News to Know – Nov. 21, 2022

  • DataGen is hosting a national webinar to review the 2023 Medicare fee-for-service outpatient prospective payment system final rule and hospital impact analysis at 3 p.m. on Nov. 30, 2022. This webinar is available free of charge but registration is required. The MHA will provide hospitals with an impact analysis of the final rule within the next few weeks. Members with questions should contact Vickie Kunz the MHA.
  • MHA Endorsed Business Partner NextJob is hosting a free webinar on Actionable Neuroscience Insights for Improved Workplace Performance at noon ET Dec. 7, 2022 to educate employees about the brain processes of perception, cognition and neuro-linguistics and share tips to help improve performance at work. MHA members are invited to register and share information about the webinar with their colleagues. To learn more, visit the business partner profile page for NextJob or contact Paul Dzurec at NextJob.

MHA CEO Report — Time to Focus on Cybersecurity

MHA Rounds Report - Brian Peters, MHA CEO

MHA Rounds Report - Brian Peters, MHA CEOThe world-altering powers that technology has delivered into our hands now require a degree of consideration and foresight that has never before been asked of us.” ― Carl Sagan

A long-held practice utilized by businesses of all stripes is the ubiquitous SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis. For a hospital or health system in 2022, there is no shortage of candidates to fully stock the “threat” category. In this column, I want to draw attention to one that deserves increased attention because of its potential to cripple an organization in an instant: cybersecurity.

The wonders of technology have dramatically improved healthcare in Michigan and beyond. Advancements include imaging technology that identifies serious disease at a much earlier stage, robotic devices that permit surgical interventions that were previously considered too risky to attempt, remote patient monitoring and telehealth, and electronic medical records that facilitate better tracking and coordination for patients across various sites of care — the list is impressively long.  And amid our current workforce shortage crisis, we often describe technology in healthcare as a “force multiplier” that can supplement and extend our limited staffing resources to help ensure adequate access to care.

Make no mistake, healthcare still has one foot on the proverbial dock and one foot in the proverbial boat. That is, many of our communications and services remain in the “analog” world, while a growing share have become electronic, digitized and inter-connected. This phenomenon — coupled with the fact that the personal health information we collect and store has more value on the black market than any other data — has painted a neon target on our back for a growing cadre of cybercriminals and adversarial nation states. It is no accident the FBI has identified healthcare as the number one target of these bad actors. And simply put, a cyberattack on a hospital is a “threat to life” crime. We must act accordingly.

The statistics on healthcare attacks are enough to keep any executive up at night. An attack on a midsize hospital creates an average shutdown time of 10 hours and costs on average $45,700 per hour, according to an Ipsos report. In the same report, 49% of the respondents said their annual compliance budget for cybersecurity wasn’t enough. According to IBM, a data breach at a healthcare organization costs more than any other sector at $10.1 million. And the threat continues to grow, as healthcare cyberattacks have increased by 84% from 2018 to 2021, according to Critical Insight. Michigan hospitals, health insurance companies, physician offices and others have been the victims of ransomware attacks and related cybercrime in recent years.

If this wasn’t bad enough, a spotlight was shone on cybersecurity this past spring during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, when cyberattacks on the Ukrainian government and critical infrastructure organizations had the potential to ripple across multi-national organizations and infect U.S.-based operations, including healthcare. Experts believe this scenario will be part of every future global conflict. And unfortunately, for many hospitals and health systems who welcome patients from multiple foreign countries, and who have business partners outside the United States, the practice of “geo-fencing,” or blocking all incoming email traffic from outside the country, is not always a viable approach.

So where can hospitals and health systems turn for help? At the national level, the American Hospital Association anticipated this trend several years ago and employs John Riggi as the national advisor for cybersecurity and risk. John has been a resource for the MHA in the past and as a former leader within the FBI’s cybercrime division, he maintains close ties with all the relevant government agencies.

And here at the MHA, we are also very committed to strengthening our own cyber defenses, while doing the same for our members. We have appointed Mike Nowak to serve as our own Chief Information Security Officer. Several years ago, Mike and his team helped to launch, and have subsequently helped to operate, the Michigan Health Security Operations Center (Mi|HSOC) for hospitals and health systems. Created for healthcare providers by healthcare providers, this first of its kind entity has the proven ability to prevent, detect, analyze and respond to cybersecurity events. Operating 24/7/365, the Mi|HSOC has developed strong relationships and communication with law enforcement at various levels, including the Michigan State Police Cyber Division, FBI and Secret Service.

An organization that helped form the Mi|HSOC is CyberForce|Q, which is now an MHA Service Corporation Endorsed Business Partner. In addition to sharing tactical information on emerging threats with the members of the security operations center, CyberForce|Q offers a variety of additional cybersecurity services to our members and other healthcare clients.

The bottom line — the MHA and our partners have helped Michigan become a leader in this space. By mitigating potential risk, physicians, nurses and staff of our member hospitals have the best opportunity to provide exceptional patient care without any external interruptions. While the advocacy, policy and safety and quality areas of the association often receive public attention, our cybersecurity efforts are constantly at work, often without much notice, to protect healthcare in Michigan.

But we need your help. I am the farthest thing from an expert in this field, but one thing I have learned is that the “human factor” is the most critical element of our defenses — and therefore the most vulnerable. Think twice before opening a suspicious email or text message, safeguard your electronic devices and passwords and take the time to educate yourself on all of the best practices to follow in the midst of this new, online world. The health of your patients and communities may depend on it.

As always, I welcome your thoughts.

The Great Resignation and Employee Retention Challenges

NextJob

         By Tammy A. Mullin, chief marketing officer at NextJob, an MHA Endorsed Business Partner                                                      

NextJobAll the talk these days is about “The Great Resignation.” The healthcare industry has lost anywhere from 20% to 30% of its workforce over 2020 and 2021, with more than a third of employees considering leaving their current positions and 60% currently rethinking their career. The sector ranks third in industries experiencing significant labor shortages at 9%, beat out by only accommodations and food services and leisure and hospitality. MHA members are scrambling to fill positions as well as keep existing employees engaged.

While most employers are focused on higher pay and enhanced benefits as a top strategy to attract and retain talent, it turns out that’s not what drives employee satisfaction and engagement. A 2021 study from Indeed, The Work Happiness Report, revealed some interesting data regarding what matters most to employees. Pay ranks 12th on the list of what makes people happy at work.

The top drivers of workplace happiness — feeling energized, a sense of belonging and a sense of purpose — are well within the reach of organizations whose existence is generally tied to a clear mission. The key is in providing clarity on the organization’s vision, mission, impact and employees’ contributions to each, as well as helping workers navigate their relationships with coworkers and into roles they love and where they will thrive.

To help its customers better engage with coworkers and build a better sense of belonging, MHA Endorsed Business Partner NextJob is hosting a webinar on “Workplace Communication Skills” at noon ET July 18. MHA members are invited to register and share information about the webinar with their employee base. In addition, an on-demand recording and presentation slides are available to MHA members free of charge from a webinar on The Great Resignation and Strategies to Maintain Workforce that NextJob presented May 11.

NextJob is available to answer questions and further explore MHA members’ interest in its career development services to help engage and retain employees during these difficult times.

MHA members not only receive discounted pricing on NextJob services; for a limited time, members will also receive their first career development or outplacement package free of charge. 

To learn more, contact Paul Dzurec, senior account executive, NextJob, at (860) 933-8424. For more information about the EBP program, visit the program’s webpage.

Applications Close May 23 for In-Person Security Risk Assessment Opportunity

HSS

HSSThe MHA Keystone Center is partnering with MHA Endorsed Business Partner HSS to offer in-person security risk assessments for its members. This assessment aims to provide an objective evaluation of threats to patients and staff and develop a corrective action plan.

To be selected for an in-person security risk assessment, hospitals are required to consistently submit Occupational Safety and Health Administration data into KeyMetrics and fill out an online application. In-person security risk assessment spots are limited. Hospitals incurring the greatest costs, highest incident rates and severest outcomes associated with staff harm will be prioritized for selection. Applications are due May 23at 5 p.m. MHA members may contact the MHA Keystone Center with questions about the assessment or application.

Care for Caregivers to Win the Staffing Battle

Medical Solutions

The nursing labor shortage is not going away any time soon. There’s no magic wand for addressing the short supply of clinicians. So, what can be done now? Retain staff.

Medical Solutions is an endorsed business partner of the MHA and a leading provider of innovative staffing support through its Managed Services Provider program. A new blog titled How Retention is the New Recruitment from Medical Solutions looks at the value of retention. It addresses the real cost of turnover as well as the challenges created by nurse burnout. Finally, it outlines steps that facilities can take to better retain their valuable staff.

To learn more about Medical Solutions, contact Mike Daeges at (402) 704-1429. For more information on the MHA Endorsed Business Partner program, contact Rob Wood at the MHA.

Workforce, Operational Challenges Addressed at MHASC Board, HR Committee Meetings

At its Feb. 9 meeting, the MHA Service Corporation (MHASC) board focused on supporting MHA Strategic Action Plan priorities including behavioral health, workforce sustainability, data strategy, cybersecurity and diversifying MHASC products, services, and partnerships. To receive an update on the action plan, members are invited to register for the Feb. 24 MHA Strategic Action Plan Forum.

The board discussed strategies for re-designing care and how the MHASC can support efforts in this space. MHA Endorsed Business Partner care.ai sponsored a joint lunch for MHA and MHASC board members and provided an opportunity to demonstrate its Smart Care Facility Operating Platform.

The MHASC Human Resources (HR) Committee met Jan. 31 to discuss current HR priorities and review its role in guiding the MHASC’s purpose and direction as it addresses issues including workforce sustainability, retention and recruitment, talent development, well-being and safety. Members provided feedback on current workforce-related legislative efforts and shared valuable insights with colleagues during a round-table session addressing workforce shortage issues. The MHASC is working with the HR Committee to develop future educational programming and networking opportunities, including the potential for holding an upcoming Michigan Healthcare Human Resources Conference. Finally, the committee received a report from new MHA endorsed business partner LifeWorks, highlighting virtual mental health therapy guided by professional therapists with the same clinical efficacy as traditional cognitive behavioral therapy.

The MHASC provides critical support to the MHA in the form of nondues revenue through its Data Services, Unemployment Compensation Program and Endorsed Business Partner program to address workforce, financial and other business needs. Visit the MHA Business Services webpage to learn more about resources available. Questions regarding the MHASC Board and MHASC HR Committee should be directed to Peter Schonfeld at the MHA.

Mental Health and Resilience for Health Care Workers During the Holidays

AbilitiCBT Logo

By Paula Allen, global leader and SVP, research and total wellbeing, LifeWorks, an Endorsed Business Partner of the MHA

AbilitiCBT LogoMental health is central to everything. This is a definitive statement because it is so true. Mental health is central to our quality of life, relationships, work experience and even participation in the economy. Many people take it for granted, but if there is any benefit to the strain of the past twenty months, it is that it has become clear that no one can or should ever take their mental health for granted. Since the Spring of 2020, there has been a significant decline in the mental health of working Americans.  Life and work has been filled with massive change, uncertainty and unprecedented risks and demands. People are tired.

While the holiday season is a time for celebration and connection, the work demands of this season can potentially overshadow the benefits of this time of year. When this happens, stresses can actually feel more stressful than at another time of year. Now more than ever, it is important to take stock of your situation and your opportunities. Gratitude grounds us and focuses the mind. Simple and unexpected kindness can foster the connection to someone else which changes how we experience stress.  At times, however, we might need more. With this MHA has launched AbilitiCBT. It offers evidence-based and effective mental health therapy for anxiety, depression and other issues. Two of the most important benefits are that it can fit into any busy schedule given digital access, but the process is also guided by a therapist who is there when needed, and who ensures the right path for each individual.

Mental health cannot be taken for granted. AbilitiCBT is here for you to use.

Salary.com Shares Resources for Developing Compensation Strategies

salary.com logo

As part of an educational series from the MHA Endorsed Business Partners, Salary.com shared the following three resources for hospital leaders to consider in developing compensation strategies.

As part of its Get Pay Right podcast series, Salary.com explores Remote Work and Compensation. In this episode, Salary.com leaders share insights from the latest research and discuss how to define a strategy for remote pay and ways to address the impact on compensation, pay equity and culture.

As organizations evaluate their post-pandemic hiring practices, many are offering signing bonuses to stand out in the shifting war for talent, but is this a short-term fix? Salary.com’s recent New Hire Pay Practices Pulse Survey shows the extent to which organizations are increasing pay levels to attract top talent and how new hire pay practices are impacting internal equity. The results highlight important findings that organizations should consider as they define their post-pandemic practices.

Finally, Salary.com shared new findings from the annual National Salary Budget Survey. Planned 2022 salary increases for U.S. workers are trending upward, breaking a 10-year flat cycle. Forty one percent of organizations will have a higher salary increase budget in 2022 than 2021.

Members with questions may contact Kevin Plunkett at Salary.com. For more information on the MHA Endorsed Business Partner program, contact Rob Wood at the MHA.

CEO Report — Addressing Staffing Challenges

MHA Rounds Report - Brian Peters, MHA CEO

“There is time for work. And time for love. That leaves no other time.” — Coco Chanel

MHA CEO Brian PetersHospitals have displayed tremendous resiliency over the past year and a half responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. That resiliency has come from the healthcare heroes who have served on the front lines of this crisis and experienced extreme physical and mental stress over the course of three trying surges. Yet that toll has elevated staffing, an already existing concern, to the top of every hospital executive’s mind.

We have said throughout the pandemic that the most significant determining factor of a hospital’s capacity is not physical space, beds or technology — rather, it is available staffing.  Even before the pandemic, we understood that healthcare staffing was a challenge. We currently have a population where the baby-boom generation is maturing, leading to an increased demand for healthcare services. It just so happens that many of those baby boomers also work in healthcare, and the incredible pressures brought about by the pandemic have accelerated their retirement plans.

On top of that dynamic, it has become very difficult for hospitals to recruit and retain staff in an increasingly competitive labor market where many opportunities exist outside of healthcare that offer competitive wages, signing bonuses, free or low-cost training, and the like. Nationally, 80% of nursing leaders have reported an increase in nurse turnover due to the pandemic. According to a 2021 study by Incredible Health, the demand for intensive care and emergency nurses grew by 186% over the past year. We are simply in a situation where the demand for labor currently outpaces supply, with 1.4 million job openings currently in the national healthcare sector according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary. In Michigan, simply visiting the Careers webpage of your local hospitals will likely show the dramatic number of openings that are currently available.

Lastly, pent-up demand for healthcare services has stretched existing staff over recent months, as those who were hesitant to receive care for fear of contracting COVID-19 delayed seeing a provider and are now visiting our emergency departments (EDs) at very high levels. In fact, we have seen a 16% increase in hospital ED visits during the latest quarter compared to pre-COVID times in the second quarter of 2019. This pent-up demand is increasing the pressure on our hospitals and staff as people use the ED as a point of entry to the healthcare system.

A contributing factor to the staffing shortage prior to the pandemic was the rate of stress and burnout in the healthcare setting. It is apparent that there are certain jobs, especially those dealing with direct patient care, where the burnout factor is especially pronounced. In response, the MHA has assisted our members in recent years in adopting the Quadruple Aim, a framework that focuses on achieving better healthcare outcomes and has the added goal of improving the mental wellness and work/life balance of healthcare providers to address the issue of burnout. The pandemic has added new urgency to this work.

In addition, our member hospitals and health systems throughout the state have been active in identifying solutions for our healthcare heroes. Some have offered bonuses and hazard pay to staff to show their appreciation for their hard work. Hospitals are also deploying more resources toward behavioral health support to help staff cope with the traumatic stress that they have experienced over the past 17 months. During Michigan’s three COVID-19 surges, many hospitals also brought in contract workers and traveling nurses to supplement their existing workforce due to staffing shortages, the cost of which came well above standard rates due to the demand. Hospitals have also gone to great lengths to procure record amounts of personal protective equipment for their staff — yet another unplanned and unbudgeted expense.

For years, the MHA has advocated strenuously to support graduate medical education (GME) in the state budget process, and we have hosted in-person GME Advocacy Day in Lansing events in the past with our partners at the Michigan Osteopathic Association and the Michigan State Medical Society to connect medical residents with their elected officials. GME is critical to attracting medical students and residents from around the globe to Michigan.

In addition, we advocated for passage of House Bill 4359, which modernized the scope of practice for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs). Rural providers have a difficult time hiring anesthesiologists, and this new law will allow flexibility for each hospital to choose the anesthesia care model that best fits its location, staffing and resources to offer safe and effective patient care by eliminating the state requirement that a CRNA must work under direct physician supervision. We appreciate all the stakeholders that made this bill possible, as it eliminates a costly regulation while maintaining patient safety.

The MHA has also been active in bringing together stakeholders to identify solutions to healthcare staffing. The MHA Service Corporation (MHASC) Human Resources (HR) Committee was created as a collaborative body for HR leaders to come together and address issues specific to healthcare workforce issues. Led by Peter Schonfeld, senior vice president, policy & chief operating officer, MHASC, the committee has met to discuss current HR leadership priorities and review its role in guiding the purpose and direction for the MHASC efforts to address workforce resources, education, data staff development and more. The committee has also addressed priorities including vaccination policies, staffing shortages, and diversity, equity and inclusion.

We also recently formed the MHA Human Resources Council as a resource for healthcare professionals to provide input on legislative and regulatory issues relevant to healthcare employers. Staffed by MHA COO Nancy McKeague, the council will provide networking and educational opportunities for HR professionals, dissemination of best practices, and data collection and reporting relating to hospital and health system workforce metrics.

The MHASC has also been providing staffing solutions to our members through both the Unemployment Compensation Program and our Endorsed Business Partner (EBP) Program. The Unemployment Compensation Program has seen a dramatic increase in the number of cases filed since the pandemic began, processing over 70,000 unemployment claims in the last year alone, from clients in Michigan and across the country. Their decades of expertise have saved our client organizations tens of millions of dollars while addressing unemployment fraud that has become rampant recently.

We currently have six EBPs that focus on workforce solutions, including Merritt Hawkins, which provides permanent physician recruiting and consulting services. These EBPs have been carefully vetted to ensure they provide high-value services for our members in need of workforce assistance. In fact, we recently added NextJob as our newest EBP to help hospitals better support healthcare workers with re-employment services, which enhances the work of our unemployment program. I’m extremely happy that we have these services available, with other EBPs in this space focusing on compensation, workplace violence training, consulting and performance coaching.

Finally, as we look to the future, we know that telehealth and virtual care, which has seen an acceleration during the pandemic, has the potential to be real game changers for the delivery of healthcare. We will need to do all we can to help ensure that new technologies are adopted in such a way as to maximize access and affordability for all populations, while also doing right by our healthcare staff.

As you can see, the staffing challenges hospitals face are complex; yet across Michigan we are pursuing every tool in our toolbox to create solutions that both bring in top-notch caregivers and retain our healthcare heroes who have treated over 125,000 COVID-19 patients during the pandemic. Michigan hospitals remain committed to protecting our staff and doing everything we can to ensure they feel safe and protected while caring for their patients. From physicians and nurses to environmental service workers and support staff, our hospitals need all levels of team members to efficiently and effectively operate 24/7/365.

As always, I welcome your thoughts.

CyberForce|Q Offers Continuous, Collective Approach to Cybersecurity Assessments

cyberforce

The MHA’s newest Endorsed Business Partner, CyberForce|Q, offers a new approach to cybersecurity for healthcare organizations. CEO Eric Eder described a situation where a rural healthcare system’s CEO shared his organization’s experience from a cybersecurity breach. It involved a ransomware attack that took the hospital offline for two weeks and was still being restored five months later.

The CEO indicated that the organization’s last cybersecurity assessment was performed three years prior and many of the findings were either forgotten or no longer relevant. Its already overwhelmed IT staff struggled to act on findings from seven different assessments performed by five different consultants. Many organizations face similar issues, but CyberForce|Q offers an approach that has proved more effective and more efficient than traditional assessments.

The first step in this approach is to advance from relying upon infrequent and disparate cybersecurity assessments to a continuous assessment model. This model still informs specific controls, but it is also workflow integrated, updated in nearly real time with objective metrics and realigns tactics with strategy every month. The model allows healthcare participants to share benchmark data and best practices.

Created by healthcare for healthcare, the Healthcare Security Operations Center (HSOC) provides collective cybersecurity defense for healthcare 24/7/365. Being part of a collective defense has proved to prevent breaches from happening in the first place. The idea for the HSOC is rooted in trusted sharing established by hospital associations where members can work on solving industry problems together, sharing tactical ideas and best practices to protect all hospitals within the HSOC environment. This continuous and collective approach could benefit Michigan healthcare organizations as they seek efficiency and effectiveness from their cybersecurity technology investments.

CyberForce|Q is offering a virtual event from 10 to 11 a.m. EDT July 14 as part of its Coffee and Collaboration series, where MHA CEO Brian Peters will discuss ways to speak to those in the healthcare C-suite about cybersecurity and will provide insights into emerging issues confronting the healthcare field​. The session is free of charge, but registration is required to receive connection information.

For more information on the MHA Endorsed Business Partner program, contact Rob Wood at the MHA.