Due to the pandemic, hospital and health system leaders have not gathered in person at an MHA major membership meeting in two years, significantly reducing the ability for leaders to openly discuss significant challenges with colleagues. To create a safe meeting for everyone, the MHA has developed a code of conduct, including COVID-19 vaccination verification. The vaccination verification process and other safety measures are detailed online under the Code of Conduct policy.
Register now for Breakthrough, where attendees will examine the evolution of the pandemic and its impact, how MHA members and partners can address the workforce shortage and drive policy and funding on this critical issue, how to lead critical conversations about health equity and use structures already in place to build capacity for advancing equity, and more. A preconference session features tactics to optimize the CEO-board relationship by exploring the primary roles and responsibilities and the attributes and actions credited to a high-functioning governing board.
A full agenda, additional details and sponsors are posted online. Contact Erin Steward at the MHA with questions about Breakthrough.
MHA Breakthrough, which will be held in-person Feb. 17 and 18 at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa near Traverse City, provides a venue for crucial conversations about the healthcare crisis and ways providers can lead recovery using information, tools and shared ideas and best practices. Attendees will examine the evolution of the pandemic and its impact, including lessons learned around treatment and staffing, patient and family expectations, and burnout and resilience; how MHA members and partners can address the workforce shortage and drive policy and funding on this critical issue; and how to lead critical conversations abouthealth equity and use structures already in place to build capacity for advancing equity.
A preconference session will feature tactics to optimize the CEO-board relationship by exploring the primary roles and responsibilities and the attributes and actions credited to a high-functioning governing board. The session includes an assessment and improvement activity that can be adopted or modified for use in participants’ organizations as part of an ongoing effort to strengthen CEO-board dynamics.
In a recent video message, MHA CEO Brian Peters shared his thoughts about the MHA’s commitment to helping hospitals and health systems deal with the effects of the pandemic and the value of convening in person to study challenges, learn from each other and build a greater capacity to evolve.
During MHABreakthrough, scheduled for Feb. 17 and 18 at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, attendees will openly discuss several topics, including significant and radical changes in healthcare driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. Leaders will discuss and share how to care for staff who have been heavily impacted by patient deaths, tactics to re-engage patients’ family and relationships essential to decreasing hostility and improving patient outcomes, and how to drive the message that public health is more than infectious diseases so that state and community leaders recognize why their commitment is critical to solving health challenges.
Breakthrough also focuses on health equity and the disparities resulting from unconscious bias and racism, as well as how to engage managers and teams in every step of the diversity, equity and inclusion journey. Breakthrough speaker Kevin Ahmaad Jenkins, PhD, is one of the most impactful individuals working to eliminate racial disparities in America. At this event, he will share how to practice equity, reduce disparities and lead critical conversations about health equity. Beth Washington, vice president of Community Health, Equity, and Inclusion at Bronson Healthcare Group, will share how the system is using structures already in place to build capacity for advancing equity.
Breakthrough will be in-person and vaccination will be required. Details surrounding the vaccination verification process will be available soon. Registration is open, a full agenda is online and sponsorship is available through Jan. 12. For more information, contact Erin Steward at the MHA.
Transgender and gender nonconforming individuals deal with many common fears that can be debilitating. Healthcare providers need to understand the obstacles that this population faces to improve medical care for their patients. The MHA Health Foundation Transgender Healthcare Dignity Model and Certification webinar will assist providers in their awareness of these issues by reviewing:
The differences between gender identity, gender expression, biological sex, sexual orientation and romantic orientation.
Understanding personal bias and perception of the differences between gender identity, gender expression, biological sex, and sexual and romantic orientation.
Benefits and examples of providing options for patients in the areas of gender identification, preferred name, legal name and preferred pronouns.
The differences between the social and medical transition process.
How providers can make changes to reduce fears of the transgender patient in a medical setting.
The webinar is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 9, and MHA members can join for a single connection fee of $395. MHA members can include up to five participants from the same organization for a connection fee of $1,900. Members should contact Erica Leyko at the MHA to register.
By participating in the Transgender Healthcare Dignity Model and Certification webinar, participants may earn up to 4.0 ACHE Qualified Education Hours toward initial certification or recertification of the Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) designation.
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.
— Dalai Lama XIV
At the beginning of every MHA program year (which officially kicks off every July 1), in close consultation with our MHA Board Chair and Board of Trustees, we develop a “strategic action plan” that serves as a road map for our important efforts over the coming 12 months. While the process involved in crafting the 2021-2022 plan was very similar to prior years, the environment was anything but.
One thing every Michigander surely has in common: we are all eager to see a significant decline in COVID-19-related positivity rates, hospitalizations, morbidity and mortality, and the unprecedented disruption brought about by the pandemic. Every day, we closely examine the data and – equally important – the real-time stories from the administrative leaders and clinicians in our member hospitals and health systems throughout the state. As I write this report, we unfortunately remain mired in a pandemic that simply will not fully release its grip. Hospital beds are filling up with both COVID-19 patients (over 2,000 as of today) as well as patients who likely delayed seeking treatment for a range of other, non-COVID-19 issues. Supply chain issues persist, and clinical and nonclinical staffing challenges are as severe as ever. Any notion that we are out of the woods is misguided; we must remain as vigilant as when the pandemic began.
Against that backdrop, our action plan has been designed with our association mission in mind: we advance the health of individuals and communities. The following synopsis represents just a few highlights:
Policy and Advocacy: Our hospitals and their front-line caregivers need fair and adequate funding support now more than ever. Our priorities here include full funding for the Healthy Michigan Plan (our Medicaid expansion plan which now covers over 950,000 Michiganders), pools that protect access in rural communities and obstetrical care, graduate medical education, and the preservation of our robust provider tax program and Medicaid payment rates. We successfully achieved all of these objectives in the budget that just began Oct. 1; in addition, the budget includes new special appropriations specific to hospitals, including $3 million to fund the stroke/STEMI system of care to mirror the trauma system; ensured a continuation of the direct care worker increase at long-term care facilities to $2.35/hour; raised ground ambulance service reimbursement to the highest possible rate, valued at $54 million; and extended funding for 12 months of Medicaid coverage postpartum to improve maternal and infant health. As soon as one budget is finalized, the planning and negotiations begin for the next – and we are already gearing up to do right by our members and the patients they serve.
Workforce Sustainability: We must find ways to remove unnecessary barriers that prevent the recruitment and education of qualified individuals, and we must provide our healthcare workforce with the critical assistance they need to continue caring for and supporting our communities. In the short term, the MHA has formed both a Human Resources Council and a Human Resources Subcommittee of the MHA Service Corporation Board of Directors to convene leaders in the field to closely monitor the staffing crisis and provide guidance on our emerging efforts. This is an “all-hands-on-deck” affair for the association and will be on the agendas of every MHA council, committee and task force this year. In the days and weeks ahead, you will hear more about our very specific request related to healthcare workforce sustainability in the state budget supplemental process – just one aspect of a multiprong strategy that will also include regulatory flexibility, a renewed push to join the multistate nurse licensure compact, immigration policies, expanding scope of practice, virtual health, and addressing workplace violence and burnout.
COVID-19: The MHA will also continue to respond to immediate COVID-19 issues, which includes continuing to promote the effectiveness and safety of vaccines. Our vaccine focus areas will also move toward third doses and boosters, childhood vaccination for those ages 5-11, federal mandates for employers and healthcare providers, and flu vaccines. The MHA will also continue to work closely with the American Hospital Association on ensuring the federal mandates provide consistency between the upcoming Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules on how the federal mandates will be enforced for hospitals.
Behavioral Health: The MHA has already requested $125 million to expand inpatient pediatric capacity and improve psychiatric services in the emergency department, where far too many patients have been treated due to a lack of suitable alternative psychiatric care settings and providers. We are engaging in the public policy process to make sure that those Michiganders in desperate need of behavioral health services will ultimately have access to compassionate, high-quality care.
Health Equity: I am proud that all Michigan hospitals and health systems have signed on to our Board-approved pledge to address racism and health inequities. Through information gained from the Health Equity Organizational Assessment (completed by 113 hospitals to date), we will now identify and implement meaningful and actionable steps to address gaps and disparities in care to support the unique needs of individuals and local communities, particularly those that are underserved.
Other important priorities in this year’s action plan include the preservation of a robust certificate of need program, prevention of harmful nurse staffing ratio legislation, development of new data collection and analysis opportunities, safety and quality improvement, physician integration and cybersecurity.
To successfully achieve all the action plan priorities – as well as effectively respond to the “wild-card” events that inevitably occur during the program year – will require all arms of our organization: our traditional trade association, our 501(c)(3) MHA Health Foundation and MHA Keystone Center, and our for-profit MHA Service Corporation and Endorsed Business Partners. We are fortunate to have such a strong platform from which to launch our current and future efforts.
There is no doubt that the pandemic has been the biggest disruptor in my professional career. In an ecosystem that was already becoming more integrated, value-driven and transparent, the pandemic exposed all the inherent weaknesses within American healthcare delivery. Yet, throughout the past 20 months, the MHA staff and members have demonstrated our resolve and resiliency. As a result, I have full confidence that at the conclusion of this program year, we will be able to demonstrate strong success on our strategic action plan objectives and, accordingly, will have positioned hospitals to improve the health and wellness of their communities. And we will do so with love and compassion.
The MHA Keystone Center, the Michigan Public Health Institute and the Michigan State University Institute for Health Policy are hosting free events to provide an in-depth look at efforts to address healthcare disparities in Michigan and highlight areas of opportunity.
Oct. 21, 10 – 11 a.m.: Paving the Road to Health Equity – Advocacy and Policy. This event will feature proposed legislation and regulations related to health equity within Michigan. Participants will learn how to engage in the advocacy realm, the best way to reach out to lawmakers and the important role individual citizens have on the grassroots level.
Nov. 3, 9 a.m. – noon: Michigan Health Equity Summit, featuring Kevin Ahmaad Jenkins, PhD. This summit aims to provide an update on state healthcare disparity data, explore how Michigan hospitals can continue to expand upon their work in eliminating disparities, and highlight the work that select hospitals are doing to advance health equity for all Michiganders. Additional information is available in the event flyer.
Nov. 10, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.: Collection of SOGI Data Best Practices for the Acute Care Setting. In this training, Chris Grasso, vice president, health informatics and data services, and Alex Keuroghlian, MD, director of the division of education and training at Fenway Health, discuss best practices for collecting patient sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data and documenting SOGI in electronic health records. Registration is forthcoming.
The MHA Keystone Center recently released its 2020-2021 Annual Report, which showcases the center’s accomplishments and member-driven efforts to improve the quality and safety of healthcare statewide and beyond. It also describes member hospitals’ connection with the MHA Keystone Center during the past program year to learn and share best practices to implement the changes necessary to provide safer, more equitable healthcare even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Report highlights include:
How the MHA Keystone Center supports members to ensure high-quality, equitable and safe care for all through its Health Equity Organizational Assessment and Assessing Hospitals and Health Systems to Promote Equity project.
The MHA released another episode of the MiCare Champion Cast, which features interviews with healthcare policy experts in Michigan on key issues that impact healthcare and the health of communities.
On this episode – which follows the theme of health equity – MHA CEO Brian Peters is joined by Tina Freese Decker, president and CEO of Spectrum Health and 2021-2022 chair of the MHA Board of Trustees. The two discuss health equity from a leadership lens and why/how Spectrum Health has made health equity a priority as the healthcare workforce continues combatting COVID-19. Freese Decker also shares insight on how an ongoing commitment to ending racism and health inequities changes the way Spectrum Health executes its mission.
Spectrum Health is an integrated health system with 14 hospitals and a health plan serving more than 1.2 million members. Coronavirus data mentioned in this episode represent numbers from the date of the recording (Aug. 30, 2021). The latest COVID-19 state hospital data is updated weekly and can be viewed on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services dashboard.
This podcast is part of the statewide #MiCareMatters campaign, launched in 2017, which aims to build a network of citizens — “MiCare Champions” — who will be called upon to engage in advocacy efforts to protect access to affordable healthcare services in Michigan. It is currently available to listen to via YouTube, iTunes and SoundCloud.
For more information, visit micarematters.org. Members with questions or who would like to submit ideas for future podcasts should contact Lucy Ciaramitaro at the MHA.
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
The MHA Keystone Center and the Michigan Public Health Institute are hosting a webinar series to provide an in-depth look at efforts to address healthcare disparities in Michigan and highlight areas of opportunity.
The next webinar, Paving the Road to Health Equity: Advocacy and Policy, will occur from 10 to 11 a.m. Oct. 21 and feature proposed legislation and regulations related to health equity within Michigan. Participants will learn how to engage in the advocacy realm, the best way to reach out to lawmakers and the important role individual citizens have on the grassroots level. Registration for this event is free.
The series concludes with a virtual Health Equity Summit Nov. 3, which will feature Kevin Ahmaad Jenkins, PhD, a renowned advocate against racism and its effect on public health and breaking the social stigmas relating to racial injustice in healthcare. Registration and additional information are available in the event flyer.