MHA Strategic Action Plan to be Reviewed Nov. 9

In the new program year, the MHA continues to prioritize several critical issues, like financial viability, workforce, resilience and wellbeing, behavioral health and health equity.


The MHA will host a virtual membership meeting from 2 to 3 p.m. on Nov. 9 to outline the MHA 2023 – 2024 strategic action plan approved by the MHA Board of Trustees. With presentations from MHA CEO Brian Peters and other MHA leaders, the forum will review the priorities and tactics to accomplish goals and how the membership can support these initiatives.

There is no cost to attend, but members are asked to by Nov. 7. Access information for the virtual session will be sent Nov. 8.


Questions about the member forum can be directed to at the MHA.

MHA Monday Report Sept. 25, 2023

MHA Monday Report

capitol buildingActive Fall Committee Work Continues in Legislature

Several MHA-tracked bills received testimony and votes the week of Sept. 18 as the state legislature continues its fall calendar. The House Health Policy Committee heard testimony and voted on the Reproductive Health Act bills. …

Gov. Whitmer Announces Grant Recipients for Enhanced Mental Health Support

As part of Gov. Whitmer’s commitment to ensuring access to behavioral health services, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recently awarded more than $900,000 to five Community Mental Health Service Programs. The …

MDHHS Launches Maternal Mortality Surveillance Program

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) launched their Maternal Mortality Surveillance program, which is dedicated to preventing pregnancy-related deaths. The Hear Her Michigan Campaign focuses on empowering women and their support …

Transferring Telephone Prior Authorizations

Effective Oct. 1, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) will transition the telephone prior authorization process from Admissions and Certification Review to the MDHHS Program Review Division. This applies for the …

Webinar: Learn How to Utilize Physician Talent on Governing Boards

As healthcare leaders cope with turbulent times, it’s essential to have physician board members assist with decision-making on things like action prioritization, merger and acquisition activity and social determinants of health. The webinar Maximizing Contributions …

MHA Person & Family Engagement Advisory Council Work Continues

Approximately 25 hospital and health system members convened for the first MHA Person & Family Engagement Advisory Council meeting of the 2023-2024 MHA program year. Members discussed action items and goals, including advancing the …

Latest AHA Trustee Insights Focuses on Financial Growth

The September edition of Trustee Insights, a monthly digital package from the American Hospital Association (AHA), includes a study of financial well-being and the need to shift from a transaction-first mindset to a human-centric mindset focused on …

The Keckley Report

Paul KeckleyThe UAW Strike: What Healthcare Provider Organizations Should Watch

“Politicians, economists, auto industry analysts and main street business owners are closely watching the UAW strike that began at midnight last Thursday. Healthcare should also pay attention, especially hospitals. medical groups and facility operators where workforce issues are mounting. …

Nonetheless, the parallels between the current state of worker sentiment in the U.S. auto manufacturing and healthcare services sectors are instructive. Auto and healthcare workers want job security and higher pay, believing their company executives and boards but corporate profit above their interests and all else. And polls suggest the public’s increasingly sympathetic to worker issues and strikes like the UAW more frequent. …”

Paul Keckley, Sept. 18, 2023

News to Know

Governor Signs New Budget Including Investments in Hospitals

capitol building

capitol buildingGov. Whitmer signed the fiscal year 2024 state budget Aug. 1, which includes $92 million in new investments directly to hospitals. It specifically provides $59 million to support increased Medicaid reimbursement rates at Level I and II trauma centers and $33 million to support an increase in Medicaid inpatient psychiatric reimbursement rates. The signed budget will go into effect Oct. 1.

In addition to the ongoing and targeted new investments, the agreement provides necessary resources to assist hospitals and health systems in advancing the health of individuals and communities throughout Michigan. It maintains funding for the Healthy Michigan Plan, Medicaid, graduate medical education, disproportionate share hospitals and the rural access and obstetrical stabilization pools.

The MHA is also pleased with new investments in workforce by lowering the age for Michigan Reconnect from 25 years to 21 years of age and investing $2.5 million to support recruitment and retention programs for behavioral health professionals. The budget also increases ongoing funding for the Michigan Achievement Scholarship, which provides significantly reduced tuition for many students at public universities.

Consistent with the strategic action plan of the MHA, the budget places a new emphasis on health equity and reducing disparities for maternal health care with specific, targeted new investments. Funding is included for the Michigan Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health and $49.5 million for community health programs, healthy community zones, IT improvements and mobile health units to address racial disparities in health. Additionally, the budget further expands the Medicaid program by eliminating the five-year waiting period for pregnant and new mothers who are legally residing in Michigan.

Members with questions on the state budget may contact Adam Carlson.

MHA Service Corporation Board Highlights Solutions and Successes

The MHA Service Corporation (MHASC) board held its final meeting of the 2022-2023 program year focused on supporting the MHA Strategic Action Plan priorities of workforce sustainability, financial viability, achieving health equity and improving access and funding for behavioral health. Members are invited to review the July MHA CEO Report for more information on the association’s efforts to address these ongoing priorities.

The MHASC board celebrated the  2023 Outstanding Performance award given to the MHA Unemployment Compensation Program (MHA-UCP) by the National Association of State Workforce Agencies. This award affirms the MHA-UCP’s dedicated work to reduce unemployment liability for its clients, decrease unemployment fraud and prevent waste with state unemployment agencies. The MHA-UCP has a large portfolio of healthcare employer clients throughout the country, including many MHA members. To learn more about the services available, members may contact Neil MacVicar at the MHA-UCP.

The board was joined by Kelsey Stevens, principal and senior consulting actuary, Wakely, for an overview of actuarial and risk management services for value-based payment arrangements and more. MHASC is planning to launch new Endorsed Business Partnerships in the coming weeks.

The MHASC board had several appointments and reappointments adding depth and breadth of expertise and welcomed new MHASC board members Melissa Holmquist, CEO, Upper Peninsula Health Plan, Marquette; Paul Karsten, CFO, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, Grand Rapids; Peter Marinoff, south regional president, Munson Healthcare, Cadillac; and Scott McLean, managing director, Corewell Health Ventures, Grand Rapids. The board recognized David Leonard, JD, chief legal officer, Corewell Health, Grand Rapids and Southfield, and Dennis Smith, president, Dennis H. Smith Consulting, LLC, Marquette, for their service on the board ending this year. The board also affirmed the reappointments of Betty Chu, MD, chief quality officer, Henry Ford Health, Detroit; Brian Connolly, Connolly Associates, Rapid City; Brett Furst, founder & CEO, Foresight Ventures, Lake Orion; Marita Hattem-Schiffman, president & CEO, MyMichigan Health Central Region, Alma; and Chair Kent Riddle, CEO, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, Grand Rapids.

The MHASC provides critical support to the MHA in the form of nondues revenue through its Data Services, Unemployment Compensation Program and Endorsed Business Partner program to address workforce, financial and other business needs. Visit the MHA Business Services webpage to learn more about resources available.

Questions regarding the MHASC Board should be directed to Ruthanne Sudderth at the MHA.

Carlson Discusses State Budget with Michigan Advance

Adam Carlson

Adam CarlsonMichigan Advance published a story July 9 on the healthcare priorities included in the fiscal year 2024 state budget. Adam Carlson, senior vice president, advocacy, MHA, is quoted multiple times in the story regarding funding specific to hospitals and health systems.

Topics covered by Carlson include hospital security, behavioral health and health equity. The budget included both new funding to support trauma center and inpatient psychiatric services, as well as continued support for long-standing programs crucial to access to healthcare services throughout Michigan.

“We’re in the middle of a behavioral health crisis,” said Carlson regarding the $33 million towards increased Medicaid rates for inpatient psychiatric facilities. “Given the size of the problem, it’s not going to solve it. We’ll still have a shortage of beds, but ideally it will lead to better patient outcomes.”

The MHA Behavioral Health Boarding Survey was also mentioned in an article from Bridge published July 13 which focuses on a new behavioral health unit in northern Michigan as it seeks to address the need for more behavioral health services in the region.

MHA CEO Report — The Story of the MHA Program Year

MHA Rounds Report - Brian Peters, MHA CEO

“Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.”Peter Drucker

MHA Rounds Report - Brian Peters, MHA CEOThe theme of the 2022-2023 MHA program year was telling our story. With focus and passion, we told the stories of our hospitals and health systems, the challenges and adversity they face, and how they still provide high quality and accessible healthcare to their communities. This theme was intended to ensure that we as healthcare leaders continue to help those who don’t live and breathe healthcare understand the ways we are working to meet the most pressing needs, but also the support we need from other sectors to continue to offer strong and daily access to care for all. Our theme served to frame the four distinct pillars of our association strategic action plan, which included the financial sustainability of hospitals, workforce restoration and well-being, the behavioral health crisis and continued efforts towards achieving health equity.

I’m pleased to share we made significant progress in telling our story and achieving tangible, impactful results under each of the four strategic pillars, which is summarized in the latest MHA Annual Report. This work evolved around the ending of the COVID-19 public health emergency, a pandemic that tried our member organizations, and especially their healthcare workers, like nothing has before in most of our lifetimes. A large part of our success in making this transition and achieving so many significant outcomes was due to the MHA Board of Trustees, who I want to thank for their strong leadership and commitment to advancing the health of individuals and communities. I particularly want to express my gratitude to our outgoing Chair, T. Anthony Denton, for his steadfast leadership throughout this year.

Key to our efforts to safeguard the financial viability of hospitals is our continued focus on the state budget. Not only were we successful in continuing existing supplemental payment pools such as for Disproportionate Share Hospitals, Graduate Medical Education, Rural Access and Obstetrical Stabilization, but we also secured a Medicaid outpatient hospital rate increase. Collectively, these victories generated hundreds of millions in funding for Michigan hospitals. Long a priority of our association, the MHA also successfully advocated to ensure the Healthy Michigan Plan (our Medicaid expansion program) is fully funded. Our advocacy team continues to be one of the most respected in Lansing, as we saw several MHA-supported bills signed into law while experiencing a 100% success rate in making sure none of the 10 bills we opposed became statute.

Each of the four pillars are equally important to our membership, but it is hard to overstate just how important workforce restoration and well-being is to our healthcare leaders. This is the issue that keeps each of them up at night, whether it is finding new staff or protecting and retaining their existing workers. Our advocacy efforts secured an additional $75 million in funding to support the hospital workforce while also securing $56 million in funding to support partnerships to offer Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs at community colleges. We also continue to advocate for increased penalties for those who verbally or physically harm healthcare workers, providing them with protections they deserve as front-line caregivers, much like emergency responders receive. The MHA Keystone Center has been active in offering well-being resources, trainings, safety and security risk assessments and other offerings, continuing their long history as a leader in safety and quality not just here in Michigan, but nationally and internationally. Lastly, we recently launched a statewide healthcare career awareness campaign to entice students to pursue health career pathways.

Our work on behavioral health continues, as there remains a need to expand the number of behavioral health professionals and facilities to provide better access to care. The MHA secured both $50 million in the fiscal year 2023 state budget for expanding pediatric inpatient capacity, while adding an additional $10 million to create Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities to alleviate state hospital capacity issues. Much of the feedback we have received is the need to add quantitative data to the conversation to demonstrate to lawmakers and stakeholders the degree of the crisis. For several months, our team has been collecting data weekly on the number of patients waiting for a behavioral health bed in Michigan hospitals. This demonstrates the degree to which patients are having difficulty finding care, while also showing how many patients are utilizing hospital resources while the facility receives no reimbursement due to not having an acute care diagnosis billing code.

Lastly, we will not rest as our members continue to address health disparities to ensure health equity. The MHA Keystone Center works closely with the Michigan Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (MI AIM) to help address disparities and reduce the risk of maternal death. This past program year, their efforts resulted in 77% of Michigan birthing hospitals participating in MI AIM, 94% of which are compliant with the pre-partum assessment and 89% are compliant with the post-partum assessment. Our work with the MHA Public Health Task Force also continues as they explore strategies for collaboration that can improve data collection and public health initiatives.

Of course, there are always other items that come up that require MHA attention and effort that are not always known during the development of the strategic action plan. Responding to the shortages of chemotherapy drugs cisplatin and carboplatin and working with Michigan’s Congressional delegation is just one example of the value of association membership and how quickly we can mobilize our relationships in a time of crisis. Other wildcards include our work on licensing Rural Emergency Hospitals, tracking and increasing awareness of candida auris infections and expanding hospital bed capacity.

As we concluded our program year during our Annual Meeting on Mackinac Island, we were able to honor a true healthcare champion with our Meritorious Service Award in U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow. She announced earlier this year she will not seek an additional term in office and this award is the highest honor our association can bestow on an individual for their years of work towards enabling the health and wellness of individuals and communities. We have worked closely with Sen. Stabenow from her time in elected office in the Michigan Legislature to Congress and she will leave an extraordinary legacy for which the MHA family will be eternally grateful. We also had an opportunity to honor a number of other outstanding individuals for their contributions to Michigan healthcare.

Above all else, I want to take this opportunity to thank all MHA staff for their many contributions which made it another successful program year. The challenges we confront in healthcare are daunting and constantly evolving, but my confidence in our team at the MHA has never wavered, as they continue to display their exceptional commitment to their work and embody the MHA culture of member service and value creation every single day.

Now as we formally begin our 2023-24 program year on July 1, I am excited for the leadership of our new Chair Shannon Striebich. We offer our congratulations to her and look forward to working closely together. A year from now, I am confident we will once again be able to report on the successful outcomes we were able to achieve through our unity, collaboration and plain old fashioned hard work.

As always, I welcome your thoughts.

Latest AHA Trustee Insights Focuses on Board Competency

A hospital governing board must truly understand factors influencing their community’s healthcare and recruit trustees with the competencies needed to effectively guide annual priorities, objectives and strategies for the hospital. The April edition of Trustee Insights, the monthly digital package from the American Hospital Association (AHA), includes an article about developing a board competency framework to build a trustee pipeline by understanding trustee terms and timelines, reviewing trustees against needed competencies and building dashboards to engender accountability.

Additional articles focus on optimizing executive sessions and developing a health equity mindset.

For information about MHA trustee resources or webinars, contact Erin Steward at the MHA.

Board of Trustees Meets at MHA Capitol Advocacy Center

The MHA Board of Trustees met April 12 at the MHA Capitol Advocacy Center in downtown Lansing, joined by Michigan Senate Health Policy Chair Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores). Hertel acknowledged the state’s significant challenges in meeting behavioral healthcare and workforce needs and identified these areas as priorities for the Senate Health Policy Committee. Board members stressed the need for lawmakers to support policies that allow flexibility and foster innovation, such as continuing to expand telehealth options started during the pandemic and looking beyond staffing ratios toward more effective ways to meet patient care needs within a finite labor supply.

The board also heard from colleagues about a recent learning and technology exchange between Michigan health system leaders and their Israeli counterparts and had the opportunity to listen to the reflections of Shreya Desai, a neurobehavioral researcher and current government relations and health policy fellow with the MHA. Desai shared her experiences working with the MHA Advocacy Division and how it will influence her future medical career.

The board spent time providing input and direction on the key pillars of the association’s action plan, which is focused on supporting financial viability, promoting workforce sustainability, fostering health equity and addressing behavioral health needs. This strategic conversation included a review of recent state budget initiatives, including the MHA’s successful advocacy to secure $75 million for healthcare worker recruitment, retention and training for Michigan hospitals, which is the latest victory in a series of state budget appropriations that has resulted in $1.45 billion in new hospital funding since January 2020.

In addition, the board expressed support for ongoing efforts to work with the state to maximize the federal Medicaid match to increase overall Medicaid reimbursement rates and funding for targeted services such as obstetrics, outpatient, psychiatric and trauma care. In furtherance of workforce sustainability, the board supported the association’s social media campaign to promote and increase awareness of a broad range of healthcare careers. The board also engaged in a discussion of health equity and the association’s continued work to assist members in eliminating disparities in healthcare through the leadership of the MHA Health Equity Taskforce. Improving access and funding for behavioral health continues to be a key priority for the association and board members provided input to the MHA on data collection efforts to advance advocacy strategies to reduce emergency department wait times for patients seeking inpatient psychiatric care. Finally, the board approved Type 2B association membership for Southwest Michigan Behavioral Health.

For more information about the actions of the MHA Board of Trustees, contact Amy Barkholz at the MHA.

Hospitals Pursue Health Equity to Honor Martin Luther King Jr.

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

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.” As we honor Dr. King today and the legacy he created striving for racial equality, the MHA and our member hospitals and health systems remain committed to the pledge every MHA member chief executive officer originally signed in 2020 indicating a unified responsibility to addressing disparities, dismantling institutional racism and achieving health equity. Simply put, hospital leaders will continue to listen, act and lead towards achieving health equity and eliminating racial disparities.

Words do not do justice to the tremendous change Dr. King led in our country. It falls on each of us as leaders to continue his work. In our hospitals, efforts persist to ensure all healthcare professionals are trained on the impacts of unconscious bias. With the help of the MHA Keystone Center, over 90% of hospitals have completed the Health Equity Organizational Assessment to identify the health equity priorities for their communities. Industry leaders are also meeting from all areas of Michigan within the MHA Keystone Center’s Health Equity Task Force to make health equity engrained in all facets of care.

Hospitals have treated the end results of decades of health inequity for far too long. We remind Michiganders today that eliminating health disparities is an all-hands-on-deck effort. The time is now for healthcare leaders to drive change and to achieve more equitable healthcare in Michigan.

MHA CEO Report — New Control in Lansing

MHA Rounds Report - Brian Peters, MHA CEO

“I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” Abraham Lincoln

MHA Rounds Report - Brian Peters, MHA CEOAs I put the proverbial pen to paper, the Michigan Legislature has completed the 2021-2022 legislative session and I am very pleased to report that in the lame-duck session, we successfully advanced several MHA-supported bills – and not a single MHA-opposed bill was signed into law. Another job extremely well done by our MHA Advocacy team as we protect access to affordable, high-quality healthcare for all.

Now shifting to the New Year: 2023 will usher in a monumental shift in power in Lansing as Democrats will control all aspects of government in the state for the first time during my 32-year tenure at the MHA. Following last November’s election results, Democrats not only retain power in all areas of the executive branch and a majority in the judicial, but both chambers of the legislative branch flipped to Democratic control. The last time Democrats had control of the Governor’s office and both chambers of the state legislature was 1984.

This change was due to a multitude of factors, including redistricting, ballot proposals, a trickle-down impact from the top of the ballot, candidate viability and record turnout. Earlier this year, the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission established new district maps, which had previously been handled by the majority party in the state legislature in conjunction with the governor. Michigan saw a significant increase in the number of competitive districts due to their nonpartisan work. The Michigan midterm election saw record turnout again, with 4.5 million votes cast, including 1.8 million absentee ballots. This is a 2.4% increase from the prior record set in 2018 with 4.3 million votes. Turnout was partially driven by three ballot proposals as well as over 14,000 same day voter registrations, primarily from young Gen Z voters.

The MHA has a long history of being nonpartisan, but moving from divided government to one-party control will always bring about a change in the political dynamics and associated priorities. Our advocacy culture has long been to establish and maintain relationships regardless of leadership role or party affiliation so that in times of need, you have allies you can rely on. Both new Speaker of the House Joe Tate (D-Detroit) and Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) have established track-records of working closely with the healthcare community to help us fulfill our mission of advancing the health and wellness of individuals and communities. Our MHA Advocacy team as well as our member hospitals and health systems consider them friends. And of course, our close partnership and personal friendships with Gov. Whitmer extend back to her time in the state legislature when she was recognized with an MHA Special Recognition Award at the 2014 MHA Annual Meeting. Our bonds with the governor and her administration grew even stronger as we confronted the COVID-19 pandemic together.

As a result of term limits, the new legislative session will also welcome an astounding 59 first-time legislators to Lansing. Since the Nov. 8 election, we have been busy establishing new relationships and introducing ourselves to many new faces. Most lawmakers only know healthcare through the prism of a consumer, so it is never too early to begin the education process related to this highly complex field. As part of this process, we hosted the Building Bridges event with our partners at the Small Business Association of Michigan, the Michigan Education Association, Michigan Association for Justice and Business Leaders for Michigan that helped us pursue these goals while also offering new legislators the opportunity to connect with their peers and learn how best to serve in Lansing.

Now I have no magic crystal ball so I can not predict what types of legislation we may see introduced and prioritized over the coming months. Having not held a dual-chamber majority for nearly 40 years, we anticipate there is no shortage of issues for Democrats to work on. There is no question we will continue to express the importance of access to care, which Democrats have traditionally strongly supported. Based on public comments and prior legislative track records, it is reasonable to expect continued activity on improving behavioral health, public health, health equity and addressing pharmaceutical pricing. American Rescue Plan Act funds also remain available and we strongly believe these funds should be appropriated quickly to make a difference in addressing the financial and staffing challenges that our member hospitals throughout the state, regardless of size, are experiencing. Those are positives. In reality, we need to also be prepared to address legislative proposals that we find more concerning – such as nurse to patient staffing ratio mandates which sound good in theory but would be impractical if not impossible to implement in practice.

The truth of the matter is that the Democrat majority is very slim, so we expect Republicans will still play an impactful role in healthcare funding and policy development. We certainly appreciate the work they’ve done for hospitals and healthcare over recent years and look forward to continuing those relationships during the new session.

I hope all our elected officials who will take office in January will reflect on the wise words of Abraham Lincoln above and include among their New Year’s resolutions to pause, set aside whatever preconceived notions they may have about the people across the aisle from them and make an earnest effort to truly get to know them. Will this guarantee that we come together and see eye-to-eye on all the issues? Of course not.  But hopefully, such an approach will lead to more civility in the political process and better public policy for all Michiganders.

The bottom line: 2023 presents new challenges and opportunities for all who work in Lansing. While many of the players in town may have changed, the playbook for successful advocacy has not. On behalf of our member hospitals, I’d like to express my gratitude for those finishing their years of service, congratulate all those who will be serving in office this upcoming year and look forward to working together to achieving a healthier Michigan.

As always, I welcome your thoughts.