Alliance Engages in Fight to Restore Funding for NM Rural Hospitals
As the legislature swings back into gear to tackle the state budget, the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance is engaging in an effort to restore funding for OB and prenatal services for rural northern Michigan hospitals.
Earlier this year when the Governor’s budget was proposed, funding was not included for rural hospitals to cover the cost of providing OB and prenatal services as it has been in years past. The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance submitted testimony before both the House and Senate community health appropriation subcommittees asking for legislators to reinstate funding for these critical services.
The Chamber Alliance believes that this is not simply a hospital or health care issue, but it is a community and economic development issue. Loss of this state funding means not only large hits to the budgets of hospitals engaged in providing delivery and prenatal services, but would likely mean the closure of at least two northern Michigan OB and prenatal units. Already over the last few years, at least two other hospitals in northern Michigan have been forced to stop these services. Currently, 12 out of the 21 counties in northern lower Michigan have no OB or hospital delivery services, meaning mothers and families are required to travel long distances, sometimes across multiple counties, in order to deliver a child or have access to prenatal or postnatal services.
What does this mean for business? As northern Michigan works to grow and thrive economically, we will need to attract some of the best talent this state has to offer. While we have access to some of the best quality of life in the state, it will be a strike against us if families and talented professionals realize they will not have access to basic prenatal or delivery services if and when they wish to start a family.
Young families are the future of northern Michigan’s economy. Whether they are born and raised here, or are thinking of moving here, we will need their skills, talent, and leadership. To keep and attract them, we will need good paying jobs and opportunities. We will also need critical services like delivery and prenatal care. Without it, we are just a place to visit.
You can help by calling Governor Snyder’s office: (517) 335-7858.