Putting Michigan to Work and Building Stronger Communities

Julie Bitely

| 4 min read

African American female doctor treating child in hospital
Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of blog posts examining key factors that make the health care system in Michigan an example to follow. Today, we’re looking at the role health care plays in employment across the state. Read the first, second, and third posts in the series. Not only is the health care system in Michigan an example to look up to, it also provides a lot of jobs for Michigan families. According to a report from the Michigan Health & Hospital Association released earlier this year, Michigan health care organizations provided more than 578,900 jobs in 2013, about 223,000 of them in hospitals. The same report showed that health care pumps $33 billion into the Michigan economy through employee wages, salaries and benefits and about 19 percent of Michigan’s jobs are directly or indirectly related to or induced by health care. “Health care is the largest employer in our state,” explained Marianne Udow-Phillips, director of the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation (CHRT), a non-profit partnership between the University of Michigan and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM). The Detroit Medical Center employs more than 13,000 clinical and non-clinical health care workers. As Detroit’s largest employer and one of the country’s premier health care providers, the Detroit Medical Center is an economic driver of growth throughout southeastern Michigan. Its recent $850 million capital investment in facility infrastructure and community outreach programs has infused the region’s economy with hundreds of millions of dollars for recirculation. “It's very exciting to be in the middle of the continued revitalization of Michigan’s largest city. As a leader in the health care industry, we're proud to build a healthy and vibrant city that offers unique service initiatives for Michigan residents,” said Joe Mullany, CEO, Detroit Medical Center. It’s not just people with advanced degrees who benefit from health care jobs. Of Beaumont Health’s 35,000 employees, over half are in positions that don’t require college education, but do require certain skills, said CEO and President John Fox. He said the organization works to connect the dots for potential employees to jobs that exist and what it takes to get there, even helping applicants acquire the skills they need. Udow-Phillips said health care organizations are proactive in working with local community colleges to set up programs that address future employment needs in health care. “Attracting and retaining talent is important to the continuing resurgence of Detroit and critical for a healthy Michigan economy,” said Mullany. “The Detroit Medical Center works diligently to attract and retain the best and the brightest workers across all spectrums of health care.” “Health care doesn’t just produce a large number of middle class jobs, it strengthens communities,” said Robert Riney, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Henry Ford Health System. In fact, the same MHHA report showed that in fiscal year 2013, Michigan hospitals provided nearly $2.97 billion in community benefits to local residents, including more than $135 million in community health improvement services (immunizations, clinics, free/discounted prescriptions and counseling, health professions education, research, financial and in-kind contributions, and more); nearly $2.2 billion in unpaid and uncompensated patient care – including more than $1 billion in financial assistance at cost (charity care) and uncollectable funds (bad debt); and more. “Healthy people are more productive people,” Fox said. As wonderful as health care is in our state, it’s really patients who have the final say. They may not be aware of all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into making Michigan a leader in so many ways. They just want to be well and in some cases, might be feeling scared, alone, and confused. That’s where the people who work in health care come in. Riney said most have a real heart for working with people and that they make all the difference when it comes to patient care. “Patients don’t remember advancements. They remember the nurses and doctors who took care of them,” he said. “Those are the moments that people remember.” If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
Photo credit: COD Newsroom

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