Workplace Safety and Minority Health Recognized in April

National organizations are recognizing April as Workplace Violence Awareness Month and Minority Health Month, each of which are key priorities for the Michigan Health & Hospital Association. The Alliance Against Workplace Violence is leading efforts for Workplace Violence Awareness Month while the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health is promoting Minority Health Month.

MHA CEO Brian Peters
MHA CEO Brian Peters

“The mission of the MHA is to advance the health of individuals and communities,” said MHA CEO Brian Peters. “Ensuring the safety of our healthcare workers and improving efforts to address health equity, diversity and inclusion fulfills our mission and is critical to every Michigan hospital and community.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare sector had the highest distribution of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in the private sector in 2020, while OSHA data indicates healthcare workers are nearly four times more likely on average to experience violence than individuals in other industries.

Improving workplace safety in hospitals has been the focus of the MHA, the MHA Keystone Center and Michigan hospitals since the MHA Workplace Safety Collaborative was launched in 2019 with the goal to reduce injuries and increase safety awareness through educational events, webinar series and insights from subject matter experts.

With reported rates of violence against healthcare workers increasing during surges of COVID-19 hospitalizations, the MHA has actively advocated for House Bill 5682. This legislation would double the fines for assaulting a healthcare employee or volunteer in any healthcare setting. To help increase awareness of protecting healthcare workers, the MHA has developed and provided to MHA members free of charge workplace violence posters.

Diversity, equity and inclusion is another key component of the activities of the MHA Keystone Center. The MHA Board of Trustees endorsed in 2020 the Address Racism and Health Inequities pledge, which has since been embraced by all MHA member hospitals and hospital systems. The pledge expresses the need for hospitals to commit to addressing disparities, dismantling institutional racism and achieving health equity. The MHA Keystone Center also released the Eliminating Disparities to Advance Health Equity and Improve Quality guide, which is to be used by hospitals to assess strategies aimed at reducing disparities, achieving equity and improving quality.

“I am very proud of the work the MHA Keystone Center has made on both workplace safety and diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Sarah Scranton, MPA, MPP, vice president, safety and quality, MHA, and executive director, MHA Keystone Center. “The safety of caregivers and addressing health disparities can significantly impact the quality and safety of care delivered inside a hospital.”

Health equity is achieved when all members of society enjoy a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. As defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, social determinants of health contribute to racial and ethnic minority groups having disproportionate health outcomes and include neighborhood and physical environment, health and healthcare, occupation and job conditions, income and wealth, and education. The MHA and the MHA Keystone Center have long been committed to addressing health disparities, which is a foundational concept that shapes all the organization’s quality improvement and safety efforts.

More information about the MHA’s efforts and resources on workplace safety and health equity can be found at mha.org.

Explore Resources During Workplace Violence Awareness Month

Healthcare workers across the country are experiencing a growing rate of incidents of violence against front-line caregivers, including workers in Michigan. In fact, healthcare workers are nearly four times more likely to experience violence than individuals in other industries, according to the Occupational and Safety Health Administration (OSHA). In conjunction with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s declaration of April as Workplace Violence Awareness Month, the MHA is highlighting related resources that are available to its members.

The American Hospital Association has a dedicated webpage providing several workforce and workplace violence prevention tools for hospitals. Additionally, an OSHA publication titled Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers provides healthcare workers with tips to identify and assess workplace violence hazards and detailed information for developing violence prevention programs.

The MHA, the MHA Keystone Center and Michigan hospitals are partnering to address violence against healthcare workers through de-escalation and resiliency trainings and through the work of the MHA Workplace Safety Collaborative. The collaborative launched in March 2019 with the goal to reduce injuries and increase safety awareness through educational events, webinar series and insights from subject matter experts.

The MHA has also developed workplace safety posters for members to display throughout their facilities, communicating the consequences of committing physical harm toward healthcare workers or hospital property. The informational posters are geared toward patients, families and visitors, with various creative options available in two sizes. Complimentary copies of the materials are available to MHA members by request through an online order form. Nonmembers may purchase materials at cost.

The MHA Keystone Center collects member data on workplace safety that is used to determine areas in which their efforts should be focused, especially for workplace violence. Additionally, members can view the Workplace Safety dashboard to recognize trends in their reportable data. Members are encouraged to submit their OSHA recordable incident rate; lost time case rate; and days away, restricted or transfer rate each month in the MHA Keystone Center’s data reporting platform, KeyMetrics. Those with questions may contact the MHA Keystone Center.

Effect of COVID-19 Demonstrated Through MHA OSHA Data

The MHA collects Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Recordable Incident Rate (RIR), Lost Time Case (LTC) rate and Days Away, Restricted or Transferred (DART) rate data from member organizations as part of the MHA Workplace Safety Collaborative.

The image below is a snapshot of this data from January 2017 to March 2021. The chart demonstrates spikes in the LTC and DART rates in spring 2020 and spikes in the LTC, DART and overall RIR in winter 2020, coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic surges.

Both DART rate spikes suggest an increase in severe incidents, since they represent the subset of the RIR that resulted in employees missing days from work, being placed on restricted duty or transferred elsewhere within the organization due to the incident. The MHA confirmed with submitting organizations that the significant increase in RIR in November 2020 is due to increased reporting of COVID-19 exposure incidents. Nearly 100% of exposure incidents resulted in DARTs due to mandatory quarantining protocols.

The MHA Keystone Center Patient Safety Organization (PSO) published initial findings in its March member safety alert. The PSO continues to contact submitting organizations to better understand why new patterns are occurring and how to support activities to mitigate future staff harm. 

Members are encouraged to submit their organizations’ OSHA data to KeyMetrics, the MHA Keystone Center’s data reporting platform. Those with questions may contact the MHA Keystone Center.

Expert to Provide Strategies on Mitigating Healthcare Workplace Violence

The MHA Workplace Safety Collaborative is hosting a webinar April 27 to discuss strategies for managing violence directed toward healthcare workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ken Smith, CHSP, CIE, CHCM, healthcare safety specialist at Healthcare Safety Services in Colorado, will present the implications of healthcare workplace violence while managing a necessary response to the pandemic. Smith is a national safety expert with 30 years of experience assisting over 200 healthcare facilities throughout the United States. His areas of expertise include implementing workplace violence programs and safety management systems. Smith also helps organizations improve safety programs by evaluating strategies and developing cost-effective, sustainable safety action plans.

MHA members may register for the webinar at no cost. Those with questions may contact the MHA Keystone Center PSO.

March 25 Event to Examine Tool for Supporting Joy in Work

The MHA Workplace Safety Collaborative will host a webinar from 1 to 2 p.m. March 25 to discuss participants’ experiences, successes and barriers to implementing the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s (IHI’s) tool, Conversation and Action Guide to Support Staff Well-being and Joy in Work During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic.   

The guide builds on the IHI Framework for Improving Joy in Work and includes actionable ideas that leaders can quickly test during the coronavirus response. The MHA also hosted a Jan. 28 webinar on implementation of the IHI tool.

MHA members may register for the March 25 event online at no cost. Those who were unable to participate in the Jan. 28 webinar are invited to learn more about the guide at the upcoming event. For more information, contact the MHA Keystone Center.

MHA Keystone Center Efforts Support Falls Prevention Awareness Week

4Ms descriptions

Falls Prevention Awareness Week is observed annually by the National Council on Aging, and this year’s commemoration takes place Sept. 21 to 25. The observance highlights the importance of preventing falls by using available resources and evidence-based practices.

The rate of deaths caused by falls in the United States increased by 30% from 2007 to 2016 for older adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, more than one-third of hospital falls result in injury, including fractures and head trauma. The MHA Keystone Center is committed to helping healthcare workers provide safe care and reduce adverse outcomes, with an emphasis on preventing falls, through its Age-Friendly Health Systems Action Community and MHA Workplace Safety Collaborative.

4Ms FrameworkThe MHA Keystone Center Age-Friendly Health Systems Action Community brings attention to adults 65 and older through the 4Ms Framework:

  • Mobility: Ensure that older adults move safely every day to maintain function and do What Matters.
  • What Matters: Know and align care with each older adult’s specific health outcome goals and care preferences.
  • Medication: If medication is necessary, use age-friendly medication that does not interfere with What Matters to the older adult, Mobility, or Mentation across settings of care.
  • Mentation: Prevent, identify, treat and manage dementia, depression and delirium across.

The Age-Friendly Health Systems: Guide to Using the 4Ms in the Care of Older Adults recommends ensuring safe mobility by assessing and managing impairments that reduce mobility, such as pain; impairments in strength, balance or gait; hazards in the home; and high-risk medications. Providers can take this further by incorporating a multifactorial falls prevention protocol, such as Stopping Elderly Accidents, Death & Injuries, which reduces elderly patients’ risk of falling through identification of those at risk and modifiable risk factors and the use of evidence-based tools.

With nearly 50 participating organizations, the MHA Workplace Safety Collaborative focuses on preventing harm in four areas: slips, trips and falls; patient handling; workplace violence; and sharps. Participants in the collaborative receive access to interactive events with renowned safety experts and up-to-date tools and resources to support their falls prevention efforts. They also receive access to the workplace safety dashboard, an interactive tool designed to track progress.

The MHA Workplace Safety Collaborative concluded its bimonthly safe patient handling and mobility (SPHM) coaching calls in August. The calls focused on integral components to implementing an SPHM program, such as using the bedside mobility assessment tool, conducting post-fall huddles and engaging the patient/caretaker(s) in the mobility care plan as methods of assessing patients for fall risk and ensuring a continuous learning cycle. A recap is available.

Members who wish to join or learn more about these efforts may contact the MHA Keystone Center.

Members Urged to Continue Efforts as Safe Patient Handling and Mobility Series Ends

The MHA Keystone Center recently concluded a series of bimonthly webinars to address safe patient handling and mobility (SPHM) as part of the MHA Workplace Safety Collaborative. The webinars were led by Margaret Arnold, chief executive officer of Early Mobility and a physical therapist with 25 years of experience.

The series kicked off in October 2019 with an emphasis on gaining leadership support to develop and nurture a culture of organizational safety. One key takeaway from the kickoff was that staff should be involved in decisions about equipment acquisition, and leadership must set an expectation of proper usage. Participants discussed how they can overcome anticipated barriers and strategies to implement this program within their facilities.

Throughout the series, participants learned and discussed other integral components to implementing an SPHM program in their organizations, such as using the bedside mobility assessment tool, conducting post-fall huddles and engaging the patient/caretaker(s) in the mobility care plan as methods of assessing patients for fall risk and ensuring a continuous learning cycle.

When the COVID-19 pandemic heightened statewide in March, the series shifted focus to accommodate the needs of COVID-related SPHM in member organizations. Two webinars focused solely on addressing the barriers to SPHM during a pandemic, as severely ill patients who are ventilated and bedridden require timely SPHM interventions to shorten the length of stay and achieve the best possible outcome.

The last webinar highlighted Mercy Health Saint Mary’s success story of achieving zero reportable harms for staff and patients and how the organization implemented a sustainable program.

Although the series concluded Aug. 12, members are encouraged to continue to apply SPHM guidelines and to use the resources and tools provided by the MHA Keystone Center. Recordings, slides and supplemental materials are available on the MHA Workplace Safety Community site.

The MHA Keystone Center is hosting two virtual presentations in September to address other areas of workplace safety. Preventing Sharps Injuries will be offered Sept. 15 and Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls Injuries will be held Sept. 24. Members with questions may contact the MHA Keystone Center.