Gov. Whitmer Signs Executive Order Establishing Nursing Home Workforce Stabilization Council

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   

December 14, 2021   

Contact: Press@michigan.gov    

Gov. Whitmer Signs Executive Order Establishing Nursing Home Workforce Stabilization Council 

New council comprised of statewide leaders, nursing home workers, and employers dedicated to increasing staffing levels, supporting workforce development, promoting transparency 

LANSING, Mich. - Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order (EO) establishing the Michigan Nursing Home Workforce Stabilization Council (NHWSC). The council will be housed within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and comprised of state department directors, representatives from the nursing home workforce, representatives of nursing home employers, and nursing home residents. Their goal will be to identify review, develop, and recommend policies, administrative actions, legislative changes, and other approaches to support high-quality nursing home care.  

"The new Nursing Home Workforce Stabilization Council will bring in input from state leaders, nursing home workers, nursing home employers, and nursing home residents to put Michiganders first and recommend improvements to nursing home care," said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. "I look forward to working with them and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to continue finding ways to boost nursing home staffing, promote transparency, and ensure sustainable, high-quality care for all nursing home residents." 

"Workers know this industry best and we know what's needed to improve care, raise standards, and retain and attract workers to meet the needs of our communities," said Martha Nichols, a licensed nurse practitioner and nursing home worker of 36 years and Executive Board Member with SEIU Healthcare Michigan. "We've long raised our voices to demand the changes we need and we're thankful for Governor Whitmer's leadership in giving workers a meaningful voice in the decisions and conditions that impact us and our residents. By working together at the same table with employers and government, we can build a new path forward where residents, nursing home workers and our families and communities can all thrive."  

"The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges in our industry and underscored the need for all stakeholders to work together to finally address long-standing issues across our state," said Mark Berger, Principal at Villa Healthcare. "I applaud Governor Whitmer's leadership in bringing together operators, workers, and state officials to collaborate on comprehensive solutions to fix what's broken and build a more resilient nursing home industry. Through the Nursing Home Workforce Stabilization Council, we are committed to creating meaningful partnerships and dialogue to ensure our heroic front line workers are truly valued, heard, and compensated as heroes, and all those who are in need for skilled nursing care can count on our industry to be there for them." 

Nursing Home Workforce Stabilization Council 

Members 

  • Director or designated representative of the Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) 
  • Director of the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO), or a designated representative. 
  • Director or designated representative of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, or the director's designated representative from within that department. 
  • The Michigan State Long Term Care Ombudsman, or the ombudsman's designated representative from within that program. 
  • Five representatives of the nursing home workforce, appointed by the governor 
  • Five representatives of nursing home employers including at least one representative each of a not-for-profit nursing home employera for-profit nursing home employer, and a nursing home administered by a county government. 
  • Three representatives of nursing home residents, which may include family members and other representatives of residents. 

Goals 

  • Increase staffing levels across the industry, with particular focus on recruitment and retention 
  • Support workforce development and stabilization 
  • Develop career pathways, including credential attainment, and increase the professionalization of the work force 
  • Address barriers to entry and retention into the field 
  • Prioritize jobs that provide living wages and benefits 
  • Advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workforce 
  • Ensure the sustainability of quality care  
  • Promote transparency and accountability within the industry 

The executive order can be found here. 

To apply to the Nursing Home Workforce Stabilization Council visit Michigan.gov/appointments and select "Nursing Home Workforce Stabilization Council" from the drop menu of the application.  

Applications are due by Friday, January 7, 2022.   

Michigan's Nursing Homes through COVID-19 

Michigan put seniors first during the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Whitmer acted quickly, followed the science, and listened to experts to slow the spread of the virus in our communities. Michigan worked around the clock to secure PPE and required testing for residents and staff. The administration put nursing home residents and staff first when it came to vaccinations, vaccinating over 264,000 nursing home residents of all races across Michigan.  

Independent experts and senior advocates agreed that Michigan's nursing home policy was "right on," with the former head of the AARP praising the state's actions to keep Michiganders safe in nursing homes. An independent expert from the University of Michigan said that "found the governor's strategy to be reasonable and appropriate." 

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