Gov. Whitmer signed House Bill 4016 today, appropriating $75 million for the recruitment, retention and training of hospitals workers. This funding will directly benefit hospital workers and play an important role in helping to support hospitals experiencing a generational workforce shortage.
According to a recent survey of hospitals conducted by the MHA, there are more than 27,000 job openings in hospitals throughout Michigan, including nearly 8,500 nursing job opportunities. Other areas with a high need include technicians with more than 4,500 job openings, clinical assistants with 3,000 openings and 1,700 openings for operational support in areas such as environmental services and food service.
Hospital staffing levels determine patient capacity within facilities. Michigan has lost a high of about 1,700 staffed hospital beds since 2020 because of workforce shortages. Filling these job openings would increase statewide inpatient hospital capacity, expand service availability and assist in the transition of care outside of a hospital.
“Maintaining the sustainability of our healthcare workforce is a universal priority for all Michigan hospitals and health systems,” said MHA CEO Brian Peters. “We appreciate the work from the Michigan Legislature and Gov. Whitmer in passing this funding that will support hospital workers and help solve staffing shortages that persist throughout healthcare.”
House Bill 4016 was introduced by Rep. Angela Witwer (D-Delta Township) and passed the Michigan Senate Feb. 28 and the Michigan House of Representatives March 1 with bipartisan support.
Those interested in a healthcare career should visit the careers webpage of their local hospital or health system.
The Michigan Legislature passed a supplemental appropriation bill the week of Feb. 27 that included $75 million to help address the ongoing staffing crisis in hospitals. The appropriation was part of House Bill 4016. Hospitals were allocated the funds for recruitment, retention and training of healthcare workers.
After Gov. Whitmer signs HB 4016, the MHA will work closely with the administration to allocate the funds once they are made available by the state.
The MHA also published a media statement March 1 on the behalf of MHA CEO Brian Peters to thank the legislature for acting. “On behalf of our member hospitals and health systems, we are very thankful our partners in the Michigan Legislature recognized this need and continue to be involved in developing solutions to retain and expand healthcare talent in Michigan.” The statement was published in a Crain’s Detroit Business article.
Members with questions about workforce funding may contact Adam Carlson.
The following statement can be attributed to Brian Peters, CEO of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.
Michiganders deserve local access to care from their hospitals, but that access has been threatened by a generational workforce shortage. On behalf of our member hospitals and health systems, we are very thankful our partners in the Michigan Legislature recognized this need and continue to be involved in developing solutions to retain and expand healthcare talent in Michigan. This supplemental appropriation will continue to assist in recruiting a talented and skilled workforce to Michigan hospitals, in addition to keeping and training existing staff.
There are currently more than 27,000 jobs available in Michigan hospitals. While our members continue to work closely with the education community to expand opportunities in the talent pipeline, this funding plays a crucial role in ensuring the viability of hospital service lines and capacity. We plan to work with the administration to ensure this funding is available as quickly as possible to make sure hospitals are staffed and ready for the health needs of all members of the community.
The MHA Legislative Policy Panel convened Jan. 25 to develop recommendations for the MHA Board of Trustees on legislative initiatives impacting Michigan hospitals.
The meeting was highlighted by a presentation from MHA multi-client lobbying firm Public Affairs Associates on the new political landscape in Michigan. Managing Partner Bill Wortz and Partner Frank Foster recapped the recent election results, reviewed new legislative leadership and focused on the priorities of Democrats, who hold majorities in each chamber of the Michigan Legislature for the first time since 1984.
Moving to action items, the panel recommended the MHA support legislation to strengthen the Healthy Michigan Plan and remove provisions that are ineffective, administratively burdensome or create risk to the long-term viability of the program. The panel also recommended the MHA develop legislation to enable hospitals to bill and receive reimbursement for healthcare and other services provided to psychiatric patients awaiting behavioral health services.
In addition, the panel discussed Senate Bill 28, which seeks to enhance the definitions of and limit the use of seclusion and restraint, which was introduced by Sen. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing).
The panel received updates on other issues including a federal update from federal lobbyist Carlos Jackson with Cornerstone Government Affairs, state budget negotiations and a recap of last year’s lame-duck session.
For more information on the MHA Legislative Policy Panel, contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.
The new session for the 102nd Michigan Legislature kicked off during the week of Jan. 9 with swearing in ceremonies in both the House and Senate. Michigan Democrats in the majority started the session by introducing legislation to repeal right …
Hospitals interested in learning more about the new Rural Emergency Hospital (REH) designation are encouraged to attend an upcoming webinar from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET Jan. 18 hosted by Mathematica and the Rural Health Redesign Center (RHRC) for …
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued a bulletin Jan. 5 to expand the types of providers who can perform Medicaid-covered, non-physician outpatient behavioral health services. Effective Feb. 4, Medicaid will cover and reimburse outpatient behavioral health …
A recent United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruling allows the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to propose a remedy for hospital 340B drug underpayments for calendar years 2018 to 2021. …
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.” As we honor Dr. King today and the legacy he created striving for racial equality, the MHA and …
“Blistering attacks on hospitals were a staple in media coverage in 2022. Comparatively, health insurers escaped unscathed. …
The near-term tension between hospitals and insurers will continue as affordability and transparency concerns mount. In tandem, government efforts to shift incentives to value-based payment models will expand as large employers and national plans implement more aggressive risk sharing agreements. The roles of the two sectors will converge in response to market demand. In anticipation, Deloitte, among others, merged its payer and provider practices to prepare its clients for the change. …”
The new session for the 102nd Michigan Legislature kicked off during the week of Jan. 9 with swearing in ceremonies in both the House and Senate. Michigan Democrats in the majority started the session by introducing legislation to repeal right to work, reinstate prevailing wage requirements and several other bills intended to provide tax relief for working families. Committee assignments were also released, giving the MHA and its member hospitals an opportunity to begin conversations with key lawmakers about 2023 legislative priorities.
Much like previous legislative sessions, both the House and Senate will feature standing committees for health policy and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) budget. However, the House also created a new committee focused on behavioral health to provide a greater focus on the growing issue. Additionally, the MHA will be tracking new standing committees on labor issues created in both the House and Senate.
The Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference convened Jan. 13 to revise revenue projections for the current fiscal year. Comprised of the House Fiscal Agency, the Senate Fiscal Agency and the Department of Treasury, their forecast calls for a year-over-year decrease of 1.1% in revenues from the 2021-22 fiscal year to 2022-23. For 2022-23, the General Fund is projected to decrease by $427.7 million year-over-year, with a forecasted total of $14.8 billion.
Included below is a comprehensive list of committee assignments that are particularly relevant for MHA members. If you have any questions about the new lawmakers in your district, committee assignments or other state legislation, please contact Sean Sorenson-Abbott at the MHA.
Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing) (Chair).
Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo) (Vice Chair).
Jon Bumstead (R-Newaygo) (Minority Vice Chair).
Thomas Albert (R-Lowell).
Rosemary Bayer (D-West Bloomfield).
Darrin Camilleri (D-Trenton).
Mary Cavanagh (D-Redford Township).
John Cherry (D-Flint).
John Damoose (R-Harbor Springs).
Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores).
Mark Huizenga (R-Walker).
Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor).
Veronica Klinefelt (D-Eastpointe).
Kristen McDonald-Rivet (D-Bay City).
Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak).
Rick Outman (R-Six Lakes).
Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit).
Sue Shink (D-Northfield).
Lana Theis (R-Brighton).
*Senate DHHS Appropriations Subcommittee will be chaired by Sen. Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit).
Senate Health Policy
Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores) (Chair).
Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit) (Vice Chairs).
Michael Webber (R-Rochester Hills) (Minority Vice Chair).
John Cherry (D-Flint).
Erika Geiss (D-Taylor).
Roger Hauck (R-Mount Pleasant).
Mark Huizenga (R-Walker).
Veronica Klinefelt (D-Eastpointe).
Jim Runestad (R-White Lake).
Paul Wojno (D-Warren).
Angela Witwer (D-Delta Township) (Chair).
Amos O’Neal (D-Saginaw) (Vice Chair).
Sarah Lightner (R-Springport) (Minority Vice Chair).
Timothy Beson (R-Kawkawlin).
Ann Bollin (R-Brighton).
Ken Borton (R-Gaylord).
Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield).
Julie Brixie (D-Meridian Township).
Cam Cavitt (R-Cheboygan).
Nancy DeBoer (R-Holland).
Alabas Farhat (D-Dearborn).
Andrew Fink (R-Hillsdale).
Phil Green (R-Millington).
Rachel Hood (D-Grand Rapids).
Thomas Kuhn (R-Troy).
Donovan McKinney (D-Detroit).
Jasper Martus (D-Flushing).
Denise Mentzer (D-Mount Clemens).
Jason Morgan (D-Ann Arbor).
Christine Morse (D-Texas Twp.).
Natalie Price (D-Berkeley).
Ranjeev Puri (D-Canton).
Bill G. Schuette (R-Midland).
Phil Skaggs (D-Grand Rapids).
Bradley Slagh (R-Zeeland).
Will Snyder (D-Muskegon).
Samantha Steckloff (D-Farmington Hills).
Donni Steele (R-Orion Township).
Regina Weiss (D-Oak Park).
Jimmie Wilson (D-Ypsilanti).
*House DHHS Subcommittee will be chaired by Rep. Christine Morse (D-Texas Twp.).
“I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” ― Abraham Lincoln
As I put the proverbial pen to paper, the Michigan Legislature has completed the 2021-2022 legislative session and I am very pleased to report that in the lame-duck session, we successfully advanced several MHA-supported bills – and not a single MHA-opposed bill was signed into law. Another job extremely well done by our MHA Advocacy team as we protect access to affordable, high-quality healthcare for all.
Now shifting to the New Year: 2023 will usher in a monumental shift in power in Lansing as Democrats will control all aspects of government in the state for the first time during my 32-year tenure at the MHA. Following last November’s election results, Democrats not only retain power in all areas of the executive branch and a majority in the judicial, but both chambers of the legislative branch flipped to Democratic control. The last time Democrats had control of the Governor’s office and both chambers of the state legislature was 1984.
This change was due to a multitude of factors, including redistricting, ballot proposals, a trickle-down impact from the top of the ballot, candidate viability and record turnout. Earlier this year, the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission established new district maps, which had previously been handled by the majority party in the state legislature in conjunction with the governor. Michigan saw a significant increase in the number of competitive districts due to their nonpartisan work. The Michigan midterm election saw record turnout again, with 4.5 million votes cast, including 1.8 million absentee ballots. This is a 2.4% increase from the prior record set in 2018 with 4.3 million votes. Turnout was partially driven by three ballot proposals as well as over 14,000 same day voter registrations, primarily from young Gen Z voters.
The MHA has a long history of being nonpartisan, but moving from divided government to one-party control will always bring about a change in the political dynamics and associated priorities. Our advocacy culture has long been to establish and maintain relationships regardless of leadership role or party affiliation so that in times of need, you have allies you can rely on. Both new Speaker of the House Joe Tate (D-Detroit) and Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) have established track-records of working closely with the healthcare community to help us fulfill our mission of advancing the health and wellness of individuals and communities. Our MHA Advocacy team as well as our member hospitals and health systems consider them friends. And of course, our close partnership and personal friendships with Gov. Whitmer extend back to her time in the state legislature when she was recognized with an MHA Special Recognition Award at the 2014 MHA Annual Meeting. Our bonds with the governor and her administration grew even stronger as we confronted the COVID-19 pandemic together.
As a result of term limits, the new legislative session will also welcome an astounding 59 first-time legislators to Lansing. Since the Nov. 8 election, we have been busy establishing new relationships and introducing ourselves to many new faces. Most lawmakers only know healthcare through the prism of a consumer, so it is never too early to begin the education process related to this highly complex field. As part of this process, we hosted the Building Bridges event with our partners at the Small Business Association of Michigan, the Michigan Education Association, Michigan Association for Justice and Business Leaders for Michigan that helped us pursue these goals while also offering new legislators the opportunity to connect with their peers and learn how best to serve in Lansing.
Now I have no magic crystal ball so I can not predict what types of legislation we may see introduced and prioritized over the coming months. Having not held a dual-chamber majority for nearly 40 years, we anticipate there is no shortage of issues for Democrats to work on. There is no question we will continue to express the importance of access to care, which Democrats have traditionally strongly supported. Based on public comments and prior legislative track records, it is reasonable to expect continued activity on improving behavioral health, public health, health equity and addressing pharmaceutical pricing. American Rescue Plan Act funds also remain available and we strongly believe these funds should be appropriated quickly to make a difference in addressing the financial and staffing challenges that our member hospitals throughout the state, regardless of size, are experiencing. Those are positives. In reality, we need to also be prepared to address legislative proposals that we find more concerning – such as nurse to patient staffing ratio mandates which sound good in theory but would be impractical if not impossible to implement in practice.
The truth of the matter is that the Democrat majority is very slim, so we expect Republicans will still play an impactful role in healthcare funding and policy development. We certainly appreciate the work they’ve done for hospitals and healthcare over recent years and look forward to continuing those relationships during the new session.
I hope all our elected officials who will take office in January will reflect on the wise words of Abraham Lincoln above and include among their New Year’s resolutions to pause, set aside whatever preconceived notions they may have about the people across the aisle from them and make an earnest effort to truly get to know them. Will this guarantee that we come together and see eye-to-eye on all the issues? Of course not. But hopefully, such an approach will lead to more civility in the political process and better public policy for all Michiganders.
The bottom line: 2023 presents new challenges and opportunities for all who work in Lansing. While many of the players in town may have changed, the playbook for successful advocacy has not. On behalf of our member hospitals, I’d like to express my gratitude for those finishing their years of service, congratulate all those who will be serving in office this upcoming year and look forward to working together to achieving a healthier Michigan.
The Legislature took their final votes for the 2021-2022 legislative session during the week of Dec. 5. Given the results of the election, very few bills passed during the legislative lame-duck session compared to a typical year. While the lack of a supplemental agreement prohibited additional funding for healthcare, the MHA was able to secure several victories on policy issues and noMHA-opposed legislation was passed before the end of the year.
House Bills (HBs) 6129 and 6130, legislation to expand the Michigan Reconnect program, was sent to the Governor’s desk for final approval. The Michigan Reconnect program is a postsecondary scholarship program designed to provide funding to learners over the age of 25 to return to the classroom to pursue credentials or postsecondary degrees at community colleges or eligible training programs. Introduced by Reps. Ben Frederick (R-Owosso) and Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing), the package allows for several additional certifications to qualify for the scholarships including high-demand healthcare credentials. The MHA is supportive of the bills and will continue to advocate for future changes to lower the age for individuals to qualify for the program.
Legislation to allow Michigan to join the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT) was also sent to the Governor’s desk. If signed into law, this will bring Michigan in line with 26 other states to create an expedited pathway to licensure for psychologists who wish to practice telepsychiatry across state lines. HBs 5488 and 5489 were introduced by Reps. Bronna Kahle (R-Adrian) and Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield Township) and supported by the MHA to help increase access to behavioral health services in Michigan.
Another MHA-tracked bill, Senate Bill (SB) 450, was sent to the Governor. Introduced by Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland), SB 450 would ensure visitors of cognitively impaired patients are permitted in healthcare facilities. The bill would prohibit the directors of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services or a local health officer from issuing an order that prohibits a patient representative from visiting a cognitively impaired individual in a healthcare facility. As written, the legislation does not prevent a healthcare facility from implementing reasonable safety measures for visitors and will still allow for facilities to limit the number of representatives per patient. The MHA is neutral on the bill, based upon previous feedback received from our Legislative Policy Panel.
Members with questions on these bills or any other lame duck action may reach out to Adam Carlson at the MHA.
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 following statement can be attributed to Brian Peters, CEO of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association. *The budget has since been signed by Gov. Whitmer on July 20, 2022.
The fiscal year 2023 state budget approved by the Michigan Legislature provides necessary resources to assist hospitals and health systems in advancing the health of individuals and communities throughout our state. We appreciate the work and consideration placed by lawmakers that continues to protect hospital priorities.
These priorities include maintaining funding for the Healthy Michigan Plan, graduate medical education of physician residents, disproportionate share hospitals which treat the highest numbers of uninsured and underinsured patients, the rural access pool and obstetrical stabilization fund, and critical access hospital reimbursement rates which all support access to healthcare services in rural areas. Each of these areas are instrumental to keeping hospitals financially secure, particularly in areas serving vulnerable and underserved populations.
We are also extremely happy to see new funding to improve and enhance state behavioral health facility capacity and to address the healthcare workforce. Michigan lacks adequate capacity to treat patients with behavioral and mental illness and this new funding is an important and necessary step to address the shortage. The investment of state funds to expand access to bachelor of science in nursing degree programs at the state’s community colleges is a significant movement towards replenishing Michigan’s healthcare talent pipeline.
We look forward to a signed budget that provides the resources necessary for hospitals and health systems to care for all Michiganders.