Michigan Radio published a story Aug. 20 about the large number of pediatric patients with serious mental health issues boarding in hospital emergency departments (EDs). MHA Executive Vice President Laura Appel was interviewed for the story, explaining how a lack of available pediatric placements in the state lead to the large number of children waiting in EDs.
The story also mentions $50 million in state funding to create pediatric residential treatment facilities, while also mentioning the need for the state to provide appropriate treatment and interventions to prevent children from needing to seek care at a hospital.
“Being in an ED for days at a time if not months creates more problems than they came in with,” said Appel. “Every large hospital system in Michigan has a story about a child who has been in their care for weeks, months. And when I say months I mean 200 days, 300 days, because it’s so hard to place kids with such complex needs.”
MHA representatives appearing in published stories include CEO Brian Peters, Executive Vice President Laura Appel, Senior Director of Government & Political Affairs Elizabeth Kutter and Senior Director of Communications John Karasinski.
Below is a collection of headline from around the state.
The MHA received media coverage the week of May 8 regarding nurse staffing legislation, healthcare worker shortages, the ending of the COVID-19 public health emergency and more. A joint media statement was published May 11 by the MHA and the Michigan Organization for Nursing Leadership (MONL) immediately following a press conference announcing legislation that would mandate nursing staffing ratios. The statement referenced the potential for the proposed bills to severely harm hospitals and access to important services for patients, if the bills become law.
MHA representatives appearing in published stories include CEO Brian Peters, Executive Vice President Laura Appel and Senior Vice President Sam Watson. MONL President Kim Meeker, RN, BSN, MBA, also appears in a collection of stories on the nurse staffing legislation. Below is a collection of headlines from around the state.
The 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.
WOOD TV8 published a story Dec. 12 on the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 183, which includes language allowing rural emergency hospital (REH) licensure in Michigan. The bill passed Dec. 6 with overwhelming support in both the State House and Senate following collaboration between the MHA, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and the Whitmer administration on making the necessary changes in state statute to allow for the new federal designation.
Laura Appel, executive vice president of government relations and public policy, MHA, spoke with WOOD TV8 on the bill and the challenges rural hospitals face which led to the creation of the federal REH designation. Appel discussed the high fixed costs associated with maintaining inpatient services and the financial reimbursement benefits offered to REHs.
“If your population goes down, your fixed costs don’t go down, but Medicare is going to continue to help you with those,” said Appel. “Regardless of where you are, if you’re a hospital in financial stress or if you’re a hospital that doesn’t want to become financially stressed … you have all of those things working in your favor.”
The MHA also received mentions in stories published Dec. 15, including one from Michigan Radio on the surge of respiratory illnesses being treated by Michigan’s pediatric hospitals and from Bridge on the increase of flu-related hospitalizations in the state.
Members with any questions regarding media requests should contact 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.
Rural Innovation eXchange interviewed MHA CEO Brian Peters for a story published April 28 that examines the challenges facing rural hospitals in Michigan.
Peters discussed staffing shortages and efforts to improve workforce sustainability, the impact of COVID-19 on hospital finances and cybersecurity threats.
“The [workforce] pipeline is going to be so important,” said Peters. “The pipeline as it exists today is not adequate, particularly in rural areas, which are significantly older than non-rural areas and have older and sicker patients. This also means that the phenomenon of folks leaving the field is felt more acutely in rural communities.”
Other healthcare executives appearing in the story include John T. Foss, vice president of operations, Mercy Health Lakeshore Campus; Steve Barnett, president and CEO, McKenzie Health; and JJ Hodshire, president and CEO, Hillsdale Hospital.
The MHA also provided comment to Michigan Radio for a story published April 27 on increasing COVID hospitalizations due to the omicron BA.2 variant.
“…[B]ut there are clear indications that the severity of illness is down and so we hope there will not be a surge of COVID hospitalizations like the state has experienced previously,” said John Karasinski, director, communications, MHA.
MHA CEO Brian Peters spoke Oct. 14 with Michigan Radio on the new auto no-fault law. Much of the discussion focused on the impact to providers of the mandated Medicare fee schedules that went into effect July 1, 2021.
Peters reinforced the MHA’s commitment to caring for auto accident survivors and the continued years of advocacy on the issue. Peters also reviewed the current political arena and the outlook for future policy changes.
“If not for the pandemic, this would have a tremendous amount of visibility in the public eye,” said Peters. “I really do think there would be a much higher degree of conscientiousness about what’s happening in Michigan right now with the ramifications of the new law.”
“The mantra for many public policy members was, ‘we’re going to do something different and sit back and see how it plays out, and make adjustments if necessary.’ So I think we’re going to have an opportunity to revisit this issue, if things continue to play out as they have in these initial months. The proof will be there that maybe this did not benefit Michiganders in the way that many thought it would.”