The recent announcement of the restructuring plans for Munson Healthcare was touted to make healthcare more accessible for patients, but some nurses say they are concerned it might do the opposite.
Charlevoix, Grayling, Manistee and Frankfort’s Paul Oliver Hospital will all be converted to the community hospital model, which will focus on primary and outpatient care, like doctor’s visits.
Munson Healthcare Cadillac Hospital and Otsego Memorial Hospital in Gaylord will become regional hospitals, which will still focus on inpatient care.
For those kinds of procedures, patients will be sent to Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, which will now be the central hub for specialty care.
Jason Judd, who works in the medical procedure room as a nurse, said he and other nurses are worried the changes will make healthcare less accessible for some groups.
“With people being forced to drive one to two hours, they’re going to take time off of work. It could be a burden of money that they’re going to and their time,” said Judd.
But Laura Glenn, the Chief Operating Officer for Munson Healthcare said this will make healthcare more accessible.
“We’ve been able to use that virtual platform to expand access, and that’s a service where virtual actually has proven to work and allow for individuals who may not have been able to have in-person access, actually receive that care,” said Glenn.
Judd said part of the plan calls for a move to switch to more teleconferencing options, which may be difficult for those who aren’t tech savvy and the older population, but Glenn said Munson really do have the patients interest in mind.
“Our patients are asking for virtual options to receive care, and so we need to be able to provide those. And again, there are some specialties where we are almost entirely in-person for appointments,” said Glenn.
Judd said another concern is they did not receive any communication until right before the public did. Now they’re worried about how this might impact staffing-an area they’ve already been struggling with shortages.
Glenn said they did send out a communication Wednesday morning and there has been an ongoing dialogue about it.
“I don’t feel like Munson is listening to the concerns of the nurses about staffing, and I think that decisions are being made based on money and not and the quality of care,” said Judd.
Judd said they really want to make sure patients are getting the healthcare they deserve.
Glenn said this is a three year plan and the announcement was just the start.
“We announced kind of the broad plan and road map. and so there’s still a lot of work that we need to do. and this is now our opportunity to make sure our nurses and other members of our team are engaged in that planning process,” said Glenn.