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michigan health and hospital association

Emergency sign at hospital.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

All this week on Stateside, we look at how the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will affect Michigan residents, hospitals and governments.

There are hundreds of hospitals in Michigan, and each of them has in one way or another been affected by the Affordable Care Act. So what would a repeal of the law mean for Michigan’s hospitals?

Laura Appel is senior vice president and chief innovation officer at the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA). She said that, while the state’s hospitals have had issues with certain aspects of the law, an outright repeal would have negative consequences. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s hospital administrators are concerned what will happen if Congress repeals Obamacare in 2017.

Repealing the Affordable Care Act tops the agenda for Republicans after the new congress is sworn in during the first week in January. 

But the Michigan Health and Hospital Association is concerned what will happen if Obamacare is repealed without a replacement strategy ready to take its place.

The association points out, between 2010 and 2019, Michigan hospitals will lose about $7 billion in reduced Medicare reimbursements.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan hospitals may pay a price if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down a key provision of the Affordable Care Act.

King v. Burwell is one of the final seven cases before the high court this term.   

The case involves a challenge to a specific portion of the federal health care insurance law dealing with federal subsidies. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report finds patient safety varies widely across Michigan.

A Washington D.C.-based group looked at how hospitals across the U.S. handled problems like mistakes in the operating room, drug mix-ups and bed sores.

23 of 79 Michigan hospitals surveyed in the report earned an “A” grade in patient safety.  A half-dozen Michigan hospitals received D’s.  No Michigan hospital received an “F” for patient safety.

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Since January, Michigan hospitals have been dealing with the effects of a nationwide shortage of a critical supply of intravenous fluid.

The fluid is used in a wide variety of intravenous therapy, including chemotherapy. The shortage is blamed on reduced production and increased demand during the winter flu season.

Laura Appel is with the Michigan Health and Hospital Association. She says hospitals are working to share what fluid they do have.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

There’s a bill making its way through the state legislature that would require Michigan hospitals to reveal when they will withhold treatment from severely ill patients.

Many hospitals have ‘futility’ policies.   The policies outline when the hospitals will withhold treatment from a patient on the grounds that further care would be futile and would simply waste hospital resources.

The policies are mainly for internal use and not widely disclosed.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan hospitals could be among those hardest hit by automatic federal budget cuts this week.

Under the sequestration, Medicare reimbursements to doctors and hospitals would be cut by two percent.

Laura Appel is the vice president for federal policy and advocacy with the Michigan Health and Hospital Association.  She says sequestration would add up to tens of millions of dollars a year in loss reimbursements to Michigan hospitals. 

Ingham Regional Medical Center in Lansing will start laying off about 7 percent of it’s workforce this week.

Interim hospital CEO Patrick Salow says a 10 percent decline in patient numbers over the past year is forcing the staffing cuts. He says the layoffs will affect the hospital’s nursing staff, but the layoffs will also affect other divisions like the finance department.

“If we’ve got fewer patients, so there’s fewer bills to send out, do we need as many people to process bills for example."

The total layoff will be between 100 and 150 hospital employees.