CEO Report — Healthy Communities, Healthy Economies

MHA Rounds Report - Brian Peters, MHA CEO

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”― Oscar Wilde

MHA CEO Brian PetersThroughout Michigan, hospitals are critical to their communities not only because of the services they perform, but because of their role as leading employers as well. Regardless of where you live, you very likely know someone who works in a community hospital or in the healthcare field. In fact, in 2018 one in every five employed people in Michigan were in positions directly or indirectly related to healthcare. In total, hospitals in our state provide 234,000 jobs, supporting family members, neighbors and other local businesses. Taken as a whole, healthcare provides more jobs than automotive manufacturing and education combined; as a result, when healthcare operations are impacted, there is a clear trickle-down impact throughout an entire community.

With a death toll that just passed the 20,000 mark, it is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound detrimental impact on the health of Michigan communities and has battered healthcare workers physically and mentally. The most pressing challenge today for the leaders of our member hospitals and health systems is clear: workforce sustainability — in other words, how to best support the front-line caregivers who are working so hard to provide care to our patients and communities and how to recruit and retain enough healthcare professionals to continue providing this care into the future. 

Our hospitals are operating at near-capacity levels due to high volumes of non-COVID-19 patients, many of whom delayed seeking care during the pandemic and are now presenting in the emergency department with higher acuity, requiring higher levels of care and longer lengths of stay. These patients are members of their local communities, serving as business owners, employees and customers. Much as hospitals are stretched thin due to higher volumes and limited staffing, so are our local businesses. The bottom line: hospital operations, public health, and economic vitality are all inextricably linked in our communities.   

Businesses of all stripes have been stretched to their limits over the past year and a half. From food service and hospitality to retail, manufacturing, academia and beyond, whole industries have been severely impacted by the pandemic due to supply and staffing shortages. While serving on the Michigan Economic Recovery Council during the beginning of the pandemic, I learned from some of Michigan’s top business leaders how significant the impacts were to their workforce, operations and bottom line. Many businesses have had to react by postponing specific service lines or production, reducing hours of operation, increasing prices or all the above. But there is one significant difference between our situation today as compared to the earlier stages of the pandemic: we now have a powerful tool in our toolbox that is proven to work and can help accelerate our return to normalcy. Of course, I am referring to the COVID-19 vaccine.   

Besides the obvious motivation to protect yourself from serious illness, hospitalization and death by following public health guidance and receiving the vaccine, there is a need to do so for the economic vibrancy of your local community. Regardless of political views, I can confidently say we all have shared goals of wanting to see our communities thrive, our children in school and our businesses profitable. When it comes to treating and preventing disease, we always look toward our healthcare experts to guide us on a path to recovery. The MHA Board of Trustees, as well as the clinical leaders within our membership, are unequivocally united when it comes to the importance of vaccinations and appropriate masking. We know these tools work, and the evidence from hospitalizations during Michigan’s spring and existing surges prove it, as the older age groups with the higher vaccination levels experienced smaller increases in hospitalizations than younger age cohorts. In fact, approximately 99% of all COVID-19 deaths have been unvaccinated individuals.

I’ve said this publicly for over a year, and I will say it again: whether a local, state or federal public health mandate exists or not, it does not change the fact that receiving a vaccine, wearing a mask, staying home when sick and practicing proper hygiene are the right things to do. Each of these measures reduces the risk of passing on a highly contagious and deadly virus and saves lives. What it also does is lead us closer to economic prosperity for our communities and allows our businesses to focus on what they do best. Our country’s forefathers established core democratic values as our society’s fundamental beliefs. Included is the common good, where we all should work together for the good of all. It is time we remember this principle for the betterment of our communities and economies.

As always, I welcome your thoughts. 

Crain's Detroit Business Covers 2020 Economic Impact Report

MHA CEO Brian Peters

Crain’s Detroit Business published an article Feb. 28 on the release of the 2020 Economic Impact of Healthcare in Michigan report. The report is published annually by the Partnership for Michigan’s Health, which includes the MHA, the Michigan State Medical Society and the Michigan Osteopathic Association.

The report shows that healthcare continues to be the largest private-sector employer in Michigan. Hospitals alone employ more than 234,000 people in Michigan, while direct healthcare workers earned $29.3 billion in wages, salaries and benefits in 2018.

In a statement from MHA CEO Brian Peters included in the piece, Peters said, “Michigan's health care providers are important economic engines for the state and their local communities. Hospitals and health systems not only protect residents' health and wellbeing day in and day out, they provide more than 40 percent of health care's significant economic activity in Michigan.”  

Read the article

New Report Shows Healthcare Remains Michigan’s Largest Private-sector Employer

Economic Impact of Healthcare in Michigan

Provides Nearly 602,000 Direct Jobs, More Than 234,000 in Hospitals Alone

The Partnership for Michigan’s Health reports that healthcare directly employed nearly 602,000 Michigan residents in 2018, demonstrating that healthcare continues to be the largest private-sector employer in the state. The 2020 edition of The Economic Impact of Healthcare in Michigan shows that direct healthcare workers in Michigan earned $39.3 billion that year in wages, salaries and benefits. Hospitals alone employ more than 234,000 individuals in the state.

Direct healthcare employment helps create additional jobs that are indirectly related to or induced by healthcare. These healthcare-supported jobs are held by more than 552,000 people who earned about $27.6 billion in 2018 in wages, salaries and benefits. Together with their employers, the nearly 1.2 million workers in the healthcare sector contributed almost $18.6 billion that year in local, state and federal taxes. These taxes include Social Security, income, motor vehicle, sales, property, corporate and more.

The report was compiled by the Partnership for Michigan’s Health, which consists of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association, the Michigan State Medical Society and the Michigan Osteopathic Association, all based in the greater Lansing area. It uses 2018 data, which is the most recent available.

“Michigan’s healthcare providers are important economic engines for the state and their local communities. Hospitals and health systems not only protect residents’ health and wellbeing day in and day out, they provide more than 40% of healthcare’s significant economic activity in Michigan,” said Michigan Health & Hospital Association CEO Brian Peters. 

“The Economic Impact of Healthcare in Michigan report is an amazing amount of data in an easy-to-use webpage. The impact of healthcare on our economy cannot be overstated. Healthcare is our state’s largest creator of private-sector jobs and the salaries from those jobs contribute to local economies across the state,” said Kris Nicholoff, executive director of the Michigan Osteopathic Association.

"The economic impact studies confirm that physicians are job creators in every setting: hospital or office, city or state,” said Julie L. Novak, CEO of the Michigan State Medical Society. “Michigan physicians pride themselves on providing outstanding quality care to their patients and, clearly, that aim provides stability and an opportunity for growth.”

The 15th edition of The Economic Impact of Healthcare in Michigan was compiled using IMPLAN® V.3.1 software to quantify healthcare’s significant economic impact in the state. The data represents direct, indirect[1] and induced[2] healthcare jobs; taxes paid by those workers and their employers; and salaries, wages and benefits earned. The report is an online, interactive tool that allows users to examine these economic impacts from a statewide perspective and by region, county or congressional district. It is available at www.economicimpact.org.


[1] Indirect jobs are those created to support a larger employer or industry (for example, a laundry that cleans linens for a hospital).

[2] Induced jobs are those created by the spending of people who work in the indirect jobs (for example, a restaurant waiter who serves the laundry workers).