Sparrow Hospital Nurse Protects Pediatric Patient, Receives Award

speak up
Jennifer Brandt
Jennifer Brandt, RN at Sparrow Hospital, receives Speak-up! Award

The Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) Keystone Center honored Jennifer Brandt, an emergency department registered nurse at Sparrow Hospital, Oct. 21 with the quarterly MHA Keystone Center Speak-up! Award.

Brandt was caring for a pediatric patient scheduled to be discharged from the emergency department based on lab results. However, Brandt noticed that the patient’s condition appeared to be declining and suggested that the patient be admitted to the hospital. The physician assistant agreed with Brandt’s recommendation, and the patient was admitted to the pediatric unit with subsequent transfer to the pediatric intensive care unit, where the patient was treated for multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). MIS-C is a rare but serious condition that occurs after a COVID-19 exposure or infection that can lead to inflammation of vital organs.

“I’m extremely honored to receive this award, but even more so happy that we were able to correctly diagnose our patient and make sure the patient received the care that they needed,” said Brandt. “We have a culture at Sparrow Hospital that makes me comfortable to speak up, which helps ensure our patients receive the best care.”

Launched in March 2016, the MHA Keystone Center Speak-up! Award acknowledges individuals or teams within MHA Keystone Center Patient Safety Organization hospitals who speak up to prevent potential harm to patients or other staff members. The award fosters a culture within healthcare organizations that empowers staff to speak up about the quality or safety of patient care.

“What Jennifer did is what we want all members of our care teams to do if they feel like something may not be right,” said Karen Kent VanGorder, MD, chief medical and quality officer, Sparrow Health System. “The past few months have been extremely busy and taxing on the staff of Sparrow Hospital’s emergency department, but we are blessed to have healthcare heroes like Jennifer caring for patients every day.”

Additional award finalists for the third quarter of 2021 include:

  • Logan Bixman, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital
  • Shelah Perry, McLaren Health Care
  • Carrie Schmoekel, Covenant HealthCare

“Establishing a safety culture that empowers staff to speak up is one very important way that hospitals throughout Michigan are improving safety and quality for their patients,” said MHA CEO Brian Peters. “We are thrilled to recognize Jennifer and Sparrow Hospital for her actions that ensured a child received the care they needed for a very serious disease.”

Specifics on the MHA Keystone Center Speak-up! Award, including criteria and a nomination form, are available online. For more information, contact the MHA Keystone Center PSO.

Combating the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Weeks of June 28 and July 5

MHA Covid-19 update

MHA COVID-19 UpdateAccording to a new report from The Commonwealth Fund, the country’s rapid rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and continuing vaccination efforts have saved about 279,000 lives and avoided 1.25 million hospitalizations in the United States. Approximately 67% of Americans had received at least one dose of vaccine as of July 7.

The MHA continues to keep members apprised of pandemic-related developments affecting hospitals through email updates and the MHA Coronavirus webpage. Important updates are outlined below.

Children’s Health Leaders to Discuss Vaccines for Children in July 16 Webinar

The MHA will host a 45-minute webinar and discussion on COVID-19 vaccines for children, as well as the status of other scheduled vaccines for children, from 7:30 to 8:15 a.m. July 16 featuring remarks from several leaders in children’s healthcare in Michigan. The MHA has extended an invitation to this conversation to the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians and the Michigan chapter of the American Association of Pediatrics.

The agenda will include:

  • Brief overview of polling data related to individuals’ personal physicians as the trusted voice on vaccine choices.
  • COVID-19 vaccines for children, as well as comments on side effects and multi-inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).
  • Status of other regularly scheduled vaccines in children, which have significantly declined during the pandemic.
  • Feedback and questions from participants.

The goal of the webinar is to increase awareness and preparedness with as many clinicians as possible before patients younger than 12 are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines and before school resumes and children are behind on other vaccines.

Members who have not yet registered may contact Ruthanne Sudderth at the MHA for registration instructions. Questions may be directed to Ruthanne or Laura Appel at the MHA.

Regulatory Flexibility for Sharps Containers Extended Through Oct. 31

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) recently approved an MHA request to extend regulatory flexibility for hospitals facing an ongoing sharps container shortage. State regulation currently requires hospitals to replace sharps containers every 90 days or when full, whichever is sooner. Hospitals will continue to be exempted from the 90-day rule through Oct. 31, 2021; this will allow hospitals to replace sharps containers only when they are full.

The shortage was created by a production facility fire and increased demand for the containers due to vaccinations. The regulatory relief for MHA members was set to expire July 31 but was extended by EGLE for an additional three months.

The MHA will continue to monitor the situation and work with members to determine if additional exemptions should be requested. Questions on the extended exemption can be directed to Sean Sorenson-Abbott at the MHA.

State COVID-19 Data Dashboard Updates Will Occur Twice a Week

The state recently announced that its COVID-19 data dashboards will now be updated only on Tuesdays and Fridays instead of the former practice of updating them five days per week. However, providers are still required to enter their COVID-19 data into EMResource every day.

The state is reporting that, as of July 9, there are 211 confirmed adult COVID-19 hospitalizations and nine confirmed pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations. More than 62% of adults 16 and older in Michigan had received at least one dose of vaccine as of July 9.

Michigan Announces Financial, Scholarship Prizes for Vaccinated Residents

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer June 28 announced the “MI Shot to Win Sweepstakes,” which may be entered by residents who get a COVID-19 vaccine. The sweepstakes includes $5 million in cash prizes for residents 18 and older and nine $55,000 college scholarships for vaccinated residents ages 12-17.

The goal of this public private partnership — also supported by the Protect Michigan Commission, Meijer, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Association of United Ways, among others — is to help Michigan get at least 70% of residents vaccinated as soon as possible. Other states that have implemented similar prize programs have seen significant growth in vaccination rates. As the delta variant spreads in the U.S., reaching herd immunity levels is critical to preventing further outbreaks and deaths. In recent weeks, an average of 45,000 individuals in Michigan have initiated vaccination each week. As of July 7, 62 percent of state residents 16 and older have been given at least one dose.

The cash prizes for adults will be awarded via a $1 million drawing, a $2 million drawing, and 30 days of daily $50,000 drawings to anyone who has gotten at least one dose of the vaccine and registers for the contest.

The MHA will keep members apprised of the success of this incentive program. Members with questions may contact Ruthanne Sudderth at the MHA.

Additional information on the COVID-19 pandemic is available to members on the MHA Community Site and the MHA COVID-19 webpage. Questions on COVID-19 and infectious disease response strategies may be directed to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Community Health Emergency Coordination Center (CHECC).