New legislation to make changes to the screening process for potential admission to inpatient psychiatric care for behavioral and mental health patients was introduced Aug. 17 in the Michigan House of Representatives.
Rep. Graham Filler (R-St. Johns) introduced House Bill (HB) 6355 to amend the Mental Health Code and make the preadmission screening process more efficient. Under the bill, preadmission screening units, whether operated by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services or Community Mental Health services programs, must provide a mental health assessment within three hours of being notified by a hospital of the patient’s need. If a preadmission screening unit is unable to perform the assessment in a timely manner, HB 6355 would also allow for a clinically qualified individual at the acute care hospital to perform the required assessment. The bill provides for reimbursement to the hospital if hospital staff provide the preadmission screening.
The MHA supports HB 6355 because it addresses the ongoing issue of long wait times for emergency department behavioral and mental health patients. This legislation should help shorten the difficult wait times between the evaluation and beginning services.
HB 6355 was referred to the House Health Policy Committee. Members with questions regarding HB 6355 should contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.
The MHA announced the winner of its 2022 Advancing Safe Care Award June 30, honoring a dedicated team at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services in Grand Rapids. The award was announced during the association’s Annual Membership Meeting.
The MHA Advancing Safe Care Award honors healthcare teams within MHA-member hospitals that demonstrate a fierce commitment to providing care to different patient populations, show evidence of an improved safety culture, lead the charge for quality improvement, and demonstrate transparency in their efforts to improve healthcare.
Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services set up a special care unit in 2020 for behavioral health patients who tested positive for COVID-19 and a residential unit for COVID-19-positive patients in the adult foster care system. Pine Rest was the only behavioral health facility in West Michigan accepting psychiatric patients with COVID-19 and one of only a few in the state. Inspired by healthcare workers serving the sickest COVID-19 patients, Pine Rest employees sought to ease their burden while providing high-quality behavioral healthcare.
The hospital renovated space for the unit and trained staff to use telehealth equipment, allowing patients to virtually attend groups and classes from their rooms. Clinical and nonclinical staff were trained on wearing personal protective equipment, which had previously been rarely needed. The infection prevention and risk teams developed protocols for testing patients and staff. All nurses in the special care unit were trained in collecting samples for testing, and a performance improvement project boosted their ability to assess and manage patients’ pain.
Pine Rest developed a COVID-19 Dashboard, keeping staff aware of positive patients and staff members. Information was regularly shared with the Kent County Health Department, area hospitals and statewide behavioral health units to coordinate efforts.
For more information on the Pine Rest Special Care Unit, contact Harmony Gould, vice president of hospital and residential services, at Pine Rest at (616) 455-5000.
The MHA Legislative Policy Panel convened virtually March 23 to develop recommendations for the MHA Board of Trustees on legislative initiatives impacting Michigan hospitals.
The meeting was highlighted by separate presentations from Sen. Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton) and Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint). The senators provided redistricting and political updates representing their respective political parties. With 2022 being an election year in Michigan, each senator discussed top issues for voters, including inflation and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moving to action items, the panel recommended supporting Senate Bill (SB) 680, which would give advance practice nurses that meet specific criteria full practice authority in Michigan. The panel also recommended the MHA support planned legislation that would modify requirements and reimbursement for mental health-related services at acute care hospitals. Lastly, the panel recommended the MHA support SB 811, which would allow for an extension of the temporary licensure period for speech language pathologists.
In addition, the panel received updates on issues at the state level, including the state fiscal year 2023 budget and efforts to reform the auto no-fault insurance law in Michigan. The state budget update included information on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive budget proposal presentation, signed healthcare workforce funding and a behavioral health supplemental funding bill. A presentation on the MHA Legislative Action Center was also provided, including information on how MHA members can use the tool to meet their own advocacy campaign goals. MHA CEO Brian Peters addressed the panel as well, reviewing progress made toward the MHA strategic action plan and accomplishments achieved at the state and federal levels.
For more information on the MHA Legislative Policy Panel, contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.
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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced March 9 that nearly $35 million in funding is available nationally to strengthen and expand community mental health services and suicide prevention programs for children and young adults. Grants are available through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Office of Minority Health.
The funding will be divided among seven grant programs, which are part of a larger Biden administration initiative to address the nation’s mental health crisis. More information on each of the grants is available in the HHS news release. Members with questions may contact Lauren LaPine at the MHA.
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By Paula Allen, global leader and SVP, research and total wellbeing, LifeWorks, an Endorsed Business Partner of the MHA
Mental health is central to everything. This is a definitive statement because it is so true. Mental health is central to our quality of life, relationships, work experience and even participation in the economy. Many people take it for granted, but if there is any benefit to the strain of the past twenty months, it is that it has become clear that no one can or should ever take their mental health for granted. Since the Spring of 2020, there has been a significant decline in the mental health of working Americans.Life and work has been filled with massive change, uncertainty and unprecedented risks and demands. People are tired.
While the holiday season is a time for celebration and connection, the work demands of this season can potentially overshadow the benefits of this time of year. When this happens, stresses can actually feel more stressful than at another time of year. Now more than ever, it is important to take stock of your situation and your opportunities. Gratitude grounds us and focuses the mind. Simple and unexpected kindness can foster the connection to someone else which changes how we experience stress. At times, however, we might need more. With this MHA has launched AbilitiCBT. It offers evidence-based and effective mental health therapy for anxiety, depression and other issues. Two of the most important benefits are that it can fit into any busy schedule given digital access, but the process is also guided by a therapist who is there when needed, and who ensures the right path for each individual.
Mental health cannot be taken for granted. AbilitiCBT is here for you to use.
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.
FDA Issues Full Approval of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Aug. 23 issued full approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 16 and older, making it the first shot to move past the emergency use authorization phase. In doing so, the FDA reviewed hundreds of thousands of pages of safety and efficacy data, reaffirming the mRNA vaccine to be highly safe and effective. The MHA issued a media statement about the approval shortly after the announcement. For children ages 12 to 15, the shot remains under emergency use authorization. Emergency authorization of this and other vaccines for anyone younger than 12 remains outstanding and could come by the end of 2021.
The required vaccine fact sheets for providers’ use have been updated and are posted to the state’s Pfizer-focused webpage.
The lack of FDA approval has been a primary talking point for individuals delaying getting their COVID-19 vaccines. The MHA is communicating with media outlets and on its social media channels about the approval and where individuals can get vaccinated, especially as children head back to school. As of Aug. 23, the rate for children ages 12 to 15 who are fully vaccinated was 30%, and the rate for children ages 16 to 19 was 39.2%.
First doses of the vaccine continue to be administered at a slow but steady pace, with Michigan having administered nearly 154,000 first doses from Aug. 1-26. Providers – especially those who see younger patients – are urged to do direct patient outreach to increase vaccination rates and ensure those who are immunocompromised get a third dose if they received an mRNA vaccine. The MHA is developing provider outreach tools for practice settings to assist with these efforts.
Bridge Magazine Hosting Youth Mental Health Conversation Aug. 31
Bridge Magazine, which the MHA supports as an underwriter of its Health Watch series, is hosting a free, online, one-hour conversation on youth mental health in Michigan from noon to 1 p.m. Aug. 31. MHA members are invited to participate in the online event by registering online.
The dialogue will include a description of the state of youth mental health services in Michigan as well as potential solutions for improving the availability of mental healthcare for youth and their families. Improved access to high-quality behavioral health services for Michiganders remains a top priority of the MHA, as evidenced by its proposal for an additional $125 million in the state budget dedicated to this issue. The MHA Board of Trustees held a robust discussion on behavioral health at its recent meeting, and more details on how the association will be dedicating resources to this issue are forthcoming.
The MHA Keystone Center Patient Safety Organization (PSO) is hosting a safe table focusing on mental health and wellbeing Sept. 8 from 1 to 3 p.m.
The COVID-19 pandemic challenged healthcare organizations across the care continuum. Employees continue to provide care for patients despite exhaustion, personal risk of infection, fear of transmission to family members, illness or death of friends and colleagues and the loss of many patients. Many also faced unavoidable stressors, such as long shifts, employee turnover and personal isolation.
This safe table will serve as a safe and open space for healthcare employees to discuss the hardships frontline staff are facing during the pandemic. In addition, participants will hear from Mark Eastburg, PhD, president and CEO of Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, who will share strategies to positively impact mental health and wellbeing.
Bridge Michigan published a series of articles the week of June 28 that examine Michigan’s mental health system for children and teens.
Shared in three installments, the pieces look at the strain on families, the boarding of children in the emergency department as they await treatment, and potential solutions.
The series includes Laura Appel, senior vice president, health policy & innovation, MHA, discussing the challenges that hospitals and health systems experience when providing behavioral health treatment to children and teens. Specifically, Appel discusses the constantly changing state pediatric psychiatric bed census, and legislation that would provide transformational funding to increase child inpatient psychiatric beds and to update emergency department facilities to mirror environmental features found in psychiatric facilities.