The MHA received media coverage during the weeks of Dec. 19, Dec. 26 and Jan. 2 on financial and staffing challenges impacting hospitals as well as the impact of a tripledemic of respiratory illnesses this winter.
Below is a collection of headlines from around the state that includes interviews or statements from MHA representatives.
The MHA received media coverage on a variety of topics during the weeks of Aug. 1 and Aug. 8. Areas of focus included health insurance tax credits from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), healthcare benefits in the Inflation Reduction Act, growing demand for healthcare careers and more.
Crain’s Detroit Business published Aug. 2 a Letter to the Editor on the importance of permanently writing into law ARPA health insurance tax credits that was signed by Laura Appel, executive vice president of government relations and public policy, MHA, along with Dominick Pallone, executive director, Michigan Association of Health Plans; Julie Novak, CEO, Michigan State Medical Society; and Phillip Bergquist, CEO, Michigan Primary Care Association. Together, they describe how the expanded income tax credits helped 67,000 Michigan residents gain access to health insurance.
“Premium tax credits serve as a key that unlocks greater access to this care and the healthier future we need. We must protect them before it’s too late. We call on lawmakers to work with urgency to see that ARPA’s health insurance tax credits are permanently written into law before they expire at the end of this year.”
An article on the fastest growing job opportunities in Michigan through 2030 was also published by Crain’s, which includes several healthcare careers at the top of the list. The article quotes Brian Peters discussing the state funding available for community colleges to partner with a four-year institution to offer a bachelor’s degree in nursing on a community college campus.
“Staffing shortages are impacting Michigan hospitals throughout the state, particularly in the areas of nursing,” said Peters. “This plan will help us get more highly-skilled professionals into the field quickly and increase access to nursing education in more communities across the state.”
Lastly, Crain’s published a story Aug. 12 that includes a quote from the MHA celebrating the federal Inflation Reduction Act including an extension for three years of expanded subsidies to reduce Health Insurance Marketplace premiums and insulin being capped at $35 a month for Medicare patients.
Additional news clips included a statement provided to MiBiz on a Michigan Court of Appeals ruling Aug. 1 that allowed county prosecutors to pursue criminal charges in most abortion cases until an Oakland County circuit court judge granted a temporary restraining order to block local prosecutors from enforcing the law later that same day. Becker’s Hospital Review also published an interview with MHA CEO Brian Peters on a variety of topics in preparation for Peters serving on a panel at Becker’s 10th Annual CEO + CFO Roundtable conference in November.
The MHA received media coverage on a variety of topics during the weeks of June 27 and July 4. Areas of focus included the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, the passage of the fiscal year 2023 state budget and challenges facing small and rural hospitals.
The MHA shared a statement with media following the SCOTUS decision that repealed Roe v. Wade. Outlets that included comment from the MHA in their stories included the Detroit Free Press, Bridge and Gongwer.
The passage of the state budget the morning of July 1 by the Michigan Legislature was celebrated by MHA CEO Brian Peters in a media statement that outlined the existing MHA budget priorities that continue to be protected as well as significant new funding to support behavioral health capacity and the healthcare workforce. MLive, MiBiz, The Center Square and Gongwer carried portions of the statement.
Renewed attention was brought to financial challenges faced by small and rural, particularly independent, hospitals due to a legislative request for funding from Sturgis Hospital as the organization pursues the possibility of converting to the new rural emergency hospital designation through the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. MiBiz and Bridge published articles that include reaction from the MHA following assistance the association made in the legislative ask that secured $11 million for Sturgis Hospital.
Members with any questions regarding media requests should be directed to John Karasinski at the MHA.
The MHA responded to several media requests the week of May 16 on topics including the RAND 4.0 Hospital Price Transparency Study, hospital workforce challenges and the shortage of contrast media from GE Healthcare.
MiBiz and Crain’s Detroit Business published stories on the latest RAND report that includes multiple quotes from MHA CEO Brian Peters discussing the flaws associated with the study, including the use of Medicare as a reimbursement benchmark and the limited data set. The MiBiz story also cites recent findings from the American Hospital Association and Kaufman Hall on significantly increasing hospital expenses.
“So it’s not a comprehensive set. It’s looking very specifically at Medicare reimbursement rates, which we know in Michigan and other states as well does not cover the true cost of care,” said Peters to MiBiz. “Hospitals do everything they possibly can just to break even, at best, and still lose money on Medicare.”
Michigan Radio aired a feature on May 16 following an interview with Peters on workforce challenges impacting hospitals.
“We are losing employees to McDonald’s for a job that pays better and is less stressful,” said Peters. “And we are incredibly limited in our ability to compete with rising wages in other industries.”
Crain’s Detroit Business published an additional article May 18 on the topic that cited the Michigan Radio story and quotes Peters. Laura Appel, executive vice president of government relations and public policy, MHA, also spoke with WZZM-TV Channel 13 for a story on workforce challenges that aired May 19.
The Detroit Free Press and Fox 2 Detroit also reached out earlier in the week on the reported shortage of contrast media from GE Healthcare. A general statement was provided to reflect the varying impacts from the shortage on hospitals throughout the state.
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.”
MiBiz interviewed Adam Carlson, senior vice president, advocacy, for a story published Feb. 27 on the $300 million funding appropriation for healthcare recruitment, retention and training recently signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Carlson discussed existing vacancy rates at hospitals, the benefits of the funding, how funding can be used and the process for distributing the funds to hospitals.
“COVID has taken a really serious toll on the mental, physical and emotional wellbeing of our health care employees in the state,” said Carlson. “(The funding) will allow us to start the healing process, provide additional recognition to workers for what they’ve done throughout the pandemic, and really recruit and retain excellent employees so our hospitals can provide safe, high-quality care.”
The Michigan Legislature passed Feb. 9 House Bill 5523, a supplemental spending bill that includes $300 million for healthcare facilities for recruitment and retention of healthcare workers. While this funding will not solve the long-term healthcare staffing crisis, it can provide some immediate relief to hospitals and their employees. This achievement comes after extensive advocacy efforts by the MHA and members to ensure funding resources to improve workforce sustainability in the short term.
The bill will now be sent to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for signature. Of the total $300 million appropriated, $225 million is dedicated specifically to acute-care hospitals and inpatient behavioral health providers. The MHA will serve as the fiduciary of the funds, which may be spent on healthcare recruitment and retention including, but not limited to, student loan repayment assistance, tuition assistance, training programming or a limited amount for cash bonuses. The MHA is encouraging the governor to sign this bill quickly and will keep members apprised of future progress on distributions.
The MHA published a media statement expressing gratitude to the Michigan Legislature for prioritizing this funding. Media coverage referencing the MHA include stories from the Associated Press and MiBiz.
Work will continue on a variety of other efforts to help members overcome healthcare workforce shortages. Members with questions may contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.
“The vaccines are our best defense against this variant and the likelihood of future variants emerging. The vaccines are essential for us to stop COVID-19 and its future mutations,” the statement read. “We have an opportunity to make a difference in this public health crisis. Together, our actions will serve the public good, save lives and shorten the health and economic impact of the pandemic.”
MiBiz 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.”