CE Credits Available for Unionization and Legal Guidelines Webinar

The webinar Dispelling Misinformation About Unionization and Legal Guidelines 8:30 – 10 a.m. ET Nov. 11 has been approved by HR Certification Institute® (HRCI®) for 1.5 hours. The webinar will outline:

  • Understanding how recent dynamics, including the COVID-19 crisis and worker shortages, have increased healthcare industry’s vulnerability to union organizing.
  • Exploring current trends and tactics unions use to recruit healthcare employees.
  • Identifying strategies that boost employee engagement.
  • How to properly identify and respond to protected concerted activity.
  • How to navigate evolving rules from the National Relations Labor Board, including those applicable to social media.
  • Tips and guidelines for leaders in response to a union or other protected concerted activity.

Sponsored by the MHA Service Corporation Unemployment Compensation Program and the Miller Johnson law firm, the webinar is offered free of charge. Human resource executives and professionals, chief nurse executives and legal counsel are encouraged to register.

Details about the HR Certification Institute® credits are on the registration page. Members with questions should contact Erin Steward at the MHA.

 

Legislature Returns to Continue Healthcare-related Work

The Legislature returned the week of Sept.19 to continue work on several pieces of legislation that the MHA is currently monitoring. Committees met in both the House and Senate, taking up legislation that included several new bills supported by the MHA in the areas of behavioral health, rural emergency hospitals, speech-language pathologist licensure and telemedicine.

In the House Health Policy Committee, initial testimony was taken on new legislation to make changes to the preadmission screening process for behavioral health patients. House Bill (HB 6355), introduced by Rep. Graham Filler (R-St. Johns) and supported by the MHA, would memorialize the requirement for preadmission screening units operated by the Community Mental Health (CMH) services program to provide a mental health assessment within three hours of being notified by a hospital of the patient’s need. If a preadmission screening unit is unable to perform the assessment within the three-hour time frame, HB 6355 would also allow for a clinically qualified individual at a hospital who is available to perform the required assessment.

Kathy Dollard, Psychologist and Director of behavioral health for MyMichigan Health, joined the committee to testify in support of HB 6355.

Kathy Dollard, psychologist and director of behavioral health for MyMichigan Health, joined the committee to testify in support of HB 6355. “Strengthening our behavioral health system includes strengthening our behavioral health workforce and that can start with creative solutions like providing clinically qualified hospital personnel the ability to conduct pre-admission screenings,” said Dollard. No votes were held on HB 6355 at this initial hearing.

MHA staff also provided testimony during committee on HB 6380. Introduced by Rep. Andrew Fink (R-Hillsdale), HB 6380 would make the necessary changes to state law to allow for Michigan hospitals to pursue a new federal designation of “Rural Emergency Hospital” (REH) status. A REH designation comes with significant requirements such as limiting total beds to 50, maintaining an average length of stay of 24 hours or less and a required transfer agreement with a level I or II trauma center. Hospitals that choose to convert to a REH will receive enhanced federal reimbursement to provide critical emergency and outpatient services, especially in geographic areas.

Lauren LaPine and Elizabeth Kutter of the MHA testified in support of HB 6380.

Lauren LaPine, director of small and rural hospital programs, MHA, and Elizabeth Kutter, senior director of advocacy, MHA, testified in support of the legislation. “HB 6380 provides rural hospitals in our state with the ability to continue providing care in our most rural communities,” said LaPine. No votes were taken on HB 6380.

Initial testimony on two bills that were previously reviewed by MHA’s Legislative Policy Panel also occurred during committee. Senate Bill (SB) 811, introduced by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington), would extend the length of time for an individual to complete a temporary Speech-Language Pathologist license and extend the length of time those temporary licenses are valid. The MHA is supportive of SB 811, which did not see any votes this week.

House committee members also took initial testimony on SB 450, which would ensure that visitors of cognitively impaired patients are permitted in healthcare facilities. Introduced by Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland), the bill would prohibit the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) or a local health officer from issuing an order that prohibits a patient representative from visiting a cognitively impaired individual in a healthcare facility. As written, the legislation does not prevent a healthcare facility from implementing reasonable safety measures for visitors and will still allow for facilities to limit the number of representatives per patient. The MHA is neutral on the bill and will continue to monitor any action taken.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee took initial testimony on SB 1135, which was introduced by Sen. Mike MacDonald (R-Macomb Township). SB 1135 would specify that previous expansions to Medicaid telemedicine coverage also apply to the Healthy Michigan Program and Michigan’s medical assistance program. Most notably, the legislation would require continued coverage for audio-only telemedicine services. The MHA is supportive of SB 1135, which would continue virtual care policies that have proved to be effective and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the Senate’s Regulatory Reform Committee, testimony was taken on another MHA-supported bill to regulate the sale of kratom in Michigan. Kratom is a substance of concern with opiate-like effects that has no approved medical use in the United States. HB 5477, introduced by Rep. Lori Stone (D-Warren), would create a license for kratom sales and manufacturing, require testing of products and require new safety warnings on kratom substances sold in Michigan. While the MHA prefers a federal Schedule I ban of the drug, the association is supportive of HB 5477, which will help limit adolescent addiction and prevent adulterated products from being on the market.

Members with questions on these bills or any other state legislation should contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.

MHA Launches Physician Membership with AAPL Partnership

The MHA and the American Association for Physician Leadership (AAPL) announced a partnership Sept. 22 that will provide leadership education and training to MHA physician members. The announcement expands the range of benefits offered through the new MHA Physician Membership category, which is designed to provide physician leadership development opportunities and resources.

The AAPL remains the only association solely focused on providing professional development, leadership education and management training exclusively for physicians, making them an ideal candidate for the MHA.

The new relationship will provide membership in AAPL as part of the MHA Physician Membership. New benefits include:

  • AAPL will provide critical components and credits toward obtaining the Certified Physician Executive (CPE) certification as well as credits toward selected master’s degrees through AAPL partner universities.
  • MHA/AAPL physician members will be offered the AAPL’s Physician-Mapped Leadership Assessment & Development Tool.
  • The MHA/AAPL Physician Membership will include full access to the AAPL Leadership Library with articles, journals, case studies and podcasts and will receive a discount on AAPL programs, products, and services.

All physicians employed by a member hospital in Michigan are eligible for MHA Physician membership, as are physicians who are contracted by member hospitals or those who maintain a strong relationship with member hospitals (upon endorsement of the hospital chief executive officer or chief medical officer).

Members with questions may contact MHA Chief Medical Officer Gary Roth, DO.

News to Know – Week of August 29

Registration is now available for the Michigan Health Policy Forum. The event will be at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing from 1 – 4:30 p.m. Oct. 3. The MHA is a sponsor of the event, which will focus on the children’s mental health crisis in Michigan and sharing strategies that can be replicated and/or expanded in communities throughout Michigan. Members with questions regarding the event can contact Peter Schonfeld at the MHA.

News to Know – Week of August 15

Members are reminded to review their preliminary wage and occupational mix data released May 23 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and submit any requests for changes to their Medicare Administrative Contractor by Sept. 2 since no new requests for changes will be accepted after that date. This data is being used by the CMS to develop the fiscal year (FY) 2024 Medicare wage index which will be used to adjust up to nearly 70% of the payment amount across Medicare prospective payment systems including inpatient, outpatient and post-acute care settings effective Oct. 1, 2023. Members with other questions regarding the Medicare wage index or geographic reclassification process should contact Vickie Kunz at the MHA.

CMS Wage Data Revisions Due Sept. 2

Hospitals are encouraged to review their preliminary wage and occupational mix data released May 23 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and submit any requests for changes to their Medicare Administrative Contractor by Sept. 2 since no new requests for changes will be accepted after that date.

This data is being used by the CMS to develop the fiscal year (FY) 2024 Medicare wage index which will be used to adjust up to nearly 70% of the payment amount across Medicare prospective payment systems including inpatient, outpatient and post-acute care settings effective Oct. 1, 2023. To assist hospitals in reviewing their data, the MHA distributed hospital-specific reports that included comparisons to the previous two years and to that of other hospitals in their core-based statistical area. Materials and a recording of the MHA’s educational webinar held June 29 are available upon request by contacting Crystal Mitchell at the MHA.

Hospitals are also reminded that applications for Medicare geographic reclassifications are due Sept. 1 to the Medicare Geographic Classification Review Board (MGCRB). Applications approved by the MGCRB are valid for three years, FY 2024 -2026, and can be withdrawn if needed. Applications, instructions and other information regarding hospital wage index reclassifications are available on the CMS website.

Members with other questions regarding the Medicare wage index or geographic reclassification process should contact Vickie Kunz at the MHA.

Healthcare Community Urged to Vote in Aug. 2 Primary Election

MI Vote Matters logo

The MHA encourages its staff, members and other stakeholders in the healthcare community to vote in the state’s primary election Aug. 2. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sample ballots are available through the Michigan Secretary of State website, and additional information and resources can be found on the MHA Election 2022 webpage. Voters may only vote in one party section for the entire ballot. Ballots with votes in more than one party section will not be counted. Voters are also encouraged to vote in nonpartisan sections of their ballots.

Those who would like to ensure they are properly registered or need to verify their precinct number may click on “Your Voter Information” on the Michigan Secretary of State website and type in the requested information. The November 2018 passage of the state constitutional amendment, Promote the Vote Ballot Proposal, allows citizens to register to vote up to and on Election Day at their local clerk’s office.

The 2022 gubernatorial and midterm elections are critical to Michigan’s healthcare future. In addition to choosing the next governor, secretary of state and attorney general of Michigan, voters across the state will decide political contests that impact the legislative and regulatory environments faced by hospitals and the patients they serve, including two Michigan Supreme Court seats and all seats in both the U.S. House of Representatives, the Michigan House of Representatives and the Michigan Senate. Based on the political makeup of legislative districts, the results of the primary election often determine who will take office in January.

Following the August primary and the Democratic and Republican state conventions at the end of the month, the MHA will once again offer members a series of nonpartisan communication tools designed to encourage voter education and participation at the local level for the Nov. 8 general election. The MHA will also feature regular election updates on its Facebook and Twitter feeds using the hashtag #MIVoteMatters. Members with questions should contact Sean Sorenson-Abbott at the MHA.

New Physician Recruiting Data and Insights Provided by Merritt Hawkins

Merritt Hawkins

By Kurt Mosley, vice president of strategic alliances at Merritt Hawkins, an MHA Endorsed Business Partner

For the last 29 years, Merritt Hawkins, a division of AMN Healthcare, has released its annual Review of Physician and Advanced Practice Practitioner (AP) Recruiting Incentives.Merritt Hawkins

The recently released 2022 Review is based on a representative sample of over 2,600 recruiting engagements and, like previous reviews, tracks physician and AP starting salaries, signing bonuses, relocation allowances and related incentives. Over the years, the Review has provided benchmark data that many hospitals, medical groups and others use to determine if their recruiting packages offer customary and competitive incentives.

The new Review indicates that demand for physicians, and the salaries they are offered, has rebounded dramatically from COVID-19. Patient backlogs, an aging population and widespread chronic medical conditions have caused a strong surge in physician demand.

Increased from last year, the average starting salaries for orthopedic surgeons and most other specialties are shown on a downloadable infographic. The 2022 Review also shows that demand for medical specialists is rising, while demand for primary care physicians has declined. Most of Merritt Hawkins’ search engagements (64%) over the prior 12 months were for medical specialists, while only 17% were for primary care physicians. The remaining 19% were for advanced practice professionals such as nurse practitioners (NPs), physician assistants (PAs), and certified registered nurse anesthetists.

Two factors account for this shift. One is an aging population that needs more specialists to care for ailing internal organs, musculoskeletal conditions and neurological problems. The other is the growing use of NPs and PAs to provide primary care, often in “convenient care” settings such as urgent care centers, retail clinics and through telemedicine.

The Review includes a wide range of additional data and analysis. MHA members can obtain a copy of the review by contacting Merritt Hawkins Regional Vice President Ben Jones.

News to Know – Week of May 23

The deadline is approaching to apply for the Circle of Life Awards, which recognize innovative palliative or end-of-life care providers that measure and evaluate the impact of their work on patients, family and/or the community. Part 1 applications for the 2023 awards will be accepted through May 31 and Part 2 applications are due Aug. 15. The new two-part process is designed to reduce the time needed to apply. Up to three Circle of Life Awards will be presented during the American Hospital Association (AHA) Leadership Summit in July 2023. Caring Circle of Lakeland, a wholly owned subsidiary of Spectrum Health Lakeland, is one of the most recent winners of the award. Questions about the award and the application process may be directed to the AHA.

Webinar Reviews Infection Control Worksheet Compliance

Antibiotics have transformed the practice of medicine, making once lethal infections readily treatable and other medical advances possible. Like all medications, antibiotics can have serious unintended consequences, such as causing a patient to have an adverse drug reaction or a patient misusing the antibiotic. Improving the use of antibiotics is an important patient safety and public health issue. The MHA Health Foundation webinar The CMS Hospital Infection Control and Antibiotic Stewardship Program Compliance Requirements will examine:

  • How to accurately complete Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) infection control worksheets.
  • Updated procedures for the hand hygiene tracer.
  • Details surrounding the use of clean needles and syringes.
  • Vaccine storage and handling, as well as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention procedures for cleaning and disinfecting reusable medical devices.

The webinar is scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon ET June 7, and MHA members can register for a $200 connection fee per facility. Members with questions should contact Erica Leyko at the MHA.