Detroit’s WJR News Talk Radio broadcast Jan. 27 the Paul W. Smith “Live from Lansing” show as part of its annual coverage of legislative and policy issues facing the state the morning after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s State of the State address. The MHA sponsored the program, which was broadcast remotely but livestreamed on WJR’s Facebook and YouTube accounts.
As part of the program lineup, Smith spoke with MHA CEO Brian Peters about a host of topics, ranging from healthcare workforce sustainability to the omicron COVID-19 surge and increased rates of violence against healthcare workers. Other notable interviewees during the event included Whitmer; Dr. Kevin Ward, a professor of emergency medicine and biomedical engineering at Michigan Medicine and executive director of the Max Harry Weil Institute for Critical Care Research and Innovation; and Sen. Mike Shirkey (R-Clark Lake).
The State of the State address the previous evening primarily focused on economic development, infrastructure and lowering costs for Michigan residents. One specific healthcare item mentioned by Whitmer was mental health, including a plan to improve access by expanding the Michigan State Loan Repayment Program to focus on behavioral health providers and a funding increase for mental health professionals in schools. The administration believes this expansion will help retain or recruit hundreds of mental healthcare providers to Michigan.