Combating the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Week of Oct. 26

MHA Covid-19 update

Michigan, the U.S. and much of the world continue to experience increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services revised and extended its epidemic order Oct. 29 to contain the spread of the coronavirus. 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.

Polling Shows Michiganders Understand COVID-19 Precautions, Visiting Hospitals is Safe

A statewide survey done by EPIC-MRA conducted on the MHA’s behalf indicates that 91% of Michigan voters agree that Michiganders taking responsibility to wear masks, wash their hands and socially distance would help hospitals fight the virus. The survey also found that 85% of Michigan voters feel comfortable and safe visiting a healthcare facility for routine checkups, medical screenings and emergency room care. (See related news release.)

Information Blocking Rule Deadline Delayed

Due to the ongoing challenges providers are experiencing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released Oct. 29 an Interim Final Rule that extends the compliance dates to meet information blocking and Conditions and Maintenance of Certification from Nov. 2 to April 5. This is welcomed news as the MHA has been engaged with members on the issues and challenges this rule would have with sharing patient information. The extension of various compliance dates in this Interim Final Rule can be found on the ONC Fact Sheet.

Hospitals are encouraged to continue working toward compliance with the Information Blocking Rule, as the ONC stated this is only a delay and it intends to continue moving forward with these rules and regulations. Members with questions can contact Jim Lee at the MHA.

MIOSHA Releases FAQs on Emergency Rules

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) recently released several frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding its Emergency Rules issued Oct. 14. The rules largely represented the codification of Executive Orders 2020-153, 2020-184 and 2020-190, which set requirements on employers for following COVID-19 protocols such as mask wearing and employee screenings. Of particular note, the FAQs seek to clarify the record-keeping requirements set forth in the emergency rules, especially as they pertain to those working in the health field.

The MHA continues to work with MIOSHA on additional FAQs and clarifications to the rule set. Members with questions should contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.

COVID-19 Meeting Invitation from Legislative Leadership

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield extended an invitation to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, House Minority Leader Christine Greig, MHA Chief Medical Officer Gary Roth, DO, and the chief medical officers listed in the Oct. 22 joint statement on COVID-19 policies for a discussion regarding the impact of COVID-19 on Michigan. The MHA will provide additional information when it is available. The united message of the MHA and its members remains that following COVID-19 prevention efforts is vital to breaking the cycle of this disease. Members with questions should contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.

Additional information on the COVID-19 pandemic is available to members on the MHA Community Site and the MHA COVID-19 webpage. Questions on COVID-19 and infectious disease response strategies may be directed to the MDHHS Community Health Emergency Coordination Center (CHECC). Members with MHA-specific questions should contact the following MHA staff members:

New Polling Shows Clear Majority of Michiganders Understand COVID-19 Precautions

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With COVID-19 cases again spiking across the state and nation, 91% of Michigan voters agree that Michiganders taking responsibility to wear masks, wash their hands and socially distance would help hospitals fight the virus, a new statewide survey has found.

The survey also found that 85% of Michigan voters feel comfortable and safe visiting a healthcare facility for routine checkups, medical screenings and emergency room care. The survey of 600 Michigan voters was conducted Oct. 15-19 by EPIC-MRA for the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA). The survey’s margin of error was ±4%.

MHA CEO Brian Peters“Michigan voters clearly understand that wearing masks, physically distancing when necessary and taking other personal safety precautions will help our state’s hospitals and front-line healthcare workers confront this new surge in COVID-19 cases,” said MHA CEO Brian Peters. “The message from this survey is clear: we need more Michigan residents to take responsibility and exercise the behaviors that will protect their families, friends, colleagues, neighbors and communities from getting the virus. By taking those actions, hospitals and Michigan’s front-line healthcare workers can more effectively manage and care for those who contract COVID-19 and those who need other routine and lifesaving care.”

Chief medical officers and chief clinical officers representing 110 of 137 Michigan hospitals issued Oct. 22 a joint statement also expressing the importance of following COVID-19 safety precautions and concern regarding another hospital capacity crisis if hospitalizations continue to rise.

Similar to the results of other recent public opinion polls, the survey also found that Michigan voters continue to express caution about a new COVID-19 vaccine. Some 37% of voters said they would “definitely” or “probably” get the vaccine as soon as one is available, while 35% said they would wait to see how it works. Another 25% said they would “probably” or “definitely” not get the vaccine.

“The healthcare community is confident that a COVID-19 vaccine will only be approved for mass distribution after medical science, the world’s top doctors and regulators have data that conclusively demonstrate its safety and efficacy,” Peters said. “This is a scientific process that has proven over decades and generations to produce vaccines that have literally saved hundreds of millions of lives across the globe.”

Key findings from the survey include:

  • 79% of Michigan voters agree – 60% strongly – that their local hospital has played a critical role in their community’s fight against COVID-19.
  • 91% of voters agree – 80% strongly – that hospitals need continued support to keep fighting COVID-19, including the public taking responsibility for washing their hands, social distancing and wearing masks.
  • 78% of voters agree – 58% strongly – that increased state and federal funding is an important way to support Michigan hospitals fighting the virus.
  • 85% of voters agree – 68% strongly – that they feel safe and comfortable visiting healthcare facilities in Michigan for routine and emergency medical care.
  • 75% of voters say they trust COVID-19 information that comes from their local hospital.