5 Things Michigan: Health legislation, Future of SIPs, COVID and deferred care


Eli Kirshbaum


We are just a few weeks out from the 2022 Michigan State of Reform Health Policy Conference, and we released the Detailed Agenda for the event last week. Take a look at the agenda for a breakdown of the conversations and speakers we’ve carefully developed for Michigan health policy stakeholders like you.

See a preview of some of the conversations we have set up for the event below. If you haven’t already, register to be there in Lansing in person on April 21st! We hope to see you there.

Thanks for reading!

Eli Kirshbaum
State of Reform


1. Health policy movement we’re watching

bill to shorten prior authorization wait times and allow emergency care to be provided without prior approval now sits on Gov. Whitmer’s desk after passing both chambers. The governor also recently signed Senate Bills 246 and 435 into law, which will expand the Essential Health Provider Loan Repayment Program.

recent legislative hearing examined the state’s health care workforce shortages, during which Dr. Julie Yaroch—on behalf of MHA—detailed the 16.6% statewide hospital staff vacancy rate. “Without creative solutions to building our state’s talent economy, the risk to communities and Michigan residents continues to grow,” said Yaroch. She recommends focusing more workforce pipeline recruitment efforts on middle school and high school-aged students to bolster the workforce.


2. The future of specialty integrated plans

Restructuring how Michigan delivers behavioral health care is one of the most-discussed topics in state health policy. Many are calling for a carveout of BH services by transitioning the state’s current public prepaid inpatient health plans to private specialty integrated plans that integrate financing for BH and physical health.

Grab a seat at this timely panel to hear from some of the state’s leading experts on BH reform. Dave Schneider, Managing Principal at Health Management Associates, Laura Appel, EVP of Government Relations at the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, and Dominick Pallone, Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Health Plans, will share their thoughts on this complicated policy area.


3. Equity, diversity, and maternal health

Lowering Michigan’s maternal mortality rate continues to be a key priority for our stakeholders. How can Michigan’s health care sector best address these mortality rates, and how do they fit into the broader health equity conversation in the state?

Amy Zaagman, Executive Director of the Michigan Council for Maternal & Child Health, Renée Branch Canady, Ph.D., CEO of the Michigan Public Health Institute, and Dawn M. Shanafelt, Director of MDHHS’s Division of Maternal & Infant Health, will offer their expertise on health equity, diversity, and maternal health during this valuable panel conversation.


4. The challenges facing our health care workforce

While some parts of Michigan’s health care system are on a path to recovery from the pandemic, the health care workforce continues to face a dire shortage over two years after the arrival of COVID. Provider burnout, exposure to the virus, and major increases in the need for staff has resulted in a workforce shortage that’s hindering the health care system’s ability to meet the demand for care.

We’ve convened a panel of subject area experts to tackle this issue and talk through potential solutions. Hear from Melanie Brim, President & CEO of the Michigan Health Council, Duke Anderson, President Emeritus at Hillsdale Hospital, Julie Novak, CEO of the Michigan State Medical Society, and Larissa Miller, Ph.D., Associate Executive Director of Nursing and Government Affairs at the Michigan Nurses Association.


5. COVID and its impact on deferred care

Michigan’s health system is still grappling with the consequences of deferred health care during the pandemic. Hospitals are continuing to treat COVID patients while they simultaneously handle the backlog of patients who deferred important care. So, how can the state help alleviate this immense pressure being placed on its providers?

A group of leaders will discuss how the state and health sector can support those who are dealing with the repercussions of deferred care. Attend this panel to hear from Christine Surdock, Plan President at Molina Healthcare of Michigan, Darryl Elmouchi, President of BHSH/Spectrum Health West Michigan, and Nina Abubakari, President and CEO of the Michigan Health Council.