Munson Healthcare

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

 

Phones ringing non-stop. Websites crashing. Appointment slots filled within hours. Eligible teachers, front line workers, and senior citizens in northern Michigan all want to know when they can get their COVID-19 vaccine.

Screen capture from Munson Virtual Press Conference

 

Three weeks after receiving its first COVID-19 vaccines, Munson Healthcare says 51.3% of eligible workers, more than 5,000 employees, have been scheduled or vaccinated as the hospital system moves to administering the second dose for some.

Taylor Wizner

Hospitals across northern Michigan say they have enough beds, ventilators and PPE for this surge in COVID cases — the most of the pandemic.

Their problem now is having the staff to care for these patients, especially as the virus spreads through communities and healthcare workers themselves fall ill.


Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Starting Wednesday, restaurants in Michigan are again limited to delivery and takeout, high school and college classes can only be online, and non-professional sports games are cancelled. That’s under an order from Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s public health director.

Taylor Wizner

 

Northwest lower Michigan is seeing a rapid rise in the number of COVID cases. Until recently, the region has largely avoided COVID spikes.

But as temperatures drop, residents are having to shift practices and behavior. 

In late May when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lifted the stay-at-home order for northern Michigan, Traverse City local Tyler Harkert braced for a rush of downstaters. 

Screenshot of the MI Safe Start Map on Sept. 24

 

Cases of COVID-19 in the Traverse City region have been declining this week and the percent of positive tests has also been decreasing.

 

  

 

But public health officials repeat the same refrain: don’t let your guard down. The pandemic is far from over and the upcoming flu season, in-person classes resuming and the cold pushing people in-doors — where risk is higher — remain top of mind.

 

Courtesy MUNSON HEALTHCARE

 

While COVID-19 cases continue to rise steadily in northern Michigan, Munson Healthcare is treating fewer patients and reports it has enough resources to treat those who need hospital care.

Courtesy of Munson Healthcare

 

Reversing the trend of many rural hospitals across the country, Munson Healthcare’s Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital is offering inpatient services to Benzie area residents again.

Taylor Wizner

 

Munson Healthcare says it will cut 25 administrative jobs, alter services and cut capital projects, as it deals with financial losses incurred during the pandemic.

Taylor Wizner

 

In the early days of the pandemic Munson Healthcare administrators were in a flurry of panic.

 

 


Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

  Last week, hospitals in the Detroit area reported being at full capacity.

 

The state asked hospitals to make room for any COVID-19 patients that might need to be transferred. It suggested hospitals to increase the number of Intensive Care Unit beds to 10 to 20 percent and prepare an emergency plan.

 

 

Now, some northern Michigan hospitals are making room for possible transfers.

 

Interlochen Public Radio

A Missaukee County man in his late 70s died this afternoon from COVID-19. 

The man was hospitalized at Munson Healthcare Cadillac Hospital on Tuesday for shortness of breath, according to District Health Department #10. He was tested for COVID-19 and results came back positive two days later.

Noelle Riley / Interlochen Public Radio

Health officials are worried about people traveling up north from downstate and other areas around the country to their second homes. 

Many are coming to northern Michigan to hunker down as the COVID-19 disease spreads in cities throughout the United States.

Health officials say they could be bringing the disease with them.

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS

Sunday night, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, confirmed there are now 53 cases of COVID-19 in Michigan

No cases have been reported in northern Michigan yet, but health officials say it's just a matter of time before the coronavirus hits northern Michigan.

Is northern Michigan prepared?

Munson Medical Center

 

 

Munson Healthcare is blocking visitors to its long-term care facilities and dialysis centers to protect vulnerable patients from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

 

McLaren Northern Michigan is also limiting one visitor per patient, unless the visitor appears ill or is under 18.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital is closing their maternity unit on May 31. Many residents criticized that plan at a town hall on Saturday.

Jessica Cracraft is 28 weeks pregnant and says she planned on giving birth at the hospital.

"I don't want to have to go to a new hospital. I don't want to have new nurses, and I don't want to have a new doctor," Cracraft said. "I only have 11 weeks left."

State Representative Jack O’Malley (R-Lake Ann) said the closure will make Manistee less attractive to young people.

BRIDGE MAGAZINE/MICHIGAN HEALTH & HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION

The hospital in Manistee will close their maternity unit on May 31. In a statement, the CEO of Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital James Barker says providing maternity services is a challenge for rural hospitals.

Munson Healthcare

Nurses at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City have their first labor contract. They reached a tentative agreement with the hospital last weekend.

Munson nurses, supporters march in TC

Sep 13, 2018
Aaron Selbig

Dozens of people marched in Traverse City Thursday night in support of nurses at Munson Medical Center. The nurses are bargaining with hospital management for their first labor contract.

Nurses and their supporters marched along Division Street wearing red T-shirts and waving signs with slogans like “Patients Over Profits” and “Safe Staffing Saves Lives.”

David Cassleman

Hospitals in northern Michigan are bracing for the chance that fewer people will have health insurance in the future. One local hospital leader says that could lead to higher costs for everyone.

Linda Stephan

Right now, if a children get sick in the Cadillac region, they can be hospitalized as an inpatient at Munson Healthcare Cadillac Hospital. Beginning in May, those kids will be sent to Munson Medical Center in Traverse City or Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids.

Leelanau County loses its only urgent care facility

Oct 18, 2016
Leelanau Urgent Care

The only urgent care facility in Leelanau County has closed. Leelanau Urgent Care in Suttons Bay shut its doors this month when owners Dave and Janice Lemak moved.

The Lemaks had run the facility for the last 14 years, according to the Leelanau Enterprise. They moved to Reno, Nevada.

Urgent care facilities typically treat patients who require immediate care, but don’t need an emergency room.

Michelle Klein with the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department says the facility will be missed.

Munson Healthcare

Lyn Jenks has served as CEO of Charlevoix Hospital since 2012. She announced her retirement last week.

Jenks has overseen many changes at the hospital. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the federal government views healthcare much differently, and that’s had a big impact on small, rural hospitals.

Munson Healthcare

New federal rules are changing the game for hospitals. Instead of just treating sick people who walk in the door, hospitals are now expected to help solve public health problems.

 

But while the federal government encourages this big-picture thinking, there’s not really much accountability. At least not yet.

 

 

Hospital consultant Ed Gamache says the health care industry is in the middle of a philosophical shift. Local non-profit hospitals are now expected to take the lead on issues of public health.

Linda Stephan

Leaders at Munson Healthcare say they have a final agreement to buy two more hospitals. Mercy Cadillac and Mercy Grayling are currently owned by a major Catholic health system based in Southeast Michigan, CHE Trinity Health.

  

    

The deal is expected to be final February 1st. For now leaders are keeping quiet about the purchase price and other financial details. The sale still needs approvals from the government and the Catholic Church.

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