The deadline is approaching to apply for the Circle of Life Awards, which recognize innovative palliative or end-of-life care providers that measure and evaluate the impact of their work on patients, family and/or the community. Part 1 applications for the 2023 awards will be accepted through May 31 and Part 2 applications are due Aug. 15. The new two-part process is designed to reduce the time needed to apply. Up to three Circle of Life Awards will be presented during the American Hospital Association (AHA) Leadership Summit in July 2023. Caring Circle of Lakeland, a wholly owned subsidiary of Spectrum Health Lakeland, is one of the most recent winners of the award. Questions about the award and the application process may be directed to the AHA.
Hospital leaders from around the state testified Dec. 1 before the House Appropriations Committee, chaired by Rep. Thomas Albert (R-Lowell). They discussed the current challenges Michigan’s hospitals face as they near the statewide record for COVID-19 hospitalizations while having more COVID-19 patients in the ICU than at any point during either of the last two surges.
Those providing testimony were Michael McKenna, MD, chief medical officer, McLaren Health Care; Ane McNeil, chief human resources officer, Trinity Health; Chad Tuttle, senior vice president of hospital and post-acute operations, Spectrum Health West Michigan; and Adam Carlson, senior vice president of advocacy, MHA.
“We are seeing high numbers of patients with other medical conditions requiring care. Collectively, the statewide average ICU occupancy exceeds 85%. This combination is straining or exceeding the capacity of emergency departments and hospitals across the state,” said Carlson.
In addition to the latest hospital data on COVID-19 hospitalizations and ICU admissions, the group provided evidence that the best defense against the virus continues to be vaccination. “Vaccines have been a very effective mechanism at preventing the illness. Without vaccination we would be in a situation five times worse.” said McKenna. Monoclonal antibodies were presented as the next best option, which help reduce the severity of the illness and prevent hospitalizations.
Recruitment and retention of personnel was another major issue discussed during the committee hearing. Across the state, resilient and dedicated healthcare workers in hospitals stand ready to care for emergency medical needs, but the reality is most hospitals throughout the state have more patients in their emergency departments than they do available rooms and staff to care for them. “Today, we are in a healthcare giver crisis. The risk is limiting our services that we make available to our community,” said McNeil.
Support from the state or federal government is vital, as staffing costs continue to far exceed budget expectations with no signs of slowing down. The MHA will continue to work with elected officials to advocate on behalf of Michigan hospitals and health systems for funding and support to end the pandemic. Members with questions should contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.
The MHA released another episode of the MiCare Champion Cast, which features interviews with healthcare policy experts in Michigan on key issues that impact healthcare and the health of communities.
On this episode – which follows the theme of health equity – MHA CEO Brian Peters is joined by Tina Freese Decker, president and CEO of Spectrum Health and 2021-2022 chair of the MHA Board of Trustees. The two discuss health equity from a leadership lens and why/how Spectrum Health has made health equity a priority as the healthcare workforce continues combatting COVID-19. Freese Decker also shares insight on how an ongoing commitment to ending racism and health inequities changes the way Spectrum Health executes its mission.
Spectrum Health is an integrated health system with 14 hospitals and a health plan serving more than 1.2 million members. Coronavirus data mentioned in this episode represent numbers from the date of the recording (Aug. 30, 2021). The latest COVID-19 state hospital data is updated weekly and can be viewed on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services dashboard.
This podcast is part of the statewide #MiCareMatters campaign, launched in 2017, which aims to build a network of citizens — “MiCare Champions” — who will be called upon to engage in advocacy efforts to protect access to affordable healthcare services in Michigan. It is currently available to listen to via YouTube, iTunes and SoundCloud.
The MHA announced the winners of its 2021 Healthcare Leadership Award June 24 during its virtual Annual Membership Meeting. Each year, the MHA recognizes outstanding individuals who have provided exceptional leadership to healthcare organizations and to the health and well-being of the community. The 2021 recipients are Robert Crumb, CEO, Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital, Manistique; and Darryl Elmouchi, MD, president, Spectrum Health West Michigan, Grand Rapids. The MHA will donate $1,000 on behalf of each award winner to the charity of their choice. These funds were provided to the MHA by the family of former MHA President H. Allen Barth.
Crumb was the driving force behind creating a positive financial margin at Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital while simultaneously adding needed services to the community. His ability to recruit and retain quality medical staff has resulted in a dramatic growth in services since his tenure began in August 2016, giving rise to more employment opportunities and a more robust economy in Schoolcraft County.
He guided his team through a planned electronic medical record conversion that was successfully implemented in January 2020. On the heels of that endeavor, he began leading a $12.6 million expansion of the hospital’s facilities to add space for rehabilitation services, infusion services and administrative offices, a specialty clinic and expansion/renovations of the existing Rural Health Clinic. Groundbreaking took place in fall 2020, and building began in spring 2021. Through it all, Crumb championed a strong positive culture throughout the organization in a great working environment, resulting in increased staff satisfaction.
Crumb served on the MHA Small or Rural Hospital Council for more than three years and on the MHA Behavioral Health Integration Task Force in 2018, and he is currently a member of the Upper Peninsula Hospital Council. His extensive civic engagement has been a catalyst for a staffwide community service goal, improving health and wellness for all.
At Crumb’s request, the Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital Capital Campaign Fund will receive the $1,000 monetary portion of the award.
Elmouchi led the efforts to establish Spectrum Health West Michigan in March 2020 by bringing together Spectrum Health Hospital Group and Spectrum Health Medical Group, allowing a single leader and board to comprehensively deliver on the organization’s mission, vision and values.
Elmouchi has a clear understanding of the intersection of operational dependencies and clinical implications, which has proved invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic. He anticipated next steps before the governor set forth guidelines — canceling surgeries, closing physician offices and providing a proactive plan to inform patients. After the initial wave of COVID-19, he managed financial and service recovery, returning the organization to 97% of pre-pandemic status within a matter of weeks.
The doctor’s empathetic perspective toward Spectrum Health team members and patients have made him a trusted source of information in the community. He has exhibited resilience, agility and innovation, taking a multilayered approach to leading the organization through the pandemic, addressing the needs of patients, community, team members and providers.
Elmouchi is driving disruptive change to improve quality, increase patient satisfaction and reduce costs, while he and his team stay committed to addressing health equity and community health improvement at the neighborhood level.
Elmouchi has asked that the monetary portion of the award be donated to the Spectrum Health Foundation.
The MHA congratulates the winners of the 2021 MHA Healthcare Leadership Award.