The MHA Board of Trustees began its Feb. 8 meeting with a federal advocacy briefing from federal lobbyist Carlos Jackson with Cornerstone Government Affairs. Jackson highlighted the policy and funding threats and opportunities healthcare providers face under the new divided Congress and Biden administration, including possible provider cuts to address deficit reduction, programs affected by the expiration of the federal public health emergency declaration and ongoing pharmaceutical industry challenges to 340B drug pricing policies.
The board also examined several state advocacy initiatives to further the board’s strategic priorities focusing on financial viability, workforce wellbeing and restoration and the furtherance of efforts aimed at improving health equity and behavioral healthcare. The board supported pursing additional state funding for workforce security and pediatric psychiatric care, as well as an effort to maximize federal Medicaid matching funds. The board also directed the MHA to work with the MHA Health Equity Taskforce and the MHA Safety and Quality Committee to address health disparities through the development of tools for the transparent reporting of health equity performance measures.
In addition to advocacy efforts aimed at state and federal policymakers, the board continued to support the association’s ongoing partnerships with hospitals throughout the state to “tell our story” publicly about the challenges and opportunities healthcare organizations face and how hospitals can work together to advance the health of individuals and communities.
The board also received a report from the MHA Service Corporation, which included a spotlight of Endorsed Business Partner Merritt Hawkins, as well as a discussion of staff succession in light of the upcoming retirement of longtime Chief Operating Officer Peter Schonfeld at the MHA.
The board concluded with regional hospital council reports and an update from MHA CEO Brian Peters.
For more information about actions of the MHA Board of Trustees, contact Amy Barkholz at the MHA.
The MHA received media coverage the week of May 9 on the upcoming Public Health Code Rules requiring implicit bias training for all professions licensed or registered under the Public Health Code and the recently approved extension by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services of Michigan Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program coverage for 12 months after pregnancy.
Bridge published May 11 a story on the healthcare industry’s reaction to the June 1 implementation date of the implicit bias training requirement. MHA CEO Brian Peters is quoted in the article expressing the positive reaction from hospitals on the requirement and their commitment to eliminate health disparities.
“There’s been no push back,” said Peters. “Everyone realizes this is the right thing to do.”
State of Reform also published May 10 an article on the increase in coverage for postpartum mothers from 60 days after birth to a full year in Michigan. Laura Appel, executive vice president of government relations and public policy, MHA, spoke with State of Reform on the importance of this coverage extension towards addressing maternal mortality and racial disparities.
“It feels counterintuitive to why healthcare coverage for women would end 60 days after they gave birth,” said Appel. “You would in no way expect coverage to end so quickly.”
If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.”— W. Edwards Deming
The 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