Bits 'N Pieces Newsletter


September 2018 Print

President's Message

Kristen L. Rifenbark, MSA, CPHRM, CPPS, FASHRM, 2018-2019 MSHRM President

Welcome to the MSHRM 2018-2019 year! As your elected president, I would like you to know that I am here to serve you, our MSHRM membership, in any way that I can. Having been with MSHRM for six years, I can confidently say that this organization and, more specifically, the people that make up this organization are the finest in the world.

While I’ve been with MSHRM for six years, our organization has been around for 40 years! Imagine the wealth of information, education, stewardship, mentorship and friendships that have flourished in that time! It is almost unfathomable to think of that when you consider just how much magic occurs in a year’s timeframe, let alone 40 years!

I’m looking forward to celebrating MSHRM’s 40th anniversary with current and past members. Our Board and all of our Committees are energized and in the planning stages for some pretty awesome ways to celebrate at our programs this year. Have some ideas? Want to help out? Join a committee!

When I first joined a committee, I was new to Risk Management and aspiring to advance in my organization. I was young and eager. What I quickly learned by joining the Education Committee was that it was relatively easy to “advance through the ranks” at MSHRM, whereas that isn’t always the case in your career. I can definitely attribute my professional success thus far to the knowledge that I’ve gained through my involvement with MSHRM. Even better, I can confidently say that my organization’s patients have benefited greatly from my MSHRM membership. That is truly rewarding.

With that, I’d like to wish you all a Happy 40th MSHRM Anniversary! If I can serve you in any way, please feel free to reach out to me or to any Board Member or Committee Chair. Thank you!

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Government Issues Committee Update

José Brown and Jean Sieler, Government Issues Committee Co-Chairs

Legislative Update

Prepared by Richard Joppich

The following are just a few of the healthcare related bills and recent laws enacted mid-2018 for your consideration and/or, in some circumstances, amusement.

No More Sanatoriums for Treating Tuberculosis

HB 5884 of 2018 - Enacted into law 6/29/2018, repealing long-standing laws for sanatoriums treating tuberculosis.  However, it remains illegal to walk your alligator in Detroit, or so we’ve heard...

Crime for Assaulting Health Professionals and Volunteers Bill

HB 6203 of 2018 was introduced in June of 2018.  It amends an existing law to make it a felony to assault, batter, wound, or endanger a health professional or medical   volunteer in the performance of their duties.  The penalties are scalable based on the severity of the injury.  The hospital, hospital system, healthcare provider or health professional may elect to report a violent act to local law enforcement if the act was by an individual with a disability or disease and the act was a direct manifestation of the health condition.  It is uncertain if this provides a safe harbor from HIPAA or immunity from violations of physician-patient confidentiality in general, as they are not referenced in this bill.  There is no definition of what constitutes a ”violent act,” leaving some ambiguity on the conduct required to permit reporting to law enforcement in such cases.  The bill remains in the Committee on Law and Justice.

Remote Notarization coming March 2019

‎Tuesday, ‎July ‎03, ‎2018 - MCL 55.275 was amended to allow notaries to act remotely and not in person under certain circumstances.  The means of doing this requires the use of an approved identity proofing process or service that is part of a remote electronic notarization platform.  March 2019, is the target for approval of such platforms in Michigan. This may assist in notarizing patient directives if and when needed.

Rural Hospital Funding Bill

HB 5934 of 2018, enacted into law 6/26/2018, provides for not less than $26.0 million of the General Fund/General Purpose (GF/GP) appropriation for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to be used to support a rural hospital access pool to assist sole community hospitals, critical access hospitals, and rural hospital services to low-income residents.

Music Therapist Licensing Bill 

HB 6197 of 2018 considers requiring licensure for music therapists. 


If you hear of any new or recent legislation that you would like to see presented here, please let us know.

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Congratulations to MSHRM Member Achieving ASHRM Designations

Distinguished Fellow of the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management (DFASHRM):

Christopher Allman, JD, CPHRM, DFASHRM
Director of Risk Management, Compliance & Insurance, Garden City Hospital 

Fellow of the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management (FASHRM):

Denise Winiarski, JD, CPHRM, FASHRM
Associate General Counsel, University of Michigan

Kristen Rifenbark, MSA, CPHRM, CPPS, FASHRM
Risk, Document & Patient Safety Coordinator, Scheurer Hospital

To achieve ASHRM designations of Distinguished Fellow or Fellow, ASHRM members must meet specific criteria for academic/professional designation, continuing education, risk management employment experience and contributions to the field of healthcare risk management through leadership, lecturing and publishing. Each candidate must submit a comprehensive application with documentation of their achievements to meet either the DFASHRM or FASHRM criteria.  The ASHRM Board reviews applications for compliance with the criteria and grants designations to successful applicants.

Congratulations to Chris, Denise, and Kristen on your achievements!!!

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Vendor Sponsorship & Exhibition Opportunities

MSHRM’s Vendor Sponsorship Program offers the ideal opportunity to connect with healthcare leaders from across Michigan.

Through sponsorship, your organization will benefit from networking opportunities, key visibility, and be honored for enabling MSHRM to provide valuable educational resources and programs at an affordable cost for our members and guests. Your contribution will help provide safer healthcare across Michigan!

Click here for details of our suggested sponsor levels and opportunities. Contact Nichole Dennis, Chapter Administrator, at or 616.755.8488 with any questions.

Thank you to the following organizations for continued support of MSHRM.


($2,750 and higher)

  • Aon
  • Coverys
  • Kitch Attorneys & Counselors
  • Michigan Professional Insurance Exchange (MPIE)
  • Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge


($500 to $1,749)

  • Grant Settlements, LLC
  • Michigan Health & Hospital Association
  • RCO Law

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The Illusion of Control

Do you ever feel out of control? Do you ever feel that when you’re in control, you’re really not?

In 2014, I took a tumble on my motorcycle. I use the word “tumble” because it sounds less threatening than wrecked, crashed, or wrapped around a tree. But perhaps that’s just my way of ignoring that I wrecked or crashed….near a tree.

It’s the second motorcycle accident I’ve had.

The first occurred in 2009 when the uninsured driver of a pickup truck pulled in front of me. I avoided the truck but not the gravel on the side of the road. The bike was totaled and I got ten stitches in my chin but in the big scheme of things, it was a minor accident.

So, I got back on the horse and felt relatively comfortable riding again. Since I knew how the accident happened, I felt sure I could pay closer attention in the future and avoid idiots like the uninsured truck driver.

In retrospect, I see that I may have been operating under the illusion of control. Similar to a magician’s use of sleight of hand, the illusion of control relies on sleight of mind.

My second motorcycle accident occurred on Father’s Day. I had just left the Blue Ridge Parkway for some fantastically twisty roads near my home. It was a beautiful day and I remember thinking how lucky I was that I now live in one of the best motorcycling areas in the country. Unfortunately, that was the last thing I remember.

Apparently, at about 5:00 p.m., I was found standing in a ditch next to my upright motorcycle. The passerby said that when he asked me what happened, I wasn’t making much sense. A number of family members and friends have pointed out that in my case, that’s not conclusive evidence that something is wrong.

The kind man loaded me into his truck and took me to a nearby general store where he placed me in a rocking chair while he called the rescue squad. For the record, a rocking chair is therapeutic on many levels. It’s called the Cracker Barrel Effect.

The EMT’s arrived and evaluated me. I had serious road rash on my elbows and legs and my helmet suggested a bump on the head. As a result, I was unable to retain new information for more than two seconds. Yet, I refused to be transported to the hospital. I was, however, able to retrieve the phone numbers for my wife and sister so the EMT’s called on them for backup. (I suspect that is why Apple is the richest company on earth. I didn’t know who I was but I could work my iPhone.)

About an hour later, my wife and sister showed up. The EMT’s asked my wife if she thought I was acting normal.

She said, “No.”

However, she did convince me to go to the hospital where I was treated and released a few hours later.

Today, I have no recollection of the accident. There is a five-hour gap in my memory and I am unable to piece together what happened. Losing that memory is not only frustrating, it feels like I lost control before, during, and after the accident. Clearly, my mind had a mind of its own.

But upon further reflection, I wonder if I was ever really in control to begin with? The more I think about it, the more I realize how much of our lives is out of our control.

For instance, I can’t control my health. I can’t control what my children do. I can’t control whether my wife loves me. And I certainly can’t control whether someone pulls in front of me on the highway.

So, do we have any control over our future?

As a motivational-inspirational-humorvational speaker, it’s hard for me to consider that we can’t control our future. In fact, the business and personal development industry is based on believing that we are in control.

Indeed, we live in a society obsessed with having control. We believe that if we know why someone is murdered, then we can avoid a similar fate. We believe that if we know why someone got divorced, we can avoid a strained marriage. And we believe that if we know how to erase our wrinkles, we can avoid getting older.

But I believe these beliefs are just illusions of control.

So, how are we supposed to function if we really don’t have control? Are we supposed to give up and just let the world happen to us?

I don’t think so.

I believe we do have control over some things. For instance, I have control over what I eat and how often I exercise. I have control over how I express love and discipline to my children. I have control over how I treat my wife. We have choices every day that can lead to good outcomes. But we just don’t have control over everything and trying to control the uncontrollable is ineffective and leads to frustration.

For what it’s worth, I sold my motorcycle one year after my accident. While I could not control other drivers, I could control whether I put myself in their path. It was a loss to no longer ride the fantastically twisty roads but the right choice for me.

The bottom line is this: It’s disheartening to find out we don’t have as much control as we thought. On the other hand, if we realize we never had it to begin with, and we can accept that reality, maybe we didn’t lose as much as we thought.

© 2017 Ron Culberson.  Shared with permission.

Ron Culberson, MSW, CSP, CPAE is a speaker, humorist, and author of four books including Do it Well. Make it Fun. The Key to Success in Life, Death, and Almost Everything in Between. His mission is to change the workplace culture so that organizations are more productive and staff are more content. He shows people how to have more FUN while preserving the integrity of the work they do and the lives they lead.  For more information, visit

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2018/2019 Board of Directors & Committee Chairs

2018-2019 Board & Committee Chairs

Front Row (L to R): Richard Joppich (Sponsorship Committee Co-Chair), Vanessa Mulnix (Secretary), Jennifer Thorn (Education Committee Co-Chair), Kristen Rifenbark (President), Rachel Grant (President-Elect/Treasurer), Molly Nolan (Director), Phyllis Clark (Communication Committee Co-Chair), Heather Schragg (Director)

Back Row (L to R): William Krueger (Director/Sponsorship Committee Co-Chair), Karen Stein (Director/Awards Committee Chair), Kathy Schaefer (Education Committee Co-Chair), Kathy Early (Chair of Council of Past Presidents), Joslyn Iafrate (Membership Committee Co-Chair), Rebecca Luna (Communication Committee Co-Chair), Saulius Polteraitis (Membership Committee Co-Chair), Jose Brown (Director/Government Issues Committee Chair)

Not pictured: Jean Sieler (Government Issues Committee Co-Chair), Jenna Wright Greenman (Past-President)

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Upcoming Events

Fall Program
Tuesday, October 2, 2018 9 a.m.—4 p.m.
Henry Center for Executive Development, Lansing

Spring Program
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
9 a.m.—4 p.m.
Henry Center for Executive Development, Lansing

40th Anniversary Annual Meeting
Wednesday, May 22—
Friday, May 24, 2019
Grand Traverse Resort, Acme

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