The MHA continues to utilize public healthcare ambassadors, referred to as MiCare Champions, to advocate for public policy needs for Michigan hospitals and health systems.
The MiCareMatters campaign originally launched in 2017 with the aim to educate the public about Michigan hospitals’ efforts to lead the way to create healthy, thriving communities and to build a network of citizens – “MiCare Champions” – who want to engage in advocacy efforts to protect access to adorable healthcare services in Michigan. There are more than 450 active MiCare Champions that have collectively contacted their lawmakers thousands of times about healthcare issues in recent years.
The MHA currently has an action alert available for individuals to contact their state lawmakers to advocate for the MHA’s legislative request for an additional $112.5 million in American Rescue Plan funding to address the accelerating crisis created by a lack of healthcare professionals available to care for Michigan patients and $85 million to enhance the safety of the workforce. Continued messages to state lawmakers are important to signal the value of this request to hospitals and communities throughout the state.
The MHA is also utilizing MiCare Champions to solicit stories about how healthcare workers at Michigan hospitals have positively impacted them as patients or family members of patients. Stories can be submitted to the MHA and will be used by the MHA in the on-going public awareness campaign to tell the story of how hospitals continue to provide high quality care despite existing financial and staffing challenges.
The first hearing of the new legislative session for the House Health Policy Committee was held Feb. 2. Led by Chair Julie Rogers (D-Kalamazoo), new committee members heard testimony from advocacy organizations about the state of public health in Michigan.
Laura Appel, executive vice president of government relations and public policy, MHA, joined the committee to provide testimony on the intersection between hospitals and health system and Michigan’s public health system. Her presentation focused on the role hospitals played over the first years of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing need for partnership on vaccination, addressing health inequity and improved emergency preparedness. The MHA submitted written testimony in addition to the in-person presentation to the committee.
“Lack of funding in core public health programs slowed the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and exacerbated its impact, particularly in low-income communities, communities of color and for older Americans – populations that experience higher rates of chronic disease and have fewer resources to recover from an emergency,” said Appel.
The testimony at this hearing was informational only and the committee did not discuss specific legislation. The MHA will continue to work closely with committee members to support and strengthen public health in Michigan.
Members with questions can contact Sean Sorenson at the MHA for more information.
Hospitals and health systems are experiencing a decrease in routine inpatient admissions, prompting development of other services. One of these services is post-acute care, which is expected to grow as the population ages and skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) are expanded and created. To build skilled nursing growth, providers use data focused on referral patterns to develop specialized programs based on patient needs, then promote those specialized services.