The MHA participated in several advocacy events in September, providing opportunities for MHA members to share their experiences with both current and future decision-makers.
Several MHA staff helped lead a virtual advocacy event Sept. 9 for the Michigan Organization of Nurse Leaders (MONL). Nearly 100 nurse leaders and students from across the state gathered to discuss important issues facing nurses and advocate for legislative solutions. The Health Policy Committee Chairs of each chamber, Rep. Bronna Kahle (R-Adrian) and Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington), joined the group to provide legislative updates, outline future priorities and share their insight on the remaining legislative term.
Dr. Cynthia McCurren, dean of nursing at U-M Flint, and Brandy Johnson, president of the Michigan Community College Association, also joined the MONL event to provide an overview of a new model that will allow for community colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees in nursing. The new funding will go toward community college and university partnerships that will allow Associate Degree in Nursing graduates to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at a community college campus. Participants also received a crash course in how to advocate as a nurse and were able to earn 2.5 continuing education credit hours for their participation.
The MHA helped prepare Michigan’s next generation of leaders Sept. 16 and 17 by leading a Healthcare Weekend for the fellows of the Michigan Political Leadership Program (MPLP). The weekend event was held in Grand Rapids and organized in partnership with the Michigan Association of Health Plans (MAHP). The MPLP fellowship is made up of a diverse group of Democrats, Republicans and Independents from around the state who all have an interest in running for office.
The MPLP fellows received a Healthcare and Lobbying 101 from Dominick Pallone, executive director of the MAHP, and Marc Corriveau, vice president of government affairs at Henry Ford Health, as well as participated in a healthcare bill exercise designed to mimic health policy committee work. The fellows also visited Hope Network in Grand Rapids and learned directly from Megan Zambiasi, chief development officer of Hope Network, as well as Mark Eastburg, president and CEO of Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services. Lastly, the MHA convened a lawmaker panel of Sen. Mark Huizenga (R-Walker) and Rep. Rachel Hood (D-Grand Rapids) to speak on how to run a successful campaign.
The MHA held Sept. 21 their first ever Rural Hospital Advocacy Day. Leaders from rural hospitals across the state joined MHA staff in Lansing to meet with lawmakers and share the unique challenges they are facing. MHA members were able to meet with lawmakers that are local to their hospital service areas, as well as key legislative and health policy committee leadership. The rural advocacy day came at an important time to impact decision making during lame-duck as the MHA expects several bills directly impacting rural hospitals to move before the end of the year. Some of the key issues discussed included continued hospital staffing challenges, preservation of the 340B drug pricing program and opportunities to address emergency department crowding through behavioral health investments at the state level. During the event, Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland) was also presented with his Special Recognition Award that was originally announced July 2022.
The events would not have been possible without the assistance of MHA partners and members who helped make these advocacy events a success. Members with questions about future advocacy days may contact Sean Sorenson-Abbott at the MHA.