Groundbreaking Nursing Education Expansion Plan Will Strengthen Michigan’s Nursing Workforce

­Plan funded in state budget will expand Bachelor of Science in Nursing education to community college campuses

Michigan education and healthcare leaders are thanking Gov. Whitmer and legislative leaders for championing and funding an innovative plan to expand nursing education opportunities across Michigan. The $56 million initiative was included in Fiscal Year 2023 budget that was signed yesterday by Gov. Whitmer.

The collaborative plan will create seamless opportunities for nurses with associate degrees to complete their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) on community college campuses. As part of the program, community colleges will partner with a four-year college or university and design a BSN completion program with input from local employers and local workforce development agencies.

“We are excited to implement our plan to offer opportunities to earn bachelor’s degrees in nursing on Michigan’s community college campuses, in partnership with Michigan’s four-year colleges and universities,” said Brandy Johnson, Michigan Community College Association President. “This effort that will help to address Michigan’s nursing shortage wouldn’t have been possible without the leadership and advocacy of Governor Whitmer, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, Speaker Jason Wentworth, and Appropriations Chairmen Jim Stamas and Thomas Albert.”

Nurses with the BSN degree are in demand at Michigan’s hospitals.  By ensuring the opportunity to earn a BSN degree, this program will significantly increase the number of associate degree prepared nurses completing BSN degrees.

“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. We are grateful to Gov. Whitmer and our legislative leaders for making this effort a priority.”

The program will 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, funds will be administered by the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) and will be awarded to Michigan community colleges. Each community college will be eligible for a $2 million appropriation for administering the program, in collaboration with a four-year public university or independent college.

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.


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.

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.


Fiscal Year 2023 State Budget Advances Health of Individuals and Communities

Brian Peters

The following statement can be attributed to Brian Peters, CEO of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association. *The budget has since been signed by Gov. Whitmer on July 20, 2022.

Brian PetersThe fiscal year 2023 state budget approved by the Michigan Legislature provides necessary resources to assist hospitals and health systems in advancing the health of individuals and communities throughout our state. We appreciate the work and consideration placed by lawmakers that continues to protect hospital priorities.

These priorities include maintaining funding for the Healthy Michigan Plan, graduate medical education of physician residents, disproportionate share hospitals which treat the highest numbers of uninsured and underinsured patients, the rural access pool and obstetrical stabilization fund, and critical access hospital reimbursement rates which all support access to healthcare services in rural areas. Each of these areas are instrumental to keeping hospitals financially secure, particularly in areas serving vulnerable and underserved populations.

We are also extremely happy to see new funding to improve and enhance state behavioral health facility capacity and to address the healthcare workforce. Michigan lacks adequate capacity to treat patients with behavioral and mental illness and this new funding is an important and necessary step to address the shortage. The investment of state funds to expand access to bachelor of science in nursing degree programs at the state’s community colleges is a significant movement towards replenishing Michigan’s healthcare talent pipeline.

We look forward to a signed budget that provides the resources necessary for hospitals and health systems to care for all Michiganders.

Healthcare Advocates Honored with MHA Special Recognition Award

The MHA announced four winners of its Special Recognition Award during the Annual Membership Meeting June 30, recognizing them for extensive contributions to healthcare. Each of the winners has uniquely influenced healthcare in Michigan. The winners include Jean Anthony, recently retired CEO of Hills & Dales General Hospital, Cass City; Nancy Graebner-Sundling, recently retired president of Chelsea Hospital; Terry Lerash, recently retired CEO of Scheuer Health, Pigeon; and Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland).

Jean Anthony was recognized for 47 years at Hills & Dales General Hospital, beginning as a licensed practice nurse and retiring Jan. 3 as CEO. While working, she earned associates and bachelor’s degrees in nursing and a Master of Arts in Organization Management and advanced to such roles as quality improvement/risk management and director of clinical services. She was promoted to chief operating officer in 1996 and appointed CEO in 2014.

Anthony oversaw an $8 million renovation project, completed in 2019, that included additional clinic space, updated inpatient rooms and many other facility updates. She successfully recruited physicians, specialists and nurse practitioners who continue to serve the community. She made technology a high priority and enhanced the hospital with state-of-the-art equipment. Under her leadership, the hospital achieved Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work designation three times.

Anthony served on the MHA Small or Rural Hospital Council for over seven years, chairing it in the 2019-2020 program year. She was a member of the association’s Quality and Accountability Committee and Physician Council and served on the Board of Trustees of the Hospital Council of East Central Michigan for seven years, most recently as secretary/treasurer. Anthony was also a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Nancy Graebner-Sundling receives the MHA Special Recognition Award.
Nancy Graebner-Sundling receives the MHA Special Recognition Award.

Nancy Graebner-Sundling served for a decade as president of what is now Chelsea Hospital before her retirement in March. During that time, she led the two-story Atrium facility expansion that enhanced the emergency department and enabled expanded therapies, added diagnostic imaging departments, and renovated the lab and pharmacy. She later managed the completion of the hospital’s comprehensive cancer program, expansion of the surgical department, increased inpatient rehabilitation capabilities and added the Michigan Medicine Hospitalist Service that enables the treatment of higher acuity patients. She oversaw the renovation of a 30-bed inpatient behavior health services wing, led the renovation of the short-stay unit and established a 24/7 urgent care unity in the emergency department. She applied community benefit funds to establish the award-winning shuttle bus between Chelsea and the communities of Stockbridge and Manchester (see related article).

Graebner-Sundling has often lent her expertise to the MHA, serving on the association’s Legislative Policy Panel for three years, the Behavioral Health Integration Task Force for four years, and a year on the Health Information Technology Strategy Committee. Many local organizations have also valued her involvement, contributing to her recognition in 2020 as Chelsea Citizen of the Year and Chelsea State Bank Woman of the Year.

MHA CEO Brian Peters and Terry Lerash, recently retired CEO of Scheuer Health, Pigeon.
MHA CEO Brian Peters and Terry Lerash, recently retired CEO of Scheuer Health, Pigeon.

Terry Larash retired June 30 after six years at the helm of Scheurer Health and a healthcare career spanning five decades. Following a tour as a U.S. Army medical corpsman, Lerash earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing and worked at the Veterans Administration Hospital and St. Luke’s Hospital in Saginaw. These jobs led to roles as director of nursing, director of human resources and vice president of clinical operations within Covenant HealthCare while he earned a master’s degree in administration. After a decade as president and CEO of Synergy Medical Education Alliance, Larash returned to Covenant to oversee the Department of Innovation. He was hired as chief operating officer of Scheurer in early 2016 and became president and CEO six months later.

During his tenure, Lerash established Scheurer primary care clinics in Bad Axe and Sebewaing and a Fast Care in Bad Axe, upgraded the electronic medical record system, developed new services and expanded others, created two new school wellness clinics, and added primary care providers to the team. In addition, he led the rebranding of the organization from Scheurer Hospital to Scheurer Health and implemented The Scheurer Way, a program dedicated to the customer and employee experience.

State Sen. Jim Stamas has represented the 36th District in the Senate since 2015. He was a member of the House of Representatives from 2009 through 2014 and served two terms as Majority Floor Leader. He received the award for his continued support of Michigan’s hospitals and health systems. As chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, which oversees the state budget and spending, Stamas fought to enhance Medicaid reimbursement rates for outpatient services, including a targeted increase for critical access hospitals in 2019.

Stamas also supported the healthcare workforce through a supplemental appropriation of $300 million in 2022 to recognize the impact of the pandemic on hospitals’ ability to recruit, retain and train employees.  His strong budget knowledge has been an important tool in ensuring hospital priorities have remained fully funded in the budget, and he was quick to step up and provide the funds to hold hospitals harmless when a Medicaid data error in 2021 would have otherwise caused a $160 million shortfall.

Stamas has been a true healthcare champion on policy legislation as well, recognizing the critical role hospitals play in the health and economic well-being of their communities, especially in rural areas of Michigan.

MHA Meritorious Service Award Recognizes Wright Lassiter III

The MHA announced the 2022 winner of its highest achievement award June 30 during the association’s Annual Membership Meeting. Receiving the award for his leadership in the fight against COVID-19 is Wright Lassiter III,  2022 chair of the American Hospital Association Board of Trustees and former president and CEO of Henry Ford Health.

At the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, Lassiter became a leading advisor to the City of Detroit and state officials. Under his leadership, Henry Ford Health quickly charted a path for vaccine research and served as a leader for the trials of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Henry Ford Health was chosen as the medical director for the state’s mass vaccination site on Detroit’s Ford Field. It was the first health system in the state to require workforce vaccination across its multiple locations, helping to keep its staff, patients, visitors and communities safe. Lassiter also provided input and guidance to the governor’s office during the pandemic as a member of the Michigan Economic Recovery Council.

Wright Lassiter III receives the MHA Meritorious Service Award from MHA CEO Brian Peters.
Wright Lassiter III receives the MHA Meritorious Service Award from MHA CEO Brian Peters.

Lassiter has more than 30 years of experience in large, complex health systems. He joined Henry Ford Health as president in December 2014 and became president and CEO in 2016. During his tenure, he has led the board and senior management to position the system for the future, completing two successful mergers, expanding its geographic footprint, generating an additional $1 billion in revenue, and opening partner hospitals in Saudi Arabia and India.

Lassiter has received many accolades, being named Crain’s Detroit Business’ Newsmaker of the Year in 2022 and Michiganian of the Year by The Detroit News in 2020, receiving the 2021 Crain’s Detroit Business Health Care Heroes – Corporate Achievement Award, and more. Lassiter gave the Spencer C. Johnson Health Policy Lecture June 30 during the 2022 MHA Annual Membership Meeting. In August, he will become the CEO of Chicago-based CommonSpirit Health.

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.