Media Recap: Economic Impact of Healthcare and Nurse Staffing Ratios

MHA CEO Brian Peters speaks with WLNS.
MHA CEO Brian Peters speaks with WLNS.
MHA CEO Brian Peters speaks with WLNS.

The MHA received media coverage the week of May 1 on the economic impact of healthcare in Michigan and planned state legislation that would require nurse-to-patient staffing ratios in hospitals.

Crain’s Grand Rapids Business published an article May 4 on the 2023 release of the Economic Impact of Healthcare in Michigan report. The report demonstrates healthcare remains Michigan’s largest private-sector employer, providing nearly 568,000 direct jobs, including 219,000 in hospitals. The report shares fiscal year 2021 data, displaying the impact the pandemic had on healthcare and employment. A survey of Michigan hospitals in March 2023 showed more than 27,000 job openings in Michigan hospitals.

“Our hospitals are trying to fill those slots and many of those are nursing. So, that opportunity to bring more people into health care, it’s there today and it’s going to increase going forward,” said Peters. “We’re an economic engine that hires a lot of people and we need even more based on the environment that we’re experiencing right now.”

WLNS-TV also aired a story May 3 on planned legislation supported by the Michigan Nurses Association that would mandate nurse-to-patient staffing ratios. MHA CEO Brian Peters spoke with WLNS to explain how detrimental a mandated one-size-fits-all approach would be to Michigan hospitals, health systems and the availability of care for patients. Peters emphasized the need for hospitals to have local control to determine staffing models that best represent the needs of their patients and communities. He also provided solutions the MHA and member hospitals and health systems are implementing to address the nearly 8,500 opening nursing positions in Michigan hospitals and to retain existing nurses.

“Our chief nursing officers are really in the best position to make those decisions, a one-size fits all mandated approach, certainly does not give us that flexibility,” said Peters. “This would only add fuel to that fire and really threaten that viability of our hospitals throughout the state of Michigan.”

Becker’s Hospital Review published an article May 5 on each of these issues.