News to Know – Week of May 23

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 Provide Testimony Amid Latest COVID Surge

Adam Carlson provides testimony before the House Appropriations Committee.

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.

New MiCare Champion Podcast Explores Health Equity with Spectrum Health

MI care matters

MI care mattersThe 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 YouTubeiTunes and SoundCloud.

For more information, visit Members with questions or who would like to submit ideas for future podcasts should contact Lucy Ciaramitaro at the MHA.