Medical care in Michigan has been under strain due to the state’s fiscal crisis and the growing demand for medical care from its patients, many of whom are suffering from chronic illnesses.
In an effort to ease the burden on the state, Michigan Gov.
Rick Snyder has proposed that the Michigan Medical Association would work with state officials to create a health care plan that would require hospitals to spend up to $25 million annually on the health of their patients.
“Michigan needs to be a place that is home to the most critically ill people in the country, where we have the capacity to address the health challenges of the people who live in our state,” Snyder said in a press conference last month.
“The state of Michigan is not doing enough to keep our patients safe, and we need to do more to help our health care professionals.”
In a recent article for the Detroit Free Press, Dr. Steven Gourley, chief medical officer for the Michigan Health Care Association, said the association is considering a proposal to increase funding for the state hospitals and would like to see them adopt the state-wide Medicare-for-All plan.
“We’ve been talking with the health care sector about how to work together to ensure that we’re in a position to provide health care to the people of Michigan, and that’s something that we really support,” Gourry told the Free Press.
“In our meetings with health care workers and others in the health sector, we’ve seen that there’s an urgent need to support hospitals to be able to keep up with the challenges they’re facing in managing the cost of care for our residents.”
Gouriry said that he was encouraged by the number of hospitals in Michigan that have pledged to support the Medicare-For-All proposal.
“They’re making a very clear commitment that we will support Medicare for All, so that’s encouraging,” Guralry said.
The proposed plan also would require the state to provide additional funding for emergency room visits, which would have been previously paid for by the federal government under the federal Affordable Care Act.
“There are many, many, people that have been in our hospitals and on the waiting list for emergency care,” said Goury.
“It’s just a matter of time before they get the care they need.”
In recent years, the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has provided the funding needed to maintain a number of critical health care facilities across the state.
But Michigan’s hospitals are facing a shortage of beds and resources.
According to the National Association of State Budget Officers, hospitals across the nation are spending $1.2 billion per year on health care, compared to $7.7 billion per day spent in the private sector.
Michigan’s state hospitals have had to rely on private insurance to cover the costs of operating their facilities, which has made them vulnerable to a sudden and devastating financial collapse.
According in a recent report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, in 2016, the state paid $15.6 billion for uncompensated care, including costs related to the loss of federal funds for Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
The report also found that Michigan hospitals were unable to pay for any of their own emergency room services, and were forced to turn to Medicaid and private health care providers.
As of January 2019, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimated that Michigan had an unfunded liability of more than $5.3 billion for health care-related costs.
“Hospitals are a little bit like a casino that’s trying to make money by gambling, and so if they get hammered, they try to find a way to survive,” Gury said.
“And we’ve been struggling in a state that was already in financial distress, and it’s just really hard to come up with a way out of this.”
As more hospitals across Michigan face financial challenges, there are many who are concerned about the state of their facilities.
In November, a new report from the Michigan Hospital Association warned that more than 50 of the state�s 70 state-owned hospitals are at risk of closing due to funding shortages and understaffing.
The hospital association cited the high cost of operating hospital equipment and staffing shortages as one of the reasons hospitals are not meeting the needs of their residents.
“Our hospitals are struggling to provide quality care, and our staffs are not trained to care for their patients,” Gory said.
Gourory said that the hospitals need to have a plan in place to deal with the state funding shortfall.
“What we need is to have some plan in order to ensure the quality of care we’re providing to our patients and our hospitals,” he said.
As the state has struggled to fill beds and keep staff in place, there have been more than a few cases of nurses being fired or forced to retire, and many others being forced to take pay cuts.