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

covid

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

covid

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).

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.

Headline Roundup: Week of Nov. 8 for COVID-19 in Michigan

covid cell

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. 14

Friday, Nov. 12

Thursday, Nov. 11

Wednesday, Nov. 10

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.

Media Join Healthcare Workforce Sustainability Alliance Press Conference

MHA CEO Brian Peters

MHA CEO Brian PetersThe MHA conducted Nov. 4 a virtual press conference announcing the Healthcare Workforce Sustainability Alliance, a newly formed partnership with the Health Care Association of Michigan (HCAM), the Michigan Association of Ambulance Services (MAAS), the Michigan Community College Association (MCCA) and the American Nurses Association of Michigan (ANA-MI). The press conference featured Michigan healthcare and education leaders advocating for a $650 million investment to support staffing needs in hospitals, nursing facilities and emergency medical services and workforce training programs to grow the healthcare talent pipeline.

Speakers included:

  • MHA CEO Brian Peters.
  • HCAM President/CEO Melissa Samuel.
  • MAAS Executive Director Angela Madden.
  • MCCA President Michael Hansen.

Over a dozen media outlets from across the state joined the call, including MLive, Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, Michigan Radio, MiBiz, The Center Square and Gongwer. Stories from these publications and more were widely syndicated throughout Michigan.

Following the press conference, a press release was distributed to statewide media echoing the remarks made during the event.

Members with questions on advocacy and workforce sustainability efforts should contact Adam Carlson, and any questions regarding media requests should be directed to John Karasinski at the MHA.

Newly Formed Healthcare, Education Alliance Calls for Historic Investment in Staffing and Talent Development

Healthcare Workforce Sustainability Alliance Logo

Healthcare Workforce Sustainability Alliance LogoMichigan leaders advocate for a $650 million supplemental to support medical services, workforce pipeline

A newly formed coalition – the Healthcare Workforce Sustainability Alliance – has released a plan more than 19 months into the pandemic calling upon Michigan’s elected officials to address the emerging crisis of a shortage of healthcare workers to provide lifesaving medical care.

The Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) in collaboration with the Health Care Association of Michigan (HCAM), Michigan Association of Ambulance Services (MAAS), Michigan Community College Association (MCCA), and American Nurses Association of Michigan (ANA-MI) are advocating for a $650 million investment to support staffing needs in hospitals, nursing facilities, and emergency medical services and workforce training programs to grow the healthcare talent pipeline.

“Michigan healthcare workers are the essential responders to the COVID-19 pandemic and, unfortunately, the healthcare staffing shortage that existed pre-pandemic has become significantly worse in recent months,” said Brian Peters, CEO of the MHA. “Staffing at our hospitals is absolutely a crisis. With the support of our partners in the healthcare and education sectors, we are pleading with our Legislature to fund a future for the healthcare workforce that will help ensure lifesaving services are able to continue across our state.”

The Healthcare Workforce Sustainability Alliance is calling upon the Michigan Legislature to pass a $650 million supplemental to recruit and retain healthcare workers and a scholarship program to establish a workforce pipeline. The proposed Healthcare Worker Payments would be directed to healthcare front-line workers and health facility employees.

“The shortage of Michigan EMS heroes is getting worse by the day, and we desperately need more paramedics and EMTs in the field,” said Angela Madden, executive director of the Michigan Association of Ambulance Services. “The lack of training options has become a crisis for EMS and we’re proud to work with our fellow healthcare partners to help get more workers into healthcare fields quickly.”

The Future Healthcare Worker Scholarship Program would be designed to provide two years of scholarships to individuals pursuing a degree in a clinical healthcare field. The Future Healthcare Worker Scholarship Program would provide payments at qualifying institutions. Based upon estimates of eligible Michigan residents, grant amounts and years in the program, it is estimated that as many as 25,000 students would qualify for and could take advantage of the Future Healthcare Worker Scholarship Program.

“The state of our healthcare system has a direct impact on the health of our future. We need lifesaving care and transport, which means we need people able to provide those services,” said Michael Hansen, president of the MCCA. “Establishing a pipeline for these jobs by incentivizing students to go into and afford these careers is absolutely necessary to ensuring our communities stay healthy and appropriately staffed.”

Michigan hospitals have reached new record-high occupancy rates, requiring staff scheduling and capacity adjustments several times daily to preserve patient care standards. For many healthcare facilities, vacancy rates are 20% or more of their workforce. Patients experience delays of sometimes several days waiting for transport between a hospital and a nursing home, inpatient psychiatric hospital or rehabilitation facility due to the shortage of qualified paramedics. Some hospitals must regularly divert ambulances away from their emergency departments, which delays emergent care, especially in Michigan’s many rural areas.

“Working in long-term care is a calling, a fulfilling career that gives people a purpose,” said Melissa Samuel, president and CEO of HCAM. “Caregivers who have served on the front lines of a health crisis the world has not experienced in 100 years need and deserve our support. The pandemic has made an expected shortage of healthcare workers happen sooner and to a much worse degree. New admissions to skilled nursing facilities are being limited or halted because providers are taking a proactive measure to focus their care on current residents. We must address this workforce crisis to ensure our seniors have access to the care they need.”

Healthcare workforce staffing shortages existed prior to COVID-19 but have worsened and are expected to persist beyond the pandemic. Michigan must address both the short- and the long-term workforce crisis that is driving this problem before it forces even more difficult healthcare decisions. Contrary to the early support shown to healthcare workers in the beginning months of the pandemic, a 2021 survey has found that 34% of nurses reported experiencing workplace violence, which can lead to higher rates of burnout.

More detail about the Healthcare Workforce Sustainability Alliance’s $650 million plan will be available at www.mha.org as the group continues to work with policymakers.

 

MHA Statement on CDC Approval of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Ages 5-11

Brian Peters

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

The approval today of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is another significant milestone in combatting the spread of COVID-19. The new vaccine eligibility not only protects younger children from severe infection but reduces the likelihood of younger children infecting other vulnerable populations with the disease.

At a time when children’s hospitals throughout Michigan are strained due to high rates of respiratory illness, this approval will keep children safe and help reduce the burden on our hospitals and allow them to focus on their patients with non-COVID illnesses.

We encourage parents to contact their child’s physician office, their local health department or preferred health system for any questions they have and to schedule a vaccine appointment.

Combating the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Week of Oct. 25

MHA Covid-19 update

The number of Michiganders ages 16 and older who have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine reached 69% Oct. 28, according to the state tracker. More than 59% of those ages 12 and up were fully vaccinated as of Oct. 26.

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.

Vaccine for Kids Aged 5-11

An independent panel of experts advising the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently voted to recommend the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine be used in children aged 5 to 11. The next and final steps before this vaccine can be administered is approval by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), whose experts are scheduled to meet and vote Nov. 2 and 3. Following their vote, swift action is expected by the CDC director to authorize administration of the vaccine in younger kids. Members are encouraged to watch for updates from the MHA, the state and federal agencies Nov. 3 for details and information about rolling out this vaccine. Members with questions may contact Ruthanne Sudderth at the MHA.

Patient/Provider COVID-19 Vaccine Testimonials, Stories Could Save Lives

As the MHA continues public communication efforts to increase the statewide COVID-19 vaccination rate, hospitals and health systems are encouraged to submit stories, quotes, photos and/or video testimonials from clinicians or patients who are willing to advocate for the COVID-19 vaccines. The use of such stories was encouraged by the MHA Board of Trustees to ensure effective messages reach as many vaccine-hesitant people as possible.

Submissions can include clinicians speaking to the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines, impactful patient stories (i.e., a change of heart regarding vaccination status) or links to existing media coverage that can be shared across social media. Content can be submitted through Google Form or sent directly to Lucy Ciaramitaro at the MHA. These stories and the organizations that submit them will be featured across all MHA communication vehicles to inspire people who are waiting to be vaccinated.

Additional information on the COVID-19 pandemic is available to members on the MHA Community Site and the MHA COVID-19 webpage. Questions on COVID-19 and infectious disease response strategies may be directed to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Community Health Emergency Coordination Center (CHECC).