Expanding Medicaid in Michigan

Henry Ford Hospital’s Chief Nursing Officer, Gwen Gnam, lent her voice and her more than 34-years of nursing experience to an important topic facing our state: The expansion of Medicaid in Michigan.

Gwen took part in the Michigan Health & Hospital Association’s campaign to expand Medicaid, sharing her story as a registered nurse in this video:

The decision of how federal money will be spent impacts our patients and our hospital.

The Expand Medicaid coalition – made up of Michigan hospitals, mental health care providers, physicians, community-based health centers, health plans, human service organizations and others – urges the state Legislature to join with Gov. Rick Snyder to expand Medicaid as states are authorized to do under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). Continue reading

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Ready to Ride: Tour de Ford

Henry Ford hosts numerous fun and generous philanthropic events, but there’s one “grass-roots” effort that really stands out from the rest: Tour de Ford.

Tour de Ford was started by two cycling enthusiasts who also happen to be Henry Ford ER physicians, Dr. Gerard Martin and Dr. Ronny Otero. This year’s event on Sunday, Sept. 9 at Henry Ford Hospital promises to the biggest and the best yet.

Tour de Ford is the perfect balance of fun and charity. This will be the third year I’ll be riding too, and I even got my wife to join me in the 35-mile route.

Unlike other rides, anybody can participate in the Tour de Ford (and you aren’t required to wear those spandex shorts or have a particularly fancy bike either).

If you aren’t able to do the 10-, 35-, or 70 -mile ride, the Tour de Ford offers volunteer opportunities so employees and community members alike can be involved.

While the event is a great opportunity to give back to the community, it simultaneously offers an amazing tour of Detroit.

Cyclists of all experience levels have the opportunity to tour some of the best sites of our city – Belle Isle, Eastern Market, the new CHASS facility and more – all while benefiting the Tom Groth Patient Medical Needs Fund, which provides health care, medication, medical supplies and social services to underinsured patients at Henry Ford. Continue reading

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The Affordable Care Act & Henry Ford

What does the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act mean to Henry Ford Hospital and Henry Ford Health System, and our patients?

The law has been in effect for two years and Henry Ford has been meeting the necessary steps to comply with the provisions of the law affecting us and our patients.

Doc in the “DIV.” The end of this post includes links to my local news interviews about ACA.

The ruling on Thusday supported the constitutionality of the ACA.

Some of the most controversial aspects of the law are scheduled to be implemented in 2014. Two of these components, mandated insurance and extension of Medicaid, were major subjects of the Court’s ruling.

Mandated insurance was supported as part of the tax provision, that is, failure to adhere to obtaining or providing insurance will be subject to tax penalties.

Without the insurance mandate, the insurance exchanges or pools would likely have fewer healthier enrollees, meaning insurance rates for policies purchased through the exchange would need to be much higher to support costs.

Expansion of Medicaid was left to states wtihout Federal threat of withholding all Medicaid dollars for not extending.

The ruling has brought some “certainty” to the constituionality of the law. This is a certainty that must be looked at through the lens of continued political polarization, the fall elections, threats of repeal of the law in the 2013 Congress, business and personal reaction, and implementation at the state and delivery system level.

But, importantly, this ruling allows Henry Ford to continue to make positive reforms to the country’s health care system, through our efforts to integrate care, reduce costs, increase access and make advances in medical technology, treatment and hospital care.

The ACA means the possibility of extending Medicaid to the nearly 500,000 uninsured people in Michigan, as well as extending additional benefits to lower income familes through insurance exchanges.

The implementation in 2014 also strikes denial of insurance to those patients with pre-exisiting illness. Families will continue to cover their adult children on family policies up to the age of 26.

By expanded coverage for uninsured and low-income patients, the act may help to provide economic relief to Henry Ford’s growing burden of uncompensated care.  In the past eight years uncompensated care at Henry Ford has doubled, from $111 million in 2003 to $210 million in 2011. Continue reading

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