MHA Statement on Passage of Senate Bill 759

MHA CEO Brian Peters

The following statement can be attributed to Brian Peters, CEO of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.

Brian Peters

The situation in Michigan hospitals is dire and the overwhelming support of Senate Bill 759 from the Michigan Legislature places into law another tool hospitals can use to address staffing shortages in the short-term. We appreciate the speed which lawmakers prioritized this bill and encourage Gov. Whitmer to sign this important piece of legislation so out-of-state providers who are in good standing and trained, educated, and experienced to provide medical care can continue to do so in Michigan without a Michigan-specific license.

MHA Statement on Department of Defense Approving State Request for Healthcare Staffing Support

MHA CEO Brian Peters

The following statement can be attributed to Brian Peters, CEO of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.

Brian Peters

The current situation facing our hospitals and health system is dire and today’s approval by the U.S. Department of Defense to grant clinical staffing support is desperately needed to provide relief to our vital healthcare workforce. Many hospitals throughout the state are operating at capacity, delaying nonemergency medical procedures and placing their emergency departments on diversion. Receiving these teams of federal caregivers can only help those hospitals.

We want to commend Gov. Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for making the formal request on behalf of Michigan hospitals and express our gratitude to the Department of Defense for granting this request so quickly.

However, the strain on our healthcare system is severe and we still need the public’s help to slow the extreme growth of cases and hospitalizations. Please get vaccinated, whether it is your first dose, vaccination for your children or a booster dose. Adhere to the public health advisory and wear a mask in crowded indoor gatherings. And contact your primary care provider or seek care at an outpatient setting for nonemergency medical needs. Together we can get through this crisis, but it will take all Michiganders doing the right thing.

CEO Report — Our Commitment to Safety and Quality

MHA Rounds Report - Brian Peters, MHA CEO

If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.” — W. Edwards Deming

MHA Rounds Report - Brian Peters, MHA CEOThe last week has been an eventful and successful one for the MHA. The Michigan Legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer came to an agreement on the state budget for the new fiscal year, which fully preserves all our hospital and healthcare funding priorities — needed more than ever as our hospitals continue to combat COVID-19 and deal with extraordinary staffing challenges. We were officially honored by Modern Healthcare with the Best Places to Work in Healthcare distinction. And finally, we received great news when Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) announced a $5 million commitment through 2024 to support the MHA Keystone Center’s expanded quality and safety improvement programs. I would like to personally thank BCBSM CEO Dan Loepp for his support of this continued partnership, which is the right thing to do for all Michiganders.

Since its inception in 2003, the MHA Keystone Center has provided leadership and facilitation that has directly resulted in improved patient care and quality outcomes — in other words, we have demonstrably saved lives and saved healthcare dollars. No wonder that the MHA Keystone Center has earned both national and international acclaim.

Our first flagship initiative involved central line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI). Through that work, Michigan hospitals saw a 22% improvement in CLABSI rates. Initial BCBSM funding also supported work that saw a 31% improvement in catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) and a 5.9% improvement in venous thromboembolism.

Following our initial successes, the Great Lakes Partners for Patients (GLPP) Hospital Improvement Innovation Network (HIIN) was created, allowing us to collaborate with our colleagues in Illinois and Wisconsin. Our HIIN efforts from Sept. 2016 to March 2020 produced a total cost savings of nearly $293 million, saved 3,350 lives and avoided 25,204 incidents of harm among hospitalized patients.

The MHA is now one of eight organizations participating in the Superior Health Quality Alliance, a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)-contracted organization that seeks to improve the quality of health and healthcare through innovation, effectiveness and efficiency in designing and implementing CMS Network of Quality Improvement and Innovation Contractors initiatives that are person-centered and integrated across the continuum of care and services. This important work with federal contracts is yet another way we can improve quality in the acute care setting.

High reliability work has been a focal point for the MHA for several years, which was initiated with our members in 2015. This work ensures exceptional quality of care is consistently delivered for every patient, every time. In 2018, the MHA Keystone Center launched a Reliability Culture Implementation Guide in partnership with our fellow state hospital associations from Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. This guide provides resources available for front-line staff, executive leaders and board members to help identify areas of opportunity.

Over the past year, CEOs representing all our community hospitals have signed the MHA Pledge to Address Racism and Health Inequities, demonstrating our members’ unified commitment to address disparities, dismantle institutional racism and achieve health equity. Recent examples of tangible steps taken to accomplish those goals include the publishing of the Eliminating Disparities to Advance Health Equity and Improve Quality guide and offering a virtual series to address four diversity, equity and inclusion concepts: equitable conversations, equitable messaging, partnership building and diversity pipeline development. The Health Equity guide is geared to assist organizations in addressing health disparities to achieve equitable care by providing key strategies, recommendations for action, implementation levels, and resources to support progress.

Thanks to funding from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, the MHA Keystone Center recently launched its second Age-Friendly Health Systems Action Community free of charge to MHA members. The Action Community builds on existing practices of participating organizations and combines them to reliably implement the evidence-based framework of high-quality care with all older adults in the system. With Michigan’s aging population, this work is exceptionally important and timely.

One way to help instill a safety culture within a healthcare organization is empowering all members of a care team to speak up if they think something may be wrong. Our patient safety organization created the quarterly Speak-up! Award program five years ago to honor healthcare staff who spoke up to prevent harm, which has prevented nearly $12 million in avoidable costs.

We have also done our part to address the tragedy of opioid overdoses, which lead to more deaths in Michigan than automobile accidents. The GLPP HIIN recently created the Midwest Alternatives to Opioids (ALTO) program; participating hospitals collectively have seen an 11.32% decrease in opioid administration and a 13.38% increase in ALTO administration. Because the COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened the opioid epidemic, we are committed to expanding this important work.

The MHA advocacy and policy departments also assisted in the creation of Project Baby Deer, a rapid Whole Genome Sequencing project to improve pediatric intensive care units and outcomes in Michigan. Genetic disorders are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in infants. Early diagnosis of genetic disease has the potential to change clinical management in many meaningful ways, including initiating lifesaving treatments, avoiding unnecessary tests and procedures, shortening hospital stays and empowering families with real-time diagnoses to help with their understanding and decision-making. In addition to improving outcomes, Project Baby Deer also can prevent avoidable healthcare costs.

As you can see, we have a rich history that we can be incredibly proud of. And without question, BCBSM has been an instrumental partner with us on this journey, providing some $16 million in direct funding support to date. This new BCBSM funding will help to ensure that our critical work in safety and quality continues into the future. Specifically, it will allow the MHA Keystone Center to increase hospital participation in the Michigan Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (MI AIM), increasing implementation of pre- and post-partum Obstetric Hemorrhagic Risk Assessment, increasing implementation of Quantitative Blood Loss Assessment, and increasing the percentage of women who receive timely treatment of severe hypertension. It will accelerate our work on the opioid epidemic by maximizing the use of medication-assisted therapy, and it will allow us to expand our efforts to address healthcare workplace injuries — thereby ensuring that hospitals are as safe as possible for our front-line caregivers.

In each example noted above, we have helped to establish a clear process that people can understand, trust and execute.

Lastly, I want to stress that all Michigan hospitals and their team members voluntarily participate in MHA Keystone Center initiatives to advance safety for patients and workers and quality of care. There is no mandate in place to require hospitals to participate in this work, but they each choose to do so because of their missions to care for the sick and vulnerable. The pandemic has shined a bright light on the unselfishness of our healthcare heroes and their participation in these efforts is another terrific example of the lengths they go to improve care for their patients. I want to thank both BCBSM and our member hospitals for believing in this vital work and taking the steps necessary to ensure evidence-based best practices are implemented to the point that they make a difference in patients’ lives. This is mission-driven work that all Michiganders can be proud of

As always, I welcome your thoughts.

Fiscal Year 2022 State Budget Protects Healthcare

MHA CEO Brian Peters

The following statement can be attributed to Brian Peters, CEO of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association. 

MHA CEO Brian Peters

The pandemic has challenged hospitals throughout the state and, on behalf of our members, we commend Gov. Whitmer for signing today a state budget that continues vital funding sources for our hospitals, increases support for direct care workers and ambulance services, and maintains extended Medicaid coverage for mothers up to 12 months postpartum. We extend equal appreciation to both the Legislature and Gov. Whitmer and her administration for passing a budget on time that maintains access to care throughout Michigan.

As our hospitals continue to face both a behavioral health and workforce crisis that is stressing hospitals to capacity, we look forward to continued discussions on how additional state and federal funding can be allocated through the supplemental budget process to secure support for transformational solutions

CEO Report — Michigan’s Next COVID-19 Obstacle: Overcoming Vaccine Hesitancy

MHA Rounds Report - Brian Peters, MHA CEO

"Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flow charts. It is about one life influencing another."  John C. Maxwell

MHA CEO Brian PetersAs Michigan seeks to recover from an unexpectedly challenging third surge of COVID-19, the focus of the MHA, our member hospitals, and our partners in the public and private sectors remains squarely on vaccinating enough Michiganders to prevent any such spread from occurring again. We have made great progress in this regard, and I am especially proud of our member hospitals that have played a major role in administering the nearly 7 million vaccine doses to Michiganders, leading to a statewide vaccination rate of 38% as of this writing. A prioritization process that began with healthcare workers, first responders and the highest-risk population cohorts has now expanded to include all Michiganders age 16 and older.

It was natural that when the long-awaited vaccine finally became available late last year, demand would exceed supply. Broad swaths of the American population were eager and highly motivated to receive their vaccination as soon as possible, and the supply chain simply couldn’t keep up. For months, the MHA was fielding daily calls from our hospital and health system leaders, pleading for help in securing more vaccine. They had invested time, energy and financial resources to establish the infrastructure necessary to store and administer the vaccine, to schedule appointments and secure adequate staffing, and a host of other components. With community members lining up to get vaccinated, the lack of adequate vaccine supplies became the real bottleneck in the process.

But just as we anticipated, the supply/demand curve has begun to flip. For the very first time, we are beginning to field calls from members who are concerned that vaccination appointment slots are now going unfilled in large numbers, and — combined with a significant increase in the flow of vaccine to Michigan — in some locations supply has begun to exceed demand. According to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll, just 6% of American adults now say they have not yet been vaccinated but plan to get a shot “as soon as it is available to me.” With Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last week announcing the MI Vacc to Normal plan, which directly links our vaccination rate progress to the gradual re-opening and full return to normalcy for the state, this challenge takes on even more urgency. 

“Vaccine hesitancy” is not a new term, as the MHA has been deeply engaged in the I Vaccinate effort to encourage childhood vaccinations to protect against pertussis, flu, measles, mumps and more. We partner annually with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to promote flu vaccine for hospital staff and all Michiganders. From these experiences, we know that there are multiple drivers of vaccine hesitancy, and some of those can be confounding.

When it comes to COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, many of the issues have been well covered in the media, and U.S. census estimates provide an up-to-date tracking mechanism. Rather than diving into those issues, I want to lift up this reality: for clear evidence that vaccines work, look no further than our Michigan hospitalization data during this most recent surge — hospitalizations for the oldest age groups increased at the lowest rates because they had the highest vaccination rates. Said another way, this latest hospitalization surge was driven mainly by relatively younger, unvaccinated Michiganders.

COVID-19 vaccines are proving to be approximately 99% effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death. This is the data point that should prevail against any discussion of “breakthrough” cases or serious, unanticipated side effects — both of which have occurred in extraordinarily small numbers and pale in comparison to the risk presented to individuals and communities by the ongoing pandemic if we allow it to continue. On a personal note, I recently received the Pfizer vaccine, delivered by Sparrow Health System right here in Lansing. The entire process was very efficient and painless, and the psychological boost that I have heard others describe is very real: I feel protected for my family, friends and colleagues, and I have done my part to help the broader community.

So, what is the right strategy to move us forward? Already, there are discussions around vaccine mandates, “passports” and incentives — and the social and political angst that accompanies these discussions was easily predictable. For now, I will simply state our belief that this is truly an all-hands-on-deck challenge, and no one person, organization or institution can win this battle alone. 

The health of communities depends on vaccinating enough of the population to stop the spread of the disease and limit the chance of more contagious variants developing. If you understand this and have been vaccinated yourself, thank you. Now, please share your encouragement with the people in your life who are still on the sidelines — because we know that the most influential thing that a hesitant person can experience is hearing from someone they know and trust who chose to be vaccinated. If you work in healthcare, this is especially important. After all, true leadership is “one life influencing another.” Both the American Hospital Association and the MDHHS have created their own communications tools and television ads modeled on sharing personal reasons for vaccination to assist in this effort.

We have the finish line in our sights, but we cannot waiver in our commitment to end this pandemic. We owe it to ourselves, to our healthcare heroes and to those who have lost their lives to COVID-19 to do what it takes to end it now. The most powerful tool is in our toolbox, and we must redouble our commitment to using it. 

As always, I welcome your thoughts. 

Detroit Free Press: Gov. Whitmer reveals $67B Michigan budget plan: Here's what's in it

MHA CEO Brian Peters

The Detroit Free Press published an article Feb. 11 after State Budget Director Dave Massaron presented the governor’s fiscal year (FY) 2022 executive budget recommendation. The proposed $67.1 billion state budget focuses on economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, improving roads and infrastructure, public health, education and more.

The article provides a summary of the budget and includes reactions from state leaders, including MHA CEO Brian Peters.

"We are thankful for the additional funding that has supported 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,” said Peters. “The prompt allocation of state and federal funds allows front-line caregivers to operate at the highest level."

Read the article

MHA Appreciates Continued Support of Healthcare Priorities in Executive Budget Presentation

MHA CEO Brian Peters

The following statement can be attributed to MHA CEO Brian Peters.    

MHA CEO Brian PetersHospitals and health systems throughout Michigan appreciate the protections for vital healthcare funding and access to care that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer included in her executive budget presentation. As we are near almost a year of combatting the COVID-19 pandemic in our state, it is crucial that support continues for rural and critical access hospitals, obstetrical services, graduate medical education and the Healthy Michigan Plan. Maintaining these programs allow hospitals to continue to focus on caring for patients and improving the wellness of our communities.

We also do not want to lose sight of the short- and long-term impacts created by the pandemic. We are thankful for the additional funding that has supported 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 prompt allocation of state and federal funds allows front-line caregivers to operate at the highest level. We look forward to the budget process and working with the Legislature in ensuring the improved health and wellness of all Michiganders.

Headline Roundup: Week of Dec. 14 for COVID-19 in Michigan

Brian Peters CNN

MHA CEO Brian Peters appears on CNN on Dec. 18As Michigan hospitals address a second surge of COVID-19 patients, the MHA has been actively fielding and responding to media requests related to COVID-19 vaccine distribution and other areas of response.

The MHA published the afternoon of Dec. 14 a joint release with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) on the delivery and vaccination of the first healthcare workers in Michigan. Included in the release are quotes from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health with the MDHHS, and MHA CEO Brian Peters.

Peters also issued a statement Dec. 18 on the lack of communication and clarity on the reduced allocation of Pfizer vaccine from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services.

MHA Senior Vice President Ruthanne Sudderth interviewed by WILX News 10 on Monday, Dec. 14Below is a collection of headlines that include statements and interviews from the MHA on the COVID-19 vaccine.

Sunday, December 20

Saturday, December 19

Friday, December 18

Thursday, December 17

Wednesday, December 16

Monday, December 14

Members with questions on COVID-19 efforts and resources should contact Ruthanne Sudderth, and any questions regarding media requests should be directed to John Karasinski at the MHA.

MHA Issues Statement in Support of COVID-19 Three-Week Epidemic Order

MHA CEO Brian Peters

The following statement can be attributed to Brian Peters, CEO of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.

MHA CEO Brian PetersThe MHA and our member hospitals appreciate Governor Whitmer’s strong and swift response to the current surge in COVID-19 cases, which is stretching our hospitals and their hardworking employees thin. Community spread is rising rapidly across the state, meaning healthcare workers are being exposed and leaving hospitals with strained capacity. We urge Michiganders to comply with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services emergency order. If you want to show your thanks to our healthcare workers, take these preventive measures: don’t gather with people outside your household; arrange virtual Thanksgiving dinners; and wear a mask whenever you leave home. We know that restrictions of this nature are difficult for everyone, especially those with behavioral health conditions. We also want to urge people to get emergency care if they experience any life-threatening symptoms or injuries; don’t delay care that can save your life. The faster we can squash this surge, the faster we can safely resume our lives and livelihoods. Hospitals are asking for all of Michigan to unite against COVID-19.

Fiscal Year 2021 State Budget Prioritizes Healthcare

MHA CEO Brian Peters

The following statement may be attributed to MHA CEO Brian Peters.

MHA CEO Brian PetersThis has been an unprecedented year and the Michigan Health & Hospital Association applauds the signing today by Gov. Whitmer of the fiscal year 2021 state budget that provides much-needed support and relief to Michigan hospitals. This funding protects mothers and babies, supports critical access hospitals and provides the first statewide outpatient Medicaid fee increase since 2002 – all of which are vital to maintain access to care for patients across our state. We thank the state Legislature and Gov. Whitmer and her administration for completing a state budget that puts healthcare first.