The Hospital Council of East Central Michigan (HCECM) hosted its’ Fall Legislative Roundtable October 11, 2019, at the Courtyard Marriott - Bay City

“The October Legislative Roundtable was a great success,” stated Janet Herbert, HCECM President. “There was wonderful representation of state and federal legislative branches, from our 15-county region, and we truly appreciate each of them taking the time to attend our event and share in conversation with the CEO’s from our member organizations. Those in attendance gained valuable knowledge about key challenges healthcare providers are facing.”

The event included presentations from two of our member hospital CEO’s who shared an overview of critical issues in healthcare. Presenters included Robert McGrail, President and CEO of MidMichigan Medical Center – West Branch, who discussed the economic impact healthcare has on Michigan and local communities. McGrail talked about the story of the West Branch community and the positive impact healthcare services has had on his community. He shared statistics from the Michigan Health and Hospital Associations 2019 Community Benefits Report, which demonstrates multiple examples of the community benefit contributions and the overall impact of health care on Michigan communities. The presentation also included information regarding the number of rural hospital closures across the country and the impact a closure has on the economy and community. McGrail concluded by stressing the importance of continued legislator support to ensure adequate funding of government health plans, in order to protect access to care in communities across Michigan. Steve Barnett, President and CEO of McKenzie Health System, focused on the facts and fiction related to “Surprise Billing” for legislators to consider when legislation comes forward on this issue. Barnett expressed that hospitals are committed to relieving patients of surprise medical bills. Healthcare organizations support legislation that removes the patient from the process and allows hospitals and health plans to negotiate a solution and not involve the patient. He explained five key points for consideration: 1) Protect the patient, 2) Ensure access to care, 3) Preserve private negotiation, 4) Educate patients, 5) Ensure adequate provider networks and greater health plan transparency. Barnett discussed the risks to hospitals and patients if rate setting language is included in the legislation and encouraged legislators not to support any bills that include rate setting.

Valuable discussion occurred as those in attendance asked questions and shared perspectives of what is most important for Michigan residents in our region and the organizations that are working hard to maintain access to healthcare in our 15-county region.

Herbert expressed a special thank you to all the Legislative representatives and CEO’s in attendance. “We truly appreciate the opportunity to share valuable healthcare information that contributes to informed decisions being made by our elected officials.”