MHA/SBAM Press Conference Coverage

Nicole Linder

Nicole Linder, MD, chief hospitalist at OSF St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group.The MHA and the Small Business Association of Michigan hosted Sept. 9 a statewide press conference encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations and stressing the relationship between public health and the health of local economies.

Below is a collection of headlines from around the state that include quotes from the event.

Members with questions on COVID-19 efforts and resources should contact Ruthanne Sudderth, and any questions regarding media requests should be directed to John Karasinski at the MHA.

News Reporters Join “Healthy Communities, Healthy Economies” Press Event

The MHA conducted Sept. 9 a virtual press conference in partnership with the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) featuring Michigan hospital and business leaders calling upon residents to support “Healthy Communities, Healthy Economies” by getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Hospital leaders emphasized the added stress on the healthcare system due to staffing shortages and high overall patient volumes that have many hospitals operating at or near capacity. In particular, clinical speakers shared heart wrenching stories about the real-life impact this virus has on their teams and their patients and families.

Speakers included:

  • MHA CEO Brian Peters.

  • SBAM CEO Rob Fowler.

  • Geneva Tatum, MD, associate division head of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Henry Ford Health System.

  • Nicole Linder, MD, chief hospitalist at OSF St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group.

  • Bill Kimble, president of C2AE and chair of the SBAM Board of Directors.

A dozen media outlets from across the state joined the call, including The Associated Press, The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, MLive, Bridge and WDIV Click on Detroit. Stories from these publications and more were widely syndicated both nationwide and throughout Michigan.

Following the press conference, a press release was distributed to statewide media echoing the remarks made during the event and stressing that the MHA and SBAM collectively encourage individuals to get vaccinated due to its positive impact on public health, small business and the healthcare system.

Members with questions on COVID-19 efforts and resources should contact Ruthanne Sudderth, and any questions regarding media requests should be directed to John Karasinski at the MHA.

Hospitals, Businesses Urge Michigan Residents to get COVID-19 Vaccine as soon as Possible

“Healthy Communities, Healthy Economies” rely on the support of residents doing their part to help stop the pandemic

Michigan’s hospital and business leaders are calling upon residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible to keep their families and communities healthy, and residents working and businesses open.

Highlighting the experiences of hospitals and businesses across Michigan, the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) and Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) today shared stories from hospitals and businesses across the state facing the current surge of COVID-19 driven by the more contagious delta variant.

Hospitals are once again operating at near-capacity levels, and businesses are still recovering from the pandemic’s impact on supply and staffing. As some of the largest employers in the state – providing more than 234,000 jobs – hospitals are too facing higher workloads with limited staffing, just as small businesses have been stretched to their limits over the past year and a half. Unlike the pandemic’s previous surges however, we now have the means to fight COVID-19: a safe and effective vaccine.

“Our member hospitals and health systems have been operating at crisis levels for more than 18 months. Yet many residents still think of ­­­hospitals as invincible when in fact our caregivers are exhausted, mentally, physically and emotionally. Hospitals and residents must have a two-way relationship: We’re here for you when you get sick, and we rely on your commitment to also keeping our community healthy so that we can treat those who are most in need of our services,” said MHA CEO Brian Peters. “Anyone who needs care should seek it in the appropriate setting. But we can avoid a lot of those trips to the hospital for COVID-19 if Michiganders get vaccinated now. This vaccine is highly effective at preventing hospitalization.”

While hospitals are leading employers in many Michigan communities, small businesses are at the heart of those communities. From food service and hospitality to retail, manufacturing, academia and beyond, entire industries have been severely impacted by the pandemic. Many businesses have had to postpone specific service lines or production, reduce hours of operation, increase prices and more.

“No matter what hardship we’ve faced during this pandemic, I can confidently say we all share the same goals of wanting to see our communities thrive, our children in school and our businesses profitable again,” said Rob Fowler, CEO of SBAM. “Nearly half of Michigan’s workforce are employed by small businesses. To make, and keep, our communities and economies healthy again, we each have the responsibility of getting vaccinated to end this pandemic.”

More than 5.2 billion people around the world, 205.9 million people in our nation, and 5.3 million Michiganders have received the COVID-19 vaccine. With approximately 99% of all COVID-19 deaths being in unvaccinated individuals, the vaccine has obvious protection from serious illness, hospitalization, and death. Among national clinical and medical associations and public health experts and researchers worldwide, there is unequivocal agreement about the importance of vaccinations and appropriate mask wearing.

“If more people don’t get vaccinated, the threat of a fourth surge in Michigan is very real,” said Geneva Tatem, MD, associate division head of pulmonary and critical care medicine, Henry Ford Health System. “I’ve seen far too many lives forever changed or lost during the pandemic. Today, we have an effective tool that can put us on a better path forward. For those who remain unvaccinated, you do not have the comfort of time any longer. Getting your shot is a matter of life or death.”

Michigan residents are encouraged to talk to their healthcare provider or visit to find the nearest vaccine to them.