MHA Race of the Week – Michigan Supreme Court

Logo for MI Vote Matters, Tuesday Nov. 8

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.


This week’s MHA Race of the Week provides information on one of the most critical general election races: the Michigan Supreme Court. This judicial body is the cornerstone of Michigan’s legal system and is responsible for the general administrative supervision of all courts in the state. Every year, the Michigan Supreme Court reviews more than 2,000 cases and its role in the application of law is crucial to Michigan residents.

There are four candidates running for two terms during this year’s election: incumbent Justice Richard Bernstein and Rep. Kyra Harris Bolden are the Democratic Party nominees and incumbent Justice Brian Zahra and Paul Hudson are the Republican Party nominees.

Justice Richard Bernstein was elected to the Michigan Supreme Court in 2014, becoming Michigan’s first blind justice. Prior to serving on the Supreme Court, he worked for The Sam Bernstein Law Firm. Bernstein also won election to the Wayne State University Board of Governors in 2002 and served until 2010. For more information, visit


State Representative Kyra Harris Bolden (D-Southfield) is currently serving her second term in the Michigan State House, where she is a member of the House Judiciary Committee. Prior to elected office, Bolden was a criminal defense attorney, clerked in Wayne County’s Third Circuit Court and worked as a civil litigation attorney. For more information, visit


Justice Brian Zahra was first appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court in 2011 by Gov. Rick Snyder. Zahra was elected to a partial term in 2012 and a full term in 2014. Prior to serving on the Supreme Court, he served 12 years on the Michigan Court of Appeals and four years on the Wayne County Circuit Court. For more information, visit


Paul Hudson chairs the appeals group at Miller Canfield law firm and has argued more than 150 cases in the Michigan appeals courts. Prior to that, Hudson clerked in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. For more information, visit



The Michigan Supreme Court may consider cases that have significant implications for medical liability laws, which the healthcare community fought to enact in the 1990s. These laws established reasonable limitations on noneconomic damages, more specific criteria for expert witness testimony and other common-sense measures that made liability insurance more affordable and significantly reduced frivolous lawsuits that were increasing healthcare costs and impeding doctors. The reforms allow scarce resources to be directed toward patient care and new staff recruitment rather than into the legal system. Erosion or elimination of these reforms would return Michigan to the medical liability crisis experienced in the 1990s, rather than allowing the state to move forward as a national center of excellence for healthcare. The Michigan Supreme Court has also issued important decisions related to the Michigan Auto No-Fault Act in recent years and will be critical in decisions regarding implementation of the changes included in Public Act 21 of 2019.

Logo for MI Vote Matters, Tuesday Nov. 8For more election information and updates or to request Election 2022 informational materials, visit the MHA Election webpage or email Join the MHA in talking about Election 2022 on social media using #MIVoteMatters.

Combating the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Week of Jan. 10

MHA Covid-19 update

MHA Covid-19 updateThe state of Michigan held a press conference Jan. 11 to discuss the rapid rise in case numbers, hospitalizations (especially pediatric hospitalizations) and positivity rates. Speakers urged all residents who are eligible to be both vaccinated and boosted as quickly as possible. Representatives from Children’s Hospital of Michigan joined the event to discuss the concerning rise in childhood case rates and hospitalizations.

The MHA continues to keep members apprised of pandemic-related developments affecting hospitals through email updates and the MHA Coronavirus webpage. Important updates are outlined below.

SCOTUS Upholds CMS Vaccine Mandate, Enforcement Proceeds

The U.S. Supreme Court issued decisions Jan. 13 on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) vaccine mandates. As expected, the court blocked the Biden administration from enforcing the vaccine or test mandate issued under OSHA, but upheld the ability of the CMS to enforce the healthcare worker vaccine mandate.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the constitutionality of state vaccine mandates in a variety of settings, as well as mandates by private employers. These challenges were different because they presented the question of whether Congress had authorized the executive branch to institute the requirements through the agencies of OSHA and the CMS/Department of Health and Human Services.

Michigan was not one of the 26 states covered by the court injunction to the CMS mandate, and Michigan has no other state-issued prohibitions on enforcing federal or private vaccine mandates. Hence, the mandate and enforcement move forward. The currently posted deadline for completing the first required vaccine dose is Jan. 27, and the second dose is required by Feb. 28. Boosters are currently not part of the mandate.

The MHA responded to a number of media inquiries following the Supreme Court announcement, including from The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press and MiBiz. The association reiterated its long-standing position that mandates of this kind should be left up to local healthcare decision-makers and that hospitals and the MHA have always urged every resident who is eligible to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others. The MHA also stressed that, while the small number of hospital workers who have already ended their employment due to an organization’s mandate did not necessarily worsen the existing staffing shortages, the timing of a nationwide mandate amid this omicron surge could not be worse, as the shortages are more serious than ever. The association assured reporters that hospitals will proceed with compliance and that the MHA and its members will continue to strenuously advocate for staffing assistance from federal and state partners.

Members with questions about deadlines, enforcement or other elements of the mandate are encouraged to review the posted CMS guidance to ensure their organizations are prepared to comply.

MIOSHA: Hospitals May Currently Use CDC Quarantine Guidance Without Penalty

The MHA has continued to work with state regulators on securing updated guidance for hospitals and health systems as it relates to worker quarantine periods. Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules have not yet been fully rescinded to allow for healthcare settings to confidently follow new, less restrictive Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) quarantine guidance.

However, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) has stated it was told OSHA is in the process of withdrawing the relevant rules and the state agency is preparing to update its rules to align with the revised federal rules. MIOSHA also indicated that, until updates are made at the federal and state levels, it will not issue citations specifically regarding quarantine and isolation requirements if an employer were following the Dec. 23, 2021, updated CDC guidance for healthcare personnel.

An existing OSHA provision recognizes the CDC’s ‘‘Strategies to Mitigate Healthcare Personnel Staffing Shortages.’’ This guidance allows elimination of quarantine for certain healthcare workers as a last resort if the workers’ absence would mean there are no longer enough staff to provide safe patient care, specific other amelioration strategies have already been tried, patients have been notified, and workers are using additional personal protective equipment at all times.

The MHA will continue to keep members apprised of developments on this issue. Members with questions may contact Laura Appel at the MHA.

Long-term Care Facility Capacity for COVID Care Increases

Michigan now has 50 Tier-2 COVID-19 Relief Facilities (CRFs) able to take COVID-19 patients from hospitals at discharge if their normal nursing facility isn’t able to accommodate them. This is an increase from just 27 CRFs late in 2021 and includes an Upper Peninsula facility in Hancock.

In addition, Michigan now has nine facilities designated as Care and Recovery Centers (CRC)s, including one in Escanaba in the Upper Peninsula.

The CRC and the CRF programs were established under Michigan Public Act 231 of 2020. These programs were designed to ensure Michigan’s nursing homes were prepared to provide care to individuals who have tested positive for coronavirus under transmission-based precautions within the guidelines and best practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Michigan’s nursing homes must be reviewed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to ensure they meet the minimum criteria outlined within the legislation and associated MDHHS policies. Members with questions may contact Paige Fults at the MHA.

Red Cross Declares First Ever National Blood Supply Crisis

The American Red Cross declared a national blood supply shortage and operational crisis Jan. 10. This is the first time such a crisis has been declared, and it could impact hospitals’ ability to provide certain types of care or transfusions in the coming days and weeks. This is a result of the current COVID-19 surge causing canceled donation appointments, Red Cross staffing shortages and more.

The Red Cross chief medical officer sent a notification directly to hospital transfusion leaders outlining these operational challenges and how to plan for expected shortages. The Red Cross also urged the public to donate blood as soon as possible.

The MHA will be amplifying to the public the need for blood donors through its social and traditional media channels.

Michigan Sees Surge in Unemployment Fraud

Michigan has seen a recent surge in unemployment fraud claims, according to the MHA Unemployment Compensation Program (MHA UCP). The increase in unemployment fraud is related to identity theft that occurs when the state Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) system is penetrated. Over the past several weeks, the MHA UCP has seen fraud in about 15 to 20% of all new claims for its clients.

The MHA UCP has worked closely with the UIA on this issue and has mitigated the impact for clients, who have not been assessed charges on these claims. To learn more about the services available through the MHA UCP, contact Neil MacVicar at the MHA.

Additional information on the COVID-19 pandemic is available to members on the MHA Community Site and the MHA COVID-19 webpageQuestions on COVID-19 and infectious disease response strategies may be directed to the MDHHS Community Health Emergency Coordination Center (CHECC).

Headline Roundup: Week of Jan. 10 for COVID-19 in Michigan

MHA CEO Brian Peters appears on Mid-Michigan NOW on Jan. 13, 2022.
MHA CEO Brian Peters appears on Mid-Michigan NOW on Jan. 13, 2022.
MHA CEO Brian Peters appears on Mid-Michigan NOW on Jan. 13, 2022.

The MHA has been actively fielding and responding to media requests related to the surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the vaccine mandate from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and violence against healthcare workers.

Below is a collection of headlines from around the state that include statements from the MHA.

Sunday, Jan. 16

Saturday, Jan. 15

Friday, Jan. 14

Thursday, Jan. 13

Wednesday, Jan. 12

Monday, Jan. 10

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.

Combating the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Week of June 14

MHA Covid-19 update

MHA COVID-19 UpdateNearly 61 percent of Michiganders ages 16 and over had received a COVID-19 vaccine as of June 17, supporting the state’s decision to rescind public health orders related to slowing the spread of the disease (see below). Experts continue to urge the public to use caution, especially when around those who have not been vaccinated.

The MHA continues to keep members apprised of pandemic-related developments affecting hospitals through email updates and the MHA Coronavirus webpage. Important updates are outlined below.

COVID-19 Public Health Orders Ending June 22

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced June 17 that COVID-19 public health orders originally established to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will be rescinded June 22. The recission of emergency orders issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) includes the statewide mask mandate, limitations on gathering capacities, hospital visitor requirements and mandated hospital testing protocols for staff. However, hospitals continue to have the ability to enforce infection control practices within their facilities that require such items as screening upon entry, visitor limitations and mask requirements. In addition, the mask requirement for healthcare employees remains in effect under existing rules of the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Hospitals may want to refer to existing CDC guidance on masking in healthcare facilities when reviewing or developing visitor policies.

The MHA issued a statement supporting the announcement, stressing the important role that the COVID-19 vaccine has played in reducing transmission and illness. In addition, the statement specifies that hospitals will continue protocols in their facilities to prevent the spread of infectious disease.

Members with questions may contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds the Affordable Care Act

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling June 17 on California v. Texas that upholds the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In response to the opinion, the MHA issued a statement to media statewide that describes the ruling as a “victory for all who believe in expanding access to healthcare.” The value of the ACA to Michigan is shown in the increase in enrollment for the Healthy Michigan Plan, which has grown over the past year by more than 250,000 beneficiaries who would otherwise have been uninsured at some time during the pandemic.

Additional information on the COVID-19 pandemic is available to members on the MHA Community Site and the MHA COVID-19 webpage. Questions on COVID-19 and infectious disease response strategies may be directed to the MDHHS Community Health Emergency Coordination Center (CHECC).