MHA Podcast Explores the 340B Drug Pricing Program

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, Karen Cheeseman, CEO of Mackinac Straits Health System (MSHS) and Leah Heffernan, retail pharmacy director at MSHS, explain what the 340B drug pricing program is and how it benefits Michigan’s rural communities.

The federal 340B Drug Pricing Program requires that drug companies sell discounted prescription drugs to entities that provide care in underserved communities, including those in rural communities like MSHS. Those interested in helping protect 340B can visit the MHA Legislative Action Center to contact state lawmakers in a few quick steps.

Cheeseman has been with the health system for 17 years, previously serving as chief operating officer and, prior to that, chief human resource officer. She is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and served on both the Small and Rural Health Council and Legislative Policy Panel at the MHA. Heffernan has been with Mackinac Straits as a retail pharmacy director for three years, working daily to ensure all operations run smoothly at the system’s retail pharmacy.

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 via Spotify, 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.

MHA Showcases Healthcare Workers for National Hospital Week

Hospital Week Graphic

Every year, National Hospital Week serves as an opportunity to highlight hospitals, health systems, healthcare workers and the innovative ways they are supporting and connected to the community. For 2022, the MHA celebrated by showcasing member hospital and health system staff across social media channels. Each day of the week, short videos featured staff from across the state — nurses, volunteers, technicians, etc. — sharing what they love about working in healthcare.

The videos aligned with the American Hospital Association’s #WeAreHealthcare efforts, offering a more local perspective from caregivers who have taken on unimaginable challenges and risen to the occasion repeatedly over the course of the pandemic. Submissions came from healthcare workers across the state, including staff from Beaumont Health, Henry Ford Health, Hurley Medical Center, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services and Sparrow Health System.

The videos totaled more than 40,000 impressions (the number of times content was seen) and more than 1,500 engagements across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Questions about the MHA’s 2022 National Hospital Week campaign should be directed to Lucy Ciaramitaro at the MHA.

Combating the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Week of March 21

MHA Covid-19 update

MHA Covid-19 updateWith the number of new cases trending downward, Michigan hospitals continued to have patients with severe cases of COVID-19 in their intensive care units (ICUs). As of March 25, 100 Michiganders with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 were in ICUs, 44 of them on ventilators. They were among the 516 adults and 22 children hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases that day.

The MHA continues to keep members apprised of pandemic-related developments affecting hospitals through email updates and the MHA Coronavirus webpage. Important updates are outlined below.

Legislative Action Will Assist Hospitals in Providing High-quality Care

The Legislature has sent Senate Bill (SB) 247 to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to be signed into law, making significant changes to prior authorization in the state of Michigan. The MHA-supported  bill would shorten the timelines for approval of authorization requests, ensure that emergency care can be provided without prior approval, and require insurers to post their prior authorization policies on their website and accept electronic requests, among other improvements to the process.

Whitmer signed SBs 246 and 435, increasing forgivable loan amounts for health professionals who work in medically underserved communities as part of the Michigan Essential Health Provider Program and expanding the physician specializations that qualify for the program to include behavioral health professionals. The new law also extends the sunset on the interstate Physician Licensure Compact, ensuring that physicians coming to Michigan from another compact state can quickly become licensed to practice in the state.

More information on these bills and other legislation affecting hospitals is available in a related article.

Vaccination Progress Among Michiganders Highlights Racial Disparities

More than 60% of all Michigan residents aged 5 and older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. However, only slightly more than 40% of Black residents are among those fully vaccinated. Nearly 28% of Michigan children aged 5 through 11 years have received their first dose of the vaccine, but fewer than 17% of Black Michigan children in that age range have received their first dose. Providers should continue efforts to reach families with young children and nonwhite patients to reduce the disparities in the impact of COVID-19 on different populations. For information on vaccines, contact Ruthanne Sudderth at the MHA.

MHA Creates State/Federal COVID-19 Guidelines Tracker

The MHA recently developed a tracking tool outlining state and federal COVID-19 protocols for healthcare personnel. The document is updated as agencies revise their guidelines or mandates and includes vaccination, masking and COVID-19 testing guidelines from both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). The downloadable tool can also be found on the MHA website on the COVID-19 Resources page under Resources for Healthcare Professionals. Members with questions may contact Lucy Ciaramitaro at the MHA.

Additional information on the COVID-19 pandemic is available to members on the MHA Community Site and the MHA COVID-19 webpage. Questions on COVID-19 and infectious disease response strategies may be directed to the MDHHS Community Health Emergency Coordination Center (CHECC).

Combating the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Week of March 14

MHA Covid-19 update

MHA Covid-19 updateAs Michigan begins the third year of living with COVID-19, new cases, hospitalizations and deaths are trending downward and hopes are high that a new variant will not emerge to cause another surge of disease. The state reported there were 2,770 cases recorded for March 17 and 18 (including about 825 cases attributable to older lab results), 648 adults and children were hospitalized with confirmed and suspected cases, and 50 deaths caused by the disease were recorded over the two-day period. These numbers are fractions of what was seen in December and January, when Michigan hospitals were at or near inpatient capacity.

The MHA continues to keep members apprised of pandemic-related developments affecting hospitals through email updates and the MHA Coronavirus webpage. Important updates are outlined below.

MIOSHA Will Not Increase COVID-19 Inspections of Healthcare Facilities

Barton Pickelman, director of the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) within the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, has confirmed that MIOSHA will not be conducting additional, focused, COVID-19 compliance inspections of healthcare facilities in Michigan. Although a March 2 memo issued by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a 90-day COVID-19-focused inspection initiative for hospitals and skilled nursing care facilities, Pickelman noted that MIOSHA and other state plans are not required to adopt the federal OSHA initiative. Because MIOSHA has already conducted state emphasis programs for healthcare over the past two years, it is not adopting the federal inspection initiative.

Separate from the OSHA inspections, surveyors from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) will continue to check for compliance with requirements of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and state licensing agencies during regular survey visits or in response to specific complaints. LARA will confirm that facilities have written policies and protocols in place surrounding COVID-19 screening processes, are following their policies as written, and that these policies and protocols can allow either active or passive screening procedures, consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

For more information, contact Laura Appel or Amy Barkholz at the MHA.

MHA Creates State/Federal COVID-19 Guidelines Tracker for Providers

To help hospitals and health systems keep track of COVID-19 guidelines, the MHA has developed a document outlining state and federal COVID-19 protocols for healthcare personnel, including vaccination, masking and COVID-19 testing guidelines from both the CDC and the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS). The downloadable tool can be found on the MHA’s website on the COVID-19 webpage under Resources for Healthcare Professionals. Those with questions may contact Lucy Ciaramitaro at the MHA.

Additional information on the COVID-19 pandemic is available to members on the MHA Community Site and the MHA COVID-19 webpage. Questions on COVID-19 and infectious disease response strategies may be directed to the MDHHS Community Health Emergency Coordination Center (CHECC).

Doctor/Breakthrough Speaker Recalls COVID-19 Hospitalization in MHA Podcast

MI care matters

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, Michael Leonard, MD, partner at Safe & Reliable Healthcare, shares his personal experience with falling severely ill to COVID-19 in 2020. Leonard, who spent a total of 59 days in the hospital, gives a close-up look at what it was like as a tenured physician who was in great health to become a critically ill COVID-19 patient at a time when information was limited and hospitals across the country were overwhelmed. He also addresses some of the common misconceptions that still exist around COVID-19 and the vaccines and how listeners can best support healthcare workers.

Leonard will serve as a keynote speaker at the MHA’s major membership meeting Breakthrough on Feb. 17 and 18. 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 full agenda, registration and additional details can be found on the education and events page.

Safe & Reliable Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing guidance for providers to effectively assess and manage risk and minimize adverse events. Leonard has worked with healthcare organizations nationally and internationally to identify clear, effective and sustainable ways to enhance patient- and family-centered care, improve leadership, develop a culture of safety, work collaboratively, become highly reliable, and create an environment of continuous learning and improvement.

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 via Spotify, 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.

MHA Creates COVID-19 Social Media Toolkit for Hospitals

As hospitals and health systems across Michigan continue communication efforts around COVID-19 and the importance of getting vaccinated this winter season, the MHA has developed a downloadable social media toolkit with posts and graphics for healthcare organizations to share across digital platforms. The toolkit includes content focused on the following topics:

  • COVID-19 Hospital Capacity.
  • COVID-19 Holiday Safety.
  • COVID-19 Testing Protocol.
  • COVID-19 Public Safety Protocol.
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Messaging.

The toolkit is also accessible through the resources for healthcare professionals section of the MHA COVID-19 landing page. Those with questions may contact Lucy Ciaramitaro at the MHA.

MHA Creates Vaccine Communications Toolkit for Providers

MI Care Matters

In an effort to demonstrate the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines and combat misinformation, the MHA has developed a downloadable toolkit for providers to perform direct patient outreach and public education around the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19. The MHA will host a Zoom webinar at 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30, to walk through how to best use the toolkit, which includes:

Those with questions may contact Lucy Ciaramitaro at the MHA.

Combating the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Week of Aug. 9

MHA Covid-19 update

MHA COVID-19 Update imageThe MHA continues to keep members apprised of pandemic-related developments affecting hospitals through email updates and the MHA Coronavirus webpage. Important updates are outlined below.

Michigan Case Numbers and Hospitalizations Continue to Increase

Michigan reported over 3,100 new COVID-19 cases from this past Thursday and Friday, bringing the daily average of cases up to 1,564. Hospitalizations also continue to increase, with 889 confirmed hospitalizations statewide, 19 of which are pediatric. Over the last four weeks, 99% of test samples sequenced by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services are the delta variant.

Members with data questions may contact Jim Lee.

Social Media Toolkit Available with Delta Variant Messaging, Immunization Awareness Posts and Vaccine FAQs

To help communicate messages around the delta variant, updated masking guidance, childhood immunizations and general COVID-19 vaccine information, the MHA has created a downloadable social media toolkit with posts and graphics for public use. Members are encourage to share the content on their own channels or engage through the MHA’s Twitter or Facebook. The toolkit and other COVID-19 resources can be found on the COVID-19 webpage of the MHA website. Members with social media questions may contact Lucy Ciaramitaro.

Chief Medical Officer Debunks COVID-19 Vaccine Myths on MiCare Champion Cast

headphones with heart icon in middle.

MiCareMatters PodcastThe MHA released a new 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, Lydia Watson, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer of MidMichigan Health, discusses her perspective of the COVID-19 pandemic, from managing the needs of front-line staff to sharing stories of hope and healing throughout some of the most challenging moments of 2020. Later in the show, Watson debunks some common myths about the COVID-19 vaccines.

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 and SoundCloud.

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

MHA Twitter Chat to Address COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

MHA Twitter Chat to Address COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

COVID-19 Vaccine Twitter ChatAs the state continues to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine to select groups of essential workers and at-risk populations, it’s critical to ensure that Michiganders across the state are equipped with accurate information and resources regarding the safety, effectiveness and distribution of the vaccine.

To help inform the public and answer frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, the MHA will host a Twitter Chat on Thursday, Jan. 28 from 1 to 2 p.m. During the event, the MHA will moderate and lead the conversation, asking questions from @MIHospitalAssoc. The discussion will allow member organizations and subject matter experts an opportunity to provide the public with local information and resources related to the COVID-19 vaccine. Those interested in participating may follow along from the MHA’s Twitter account or search the hashtag #MHAHealthChat over the course of the hour.

Individuals who are interested in participating in the chat may review the questions prior to the event. To confirm participation or for any questions, members may contact Lucy Ciaramitaro at the MHA.