Combating the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Week of Feb 8

MHA Covid-19 update

MHA COVID-19 UpdateAs of Feb. 10, the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard indicated nearly 1.5 million doses of vaccine have been administered in Michigan to protect residents from the disease. While the virus continues its assault across the globe, the MHA keeps members apprised of pandemic-related developments affecting hospitals through email updates and the MHA Coronavirus webpage. Important updates are outlined below.

Governor’s Proposed Budget Protects Hospital Priorities, Funds COVID-19 Needs

The Executive Budget Recommendation presented to the Michigan Legislature Feb. 11 fully protects hospital and healthcare priorities and includes new funding for pandemic-related needs including testing, vaccine operations and more (see related article).

Vaccination Supply Shortages Discussed

The MHA continues to host monthly calls with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and supply chain leaders at member hospitals. During the Feb. 8 call, the groups discussed a shortage of some types of vaccination supplies and efforts at the state level to address them. The MDHHS reminded hospital leaders that it has a limited supply of syringes available to assist with administering the sixth dose of the Pfizer vaccine that is sometimes available in a vial. A shortage of sharps containers is expected to continue for a few months. Hospitals that need additional vaccination supplies are encouraged to contact their local healthcare coalitions.

The group also discussed an alert from 3M about counterfeit N95 masks that have been found in several states. Members are encouraged to check their inventory and contact 3M at (800) 426-8688 if they have the counterfeit masks. Facilities that face a significant N95 shortage due to this fraud should contact their healthcare coalition to help fill emergency supply gaps. Members with questions may contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.

Federal Pharmacy Vaccine Program Adds Doses to State Supply

Through a federal program announced Feb. 2, COVID-19 vaccine is being sent directly to Meijer and other pharmacies to administer doses to priority populations. The doses being sent to these pharmacies are in addition to states’ existing allocation sent to hospitals and health departments. The additional doses are being sent to community pharmacies as an additional access point and are separate from the pharmacy program responsible for vaccinating long-term care facility residents/staff. The federal government has also announced it will begin sending some doses directly to federally qualified health centers.

The MHA has communicated with the state about the need to ensure any pharmacy receiving vaccine directly from the federal government is following state prioritization guidelines. State officials will work with their federal partners to communicate these priority group requirements to any pharmacy receiving vaccine directly from the federal government.

All vaccine providers in Michigan are expected to follow current priority groups for vaccinations. The vaccines should currently be administered to the following population groups:

  • Phase 1A (healthcare workers and long-term care residents).
  • Phase 1B groups A and B (first responders, pre-K through grade 12 educators, childcare workers, corrections workers and workers in other congregate care settings).
  • Phase 1C group A (residents age 65 years and older).

The state is also working to vaccinate veterans. Providers should not yet begin to vaccinate those under 65 with underlying conditions (phase 1C group B). The state’s vaccine prioritization document provides complete details about these categories. The priority groups follow federal guidance closely and are unlikely to be changed.

Vaccination Data Required

It continues to be important for providers to enter and update data on employee and patient COVID-19 vaccinations in the state EMResource portal each Wednesday. In addition, members should report race and ethnicity data on those receiving vaccinations in the Michigan Care Improvement Registry, as a primary goal for the state is to ensure there is no disparity in vaccination rates across races and ethnicities. Members facing challenges in collecting this data or with other data-related questions should contact Jim Lee 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).


Executive Budget Recommendation Protects State Funds for Healthcare

David Massaron

The fiscal year (FY) 2022 executive budget recommendation was presented to the Legislature Feb. 11 by State Budget Director Dave Massaron.

The governor’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year protects key hospital priorities and includes the significant increase to outpatient Medicaid rates that took effect in October 2020. Key elements in the proposals for FY 2022 are:

  • The continuation of enhanced outpatient Medicaid rates. For FY 2021, the increase in rates is projected to result in the continuation of funding that translates to $250 million in net revenue for hospitals.
  • The executive budget recommendation protects critical access hospital funding, the rural access pool and obstetrics stabilization fund from reductions.
  • Disproportionate share hospital payments and graduate medical education funding are also protected from reductions, continuing to reflect the MHA’s 2016 budget deal.
  • The state’s obligation for the Healthy Michigan Plan is fully funded, and the executive recommendation continues funding for extended postpartum coverage of 12 months for new mothers who rely on Medicaid.

The MHA will continue to advocate for needed funding to support testing, personal protective equipment, vaccinations and more over the past year and encourage considerations to address other pandemic consequences, such as funding to improve behavioral health. The MHA will work with lawmakers and keep members apprised as budget negotiations continue with the Legislature this spring. As outlined by a media statement issued by MHA CEO Brian Peters, this was an important first step to preserve access to care in all hospitals across the state. Member with questions may contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.