for inpatient hospital services will increase by $72 in calendar year (CY) 2022 to $1,556. The Part A daily coinsurance amounts will be:

  • $389 for days 61-90 of hospitalization in a benefit period, up from the current $371.
  • $778 for lifetime reserve days up from the current $742.
  • $194.50 for days 21-100 of extended care services in a skilled nursing facility in a benefit period, up from the current $185.50.

The monthly Part A premium, paid by beneficiaries who have fewer than 40 quarters of Medicare-covered employment and certain people with disabilities, will increase by $28 in CY 2022 to $499.

The CMS announced that the annual deductible for Medicare Part B will increase by $30 in 2022 to $233, while the standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B will increase by $21.60 to $170.10. Members with questions should contact Vickie Kunz at the MHA.

Prepare Now for March Application Period of State Loan Repayment Program

Applications for the 2022 Michigan State Loan Repayment Program (MSLRP) will be accepted from March 7-11 through the File Transfer Application System. Providers should create an account in the system as soon as possible, but should not upload their MSLRP application documents before March 7.

The MSLRP assists employers in the recruitment and retention of medical, dental and mental health primary care providers who continue to demonstrate their commitment to building long-term primary care practices in underserved communities designated as Health Professional Shortage Areas. Those selected will receive up to $200,000 in tax-free funds to repay their educational debt over a period of up to eight years of participation. Priority will be given to applications from inpatient pediatric psychiatrists, providers working at practice sites in Genesee County, and obstetric service providers working in northern Michigan.

The review process has been updated for this application period. Providers and employers are strongly encouraged to read more about the review process in the Selection Criteria, Application Review and Final Phase Process section of the MSLRP website. For more information, contact Brittany Brookshire at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Headline Roundup: Week of Nov. 15 for COVID-19 in Michigan

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The MHA has been actively fielding and responding to media requests related to the growth in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, hospital capacity and healthcare workforce sustainability.

Below is a collection of headlines from around the state that include statements from the MHA.

Sunday, Nov. 21

Thursday, Nov. 18

Wednesday, Nov. 17

Tuesday, Nov. 16

Monday, Nov. 15

Members with questions on COVID-19 efforts and resources should contact Ruthanne Sudderth, and any questions regarding media requests should be directed to John Karasinski at the MHA.

News to Know – Week of Nov. 15

The Root Cause Coalition, of which the MHA is a founding member, is accepting applications for its inaugural Health Justice Award through 11:59 p.m. PST Jan. 31 (2:59 a.m. EST Feb 1). The award recognizes organizations that have successfully implemented a program or intervention to reduce health disparities within the past three years. Four organizations will be selected as finalists, one of which will be selected as the award recipient and receive $25,000. Questions may be directed to The Root Cause Coalition.