Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services Receives MHA Advancing Safe Care Award

advancing self care awardThe MHA announced the winner of its 2022 Advancing Safe Care Award June 30, honoring a dedicated team at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services in Grand Rapids. The award was announced during the association’s Annual Membership Meeting.

The MHA Advancing Safe Care Award honors healthcare teams within MHA-member hospitals that demonstrate a fierce commitment to providing care to different patient populations, show evidence of an improved safety culture, lead the charge for quality improvement, and demonstrate transparency in their efforts to improve healthcare.

Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services set up a special care unit in 2020 for behavioral health patients who tested positive for COVID-19 and a residential unit for COVID-19-positive patients in the adult foster care system. Pine Rest was the only behavioral health facility in West Michigan accepting psychiatric patients with COVID-19 and one of only a few in the state. Inspired by healthcare workers serving the sickest COVID-19 patients, Pine Rest employees sought to ease their burden while providing high-quality behavioral healthcare.

Mark Eastburg, PhD, president and CEO, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, receives the MHA Advancing Safe Care Award.
Mark Eastburg, PhD, president and CEO, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, receives the MHA Advancing Safe Care Award.

The hospital renovated space for the unit and trained staff to use telehealth equipment, allowing patients to virtually attend groups and classes from their rooms. Clinical and nonclinical staff were trained on wearing personal protective equipment, which had previously been rarely needed. The infection prevention and risk teams developed protocols for testing patients and staff. All nurses in the special care unit were trained in collecting samples for testing, and a performance improvement project boosted their ability to assess and manage patients’ pain.

Pine Rest developed a COVID-19 Dashboard, keeping staff aware of positive patients and staff members. Information was regularly shared with the Kent County Health Department, area hospitals and statewide behavioral health units to coordinate efforts.

For more information on the Pine Rest Special Care Unit, contact Harmony Gould, vice president of hospital and residential services, at Pine Rest at (616) 455-5000.


Ludwig Community Benefit Award Honors Hospital Programs

The MHA announced the winners of its 2022 Ludwig Community Benefit Award during the association’s Annual Membership Meeting June 30. The honorees include programs supported by Ascension Michigan, Warren; Spectrum Health Lakeland, Saint Joseph; McLaren Bay Region, Bay City; and Chelsea Hospital. The award is named in memory of Patric E. Ludwig, a former MHA president who championed investing in the community’s overall health, and is presented to member organizations integrally involved in collaborative programs to improve the health and well-being of area residents. Each winner will receive $5,000 from the MHA Health Foundation to assist in its health improvement efforts.

Dr. Kenneth Coleman receives the Ludwig Award on behalf of Ascension Michigan School-Based Health Centers.
Dr. Kenneth Coleman receives the Ludwig Award on behalf of Ascension Michigan School-Based Health Centers.

Ascension Michigan School-Based Health Centers are an initiative of Ascension Southeast Michigan Community Health, committed to improving the quality of life in the communities the health system serves. Since 1996, the program has developed mental health and medical plans for each of its 29 centers, with funding from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the school districts where clinics are located.

With the increased need for children’s mental health services caused by the pandemic, the health centers set a goal to provide mental health services to students transitioning from in-person instruction to remote learning. The health centers expanded telepsychiatry services to maximize access to care and applied for additional state funding to add service sites.

The School-Based Health Centers collaborate with several Ascension Michigan programs and community organizations to address severe mental health issues, substance use disorders, violence, grief, environmental or safety problems, and more.

The Ascension Michigan School-Based Health Centers will use its cash award to address the stigma attached to using mental health services through schoolwide educational activities and youth-produced videos.

For more information on the Ascension Michigan School-Based Health Centers, contact Kenneth Coleman, LPC, PhD, director, community health, at Ascension Michigan at (248) 849-5715.

Greg Lane, executive vice president and chief administrative officer, McLaren Health Care, receives the Ludwig Award on behalf of McLaren Bay Region and its foundation opened the Helen M. Nickless Volunteer Clinic.
Greg Lane, executive vice president and chief administrative officer, McLaren Health Care, receives the Ludwig Award on behalf of McLaren Bay Region and its foundation, which opened the Helen M. Nickless Volunteer Clinic.

McLaren Bay Region and its foundation opened the Helen M. Nickless Volunteer Clinic in March 2004. The clinic serves the primary healthcare needs of disadvantaged residents in Bay and surrounding counties, connecting them with basic health resources through education, prevention and treatment.

The clinic operates Wednesdays from 4 p.m. until the last patient is seen. Three part-time employees oversee clinic operations and patient needs, arranging referrals, prescription assistance, volunteer scheduling and more. More than 175 volunteers, including licensed professionals and lay volunteers, provide more than 2,000 hours of service each year.

From March 2004 through September 2021, the Nickless Clinic provided care to 9,275 individuals during 31,568 visits. When asked where they would have sought care without the clinic, 65% of new patients said they would have forgone care and 20% indicated the emergency room.

The clinic is financed through an endowment fund and annual grants from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, as well as by annual donations from the community. The money from the Ludwig Award will be used to assist in patients’ prescription medication costs.

For more information on the Helen M. Nickless Volunteer Clinic, contact Lynn Weaver, vice president, philanthropy, McLaren Bay Medical Foundation, at (989) 895-4728.

Lynn Todman, vice president of health equity at Spectrum Health Lakeland
Lynn Todman, vice president of health equity at Spectrum Health Lakeland, receives the Ludwig Award.

Spectrum Health Lakeland established the Center for Better Health in downtown Benton Harbor in November 2020 as a two-month rapid response to COVID-19-related health inequities. Eighty-five percent of Benton Harbor residents are African American, nearly half live in poverty, and many experience conditions such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and pre-term and low birth-weight babies.

The disparate impact of the pandemic on Benton Harbor residents and findings from recent Community Health Needs Assessments highlighted the need for increased access to healthcare services. Spectrum Health Lakeland responded with additional resources to support the center’s operations and expansion. It is moving from its current 1,200 square foot facility to a 30,000 square foot building donated by the Whirlpool Corporation. Since its opening, more than 2,500 individuals have used the center to conveniently access culturally customized healthcare.

The Ludwig Award will fund a health equity leadership development program designed to prepare community members and hospital staff to effectively collaborate in strengthening Lakeland’s ability to meet the healthcare and social needs of the residents of Benton Harbor and other underserved communities in its service area.

For more information about the Center for Better Health, contact Lynn Todman, vice president of health equity at Spectrum Health Lakeland, at (269) 208-2254.

Rob Casalou receives the Ludwig Award on behalf of Chelsea Hospital and the WAVE Stockbridge-Manchester Shuttle.
Rob Casalou receives the Ludwig Award on behalf of Chelsea Hospital and the WAVE Stockbridge-Manchester Shuttle.

Chelsea Hospital, a joint venture hospital, whose partners are Trinity Health Michigan and University of Michigan Health, spearheaded development of the WAVE Stockbridge-Manchester Shuttle to address a need recognized through the 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment, which identified social isolation as a high priority need and lack of transportation as a risk factor in Stockbridge and Manchester. These towns had no public transportation options, are among the most financially vulnerable communities in the area, and had recently lost vital businesses.

Chelsea Hospital partnered with the nonprofit Western Washtenaw Area Value Express (WAVE) to create routes between these towns and services in Chelsea. The hospital and community leaders worked to ensure the free transportation was available to those who most needed it to build social connections and reduce barriers to employment, education, food access and healthcare.

Chelsea Hospital underwrote initial costs for the WAVE bus to connect the three towns, and Michigan Department of Transportation funding allows it to continue. Between August 2020 and January 2022, the shuttle provided 1,005 rides, more than two-thirds of them to disabled riders.

The Ludwig Award funds will ensure widespread awareness of this service. For more information on the WAVE Stockbridge-Manchester Shuttle, contact Reiley Curran, Chelsea Hospital community health improvement manager, at (734) 593-6269.

To learn more about the MHA’s annual Ludwig Community Benefit Award, contact Erin Steward at the MHA.

Hospital Executives Recognized for Outstanding Leadership

The MHA announced the winners of its 2022 Healthcare Leadership Award June 30 during its Annual Membership Meeting. Each year, the MHA recognizes outstanding individuals who have provided exceptional leadership to healthcare organizations and to the health and well-being of the community. The 2022 recipients are Charles “Chuck” Nelson, chief operations officer, Marshfield Michigan, and chief administrative officer, Marshfield Medical Center – Dickinson, Iron Mountain; and Edwin A. Ness, president and CEO, Munson Healthcare, Traverse City. The MHA will donate $1,000 on behalf of each award winner to the charity of their choice. These funds were provided to the MHA by the family of former MHA President H. Allen Barth.

Charles “Chuck” Nelson, chief administrative officer, Marshfield Medical Center – Dickinson, Iron Mountain.

When Nelson became CEO of the former Dickinson County Healthcare System in October 2019, the organization was near bankruptcy. He focused on helping staff and the community envision the system as a significant player in the future of Dickinson County and turning the financially challenged organization around.

Over the next 30 months, Nelson significantly improved income and balance sheet performance and implemented operational improvements, leading to approval of a $17 million loan through the USDA rural development program — assistance that had previously been denied. The funding was used to upgrade technology and hire 16 new physicians.

Nelson led through the pandemic by coordinating contingency plans, securing vaccines, improving access to testing, strengthening telehealth services and expanding inpatient capacity. He shares with other organizations the lessons learned through a malware attack that took the health system offline for nearly six weeks, helping them better manage cyber risk. A project focused on improving patient and employee engagement led to an improved rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Nelson also led through the system’s affiliation with Marshfield Clinic Health System to improve access and increase healthcare innovation for area residents.

Nelson has asked that the $1,000 monetary portion of the award go to Little Brothers, Friends of the Elderly in Hancock, MI.

Edwin A. Ness, president and CEO, Munson Healthcare.
Edwin A. Ness, president and CEO, Munson Healthcare.

Ness took the reins at Munson Healthcare in 2010 and led the effort to integrate nine community hospitals in the northwest lower peninsula, then worked to streamline the organization’s decision-making process. He and board leadership generated a new governance structure, achieving the benefits of a single board while maintaining the voice of each local community. His leadership in developing collaborative partnerships with other healthcare systems and the integration of multiple specialty services in Traverse City provided both quality local care and regional access to sophisticated diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities. During the pandemic, Ness led efforts to coordinate response plans with local health departments and others, ensuring broad access to vaccinations.

Ness is a servant leader who focuses on community needs and supporting and building his team, and his integrity and values emerge through all his interactions. He leads change by including those impacted by potential actions, and he fosters strong engagement of board members.

Ness’ leadership skills have benefited the boards many organizations. He served 12 years on the MHA board and was board chair in the 2020-2021 program year as hospitals faced the challenges of the pandemic.

At Ness’ request, the $1,000 monetary portion of the award will go to the Chill Out for Winter Safety program, which teaches children to be smart and safe while having fun.

The MHA congratulates the winners of the 2022 MHA Healthcare Leadership Award.

Health & Hospital Association Elects 2022-2023 Officers and Board Members

Members of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) elected new officers and appointed board members during the association’s Annual Membership Meeting June 30. Officers of the 2022-2023 MHA Board of Trustees include T. Anthony Denton, chair; Shannon Striebich, chair-elect; and Julie Yaroch, DO, treasurer. In addition, Brian Peters was reappointed to serve an indefinite term of office as CEO of the association. The board directs the greater Lansing-based association’s statewide representation of hospitals and healthcare providers.

Denton, senior vice president and chief operating officer, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, will serve as chair during the association’s 2022-2023 program year beginning July 1. The terms of service of Striebich, president, Trinity Health St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, Pontiac, and senior vice president of operations, Trinity Health Michigan, Canton; and Yaroch, president, ProMedica Charles and Virginia Hickman Hospital, Adrian, will also span the 2022-2023 program year. Tina Freese Decker, president and CEO, BHSH System, Grand Rapids, will serve as immediate past chair.

“On behalf of our entire membership, I want to thank Tina Freese Decker for her outstanding leadership of the MHA Board through yet another year of challenges, including the pandemic, workforce shortages and more,” said MHA CEO Brian Peters. “We are grateful for Tina’s service. We are excited to now welcome T. Anthony Denton as our incoming chair. We know Tony’s dedication to advancing the health of individuals and communities will be felt by the entire hospital and healthcare community during his tenure.”

Brittany Lavis, group CEO, Detroit Medical Center, and Kent Riddle, CEO, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, Grand Rapids, were appointed as trustees at-large for three-year terms. Douglas Apple, MD, chief clinical officer, Ascension Michigan, Warren; Jeremiah J. Hodshire, president and CEO, Hillsdale Hospital; and Hunter Nostrant, CEO, Helen Newberry Joy Hospital, Newberry, were appointed as trustees at-large for two-year terms.

Reappointed for three-year terms on the 2022-2023 MHA Board of Trustees as trustees at-large were Karen Cheeseman, president and CEO, Mackinac Straits Health System, St. Ignace; James Dover, president and CEO, Sparrow Health System, Lansing; and Gregory R. Lane, executive vice president and chief administrative officer, McLaren Health Care, Grand Blanc.

Continuing to serve their current terms of service as trustees at-large are Gar Atchison, chief executive officer, UP Health System – Marquette, and market president, UP Health System; Beth Charlton, president and CEO, Covenant HealthCare, Saginaw; Mark Eastburg, PhD, president and CEO, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, Grand Rapids; Bill Manns, president and CEO, Bronson Healthcare, Kalamazoo; Robert Riney, president and CEO, Henry Ford Health, Detroit; and Shelleye Yaklin, president and CEO, North Ottawa Community Health System, Grand Haven.

MHA Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Decision

Brian Peters

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

Brian PetersThe Michigan Health & Hospital Association represents a diverse array of healthcare organizations in Michigan. We embrace this diversity and respect and support our membership in their individual decisions about which reproductive health services they offer.

What we know is today’s decision by Supreme Court of the United States on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization will have practical consequences that will impact hospitals, patients and providers. Hospitals have been evaluating for some time what changes may need to occur to operations if today’s decision did come to fruition and we expect hospitals to begin to put those changes in motion.

The MHA is in the process of understanding the implications of these changes and providing education to our membership. Above all, we will seek legal guidance to protect healthcare providers and patients from incurring any unintentional criminal liability, harassment or negative health consequences due to a lack of clarity about Michigan’s law regarding reproductive healthcare services.

MHA Statement on Approval of COVID-19 Vaccines for Babies & Toddlers

Brian Peters

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

MHA CEO Brian Peters

The approval of COVID-19 vaccines for our country’s youngest children is a valuable milestone to celebrate as nearly every American is now eligible to receive the safe and effective vaccines. The vaccines continue to perform extremely well at protecting individuals from the severe effects of COVID-19, including hospitalization and death.

We highly encourage every parent in Michigan to consider vaccination for their babies and toddlers and to consult with their pediatrician if they have any questions. Widespread vaccination of children will go a long way towards reducing the number of pediatric patients hospitalized in Michigan’s hospitals with COVID-19, which over the last two years has led to over 8,000 pediatric hospitalizations in the state. One child hospitalized with these conditions is one too many and with the tools now available, we can do better.

ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital Receives Q1 MHA Keystone Center Speak-up! Award

MHA CEO Brian Peters; Beth Bedra, RN, patient safety officer, ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital, and Sarah Scranton, MPA, vice president, safety and quality, MHA and MHA Keystone executive director.
MHA CEO Brian Peters; Beth Bedra, RN, patient safety officer, ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital, and Sarah Scranton, MPA, vice president, safety and quality, MHA and MHA Keystone executive director.
MHA CEO Brian Peters; Beth Bedra, RN, patient safety officer, ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital, and Sarah Scranton, MPA, vice president, safety and quality, MHA and MHA Keystone executive director.

The Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) Keystone Center honored Beth Bedra, patient safety officer at ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital, June 9 with the quarterly MHA Keystone Center Speak-up! Award.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, changes were made to the main entrance at ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital to accommodate infection control requirements for patient visitors. However, the revised entrance utilized a revolving door that was not suitable for all visitors and posed a safety risk. Beth personally examined the door, reviewed video footage of how patients and their care partners enter and exit the facility and engaged other staff in identifying solutions. As a result, she led efforts to revise the entrance that accommodates the needs of all visitors at the hospital and ensures the safest walkway possible.

“I’m honored to be a recipient of this award and to know that as a team, we’ve been able to improve the patient and visitor experience at ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital,” said Bedra. “I’m thankful we have a culture where I could speak up and suggest a change that is in the best interest of safety at the hospital.”

Launched in March 2016, the MHA Keystone Center Speak-up! Award acknowledges individuals or teams within MHA Keystone Center Patient Safety Organization hospitals who speak up to prevent potential harm to patients or other staff members. The award fosters a culture within healthcare organizations that empowers staff to speak up about the quality or safety of patient care.

“We are incredibly grateful to have Beth as part of our team,” said Darrin Arquette, president, ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital. “Her years of safety experience, in addition to her perceptive observation skills and attention to detail help improve the safety and quality of care for our staff, patients and their care partners on a daily basis.”

Additional award finalists for the first quarter of 2022 include:

  • Jennifer Helman, NP, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital
  • Erin Munsel, PharmD, BCCPS, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital
  • Jenny Burton, Helen Newberry Joy Hospital

“The pandemic has created incredible challenges for hospitals and in many instances, drastically changed the visitor experience,” said MHA CEO Brian Peters. “Beth is a great example that despite the increased stress on healthcare workers, they still display an unwavering commitment to improving safety for all who enter their facilities.”

Specifics on the MHA Keystone Center Speak-up! Award, including criteria and a nomination form, are available online. For more information, contact the MHA Keystone Center PSO.

Michigan Community Colleges, Universities and Hospitals Team Up to Solve the Nursing Shortage

Logos of supporting organizations for the legislative nurse staffing proposal.

Logos of supporting organizations for the legislative nurse staffing proposal.

Leaders ask Legislature for $56 million to get more nurses in the field

Michigan higher education and healthcare leaders today unveiled a collaborative plan to increase educational options to produce more highly-qualified nurses and address the nursing shortage across the state.

“Michigan’s community colleges and 4-year colleges and universities have come together to combat the nursing shortage, creating an innovative and affordable way to earn bachelor’s degrees in nursing at 28 new locations across the state,” said Brandy Johnson, Michigan Community College Association President.

The plan was developed by the Michigan Community College Association, the Michigan Association of State Universities, Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities, and the Michigan Health & Hospital Association. It is also backed by the Michigan Works! Association, Michigan Association of Colleges of Nursing and the Michigan Council of Nursing Education Administrators.

“Michigan’s public universities are pleased to have worked with our higher education partners to craft this common-sense and innovative approach to creating a more highly-skilled nursing workforce capable of fulfilling the critical role nurses play within the state’s healthcare community,” said Dr. Daniel Hurley, CEO of Michigan Association of State Universities.

It would create seamless opportunities for nurses with associate degrees to complete their Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) on community college campuses. Through this program, community colleges would partner with a four-year college or university and design a BSN completion program with input from local employers and local workforce development agencies.

“This plan ensures that Michigan nursing students have every option possible to get high-quality education and training on nearly every college, university or community college campus in this state,” said Robert LeFevre, president of Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities. “

The group is seeking a $56 million state budget investment to increase access and affordability of Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs for students who completed their Associate Degree in Nursing at a Michigan community college. Under the plan, grants would be administered by the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) and be awarded to Michigan community colleges. Each community college would be eligible for a $2 million grant for administering the program.

“We are proud to work in partnership with colleagues to develop an innovative strategy to strengthen Michigan’s nursing workforce by ensuring students throughout our state have access to a high-quality baccalaureate nursing education,” said Laurie Lauzon Clabo, PhD, RN, FAAN, Michigan Association of Colleges of Nursing president-elect.

This program would significantly increase the number of nurses with bachelor’s degrees that are in-demand at Michigan’s hospitals.

“Staffing shortages are impacting Michigan hospitals throughout the state, particularly in the areas of nursing,” said Brian Peters, Michigan Health & Hospital Association CEO. “This plan will help us get more highly-skilled professionals into the field quickly and increase access to nursing education in more communities across the state.”


The Michigan Community College Association fosters collaboration, connection, and partnerships among the 28 Michigan public community colleges and their stakeholders.  The MCCA provides strong legislative and public advocacy in Lansing and throughout Michigan, works to improve the image and credibility of community colleges, and advances numerous shared initiatives through the Michigan Center for Student Success, Michigan Colleges Online, and the Michigan New Jobs Training Program.


The Michigan Association of State Universities serves as the coordinating board for Michigan’s 15 public universities, providing advocacy and fostering policy to maximize the collective value these institutions provide in serving the public interest and the State of Michigan.

Michigan Independent Colleges & Universities represent the state’s not-for-profit independent colleges and universities. Our goal is to increase awareness of the impact MICU members have on higher education in Michigan. With over 125,000 students at our institutions, Michigan independent colleges educate approximately 25 percent of all college students in the state.

MICU serves its members through government relations, public policy development and advocacy. For more information and data related to Michigan’s independent colleges and universities, please visit

Based in greater Lansing, the MHA advocates in Michigan and Washington, DC, on behalf of healthcare providers and the communities and patients they serve. The MHA is a nationally recognized leader on initiatives that protect and promote quality, cost-effective and accessible healthcare. To learn more, visit or follow the MHA on Facebook and Twitter.


MHA Issues Statement on the Tragic Death of Patrick Lyoya

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

The video footage released today of the tragic shooting death of Patrick Lyoya in Grand Rapids is jarring and incredibly disturbing. Almost two years ago, our nation witnessed the murder of George Floyd, which exposed for our entire country the racial injustices that exist in our communities. What happened April 4 in one of Michigan’s neighborhoods to Patrick Lyoya is unacceptable and shows that our state has so much more to accomplish to address systemic racism.

We express our deepest condolences to the family of Patrick Lyoya, those mourning his loss and all individuals who share these feelings of fear and anger at another Black community member losing their life unnecessarily.

Hospitals are a welcoming place of care for all those who need our services. The mission of the MHA is to advance the health of individuals and communities, and that mission is inclusive of every race, ethnicity and nationality. What happened to Patrick Lyoya is not acceptable; we stand with all our patients, their loved ones, our communities and our employees as we come to terms with Patrick’s unnecessary death.

Hospitals throughout our state will reflect on this tragedy as a time to come together and share peaceful expressions of our hurt and anguish. Following Mr. Floyd’s tragic death, MHA member hospital and health system chief executive officers signed a pledge expressing a unified commitment to address racial disparities, dismantle institutional racism and achieve health equity. We promise our efforts will not stop until we have achieved those goals.

Workplace Safety and Minority Health Recognized in April

National organizations are recognizing April as Workplace Violence Awareness Month and Minority Health Month, each of which are key priorities for the Michigan Health & Hospital Association. The Alliance Against Workplace Violence is leading efforts for Workplace Violence Awareness Month while the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health is promoting Minority Health Month.

MHA CEO Brian Peters
MHA CEO Brian Peters

“The mission of the MHA is to advance the health of individuals and communities,” said MHA CEO Brian Peters. “Ensuring the safety of our healthcare workers and improving efforts to address health equity, diversity and inclusion fulfills our mission and is critical to every Michigan hospital and community.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare sector had the highest distribution of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in the private sector in 2020, while OSHA data indicates healthcare workers are nearly four times more likely on average to experience violence than individuals in other industries.

Improving workplace safety in hospitals has been the focus of the MHA, the MHA Keystone Center and Michigan hospitals since the MHA Workplace Safety Collaborative was launched in 2019 with the goal to reduce injuries and increase safety awareness through educational events, webinar series and insights from subject matter experts.

With reported rates of violence against healthcare workers increasing during surges of COVID-19 hospitalizations, the MHA has actively advocated for House Bill 5682. This legislation would double the fines for assaulting a healthcare employee or volunteer in any healthcare setting. To help increase awareness of protecting healthcare workers, the MHA has developed and provided to MHA members free of charge workplace violence posters.

Diversity, equity and inclusion is another key component of the activities of the MHA Keystone Center. The MHA Board of Trustees endorsed in 2020 the Address Racism and Health Inequities pledge, which has since been embraced by all MHA member hospitals and hospital systems. The pledge expresses the need for hospitals to commit to addressing disparities, dismantling institutional racism and achieving health equity. The MHA Keystone Center also released the Eliminating Disparities to Advance Health Equity and Improve Quality guide, which is to be used by hospitals to assess strategies aimed at reducing disparities, achieving equity and improving quality.

“I am very proud of the work the MHA Keystone Center has made on both workplace safety and diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Sarah Scranton, MPA, MPP, vice president, safety and quality, MHA, and executive director, MHA Keystone Center. “The safety of caregivers and addressing health disparities can significantly impact the quality and safety of care delivered inside a hospital.”

Health equity is achieved when all members of society enjoy a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. As defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, social determinants of health contribute to racial and ethnic minority groups having disproportionate health outcomes and include neighborhood and physical environment, health and healthcare, occupation and job conditions, income and wealth, and education. The MHA and the MHA Keystone Center have long been committed to addressing health disparities, which is a foundational concept that shapes all the organization’s quality improvement and safety efforts.

More information about the MHA’s efforts and resources on workplace safety and health equity can be found at