The MHA Board of Trustees began its Feb. 8 meeting with a federal advocacy briefing from federal lobbyist Carlos Jackson with Cornerstone Government Affairs. Jackson highlighted the policy and funding threats and opportunities healthcare providers face under the new divided Congress and Biden administration, including possible provider cuts to address deficit reduction, programs affected by the expiration of the federal public health emergency declaration and ongoing pharmaceutical industry challenges to 340B drug pricing policies.
The board also examined several state advocacy initiatives to further the board’s strategic priorities focusing on financial viability, workforce wellbeing and restoration and the furtherance of efforts aimed at improving health equity and behavioral healthcare. The board supported pursing additional state funding for workforce security and pediatric psychiatric care, as well as an effort to maximize federal Medicaid matching funds. The board also directed the MHA to work with the MHA Health Equity Taskforce and the MHA Safety and Quality Committee to address health disparities through the development of tools for the transparent reporting of health equity performance measures.
In addition to advocacy efforts aimed at state and federal policymakers, the board continued to support the association’s ongoing partnerships with hospitals throughout the state to “tell our story” publicly about the challenges and opportunities healthcare organizations face and how hospitals can work together to advance the health of individuals and communities.
The board also received a report from the MHA Service Corporation, which included a spotlight of Endorsed Business Partner Merritt Hawkins, as well as a discussion of staff succession in light of the upcoming retirement of longtime Chief Operating Officer Peter Schonfeld at the MHA.
The board concluded with regional hospital council reports and an update from MHA CEO Brian Peters.
For more information about actions of the MHA Board of Trustees, contact Amy Barkholz at the MHA.
To expand access to critical information and discussion about the MHA’s 2022-2023 program year’s strategic action plan, the MHA Trustee Member Forum on Nov. 2 will be offered in a virtual format rather than in …
The MHA Service Corporation (MHASC) board focused on supporting MHA Strategic Action Plan priorities at the Oct. 13 planning session including addressing financial viability, workforce restoration & wellbeing, behavioral health improvements, health equity and …
The MHA hosted a virtual forum Oct. 18 reviewing the Strategic Action Plan that was approved by the MHA Board of Trustees in August. The forum discussed pressing challenges and opportunities facing healthcare, including workforce development …
The MHA’s Race of the Week series highlights the most pivotal statewide races and ballot questions for Election 2022. The series will provide hospitals and healthcare advocates with the resources they need to make informed decisions on Election Day, including candidates’ views and background …
“Mid-mid-term election day is 22 days away. The “official end” of the Covid public health emergency has been delayed to January 11. The Federal Reserve is expected to increase its borrowing rate for the sixth time this year at its November meeting as it attempts to slow inflation and the stock market is under-water as year-end approaches. Regardless of the mid-term outcome and the state of the economy, healthcare will be prominent in the upcoming lame-duck Congress…”
The MHA received media coverage on through a couple stories during the week of Oct. 17, including on the introduction of the Stop Nurse Shortages Act at the federal level and the latest MiCare Champion …
The MHA Service Corporation (MHASC) board focused on supporting MHA Strategic Action Plan prioritiesat the Oct. 13 planning session including addressing financial viability, workforce restoration & wellbeing, behavioral health improvements, health equity and more. The board considered strategies to support trends of redesigning patient care through innovation, technology and workforce partnerships. In these areas, the board stressed the importance of focusing on the mission of healthcare organizations to advance the health of patients and communities and explaining the challenges healthcare providers face in achieving this mission with specific examples.
The MHASC board engaged in a robust discussion about workforce challenges and services to assist MHA members. MHASC leadership will continue to identify and enhance new endorsed business partners with programs and services that promote and strengthen association workforce priorities including violence prevention, coaching/development, well-being, recruitment, retention, temporary/permanent staffing and redesigning care.
In addition, the MHASC Board passed a resolution during the meeting that places the board in alignment with the commitment made by the MHA Board of Trustees during their Nov. 4, 2020 Board Meeting to lead by example in addressing systemic racism and health inequities in our communities. The MHASC board also celebrated the continuing expansion of the MHA Unemployment Compensation Program into other states to offer high-quality human resources support in this area to members and other clients.
The MHASC provides critical support to the MHA in the form of nondues revenue through its Data Services, Unemployment Compensation Program and Endorsed Business Partner program to address workforce, financial and other operational needs. Visit the MHA Business Services webpage to learn more about resources available.
Questions regarding the MHASC Board should be directed to Peter Schonfeld at the MHA.
At its June 29 meeting, the MHA Service Corporation (MHASC) board focused on supporting MHA Strategic Action Plan priorities to address workforce challenges, behavioral health improvements, redesigning care, insurance market solutions and more. The board considered strategies to leverage partnerships and meet the pressing needs of MHA members with short- and long-term solutions.
The board was joined by Alex Herbison, vice president, AMN Leadership Solutions, for an overview of services offered through B.E. Smith and AMN Language Services, which include executive recruitment, interpretation services and more. These companies are among those being considered as new Endorsed Business Partners in the coming weeks.
The board celebrated the “2022 Outstanding Performance” award given to the MHA Unemployment Compensation Program (MHA-UCP) by the National Association of State Workforce Agencies. This award recognizes the MHA-UCP’s timeliness and thoroughness in responses to new unemployment claims. More importantly, the award reflects the MHA-UCP’s commitment to reducing its clients’ unemployment liability exposure and its efforts to prevent unemployment fraud.
The MHASC board recognized Gwen MacKenzie, senior advisor, McKinsey and Company, for her leadership as the inaugural chair and expressed appreciation for her strategic and thoughtful guidance through the pandemic. The board also recognized incoming chair Kent Riddle, CEO, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, Grand Rapids, and appointed incoming vice-chair, Bill Manns, CEO, Bronson Healthcare Group, Kalamazoo, and wished them well in their leadership roles. Mackenzie was reappointed to a three-year term on the MHASC board.
The MHASC provides critical support to the MHA in the form of nondues revenue through its Data Services, Unemployment Compensation Program and Endorsed Business Partner program to address workforce, financial and other business needs. Visit the MHA Business Services webpage to learn more about resources available. Questions regarding the MHASC Board should be directed to Peter Schonfeld at the MHA.
At its Feb. 9 meeting, the MHA Service Corporation (MHASC) board focused on supporting MHA Strategic Action Plan priorities including behavioral health, workforce sustainability, data strategy, cybersecurity and diversifying MHASC products, services, and partnerships. To receive an update on the action plan, members are invited to register for the Feb. 24 MHA Strategic Action Plan Forum.
The board discussed strategies for re-designing care and how the MHASC can support efforts in this space. MHA Endorsed Business Partner care.ai sponsored a joint lunch for MHA and MHASC board members and provided an opportunity to demonstrate its Smart Care Facility Operating Platform.
The MHASC Human Resources (HR) Committee met Jan. 31 to discuss current HR priorities and review its role in guiding the MHASC’s purpose and direction as it addresses issues including workforce sustainability, retention and recruitment, talent development, well-being and safety. Members provided feedback on current workforce-related legislative efforts and shared valuable insights with colleagues during a round-table session addressing workforce shortage issues. The MHASC is working with the HR Committee to develop future educational programming and networking opportunities, including the potential for holding an upcoming Michigan Healthcare Human Resources Conference. Finally, the committee received a report from new MHA endorsed business partner LifeWorks, highlighting virtual mental health therapy guided by professional therapists with the same clinical efficacy as traditional cognitive behavioral therapy.
The MHASC provides critical support to the MHA in the form of nondues revenue through its Data Services, Unemployment Compensation Program and Endorsed Business Partner program to address workforce, financial and other business needs. Visit the MHA Business Services webpage to learn more about resources available. Questions regarding the MHASC Board and MHASC HR Committee should be directed to Peter Schonfeld at the MHA.
The MHA Service Corporation (MHASC) board held a retreat Oct. 7 to evaluate nondues revenue sources that provide financial support to the MHA and to highlight key initiatives that the MHASC is tasked with supporting in the 2021-2022 MHA Strategic Action Plan. These initiatives include workforce sustainability, behavioral health, data strategy, cybersecurity, and diversifying MHASC products, services and partnerships. Workforce sustainability is a top priority for the MHA, and the board explored ways the MHASC can develop and enhance programs and partnerships that best serve members. Members may learn more about the Strategic Action Plan by registering for a virtual MHA Member Forum scheduled from 10 to 11 a.m. Oct. 15.
The board also recognized the MHA Data Services and MHA Unemployment Compensation divisions for serving MHA members with a comprehensive and consultative approach throughout the pandemic. The board received an overview of a potential partnership with LifeWorks highlighting strategies to support behavioral health priorities for MHA members. LifeWorks graciously sponsored a reception with the MHASC board at the meeting.
The MHASC Human Resources (HR) Committee met Sept. 30 to discuss current HR priorities and review its role in guiding the company’s purpose and direction in addressing issues including workforce retention and recruitment, talent development, well-being and safety. The HR Committee has served as a collaborative body for HR leaders to address issues since it was launched during the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, the committee received a report from new MHA endorsed business partner NextJob highlighting career development and outplacement services available for MHA members. NextJob also invites MHA members to register for a webinar Oct. 12 on Building a Professional Brand for Career Growth to address healthcare workforce sustainability and resiliency for staff.
The MHASC provides critical support to the MHA in the form of nondues revenue through its Data Services, Unemployment Compensation Program and Endorsed Business Partner program to address workforce, financial and other business needs. Visit the MHA Business Services webpage to learn more about resources available. Questions regarding the MHASC board and MHASC HR Committee should be directed to Peter Schonfeld at the MHA.
“There is time for work. And time for love. That leaves no other time.” — Coco Chanel
Hospitals have displayed tremendous resiliency over the past year and a half responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. That resiliency has come from the healthcare heroes who have served on the front lines of this crisis and experienced extreme physical and mental stress over the course of three trying surges. Yet that toll has elevated staffing, an already existing concern, to the top of every hospital executive’s mind.
We have said throughout the pandemic that the most significant determining factor of a hospital’s capacity is not physical space, beds or technology — rather, it is available staffing. Even before the pandemic, we understood that healthcare staffing was a challenge. We currently have a population where the baby-boom generation is maturing, leading to an increased demand for healthcare services. It just so happens that many of those baby boomers also work in healthcare, and the incredible pressures brought about by the pandemic have accelerated their retirement plans.
On top of that dynamic, it has become very difficult for hospitals to recruit and retain staff in an increasingly competitive labor market where many opportunities exist outside of healthcare that offer competitive wages, signing bonuses, free or low-cost training, and the like. Nationally, 80% of nursing leaders have reported an increase in nurse turnover due to the pandemic. According to a 2021 study by Incredible Health, the demand for intensive care and emergency nurses grew by 186% over the past year. We are simply in a situation where the demand for labor currently outpaces supply, with 1.4 million job openings currently in the national healthcare sector according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary. In Michigan, simply visiting the Careers webpage of your local hospitals will likely show the dramatic number of openings that are currently available.
Lastly, pent-up demand for healthcare services has stretched existing staff over recent months, as those who were hesitant to receive care for fear of contracting COVID-19 delayed seeing a provider and are now visiting our emergency departments (EDs) at very high levels. In fact, we have seen a 16% increase in hospital ED visits during the latest quarter compared to pre-COVID times in the second quarter of 2019. This pent-up demand is increasing the pressure on our hospitals and staff as people use the ED as a point of entry to the healthcare system.
A contributing factor to the staffing shortage prior to the pandemic was the rate of stress and burnout in the healthcare setting. It is apparent that there are certain jobs, especially those dealing with direct patient care, where the burnout factor is especially pronounced. In response, the MHA has assisted our members in recent years in adopting the Quadruple Aim, a framework that focuses on achieving better healthcare outcomes and has the added goal of improving the mental wellness and work/life balance of healthcare providers to address the issue of burnout. The pandemic has added new urgency to this work.
In addition, our member hospitals and health systems throughout the state have been active in identifying solutions for our healthcare heroes. Some have offered bonuses and hazard pay to staff to show their appreciation for their hard work. Hospitals are also deploying more resources toward behavioral health support to help staff cope with the traumatic stress that they have experienced over the past 17 months. During Michigan’s three COVID-19 surges, many hospitals also brought in contract workers and traveling nurses to supplement their existing workforce due to staffing shortages, the cost of which came well above standard rates due to the demand. Hospitals have also gone to great lengths to procure record amounts of personal protective equipment for their staff — yet another unplanned and unbudgeted expense.
For years, the MHA has advocated strenuously to support graduate medical education (GME) in the state budget process, and we have hosted in-person GME Advocacy Day in Lansing events in the past with our partners at the Michigan Osteopathic Association and the Michigan State Medical Society to connect medical residents with their elected officials. GME is critical to attracting medical students and residents from around the globe to Michigan.
In addition, we advocated for passage of House Bill 4359, which modernized the scope of practice for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs). Rural providers have a difficult time hiring anesthesiologists, and this new law will allow flexibility for each hospital to choose the anesthesia care model that best fits its location, staffing and resources to offer safe and effective patient care by eliminating the state requirement that a CRNA must work under direct physician supervision. We appreciate all the stakeholders that made this bill possible, as it eliminates a costly regulation while maintaining patient safety.
The MHA has also been active in bringing together stakeholders to identify solutions to healthcare staffing. The MHA Service Corporation (MHASC) Human Resources (HR) Committee was created as a collaborative body for HR leaders to come together and address issues specific to healthcare workforce issues. Led by Peter Schonfeld, senior vice president, policy & chief operating officer, MHASC, the committee has met to discuss current HR leadership priorities and review its role in guiding the purpose and direction for the MHASC efforts to address workforce resources, education, data staff development and more. The committee has also addressed priorities including vaccination policies, staffing shortages, and diversity, equity and inclusion.
We also recently formed the MHA Human Resources Council as a resource for healthcare professionals to provide input on legislative and regulatory issues relevant to healthcare employers. Staffed by MHA COO Nancy McKeague, the council will provide networking and educational opportunities for HR professionals, dissemination of best practices, and data collection and reporting relating to hospital and health system workforce metrics.
The MHASC has also been providing staffing solutions to our members through both the Unemployment Compensation Program and our Endorsed Business Partner (EBP) Program. The Unemployment Compensation Program has seen a dramatic increase in the number of cases filed since the pandemic began, processing over 70,000 unemployment claims in the last year alone, from clients in Michigan and across the country. Their decades of expertise have saved our client organizations tens of millions of dollars while addressing unemployment fraud that has become rampant recently.
We currently have six EBPs that focus on workforce solutions, including Merritt Hawkins, which provides permanent physician recruiting and consulting services. These EBPs have been carefully vetted to ensure they provide high-value services for our members in need of workforce assistance. In fact, we recently added NextJob as our newest EBP to help hospitals better support healthcare workers with re-employment services, which enhances the work of our unemployment program. I’m extremely happy that we have these services available, with other EBPs in this space focusing on compensation, workplace violence training, consulting and performance coaching.
Finally, as we look to the future, we know that telehealth and virtual care, which has seen an acceleration during the pandemic, has the potential to be real game changers for the delivery of healthcare. We will need to do all we can to help ensure that new technologies are adopted in such a way as to maximize access and affordability for all populations, while also doing right by our healthcare staff.
As you can see, the staffing challenges hospitals face are complex; yet across Michigan we are pursuing every tool in our toolbox to create solutions that both bring in top-notch caregivers and retain our healthcare heroes who have treated over 125,000 COVID-19 patients during the pandemic. Michigan hospitals remain committed to protecting our staff and doing everything we can to ensure they feel safe and protected while caring for their patients. From physicians and nurses to environmental service workers and support staff, our hospitals need all levels of team members to efficiently and effectively operate 24/7/365.