Health Care is Michigan’s Largest Private-sector Employer, Key to State’s Recovery

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LANSING, Mich., Feb. 28, 2011 — A report released today by the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) titled Mission Critical — Michigan Hospitals: The Heart of Our Communities, the Key to Our Recovery, uses new data to quantify health care and hospitals’ mission-critical role in ensuring a healthy future for the state, both economically and physically.
 
“Mission critical is defined as any service integral to the existence of the whole, and without which, system failure occurs,” said MHA President Spencer Johnson. “As Governor Snyder and lawmakers prepare the state budget, they must recognize the mission-critical role health care plays in the vibrancy and economic recovery of their communities.”
 
Key findings of the report include:
Health care is growing Michigan’s economy. Health care is the state’s largest private sector employer, now providing direct jobs to more than 546,000 Michiganians. These employees earn more than $30 billion in wages, salaries and benefits and pay $6.6 billion in federal, state and local taxes.
Michigan hospitals alone employ more than 219,000 people in this state, who earn more than $13 billion in wages, salaries and benefits and pay more than $2.7 billion in federal, state and local taxes.
Michigan hospitals are the health care safety net of their communities. In fiscal year (FY) 2009, Michigan hospitals responded to the needs of local residents, the uninsured and underinsured, and provided more than $2.6 billion in community benefits. These include charity care, free clinics, meals, counseling, losses on Medicaid and Medicare, and more.
Michigan hospitals are among the highest quality and safest in the nation, led by the MHA Keystone Center for Patient Safety & Quality collaborative initiatives that have thus far saved more than 1,800 lives and $300 million dollars.
Making care affordable is imperative to Michigan hospitals. Decades of quality and efficiency improvements resulted in Michigan hospital costs being 3.43 percent lower than national averages, savings families and businesses $538 million a year.
Medicaid provider reimbursement rates have been cut by more than $1.1 billion since 1996. At the same time, Medicaid caseloads have nearly doubled to more than 1.9 million people and the ranks of the uninsured have reached 1.35 million. This means that approximately one in three Michigan residents either rely on Medicaid or go without coverage of any kind.
 
The report quantifies community hospitals’ position as among the best in hospital performance nationwide, and their crucial role in improving state and local economies, reducing health care costs, voluntarily enhancing patient safety and quality, and caring for the most vulnerable residents without regard to their ability to pay. In addition, the report concludes that continued cuts to Medicaid reimbursement rates threaten the ability of hospitals and physicians to deliver care to all Michiganians who seek health care services. Medicaid provider reimbursements already fail to cover the cost of providing services to patients, and additional cuts result in reduced access to critical health services, such as obstetrics.
 
“Michigan hospitals, the beating heart of many communities, are creating jobs and healing the sick, all while improving quality and efficiency through voluntary and innovative initiatives. These community stewards are providing Michigan residents and businesses with care and wellness at a tremendous value. They are mission critical to our overall well-being as a state,” concluded Johnson.
 
Based in Lansing, the MHA represents Michigan’s health systems and community hospitals and successfully advocates on behalf of hospitals and the patients they serve. The MHA addresses key issues in the legislative and regulatory arenas to advance initiatives that protect quality, cost-effective and accessible care. To learn more, visit www.mha.org.

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