By Paula Allen, global leader and SVP, research and total wellbeing, LifeWorks, an Endorsed Business Partner of the MHA
Mental 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.
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.
“There is time for work. And time for love. That leaves no other time.” — Coco Chanel
Hospitals 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.
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.
Due to a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases at the beginning of the pandemic, a hospital turned to Medical Solutions, its trusted staffing partner, to address its demand for needing skilled clinicians in New York as quickly as possible. 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 case study from Medical Solutions details the lessons learned from this partnership:
Pick the Right Partner – Medical Solutions had an eight-year staffing relationship with this hospital system. Familiarity and trust were critical to finding ways to move quickly.
Efficient Interviewing – To efficiently find nurses and ensure the facility directors continued to provide patient care, Medical Solutions’ internal nurse managers conducted interviews and made offers.
Operational Support – Medical Solutions handled administrative tasks like recruiting and onboarding, communicating with multiple agencies, and maintaining compliance standards to reduce the strain on hospital staff.
Licensing Changes – An allowance in the state licensure expanded the candidate pool and improved the ability to find qualified clinicians.
Merritt Hawkins, an endorsed business partner of the MHA, conducted the Physician’s Foundation Survey of American Physicians in three parts in 2020 and recently released the final results. Each part of the survey focused on a different aspect of COVID-19 and how it has affected physicians and their patients. Part One, released in August, looked at how the virus has affected physician practices and their patients. Part Two, released in September, examined how the virus has affected physician well-being. Part Three, released in October, reflects future steps physicians believe should be taken to improve the healthcare system in light of the pandemic.
When asked what immediate policy steps could be made to improve the healthcare system, physicians rated “streamlining/simplifying prior authorizations” as the most important step, followed by simplifying access to mental health services. Physicians also identified “adding more physician leaders” as a key step to enhancing the healthcare system.
Part Three of the survey includes further data regarding how physicians view the importance of addressing the social determinants of health, limiting or eliminating surprise medical bills, determining the impact on drug costs of Pharmacy Benefit Managers and a range of other topics.
“The 2020 Survey of America’s Physicians: Covid-19 Edition offers valuable insights into how physicians on the front lines of care have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, how they have reacted to it, and where they believe we should go from here,” said Kurt Mosley, vice president of strategic alliances for Merritt Hawkins.
MHA members can use the survey data to gain insight to the current state of physician morale and physician practice patterns as they have been affected by COVID-19. A copy of the 2020 Survey of America’s Physicians: Covid-19 Edition may be requested online or by contacting Ben Jones, regional vice president of marketing, Merritt Hawkins. Members should contact Peter Schonfeld at the MHA for more information on the Endorsed Business Partner program.
Merritt Hawkins, an endorsed business partner of the MHA, has released its annual examination of the starting salaries and other incentives used to recruit physicians nationwide. Now in its 27th year, the firm’s Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives provides national benchmark data on physician recruiting incentives as well as a comprehensive analysis of the physician recruiting market.
For the 14th consecutive year, family medicine was Merritt Hawkins’ most requested search engagement, according to the report, underscoring the continued demand for primary care physicians. However, specialist physicians accounted for 78% of the firm’s search engagements, as an aging population drives the need for more orthopedic surgeons, cardiologists, pulmonologists and other specialists.
Merritt Hawkins’ annual report tracks physician starting salaries and other incentives based on more than 3,250 real-world recruiting engagements. The report shows an average starting salary for family doctors at $240,000, compared to an average of $423,000 for radiologists, $464,000 for urologists, $640,000 for invasive cardiologists and $626,000 for orthopedic surgeons.
The report indicates that demand for doctors has declined since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, but predicts demand will soon rebound.
“Virtually all of the dynamics driving the physician shortage, including an aging population, an aging physician workforce and a limited supply of new physicians, are still in place,” said Kurt Mosley, vice president of strategic alliances for Merritt Hawkins. “For now, however, this is a very favorable time for those facilities that continue to recruit physicians, because an unusual number of candidates are available.”
MHA members can obtain a copy of Merritt Hawkins’ 46-page 2020 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives by contacting Merritt Hawkins Regional Vice President of Marketing Ben Jones.
In a workforce analysis of projected nursing needs through 2030, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that, like most all other states, Michigan is currently experiencing a nursing shortage that is projected to last until 2030. It also speaks to what is known — the need for hospitals to develop a plan and strategy to better manage staffing and control costs of labor, which is among the largest expenses for healthcare facilities.
An Endorsed Business Partner of the MHA, FocusOne Solutions is a managed services provider (MSP) that can help hospitals bridge this nursing gap for the next 10 years. The short case study The Power of an MSP illustrates how FocusOne was able to help a hospital with an urgent high-volume staffing need open a new unit on time. It also covers factors that informed the hospital’s decision to engage FocusOne, including industry reputation, service offerings, software and compliance management. FocusOne’s working relationship with this hospital continues today.
To learn more about FocusOne Solutions’ complimentary service to MHA members or for a demonstration of its software, contact Luke Christensen at FocusOne at (800) 856-6574. Members with questions about the Endorsed Business Partner program should contact Rob Wood at the MHA.
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U.S. Supreme Court Declines Request to Expedite Ruling on Fate of Affordable Care Act
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Members of the Bronson Healthcare team testified before the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee Jan. 23 to advocate for House Bill (HB) 4862 on behalf of medical providers living with critical incident stress. The bill would expand …
The Michigan Senate Insurance and Banking Committee approved legislation Jan. 22 to address the issue of surprise medical bills. Also referred to as balance billing, surprise medical billing occurs when patients are unexpectedly held responsible for …
Registration is open for the MHA Keystone Center Patient Safety Organization (PSO) Annual Meeting, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 11 at the VisTaTech Center – Schoolcraft College, Livonia. A virtual option is available for those …
Overpayments to healthcare providers receiving Medicare reimbursements can result in civil and criminal enforcement action if providers are not diligent in compliance with reimbursement rule requirements. Healthcare providers cannot keep money paid …
The MHA’s Ludwig Community Benefit Award is presented annually to recognize MHA-member healthcare organizations that demonstrate community benefit by improving the health and well-being of their communities through collaborative health, economic …
Read recent coverage about the MHA, including a roundup of articles from across the state about recent research that finds Michigan drivers are largely unfamiliar with the state’s new auto no-fault insurance law that will take effect July 1.
Upcoming events and important healthcare news for the week of Jan. 27:
The MHA is hosting a series of webinars highlighting the cutting-edge and cost-effective solutions available to Michigan hospitals through its Endorsed Business Partner program. A webinar titled Compensation Wellness: Four Things to Make a Priority in 2020 will be presented by Salary.comat noon Tuesday. The webinar will cover reviewing an organization’s compensation philosophy and strategy, metrics that indicate compensation program health, tasks to perform on a regular basis, and ways to use the MHA Salary Survey. The webinar is offered free of charge, but registration is required.
Learning Webinar 1 of the Great Lakes Partners for Patients Hospital Improvement Innovation Falls Improvement Sprint series will take place from 11 a.m. to noon Tuesday. This webinar will focus on common themes identified through a hospital’s submission of the Process Improvement Discovery Tool. This tool is completed through chart audit and demonstrates current performance, which is essential to understand before addressing gaps to achieve desired performance. Participants will also review the Desired Performance Statement in Behavioral Terms tool that participants will complete and submit prior to Learning Webinar 2. For more information, contact the MHA Keystone Center.
Learning Webinar 1 of the Great Lakes Partners for Patients Hospital Improvement Innovation Readmissions Improvement Sprint series will take place from 2 to 3 p.m. Thursday. The webinar will focus on common themes identified through a hospital’s submission of the Process Improvement Discovery Tool. The tool is completed through chart audit and demonstrates current performance, which is essential to understand before addressing gaps to achieve desired performance. Participants will also review the Desired Performance Statement in Behavioral Terms tool that hospitals will complete and submit prior to Learning Webinar 2. For more information, contact the MHA Keystone Center.
The MHA hosted a webinar Jan. 14 with its endorsed business partner Care Logistics, an industry leader in improving patient flow, throughput, quality and experience. The webinar highlighted a case study from Mercy Medical Center in Canton, OH, where Barbara Yingling, chief nursing officer, successfully addressed these common challenges through the implementation of an innovative inpatient care progression model. A recordingand materialsare available from the webinar. Members with questions about accessing these materials should contact Rob Wood at the MHA.