MHA Executive Vice President Laura Appel joined U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin and other healthcare advocates March 23 as part of a virtual press conference organized by Protect Our Care to celebrate the 13th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Appel emphasized the MHA’s long-standing support of the ACA and Michigan’s Medicaid expansion through the Healthy Michigan Plan, which provided millions of Americans with health insurance, provided access to care for millions of residents with preexisting conditions and saved billions of healthcare dollars. More than one million Healthy Michigan Plan beneficiaries are currently covered by Michigan’s Medicaid expansion program allowed by the ACA and more than 320,000 Michiganders receive coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace created by the ACA. Appel also referenced the $10 billion reduction in Medicare payments that Michigan hospitals committed to experience in order to ensure state residents have access to expanded health insurance coverage under the ACA.
Additional speakers during the press conference included Laura Bonnell, CEO of the Bonnell Foundation, and Sarah Stark, a Type 1 diabetic who benefitted from the original ACA expansion.
Media representatives from The Detroit News, WWJ Newsradio 950, WOOD TV8 and WLNS-TV joined the press conference.
Gov. Whitmer signed House Bill 4016 today, appropriating $75 million for the recruitment, retention and training of hospitals workers. This funding will directly benefit hospital workers and play an important role in helping to support hospitals experiencing a generational workforce shortage.
According to a recent survey of hospitals conducted by the MHA, there are more than 27,000 job openings in hospitals throughout Michigan, including nearly 8,500 nursing job opportunities. Other areas with a high need include technicians with more than 4,500 job openings, clinical assistants with 3,000 openings and 1,700 openings for operational support in areas such as environmental services and food service.
Hospital staffing levels determine patient capacity within facilities. Michigan has lost a high of about 1,700 staffed hospital beds since 2020 because of workforce shortages. Filling these job openings would increase statewide inpatient hospital capacity, expand service availability and assist in the transition of care outside of a hospital.
“Maintaining the sustainability of our healthcare workforce is a universal priority for all Michigan hospitals and health systems,” said MHA CEO Brian Peters. “We appreciate the work from the Michigan Legislature and Gov. Whitmer in passing this funding that will support hospital workers and help solve staffing shortages that persist throughout healthcare.”
House Bill 4016 was introduced by Rep. Angela Witwer (D-Delta Township) and passed the Michigan Senate Feb. 28 and the Michigan House of Representatives March 1 with bipartisan support.
Those interested in a healthcare career should visit the careers webpage of their local hospital or health system.
The following statement can be attributed to Brian Peters, CEO of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.
Gov. Whitmer and her administration demonstrated their commitment to protecting hospitals and supporting healthcare workers with the release today of the 2024 executive budget recommendation. Not only does it continue to protect vital funding pools in the state budget, but also provides health equity resources and includes significant workforce investments that should help grow the healthcare talent pipeline.
Important items included in the state budget include support for rural and critical access hospitals, obstetrical services, graduate medical education, the Healthy Michigan Plan and Michigan’s Medicaid population. The investments to expand the Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies program and to implement recommendations from the Racial Disparities Task Force should help improve health outcomes and reduce disparities in care. The announced workforce development investments such as lowering the eligibility age for Michigan Reconnect are long-term strategies that should help fill the incoming talent pipeline as staffing challenges continue to impact hospitals and their overall patient capacity.
Actions like today show Gov. Whitmer is a healthcare champion and on behalf of Michigan’s hospitals, we thank her for helping Michigan advance the health and wellness of individuals and communities. The MHA is committed to working with lawmakers throughout the budget process to identify funding solutions that expand access to care, protect the viability of hospitals and assist healthcare workers.
The MHA received media coverage the week of Jan. 30 regarding the 340B drug pricing program and the lack of child psychiatrists in northern Michigan.
Crain’s Detroit Business published an op-ed Feb. 1 from MHA CEO Brian Peters on how the 340B drug pricing program benefits hospitals. The placement of the op-ed follows recent criticism of the program in the media on how the program generates savings for hospitals and health systems.
“Michigan has some of the best state-level 340B protections in our country that prioritize access to care for vulnerable patients,” said Peters. “The program is funded through drug company discounts and not taxpayer dollars. Reducing the availability of 340B simply means even higher profits for drug companies. As the Michigan Legislature begins a new session, it is important to remember that for three decades, the 340B drug pricing program has received bipartisan support and helped hospitals from Detroit to the Upper Peninsula.”
In a separate story, Laura Appel, executive vice president of government relations and public policy, MHA, appeared in a story that looks at the shortage of child psychiatrists in rural and northern Michigan and the challenges it presents to children and families accessing care. The story originally written by Capital News Service was picked up by publications such as the Midland Daily News, Cadillac News, Ludington Daily News and City Pulse.
Members with any questions regarding media requests should contact John Karasinski at the MHA.
The following statement can be attributed to Brian Peters, CEO of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.
On behalf of our member hospitals, we deeply appreciate the contributions U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow has made and will continue to make to improving the health and wellness of individuals and communities throughout her time in elected office. While we are saddened to hear she will not be seeking a fifth term in 2024, we can confidently say Sen. Stabenow has made a profound and positive impact in Michigan through her support of healthcare issues including the MI Child program, community health centers, Medicare and behavioral health. With still two years left in her term, we look forward to continuing to work with a proven healthcare champion and a friend of the MHA.
The MHA conducted a virtual press conference Dec. 6 to discuss the economic and staffing challenges impacting hospitals across the state to generate awareness with lawmakers of these issues and the potential impact on access to timely, high-quality healthcare for Michiganders.
The event occurred while children’s hospitals continue to operate near capacity levels as they continue to care for a surge of children suffering from respiratory illnesses amid staffing shortages. Speakers also referenced how the loss of 1,700 staffed adult inpatient hospital beds across the state has led to longer wait times in the emergency department, reduced services and more difficulty transferring patients. Lastly, the point was made that no other industry is prevented from responding to inflationary pressures and growing expenses to the degree that healthcare is.
T. Anthony Denton, senior vice president and chief operating officer, University of Michigan Health System.
JJ Hodshire, president and chief executive officer, Hillsdale Hospital.
Dan Hurley, chief executive officer, Michigan Association of State Universities.
Brian Peters, chief executive officer, Michigan Health & Hospital Association.
Susan Smith, executive director, Economic Development Partnership of Hillsdale County.
Rudolph P. Valentini, chief medical officer at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, group chief medical officer at Detroit Medical Center.
Michigan’s hospitals are facing a funding crisis, putting communities and families across the state at risk of losing access to high-quality, timely healthcare. Health systems, business and university leaders are urging policymakers to address the crisis to avoid further reduction of available beds and access to care and healthcare services.
Michigan has lost a high of 1,700 staffed hospital beds since 2020 due to lack of staffing. This creates a cascade of problems, from longer wait times in the emergency department, reduced services, particularly in rural areas, and more difficulty transferring patients to the appropriate care setting. Respiratory illnesses are also surging, making problems worse.
“Recently, we have seen a surge in cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), flu and COVID. This puts an additional pressure on emergency departments and our already-strained inpatient bed capacity across Michigan, impacting care statewide. Without funding to address staffing shortages, we run the risk of compromising our ability to provide the same level of exceptional care that we’re accustomed to across the state,” said T. Anthony Denton, senior vice president and chief operating officer, University of Michigan Health System and Michigan Health & Hospital Association board chair.
A 2021 Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that nearly 30% of healthcare workers are considering leaving their profession altogether. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the need for 1.1 million new registered nurses nationwide by 2030, the Association of American Medical Colleges estimates two out of every five active physicians nationwide will be 65 or older within the next 10 years, and the nation faces a projected shortage of more than 3.2 million lower-wage healthcare workers such as medical assistants, home health aides and nursing assistants, according to a Mercer report.
“The overall health and prosperity of Michigan is inextricably tied to the state’s investment in its healthcare and higher education enterprises,” saidDaniel Hurley, CEO of the Michigan Association of State Universities. “Michigan’s public universities, together with our hospital and other healthcare partners, look forward to working with state leaders to ensure a future healthcare workforce that is capable of providing the highest levels of quality care for all Michiganders.”
The healthcare workforce shortage — combined with an aging population, a rise in chronic diseases and behavioral health conditions and advancements in medical care delivery — all contribute to an immediate need for resources that will allow hospitals to continue to provide the care residents need and deserve.
Despite staffing losses attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare directly employed nearly 572,000 Michigan residents in 2020, continuing to make it the largest private-sector employer in the state. The 2022 Economic Impact of Healthcare in Michigan report found that direct healthcare workers in Michigan earned $44.2 billion in wages, salaries and benefits, with indirect, healthcare-supported workers earning about $28 billion wages, salaries and benefits.
“With healthcare being the largest private-sector employer, a healthy Michigan economy is directly linked to a properly funded healthcare system,” said Susan Smith, executive director, Economic Development Partnership of Hillsdale County. “Without access to healthcare services to support our communities, ranging from obstetrical units to trauma centers, we cannot remain economically competitive, attract or retain talent, or support placemaking for young families and care for everyone at all stages of life.”
Michigan officials have made recent short-term investments to address the hospital staffing crisis, but additional funding remains unappropriated that if used as intended, can improve hospital capacity and service lines. Michigan also needs a long-term funding solution to address stagnant reimbursement that has yet to respond to inflationary pressures to improve the retention of existing healthcare workers and recruit future workers to ensure that residents continue to have access to healthcare services.
Learn how you can help your local hospital or health system by visiting MiCareMatters.org.
“Hospitals have an immediate need for resources to continue to provide the services residents need and deserve – like ambulances available for lifesaving care,” said JJ Hodshire, president and chief executive officer, Hillsdale Hospital. “As a rural hospital, we excel at being innovative to make the best use of our resources, particularly staff. However, we can only stretch resources for so long. Everyone can agree that access to lifesaving emergency medical care is a basic need for Michiganders and residents should be able to receive specialized care no matter where they live.”
“My colleagues in pediatric units across the state have spent the past month responding to one of the worst respiratory illness surges I can remember as a physician and the biggest challenge to our ability to care for more children was our lack of available staff,” said Dr. Rudolph P. Valentini, chief medical officer, Children’s Hospital of Michigan and group chief medical offer at Detroit Medical Center. “We can’t afford to have another surge of sick, hospitalized children before something is done to improve the health of our hospitals and health systems.”
“Michigan residents deserve quality, accessible healthcare services and without hospital resources to adequately provide that care, Michigan hospitals have and will continue to face difficult decisions about what services they can offer,” said Brian Peters, chief executive officer, Michigan Health & Hospital Association.”
The MHA received media coverage during the weeks of Nov. 21 and 28 on the capacity status of hospital pediatric units amid the surge of hospitalized pediatric patients with respiratory illnesses driven by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
The Detroit Free Press published an article Nov. 23 on the status of hospitals throughout the state caring for a large number of children and requests made by hospitals to add additional licensed beds. Laura Appel, executive vice president of government relations and public policy, MHA, is quoted in the story on how staffing challenges continue to hamper hospitals, even for those with declining pediatric patient census.
“It’s worth noting that even where hospitalizations have receded, many of our members continue to face severe space and staffing challenges,” said Appel
The MHA received media coverage during the week of Nov. 14 on financial and staffing challenges impacting hospitals in Michigan and the potential for further state funding support.
The Detroit Free Press published an article Nov. 14 that reviewed the factors influencing declining financial performance, including lower patient volume, increased supply costs, higher workforce expenses and stagnant reimbursement. Laura Appel, executive vice president of government relations and public policy, MHA, is quoted throughout the story. Appel expressed appreciation for the one-time $225 million state grant for the recruitment, retention and training of healthcare workers and discussed the increased rates for staffing agencies.
“We are immensely grateful for that,” said Appel. “But the $225 million (is) a one-time payment that really only offsets a small amount of what we’re paying in 2022 … and none of it is designed to help us in 2023.”
The MHA received media coverage on the surge of RSV cases across Michigan’s pediatric hospitals during the week of Oct. 31. The coverage included several comments provided to news outlets and the distribution of a press release Nov. 4 to statewide media.
Below is a collection of headlines from around the state that include interviews or statements from MHA representatives.