LANSING, Mich. — If you have an emergency and end up at the hospital, you can only hope there's the right person there to care for you. That's becoming an increasingly difficult goal to reach in many Michigan hospitals and healthcare agencies, as staffing shortages grow.
“There are two distinct and very stark options for Michigan hospitals: we either shut down essential services or we obtain the funding necessary to grow our hospitals,” JJ Hodshire, president and CEO of Hillsdale Hospital, said.
During a virtual media roundtable Tuesday, healthcare officials in Michigan painted a bleak picture, calling on the Michigan Legislature and Congress to step in to make sure hospitals are able to remain operational.
“The reality is, if we don’t have a strong, robust, and viable hospital and health system infrastructure here in the state of Michigan, that’s going to threaten the viability of local economies as well,” Brian Peters, CEO of Michigan Health and Hospital Association, said.
The Michigan Health and Hospital Association, or MHA, emphasized the severity of staffing issues in Michigan's healthcare facilities and hospitals right now.
Hospital leaders said they're still battling COVID-19, even if the public has moved on.
“It’s not overstated to say that we are in a tsunami still,” MHA senior vice president T. Anthony Denton said.
Leaders said the coronavirus has had widespread impact on healthcare systems, but those systems did not have the ability to address problems by raising prices, unlike other industries.
“We’ve all experienced workforce supply capacity constraints with the inflationary pressures of wages, supplies, pharmaceuticals that we’ve had to absorb with little to no ability to offset through price increases,” Denton said.
With RSV, the respiratory virus largely affecting children across the state, hospitals are feeling even more pressure, as children who were shielded from the virus during the pandemic are being introduced to it now, and ICUs are being overwhelmed.
“RSV has been like never before,” Dr. Rudolph Valentini, group chief medical officer for Detroit Medical Center, said. “The 3 and 4 year olds who were asthmatics got worse, and the babies suffered greatly.”
Michigan has lost some 1,700 staffed hospital beds since 2020, according to MHA. The organization is asking lawmakers to step in with long-term solutions to address staffing and funding issues that have arisen as short-term solutions have started to fade out.
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