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

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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

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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.

MHA Monday Report Nov. 22, 2021

MHA Covid-19 updateCombating the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Week of Nov. 15

Michigan 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 …


Out-of-state Licensure Provider Exemption to Expire Jan. 11

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has provided a 30-day notice that the out-of-state licensure provider exemption will no longer be in effect as of Jan. 11, 2022. The MHA worked with the state to develop this provision effective March 16, 2020, and to keep it in effect since …


Medicare Premiums and Deductibles Announced for 2022

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently announced that the Medicare Part A deductible for inpatient hospital services will increase by $72 in calendar year  2022 to $1,556. The Part A daily coinsurance amounts …


Webinar Offered to Apprise Providers on Transgender Issues in Healthcare

Transgender and gender nonconforming individuals deal with many common fears that can be debilitating. Healthcare providers need to understand the obstacles that this population faces to improve medical care for their patients. The MHA Health Foundation Transgender Healthcare Dignity Model …


Prepare Now for March Application Period of State Loan Repayment Program

Applications for the 2022 Michigan State Loan Repayment Program will be accepted from March 7-11 through the File Transfer Application System. Providers should create an account in the system as soon as possible, but should not upload their MSLRP application documents before March 7. …


Trustee Insights Edition Highlights Workforce Trends

The latest edition of Trustee Insights, the monthly digital package from the American Hospital Association, is now available. This month’s issue includes a report on the latest forces and trends affecting healthcare human resources, including education, training and the evolving practice …


covidHeadline Roundup: Week of Nov. 15  for COVID-19 in Michigan

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. …


The Keckley Report

Paul Keckley

The KFF Employer Health Benefits Survey: An Accurate but Incomplete Picture

“Last Wednesday, Kaiser Family Foundation released its 2021 Employer Health Benefits Survey—the 23rd in the series. …

“The KFF researchers note that changes in employer benefits participation are ‘unchanged’ but noticeable trends suggest changes ahead.”

Paul Keckley, Nov. 15, 2021


News to Know

  • The MHA Monday Report will not be published Nov. 29, but timely news will continue to be posted in the MHA Newsroom prior to publication of the Dec. 6 edition of Monday Report.
  • The MHA will offer a webinar on Unemployment Compensation and Vaccine Mandates at 10 a.m. EST Dec. 9.
  • The MHA will host a free webinar from noon to 12:45 p.m. EST Dec. 9 to review new requirements from The Joint Commission on workplace violence that take effect in January.

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

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. 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.

MHA Monday Report Nov. 15, 2021

 

Comments Due Jan. 4 on Federal Vaccine Mandates; MHA Summary Available

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently released the anticipated detailed rules mandating vaccines for employees of healthcare facilities and businesses with 100 or more workers. …


Medicare Home Health Prospective Payment System Updated for 2022

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently released a final rule to update the Medicare fee-for-service prospective payment system for home health agencies effective Jan. 1, 2022. …


Michigan Harvest GatheringsMichigan Harvest Gathering 2021 Campaign Concludes

For several weeks, Michigan hospitals and health systems helped generate donations to the Food Bank Council of Michigan through the Michigan Harvest Gathering. The campaign ended Nov. 12, and the MHA will issue a final report in late November outlining …


Healthcare Organizations Gather Virtually for Michigan Health Equity Summit

Nearly 137 safety and quality professionals participated in the virtual Michigan Health Equity Summit Nov. 3 hosted by the Michigan Public Health Institute, the Michigan State University Institute for Health Policy and the MHA Keystone …


Webinar Will Discuss Unemployment Compensation and Vaccine Mandates

As deadlines take effect for COVID-19 vaccine mandates at healthcare organizations, unemployment compensation claims will arise from employees who elect to resign or who are discharged for noncompliance with the mandate. …


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

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 …


Paul Keckley

The Keckley Report

Financial Sponsors Pose Unique Challenge to Healthcare Providers

“Outside pressures for affordability, equitable access and price transparency are finding their way into regulations like surprise medical billing and constraints on consolidation. But the specter of proposed increases to both the corporate tax rate … capital gains … and related carried interest rules … are prompting investors to rethink future capital deployment.”

Paul Keckley, Nov. 8, 2021


News to Know

The Root Cause Coalition, of which the MHA is a founding member, is accepting applications for its inaugural Health Justice Award through 11:59 p.m. PST Jan. 31.

Webinar Will Discuss Unemployment Compensation and Vaccine Mandates

As deadlines take effect for COVID-19 vaccine mandates at healthcare organizations, unemployment compensation claims will arise from employees who elect to resign or who are discharged for noncompliance with the mandate. The question then becomes whether the employee will receive unemployment benefits, and will the employer be charged for the benefits paid?

In a webinar offered at 10 a.m. Dec. 9, attorneys from the MHA Unemployment Compensation Program will discuss the various issues impacting vaccine mandate unemployment claims and provide guidance for employers on how address such claims.

The webinar is free of charge for MHA members and UCP clients, but registration is required. Questions may be directed to Neil MacVicar 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.

Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule Affects Telehealth, Vaccines, More

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently released the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule for calendar year 2022, which includes updates to Medicare payments under the schedule and other Medicare Part B issues effective Jan. 1. Provisions of the rule will:

  • Reduce the conversion factor by $1.31, from $34.89 to $33.58, to accommodate budget neutrality with changes in relative value units and the expiration of the 3.75% payment increase provided in the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act.
  • Extend eligible telehealth services that were added to the Medicare telehealth services list during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) through Dec. 31, 2023. This will allow for more time for stakeholders to gather data and submit support for requesting that services be permanently added to the Medicare telehealth services list.
  • Implement an in-person visit requirement at least every 12 months to qualify for telehealth service payment.
  • Include audio-only communications technology when used for telehealth services for the diagnosis, evaluation or treatment of mental health disorders furnished to established patients in their homes under certain circumstances.
  • Delay the start date for compliance actions related to electronic prescribing of controlled substances to Jan. 1, 2023, and delay the compliance start date for Part D prescriptions written for beneficiaries in long-term care facilities to Jan. 1, 2025.
  • Delay the penalty phase of the appropriate use criteria program to Jan. 1, 2023, or the Jan. 1 that follows the declared end of the COVID-19 PHE, whichever comes later.
  • Pay $30 per dose for the administration of the influenza, pneumococcal and hepatitis B virus vaccines, and maintain the current payment rate of $40 per dose for the administration of the COVID-19 vaccines. In addition, make the additional payment of $35.50 for COVID-19 vaccine administration in the home through the end of the calendar year in which the ongoing PHE ends.
  • Define and clarify policies for split (or shared) evaluation and management visits, which can be billed by the physician or practitioner who provides the substantive portion of the visit.
  • Allow physician assistants (PAs) to bill Medicare directly for their professional services, reassign payment for their professional services, and incorporate with other PAs and bill Medicare for PA services.
  • Delay the increase in the quality performance standard Accountable Core Organizations must meet to be eligible to share in savings until program year 2024.

Members with questions should contact Renée Smiddy at the MHA.