Michigan's healthcare industry is seeking a bailout as financial pressures grow and hospital beds continue to fill with children suffering from the respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.
The Michigan Health and Hospital Association is pursuing unallocated American Rescue Plan Act funds and an allocation from the state general fund to stabilize the industry, John Karasinski, director of communications for the Lansing industry group, told Crain's in an email.
The state is sitting on $750 million in unallocated ARPA funding and about a $3 billion budget surplus in the general fund.
"We are pursuing potential additional funding through the state legislature to continue to address these needs, particularly when our children's hospitals are stressed to capacity due to limited staffing and a surge of children visiting the emergency department with respiratory illnesses," Karasinski said in an emailed statement.
Hospitals are facing a massive surge in RSV among young children and are running out of beds for them.
On Thursday, the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor sent out a statement urging parents to speak with their child's primary care physician before taking them to the emergency room. The hospital said its pediatric beds were 100 percent full, with a 46 percent increase in RSV cases being treated over 2021.
The surge has left children in the emergency department for non-RSV-related problems waiting for "several hours," the hospital said in a news release.
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Two weeks ago, Corewell Health East, formerly Beaumont Health, said it was also nearly out of pediatric beds across its eight hospitals. The system was quickly transferring adult intensive care unit beds to be used by children with RSV.
"Many health systems across the nation would benefit from receiving ARPA funding to help offset industry-wide financial challenges created by the pandemic, labor pressures and inflation," a spokesperson for Corewell Health East said in an email. "We are working with the MHA and other health systems to explore opportunities to receive ARPA funds."