Media Recap: Pandemic Preparedness and Hospital Mergers

Brian Peters

Brian PetersThe MHA received media coverage the week of April 3 regarding the preparedness of hospital for another pandemic and how hospital and health system merger and acquisition activity impacts healthcare.

ABC News published a story April 1 that reviewed how chronic staffing shortages and new threats to funding may undermine the ability of hospitals to respond to a future pandemic. ABC News spoke to 11 hospital associations, including MHA CEO Brian Peters. A quote from Peters is included in the story regarding staffing challenges.

“Now, nurses and others are leaving health care altogether, to companies that have signing bonuses and very high hourly rates. And so all of a sudden, hospitals are in a position where the only way we’re going to have an adequate nursing force is to work with the nurse traveler agencies,” said Peters.

Bridge published an article April 3 on the finalized partnership between Michigan Medicine and Sparrow Health System. A section of the article reviews hospital acquisitions and mergers within healthcare. Peters spoke to the general reasons why a hospital or health system may determine merging with another organization is the best decision for their community.

“We have hospitals right now in Michigan … that are struggling mightily from a financial perspective,” said Peters. They’re struggling with supply chain issues. They’re struggling with the workforce.”

“I’ve heard it said more than once and I really think this summarizes the situation well: ‘We value our independence, but we’re not going to ride our independence to our grave.’ The ultimate goal of any organization — whether it’s a hospital system or any other entity in the community — is not about maintaining your independence. It’s about maintaining your viability.”

The Detroit Free Press and Michigan Radio also published stories on a recent nursing workforce survey released April 6. A portion of a statement Peters issued in March following the appropriation of $75 million for healthcare recruitment and retention as part of Public Act 5 of 2023 was published in the Detroit Free Press story. Meanwhile, the MHA provided a statement to Michigan Radio sharing the study incorrectly identifies mandated nurse-to-patient staffing ratios as a solution to the problem of inadequate nurse supply.  Portions of the statement are included in the Michigan Radio article.

Members with any questions regarding media requests should contact John Karasinski at the MHA.

Headline Roundup: Hospital Viability

Brian Peters

The MHA received media coverage the week of Dec. 5 following a virtual press conference Dec. 6 on the financial and staffing challenges impacting hospital viability, as well as topics including hospital capital improvements, mergers and acquisitions and respiratory illness hospital admissions driven by RSV and COVID-19. Stories include comments from MHA CEO Brian Peters, MHA Executive Vice President Laura Appel and MHA Board Chair T. Anthony Denton.

Below is a collection of headlines from around the state that includes interviews or statements from MHA representatives.

Sunday, Dec. 11

Friday, Dec. 9

Thursday, Dec. 8

Wednesday, Dec. 7

Tuesday, Dec. 6

Monday, Dec. 5

Members with any questions regarding media requests should contact John Karasinski at the MHA.


Media Recap: Workforce Sustainability & Strategic Partnership Legislation

Laura Appel

The MHA received media coverage since March 25 on hospital and nursing workforce challenges amplified by the pandemic, and legislation introduced in the Michigan Legislature that would eliminate the need for a second public vote to sell or lease a hospital that was previously transferred from a public authority to a private, nonprofit corporation.

The Detroit Free Press published March 25 a story that reviews the many factors that are influencing healthcare workforce shortages, particularly in the area of nursing. Laura Appel, executive vice president, government relations & public policy, is quoted in the article discussing the magnitude of workforce shortages for hospitals.

“We’ve been talking about a nursing shortage, we’ve been talking about tech shortages, whether it’s pharmacy tech or things like that. We didn’t really know what shortage was until this experience,” said Appel.

The story also include results from a recent MHA member survey that indicates more than 40,000 jobs are currently vacant at Michigan hospitals statewide.

MiBiz published March 27 an article on legislation introduced in the state House and Senate that can benefit small hospitals in Michigan that were originally formed by public authorities should they opt to pursue a merger. Adam Carlson, senior vice president, advocacy, spoke with MiBiz about the unique challenges small, independent hospitals experience and the potential benefit of strategic partnerships.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about access to care, and oftentimes that’s what you get with strategic partnerships,” said Carlson. “You really preserve the access to care that is so important. You keep your facility in your community, serving the residents of your community.”

Media Recap: Hospital Mergers and COVID-19

Brian Peters

The MHA responded to several media requests the week of Jan. 31 that focused on the history of hospital mergers and acquisitions in Michigan and the current outlook for hospitals regarding COVID-19.

Bridge published Feb. 1 an article that looked at the impact of hospital mergers on consumers in light of the merger between Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health. MHA CEO Brian Peters is quoted in the story discussing the reasons between hospital mergers.

“The real watchword is ‘value,’” said Peters. “We want to create value and that equation of course, is cost and quality and appropriateness,” he said, adding “higher quality care costs less in the long run.”

The Detroit News published Feb. 2 a story that focuses on the future outlook for hospitals now that the COVID-19 surge driven by the omicron variant is declining. MHA Director of Communications John Karasinski discussed the statewide trends for hospitals.

“It’s clear that we’re on the downside of this omicron surge as the numbers this week are better than the prior week, but the status of hospitals does vary depending on region, bed capacity and staffing,” said Karasinski.

Members with questions on COVID-19 efforts and resources should contact Ruthanne Sudderth, and any questions regarding media requests should be directed to John Karasinski at the MHA.

Brian Peters Talks Health System Consolidation Trends with MiBiz

MHA CEO Brian Peters

MHA CEO Brian PetersMiBiz published a story June 20 with MHA CEO Brian Peters discussing the recent trend of healthcare industry consolidation over recent years.

The article analyzes a proposed merger between Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health. Peters provided quotes about reasons behind health system mergers in broad terms, including the need to generate economies of scale and efficiencies.

“It doesn’t matter how large you are, even the larger health systems have some vulnerability in terms of financial status and the operational viability when hit with a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Peters. “And there is strength in scale.”

Read the article

Chris Mitchell Discusses Hospital Mergers with MLive

Chris Mitchell

MHA Executive Vice President Chris MitchellMLive published a story June 18 with Chris Mitchell, executive vice president, advocacy & public affairs, discussing the reasons behind hospital mergers.

The story reviews a proposed merger between Spectrum Health and Beaumont Health. Mitchell contributed comments about the recent trend of hospital mergers in broad terms, as well as the benefits health systems receive through a merger.

“The name and brand recognition obviously is important to all parties involved in these, and really some of the efficiencies that can be achieved through group purchasing and consolidation of information technology and emergency medical records services,” said Mitchell.

Read the article