MHA Podcast Explores How Michigan Leaders Can Collaborate to Address Gaps in Behavioral Health

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 episode 29, State Representative Graham Filler and Dr. Julie Yaroch, D.O., president of ProMedica Charles and Virginia Hickman Hospital and Senior Vice President of Inpatient & Retail Pharmacy for ProMedica Health System kick off Mental Health Awareness Month discussing how lawmakers, healthcare leaders and the community can work together to address gaps in the state’s behavioral healthcare system.

The episode is available to stream on SpotifyYouTubeApple Podcasts and SoundCloud.

Additional state behavioral health resources can be found through the Mental Health Association of Michigan and the Children’s Hospital Association. As mentioned in the episode, the MHA issued a request for proposal for a $50 million competitive grant program for Michigan healthcare entities to expand access to pediatric inpatient behavioral health services. The funding was appropriated by the Michigan Legislature as part of the state fiscal year 2023 state budget with the goal to increase the number of beds available to care for pediatric psychiatric patients requiring inpatient hospitalization. Applications are due to the MHA by 11:59 p.m. on June 1.

The MiCare Champion Cast 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.

Members with questions or who would like to submit ideas for future podcasts should contact Lucy Ciaramitaro at the MHA.

Health & Hospital Association Elects 2022-2023 Officers and Board Members

Members of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) elected new officers and appointed board members during the association’s Annual Membership Meeting June 30. Officers of the 2022-2023 MHA Board of Trustees include T. Anthony Denton, chair; Shannon Striebich, chair-elect; and Julie Yaroch, DO, treasurer. In addition, Brian Peters was reappointed to serve an indefinite term of office as CEO of the association. The board directs the greater Lansing-based association’s statewide representation of hospitals and healthcare providers.

Denton, senior vice president and chief operating officer, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, will serve as chair during the association’s 2022-2023 program year beginning July 1. The terms of service of Striebich, president, Trinity Health St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, Pontiac, and senior vice president of operations, Trinity Health Michigan, Canton; and Yaroch, president, ProMedica Charles and Virginia Hickman Hospital, Adrian, will also span the 2022-2023 program year. Tina Freese Decker, president and CEO, BHSH System, Grand Rapids, will serve as immediate past chair.

“On behalf of our entire membership, I want to thank Tina Freese Decker for her outstanding leadership of the MHA Board through yet another year of challenges, including the pandemic, workforce shortages and more,” said MHA CEO Brian Peters. “We are grateful for Tina’s service. We are excited to now welcome T. Anthony Denton as our incoming chair. We know Tony’s dedication to advancing the health of individuals and communities will be felt by the entire hospital and healthcare community during his tenure.”

Brittany Lavis, group CEO, Detroit Medical Center, and Kent Riddle, CEO, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, Grand Rapids, were appointed as trustees at-large for three-year terms. Douglas Apple, MD, chief clinical officer, Ascension Michigan, Warren; Jeremiah J. Hodshire, president and CEO, Hillsdale Hospital; and Hunter Nostrant, CEO, Helen Newberry Joy Hospital, Newberry, were appointed as trustees at-large for two-year terms.

Reappointed for three-year terms on the 2022-2023 MHA Board of Trustees as trustees at-large were Karen Cheeseman, president and CEO, Mackinac Straits Health System, St. Ignace; James Dover, president and CEO, Sparrow Health System, Lansing; and Gregory R. Lane, executive vice president and chief administrative officer, McLaren Health Care, Grand Blanc.

Continuing to serve their current terms of service as trustees at-large are Gar Atchison, chief executive officer, UP Health System – Marquette, and market president, UP Health System; Beth Charlton, president and CEO, Covenant HealthCare, Saginaw; Mark Eastburg, PhD, president and CEO, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, Grand Rapids; Bill Manns, president and CEO, Bronson Healthcare, Kalamazoo; Robert Riney, president and CEO, Henry Ford Health, Detroit; and Shelleye Yaklin, president and CEO, North Ottawa Community Health System, Grand Haven.

Prior Authorization, Statewide Broadband Efforts Advance to Governor

capitol building

capitol buildingDuring the week of March 21, the Michigan Legislature advanced several bills related to MHA priorities, including legislation to change the prior authorization process for commercial insurers, expand the Essential Health Provider Loan Repayment Program, and to provide supplemental appropriations to implement statewide broadband. Hospital testimony was also provided to the House Health Policy Committee on the ongoing staffing crisis for Michigan hospitals.

Senate Bill (SB) 247, which would decrease wait times for commercial insurance prior authorization requests, is now heading to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk for signature. Introduced by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington), the legislation would shorten the timeline for approval to seven calendar days, or 72 hours for urgent requests, as well as ensure that emergency care can be provided without prior approval. Both the House and Senate voted during the week of March 21 to advance the bill before legislative spring break. The MHA provided testimony in support in both chambers and has shared a letter with the governor encouraging her to sign the bill.

The governor March 24 signed SBs 246 and 435 into law, which will expand the allowable use of the Essential Health Provider Loan Repayment Program. The two MHA-supported bills would increase the total allowable repayment from $200,000 to $300,000 and make certain mental health professionals eligible for the program. An MHA-proposed amendment to SB 435 was added in the House that will extend the sunset on the Physician Licensure Compact, which was set to expire March 28. More information on the program is available on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website.

The Michigan Legislature passed SB 565, sending the $4.7 billion supplemental appropriation bill to the governor for signature. The new spending was infrastructure focused, including $250 million and eight new full-time positions for the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office (MIHI). The MHA supports the MIHI funding, which will help Michigan take advantage of available federal funding to ensure access to reliable broadband for telehealth.

In the House Health Policy Committee, Julie Yaroch, DO, president of the Charles and Virginia Hickman Hospital, spoke to members on behalf of the MHA about the ongoing staffing crisis. Yaroch shared how the shortage is directly impacting her hospital, as well as the data from the most recent MHA survey that revealed there are 50,000 open positions across the state, with an average hospital vacancy rate of 16.6%. She told the committee that “staffing shortages took an average of 1,200 beds offline during the most recent surge, which in terms of bed capacity is equivalent to pulling the entire U of M Health System offline.”

Questions regarding state legislation affecting healthcare should be directed to Adam Carlson at the MHA.