Diversity Resources Available for Trustees

The latest edition of Trustee Insights, the monthly digital package from the American Hospital Association (AHA), is now available. This month’s issue includes an article about the AHA’s Institute for Diversity and Health Equity toolkit outlining four compelling strategies to prioritize health equity and examples of evidence-based practices to inform next steps.

Another resource is the AHA’s Trustee Match Program, designed to help hospitals and health systems recruit diverse candidates with the kind of experiences required on the board to meet the organization’s current and anticipated needs. In partnership with the National Urban League and UnidosUS, the program provides a vetting process to help identify and appoint community leaders with the competencies and skill sets required to serve in hospital governance roles.

By forming a new talent pool made up of diverse trustee candidates of varying races, ages, orientations, genders, disabilities and more, the AHA helps hospitals and health systems find matches well suited to their organizations.

The expanded website and enhanced monthly e-newsletter of Trustee Insights are available through the AHA Trustee Services webpage. They are free, do not require AHA membership and include articles, tools and webinars. Those interested in subscribing to AHA Trustee Insights may do so online.

For information about MHA trustee resources, contact Erin Steward at the MHA.

Ludwig Community Benefit Award Honors Hospital Programs

Mercy Health Muskegon pharmacists

The MHA announced the winners of its 2021 Ludwig Community Benefit Award during the association’s virtual Annual Membership Meeting June 24. The honorees include programs supported by Mercy Health Muskegon; MidMichigan Health, Midland; and Spectrum Health Zeeland Community Hospital. The award is named in memory of Patric E. Ludwig, a former MHA president who championed investing in the community’s overall health, and is presented to member organizations integrally involved in collaborative programs to improve the health and well-being of area residents. Each winner will receive $5,000 from the MHA Health Foundation to assist in its health improvement efforts.

Mercy Health Muskegon and its community health and well-being organization The Health Project established the Coalition for A Drug Free Muskegon County (DFMC) in 2005 to reduce substance abuse among youth through education, prevention and treatment. The DFMC is an organizing body for over 65 community organizations such as schools, healthcare, law enforcement, business, government, leaders and youth who make up the more than 100 volunteers.

Mercy Health Muskegon pharmacists have volunteered for over a decade in the medication disposal program.Working through multiple subcommittees, the DFMC coalition initiatives have a larger impact than any one organization would be able to achieve independently. The coalition’s 10-year outcomes include a 24% reduction in alcohol use and 55% drop in binge drinking among youth, a 93% decline in frequent cigarette use, a 60% decrease in teen misuse of prescription drugs, and a 20% reduction in recent marijuana use by youths.

Several Mercy Health employees are engaged in the DFMC’s Muskegon Area Medication Disposal Program, which has collected over 44,000 pounds of unused medications in the past decade. Mercy Health employees also facilitate or participate in other action teams using a data-driven process supporting successful outcomes.

For more information about the Coalition for a Drug Free Muskegon County, contact Laura Fitzpatrick, manager of Community Health Improvement, Mercy Health Muskegon, at (231) 638-9850.

MidMichigan Health uses billboards as one way to raise public awareness.MidMichigan Health implemented its Bridge to Belonging program in March 2020 to address loneliness in the aging population and reduce its effect on morbidity, mortality and healthcare costs. It uses expanded screening, assessment and interventions to increase belonging.

Initially focused on older individuals with loneliness as a concern, it uses validated screening questions and an assessment tool built into the electronic health record at patients’ primary care appointments. As appropriate, patients are referred to integrated behavioral health therapists, agencies that work with older adults and/or volunteers who provide connections in the community.

The health system and 211 Northeast Michigan, which provides referrals and information to assist with essential needs, created an electronic closed-loop referral hub to address barriers to connection. A community awareness campaign was also launched.

Bridge to Belonging initially determined 40% of the system’s older adult patients were lonely, and numbers have risen during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through February, the program had impacted 750 individuals, and patient satisfaction is high. It is working with United Way, area councils on aging and 211 to link trained volunteers and people in need of a telephone connection.

For more information about Bridge to Belonging, contact Christina Krueger, community health project coordinator, MidMichigan Health, at (989) 839-1612.

The School Blue Envelope Program trains school employees on specific S.A.F.E. steps for responding to students with thoughts of suicide.Spectrum Health Zeeland Community Hospital (SHZCH) and the Spectrum Health Medical Group (SHMG) partnered with Ottawa County schools to develop the School Blue Envelope Program to prevent suicides.

With the foundational premise that “suicide is everyone’s responsibility,” this program teaches school team members how to respond at a moment’s notice to a person who has thoughts of suicide. The training explains how to have critical conversations with youth in crisis using evidence-based tools that help identify the student’s level of risk and determine next steps. The program includes training for teachers and faculty on how to keep themselves and a person with suicidal thoughts S.A.F.E.

S: Stay with the student.
A: Access help. Alert others that you need help.
F: Feelings — validate the emotions of the person.
E: Eliminate the risk if possible (sharps, pills, etc.).

Each participating school tracks Blue Envelope events, linking them with appropriate help. With each event seen as a “potential life saved,” the program may have saved 251 lives,

To learn more about the School Blue Envelope Program, contact Jodie Reimink, community program specialist II, SHZCH, at (616) 772-5746 or Jody Sprague, clinical program specialist, Spectrum Health Medical Group, at (616) 486-7437.

To learn more about the MHA’s annual Ludwig Community Benefit Award, contact Erin Steward at the MHA.

Register by June 22 for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Virtual Series

As part of its work to address racism and health inequities, the MHA is offering a virtual series to address numerous diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) concepts, including:

  • Why equity remains the missing element in achieving a more inclusive and diverse work environment.
  • Staff resistance that routinely surfaces and how to engage employees in every step of the DEI journey.
  • Equitable messaging to advertising, media and business-to-business partners that connects with the emotions of DEI.
  • Partnerships that enhance and increase DEI credibility and how to use the “win-when” partnership assessment framework.
  • The professional and personal member organizations that are based on racial affinity and can build on your DEI strategy, as well as the do’s and do nots in developing a pipeline for inclusion.

An important orientation webinar will take place from 11 a.m. to noon June 30, followed by four webinars held from 11 a.m. through 12:15 p.m. Chief executive officers, medical, nursing and human resources executives, governing board members, and key DEI leaders are encouraged to participate. Pricing includes the entire series and is available for teams of five members and larger. Registration is due June 22.

To register, contact the MHA Field Engagement division indicating the intention to register for the DEI series and providing an email address and phone number. Registrants will be contacted for additional information to complete the process. Questions about the series should be directed to Erin Steward at the MHA.

The MHA is discussing with the state whether the information provided in the DEI virtual series will fulfill the new implicit bias training requirement for healthcare providers who apply for initial licensure or relicensure after May 31, 2022. For more information on the new rules, contact Paige Fults at the MHA. An additional opportunity to learn about DEI is available through a July 15 webinar offered by the MHA Keystone Center, which is not related to the new rules.

PTSD, Rural Health Innovation Discussed in Final Leadership Series Sessions


The final two webinars in an ongoing series on leadership approaches designed to assist with post-pandemic strategic planning are scheduled for July 15 and Aug. 19 from noon to 1 p.m. EDT.

LipkinLeading your Team and Culture Past the Collective COVID-19 PTSD to an Emotionally Healthy Workplace, offered July 15, will describe how to lead through post-traumatic stress disorder following the height of the pandemic. Session faculty Nicole Lipkin has worked with the American Academy of Osteopathic Surgeons and global companies like Honda and Visa. She will outline behaviors and practices that increase organizational and individual resilience and emotional sustainability.

AndersonRural Healthcare Delivery in Recovery will be presented by Benjamin Anderson, former CEO of Kearny County Hospital, Lakin, KS, and faculty for the 2018 MHA Breakthrough. In this Aug. 19 session, Anderson will explain how he and the leadership team transformed rural healthcare through a mission-driven approach to recruiting physicians to underserved areas and patient-centered care.

Participants may earn up to one American College of Healthcare Executives Qualified Education Hour for each of the remaining two sessions of the series toward initial certification or recertification of the Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives designation.

Members can register for a single webinar for $50, and a health system can register for an unlimited number of logins to a single webinar for a flat-rate fee of $200. A recording of the two previous webinars on diversity and inclusion and supply chain excellence are available through July 3 and July 17, respectively, for participants in those sessions. Participants in the July 15 and Aug. 19 webinars will have access to those recordings for four weeks following each webinar. Questions about the webinar series should be directed to Erin Steward at the MHA.

Trustee Insights Edition Explores Diversity, Revenue, Behavioral Health Services

The latest edition of Trustee Insights, the monthly digital package from the American Hospital Association (AHA), is now available. This month’s issue includes an article on recruitment efforts to achieve diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, age, expertise and experience on the governing board. The article includes a list of reasons a board’s efforts to diversify may have stalled, with potential actions to get back on track. There is also an article outlining the impact of steep declines in non-COVID-19 volume and a 2021 hospital revenue forecast by Kaufman Hall, as well as a video describing how healthcare leaders and their community partners are advancing and sustaining efforts to improve access to behavioral health services.

The expanded website and enhanced monthly e-newsletter of Trustee Insights are available through the AHA Trustee Services webpage. They are free, do not require AHA membership and include articles, tools and webinars. Those interested in subscribing to AHA Trustee Insights may do so online.

For information about MHA trustee resources, contact Erin Steward at the MHA.

Webinar Focuses on Compensation Rules Under the New Stark Laws

The webinar Compensation Rules Under the New Stark Laws will be offered from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. EST May 26 to outline new rules under the Physician Self-Referral Law, commonly known as the Stark Law, surrounding value-based payment arrangements. The new rules apply to the requirements of fair market value, commercial reasonableness and the “volume or value” standard.

The details of the game-changing modernization will be explained, including:

  • Existing relationships with physicians that may not fit squarely within the framework, or circumstances that may dictate veering from values identified in healthcare salary surveys.
  • The revised definition of commercially reasonable and what is allowed, like arrangements not all based on profit.
  • When compensation accounts for the volume or value of a physician’s designated health services referrals or other business generated.

Arthur deVaux, JD, an attorney in the healthcare practice group at Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman; Alessa Quiñones-Ortiz, JD, MHA, Spectrum Health legal counsel; and Ted Tackett, MBA, a principal in the Physician Workforce Practice at SullivanCotter, will share their expertise and experience.

The webinar is free to MHA members, but registration is required. Members with questions should contact Erin Steward at the MHA.