MHA Board of Trustees Advances Strategic Action Plan, Focus on Workforce Support and Medicaid Maximization

The MHA Board of Trustees focused most of their Nov. 8 meeting on targeted actions in advancement of their 2023-2024 Strategic Action Plan, which outlines the association’s priorities for the year ahead and identifies those areas of work that need long-term attention from the MHA and the hospital community. Once again, the plan is organized into four key pillars: Workforce Support and Innovation, Viability, Improved Behavioral Health and Health Equity.

Opposition to mandated staffing ratios remains a top priority for the association within the Workforce pillar, as it has been shown to be a misguided and potentially harmful approach to addressing workforce shortages. Instead, the association supports specific measures to address educational barriers, innovation and growth within the talent pipeline. Within the Viability pillar, the board discussed ongoing work in partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to maximize Medicaid funding, a review of MDHHS’s process for rebidding Medicaid health plan contracts and a status report on Medicaid eligibility following the expiration of COVID-era waivers. The board also discussed strategic priorities to advance the association’s Behavioral Health and Health Equity pillars. This included continued work on bed access and capacity (especially for children), crisis prevention and education, Community Mental Health system reform and behavioral health data support, as well as continued work on the health equity front to reduce maternal morbidity disparities and partnerships with public health departments to address local disparities.

Board member Douglas Apple, MD, chief clinical officer, Ascension Michigan, and interim president & CEO, Ascension Genesys Hospital, provided a patient story that emulated the use of high reliability principles that resulted in reduction of patient harm. In this case, during a routine preoperative assessment, a nurse appropriately used the Suicide Risk Screening tool and discovered that a patient very recently attempted suicide. The use of the tool and subsequent intervention led to the patient getting critical care for a health risk that would otherwise not have been identified.

The board concluded with board task force reports, an MHA Keystone Center and MHA Service Corporation report, regional hospital council reports, an AHA report and an update from MHA CEO Brian Peters.

Members with questions about the MHA Board of Trustees meetings should contact Amy Barkholz at the MHA.

MHA Monday Report Oct. 23, 2023

MHA Monday Report

capitol buildingProtections for Healthcare Workers, Auto No-fault Bills Move in Michigan Legislature

Multiple bills monitored by the MHA moved in the Michigan Legislature during the week of Oct. 16. Legislation increasing penalties for violence committed against healthcare workers was unanimously voted out of the Senate Civil Rights, …

Going PRO Talent Fund Applications Due Oct. 27

The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity opened the first application cycle for the Going PRO Talent Fund program Oct. 9. Michigan employers can now apply for a share of $50 million in competitive …

Latest AHA Trustee Insights Focuses on Equity for Women and Native Americans

The October edition of Trustee Insights, the monthly digital package from the American Hospital Association (AHA), focuses on health equity for women and Native Americans. Trustees should prioritize addressing the distinct needs of women for several …

A Holistic Approach to Workforce Management

Health systems and healthcare organizations are adapting to challenges posed by staffing shortages and a multigenerational workforce. The most successful facilities are taking a holistic approach by discarding staffing models of the past and embracing …

The Keckley Report

Paul KeckleyU.S. Healthcare’s Existential Threat: Loss of Public Trust

“U.S. healthcare faces an existential threat: the loss of confidence and trust that the system is fair and more concerned about its profit than patient care. …

Studies show the erosion of public confidence and trust in the health system correlates to higher costs and suboptimal outcomes: when an individual thinks a clinician’s judgement might be clouded by a financial incentive, a hospital or drug price excessive and the provider prone to price gauging, or an insurer’s coverage determination arbitrary, doubt takes hold and trust plummets. …

The system issues are systemic and complicated. And no sector is capable of solving them alone: it requires all to collaborate based on a shared vision of its future but that vision does not exist. Until and unless a shared vision of the future of the U.S. health system is created, confidence and trust in the system will continue to erode and options for its future severely limited.” …

Paul Keckley, Oct. 16, 2023

T. Anthony Denton.

News to Know

Modern Healthcare recognized Tony Denton, senior vice president and chief environmental, social and governance officer, Michigan Medicine, as a 2023 Diversity Leader to Watch on Oct. 16.


MHA EVP Laura Appel discusses auto no-fault legislation with the Michigan Business Network.

MHA in the News

The MHA received media coverage the week of Oct. 16 regarding auto no-fault legislation passed in the Michigan Senate and nurse staffing ratio legislation. The coverage is based on interviews conducted with MHA CEO Brian …

MHA Monday Report Oct. 16, 2023

MHA Monday Report

First Legislative Policy Panel Meeting New Program Year

The MHA Legislative Policy Panel met Oct. 11 to develop recommendations for the MHA Board of Trustees on legislative initiatives impacting Michigan hospitals. The meeting focused on state legislative updates for the new members of …

Auto No-Fault Hearings Continue, Interstate Compacts Advance

The Michigan Senate Finance, Insurance and Consumer Protection Committee continued to hear testimony during the week of Oct. 9 on Senate Bills 530 and 531. Introduced by Sen. Mary Cavanagh (D-Redford Township) and Sen. Sarah …

ANA-MI Opposes Mandated Nurse Staffing Ratio Legislation

The American Nurses Association – Michigan (ANA-Michigan) publicly announced their opposition Oct. 11 to Senate Bill 334 and House Bill 4550, which require state mandated ratios for hospital nurses. The ANA-MI joins the MHA and …

DEA Plans to Extend Telemedicine Rules for Controlled Substances Through 2024

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced pandemic-era rules allowing controlled substances to be prescribed via telemedicine will be extended through Dec. 31, 2024. This extension follows significant opposition to the DEA’s plan to curtail these …

MHA Keystone Center 2022-2023 Annual Report Highlights Quality and Safety Priorities

The MHA Keystone Center recently released its 2022-2023 Annual Report, showcasing its dedication to advancing patient and workforce safety alongside member organizations. The report highlights the healthcare safety and quality improvements made through MHA Keystone Center-led …

MHA to Host Virtual DEI Certificate Program

Save the date for a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Healthcare certificate program scheduled for Dec. 7 and Dec. 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST. The event, hosted by the MHA and other …

MiCARE Project Discontinued

The Michigan Care Access Referral Exchange (MiCARE), hosted by Bamboo Health’s OpenBeds solution, will be discontinued effective Oct. 31, 2023. The goal of MiCARE was to create a comprehensive network of behavioral health treatment providers, …

MHA Podcast Covers Program Year Priorities: Behavioral Health, Workforce Restoration, Health Equity and More

The MHA released a new episode of the MiCare Champion Cast, which features interviews with healthcare policy experts in Michigan discussing key issues that impact healthcare and the health of communities. The October 2023 episode, …

The Keckley Report

Paul KeckleyAs HLTH 2023 Convenes, Three Themes speak Volumes about Where U.S, Healthcare is Headed

“In Las Vegas this week, 10,000 healthcare entrepreneurs, investors, purchasers and industry onlookers are gathered to celebrate the business of U.S. healthcare. It follows the inaugural Nashville Healthcare Sessions last month that drew a crowd to Music City touting “the premier healthcare conference set in the most relevant, exciting, and welcoming city in the south.“ …

The root causes of the system’s poor performance are understood and considered: they’re daunting. But that does not impede the willingness of private investors to make bets presuming the future of the U.S. healthcare is not a repeat of its past.“

Paul Keckley, Oct. 9, 2023

MHA CEO Brian PetersMHA in the News

The MHA received media coverage the week of Oct. 9 on rural healthcare challenges and legislation proposing state mandated nurse-to-patient staffing ratios. The Detroit Free Press published an article Oct. 12 on the closure of …

MHA Strategic Action Plan to be Reviewed Nov. 9

In the new program year, the MHA continues to prioritize several critical issues, like workforce, viability, resilience and wellbeing, behavioral health and health equity.


The MHA will host a virtual membership meeting from 2 to 3 p.m. on Nov. 9 to outline the MHA 2023 – 2024 strategic action plan approved by the MHA Board of Trustees. With presentations from MHA CEO Brian Peters and other MHA leaders, the forum will review the priorities and tactics to accomplish goals and how the membership can support these initiatives.

There is no cost to attend, but members are asked to by Nov. 7. Access information for the virtual session will be sent Nov. 8.

Questions about the member forum can be directed to at the MHA.

MHA Workforce Webinar to Discuss Diverse Workforce Solutions

Understanding the workforce’s values, preferences, triggers and character traits is essential to developing relationships that create a healthy organization. This may sound basic, but many organizations continue to miss the mark. In a 2022 study conducted by the MHA and Escalent, the feeling of not having a voice and lack of communication by leadership is a main reason workers left healthcare. Understanding fundamental needs and creating policies that meet these needs is critical to the chaotic climate that exists now.

Human resource professionals are encouraged to join the All Too Human: Thoughts on Workforce webinar from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Jan. 26, 2023 for the opportunity to share ways to meet the needs of a diverse workforce. Conversations will be led by Patrick Irwin, Henry Ford Health, Marla Stuck, Oaklawn Hospital, and Deloris Hunt, Michigan Medicine.

The webinar is free of charges thanks to sponsors Merritt Hawkins and B.E. Smith. Members are asked to register by Jan. 24

Members with questions should contact Erica Leyko  at the MHA.

MHA Distributes Workforce Grant Report to Legislature

Workforce Funding Report
Workforce Funding Report
Improving Recruitment, Retention and Training of Michigan’s Healthcare Workforce Report

Based on requirements in legislative boilerplate, the MHA created and distributed to the Michigan Legislature Sept. 28 a report on the results of the state healthcare workforce grant, which brought $225 million to Michigan hospitals for workforce recruitment, retention and training.

The report includes the categories for which the funding was used, the total number of healthcare workers impacted and financial data on the exorbitant growth in labor expense since 2020. Specifically, total statewide labor expense by hospitals per year is estimated to grow by more than $1 billion in just two years. In addition, 69,000 healthcare workers have already benefitted from the workforce grant funds.

The document also includes specific examples and testimonials from several hospitals throughout the state on the benefits of the state funding and how it has been used. The submission of workforce data by MHA members has been extremely useful in the creation of the report and demonstrating the impacts of increased labor expenses in advocacy efforts.

For questions on the report and the state healthcare workforce grant, please contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.

State Budget Advances to Governor’s Desk

capitol building

capitol buildingThe fiscal year (FY) 2023 state budget bills were approved by the Michigan Legislature July 1. House Bill (HB) 5783 and Senate Bill (SB) 845, which provide for the FY 2023 budget, now go to the governor’s desk for final review and signature into law.

In a statement released July 1, MHA CEO Brian Peters said, “The fiscal year 2023 state budget approved by the Michigan Legislature provides necessary resources to assist hospitals and health systems in advancing the health of individuals and communities throughout our state. We appreciate the work and consideration placed by lawmakers that continues to protect hospital priorities.”

These priorities include maintaining funding for the Healthy Michigan Plan, graduate medical education of physician residents, disproportionate share hospitals that treat the highest numbers of uninsured and underinsured patients, the rural access pool and obstetrical stabilization fund, and critical access hospital reimbursement rates, all of which support access to healthcare services in rural areas. Each of these areas are instrumental in keeping hospitals financially secure, particularly in areas serving vulnerable and underserved populations.

The budget also supports MHA and hospital priorities with new funding to improve and enhance state behavioral health facility capacity and address the healthcare workforce. Michigan lacks adequate capacity to treat patients with behavioral and mental illness, and this new funding is an important and necessary step to address the shortage. The investment of state funds to expand access to Bachelor of Science in nursing degree programs at the state’s community colleges is a significant movement toward replenishing Michigan’s healthcare talent pipeline.

In other action, the House of Representatives supported legislation to create an opt-out grant program for hospitals to establish medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for substance use disorders in their emergency departments. SB 579, introduced by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington), now returns to the Senate for a final concurrence vote before it is sent for the governor’s signature. Hospitals provided MAT programs prior to introduction of the bill, and the MHA has already partnered with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to implement the first round of grants provided under this legislation. No hospitals would be required to participate in the program.

The full Senate advanced to the House of Representatives a bill to register certain medical laboratories in Michigan. SB 812, also introduced by VanderWall, would create a registry for interventional pain management, kidney access and vascular laboratories. As currently written, SB 812 would not provide any form of oversight or clinical requirements for the registered labs, and the MDHHS would not have authority to deny or remove registered labs from the list. The MHA has not taken a position on the bill but is closely monitoring any changes.

Finally, a bill related to telemedicine was introduced in the Senate. SB 1135, introduced by Sen. Mike MacDonald (R-Macomb Township), would amend the state’s Social Welfare Act to ensure that recent expansions in telehealth visit coverage also apply to the Medicaid Medical Assistance Program and Healthy Michigan Program. The bill would specify that recipients are covered equally for telehealth visits, expand the “distant site” definition, and ensure that providers are reimbursed at an equal rate to in-person services. The MHA is reviewing the legislation and has not yet taken a position on the bill. The association will keep members apprised of future action.

Members with questions on state legislation related to healthcare should contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.

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

MHA Covid-19 update

MHA Covid-19 updateThe current surge of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 has continued its downward trend. The seven-day average of hospitalizations in the U.S. as of Feb. 13 was 80,185, down from 136,534 Jan. 20. Michigan hospitalizations for confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19 included 1,896 adults and 71 children as of Feb. 16, down from the Jan. 20 totals of 4,554 adults and 130 children.

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.

Governor Signs Supplemental Budget Dedicating $300 Million to Healthcare Workforce

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Feb. 16 signed House Bill 5523, a $1.2 billion supplemental funding bill that includes $300 million for healthcare providers for recruitment, retention and training purposes, $225 million of which will be specifically for acute-care and behavioral health hospitals. MHA Board Chair and BHSH System President & CEO Tina Freese Decker provided comments of appreciation for the governor signing the bill in the official announcement. (See related article.)

MDHHS Rescinds Indoor Mask Advisory with Exceptions

The statewide indoor masking advisory that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued earlier in the omicron surge was rescinded Feb. 16. However, the state continues to recommend masking in healthcare settings and some other high-risk indoor locations.

While hospitalizations have improved significantly recently, the MHA continues to encourage people to voluntarily wear high-quality masks when in indoor public spaces, especially if they are immunocompromised or haven’t yet been fully vaccinated.

The state also announced that it will monitor and act on COVID-19 cycles in the following three key phases:

  • Response — Local and state public health implement rapid response to a surge. The public may be advised to increase masking, testing and social distancing.
  • Recovery — Post-surge. No immediate resurgence predicted. Local and state public health will monitor conditions that could lead to future surges.
  • Readiness — A surge in cases is expected, with implications for severity of illness and hospital capacity. Increased communication to the public regarding possible new risks.

More Data Sought on Pfizer Vaccine for Children 6 Months through 4 Years

The MHA continues to monitor Pfizer’s actions to seek approval for a vaccine for kids aged 6 months through 4 years. Pfizer recently sought federal approval of the vaccine for this age group, but paused its request days later due to efficacy questions related to dosage. It is now awaiting further data about three doses for this age group before renewing its request for approval under emergency use authorization. The association will keep members apprised of any developments on this or related issues. Members with vaccine questions may contact Ruthanne Sudderth 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).