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Report: Oaklawn among Michigan hospitals boosting health-care access, funding, quality

MARSHALL – State residents and communities are receiving direct financial benefits through health-care improvements, according to a new report.

The report, “Michigan Hospitals: Prepared to Care,” was issued this month by the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA), of which Oaklawn Hospital is a member.

The report demonstrates the extent to which hospitals statewide are providing life-saving care, engaging and informing patients, improving patient safety and the quality of health care as well as educating future caregivers.

The report includes the state’s fiscal year 2015 budget deliberations in regard to adequate funding of small and rural hospitals, and state support of graduate medical education programs. Also included is a county-by-county breakdown focusing on health care’s impact on local communities during 2010, the year for which the most recent figures are available.

Calhoun County was shown to have 13,698 employees involved directly and indirectly in the health-care sector. Their total wages and salaries amounted to $714,195,771, the MHA reported.

Additionally, $189,626,941 was generated by federal, state and local tax revenue stemming from the health-care sector. The total impact thus generated by health care in Calhoun County amounted to nearly $893 million.

According to the report, Michigan hospitals are making advances in patient safety and health-care quality. Initiatives led by the MHA Keystone Center have saved thousands of lives and millions of dollars and have ensured that Michigan hospitals are among the nation’s safest.

For example, Consumer Reports magazine in May ranked Oaklawn Hospital as Michigan’s top-rated hospital for its overall updated patient-safety scores, and second-best in the nation.

Since 2007, Oaklawn has participated in several Keystone collaborative efforts, including projects focusing on surgery, obstetrics and intensive care.

The report stated Michigan hospitals continue to serve as the healthcare safety nets of their communities by caring for 1.9 million Medicaid beneficiaries and 1.2 million uninsured residents. In fiscal 2012, Michigan hospitals provided nearly $2.8 billion in community benefits.

Recent figures indicate the precise economic benefit generated by Oaklawn Hospital in Calhoun County. From April 1, 2011, through March 31, 2012, Oaklawn reported spending $19.1 million in its “community benefits” report to state officials, a requirement for hospitals to be tax-exempt charitable organizations under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service.

The precise figure translates to $1,588,392 per month – more than $52,000 per day.

The report also cited:

• Health care is Michigan’s leading source of private-sector jobs, providing more than 570,000 direct jobs to Michigan residents.

• Costs at Michigan hospitals ranked 6.5 percent below the national average in FY 2012, saving at least $500 million.

• Michigan hospitals have been instrumental in helping expand access to healthcare coverage to the uninsured.

“Hospitals are making a significant effort to care for patients, residents and communities throughout the state by improving care, reaching out to the chronically ill, preventing readmissions and eliminating inefficiencies,” said MHA President Spencer Johnson.

Based in Lansing, MHA represents all of Michigan’s community hospitals and advocates on behalf of hospitals and the patients and communities they serve. To learn more, visit www.mha.org.

Oaklawn employs approximately 1,000 people in Marshall, Homer, Bellevue, Battle Creek, Tekonsha, Albion and Olivet.

“Since its doors opened in 1925, Oaklawn Hospital has been a charitable institution, and remains dedicated to that purpose,” said Ginger Williams, Oaklawn’s President and CEO.  “Community support is a day-to-day habit at Oaklawn.”

Oaklawn-sponsored events, programs, assistance and charity care services provide screenings and education, focusing on preventive care. These activities include health fairs, flu-shot clinics, blood drives, seminars for senior citizens and teens as well as programs focusing on bereavement, cancer, mental health and nutrition.

More information about Oaklawn may be found online at www.oaklawnhospital.org.