August 2019 Print

President's Message

Welcome to our MSHRM Community! Thank you for taking a moment to visit our website! 

Our collective reflections on the evolution of our organization – and of healthcare risk management as a whole – during MSHRM’s 40th Anniversary Celebration in May led me to wonder what we’ll witness over the next 40 years. While I don’t have a crystal ball, one thing I know for sure is that MSHRM will be at the forefront of this everchanging field! 

One of the reasons I am confident of this is that, in addition to serving as our Chapter’s president, I am also a member of MSHRM’s Education Committee. During the Committee’s monthly conference calls, I am always struck by a couple of things:

  1. The vast collective knowledge base of our MSHRM members. I wouldn’t even attempt to guess at the total number of risk management years’ experience of the education committee, let alone the entirety of the MSHRM membership, but I do know that the spectrum of knowledge within both is stunning. One would think that the well of great ideas for education programs would run dry after 40 years, but that is just not the case! The ongoing creativity of the Education Committee continues to successfully produce the education forums that gives each of us at least one new takeaway from each meeting.  The Committee’s commitment to quality education programs also attracts the interest of and attendance by non-members, which in turn leads to the continuing growth of our membership and all the new faces we see at every meeting.
  2. The desire of MSHRM members to serve and to share. MSHRM members are inspired to share their knowledge and experiences with the risk management community at large. Not only do the Education Committee members help find interesting presenters with relevant knowledge, many of our members are sought-after speakers themselves on the national scene.

I really could go on and on about my fellow Education Committee members and its two co-chairs, but alas, my space here is limited! Suffice to say that you should plan on availing yourself of the 2019-2020 Fall, Spring and Annual Meetings, as well as the Winter Webinar.

One of my goals as the MSHRM president is to highlight each of our Committees on our website, so be sure to visit our website again soon! In the meantime, please check out what the various Committees are up to this year and consider volunteering to share your own wealth of experience!

I hope you’re looking forward to the Fall Meeting on October 1 as much as I am! And, please, if we haven’t yet had the opportunity to become acquainted, I hope you’ll introduce yourself so that we can rectify that!

Enjoy the rest of your summer and stay tuned!

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Register Now for Fall Program

Register now for the MSHRM Fall Program at The seminar will take place on Tuesday, October 1, 2019 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Henry Center for Executive Development in Lansing. The MSHRM Education Committee has put together a day full of exciting topics such as human trafficking and sexual misconduct allegations. Applicable tools will be shared to enhance your risk skill set. Come and hear Dr. Jeffrey Barrows from Ohio and Michaela Poizner, JD from Nashville, Tennessee speak on these important risk management topics. A complete agenda will be available on the MSHRM website in the coming weeks.

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Pending Michigan Legislation

Provided by Richard Joppich on behalf of the Government Issues Committee

Below is a brief overview of a few of the key legislative bills, which may impact healthcare, pending in the Michigan House or Senate. For more information, please feel free to contact the Government Issues Committee or myself.

Criminal Felony for Assault in E.R.

SB 0080 2019 would create a felony for assaulting any of the following: emergency room personnel, including, physicians, nurses, intake clerks, and any other individual employed in the E.R., O.R., or trauma center of a hospital.

Bona Fide Prescriber-Patient Relationship

S.B. 0128 (2019) has now passed both houses and has been signed into law defining what is required to established a bona fide prescriber-patient relationship for prescription of opioids. The requirements are:

(1) “Bona fide prescriber-patient relationship” means a treatment or counseling relationship between a prescriber and a patient in which both of the following are present:

(a) The prescriber has reviewed the patient’s relevant medical or clinical records and completed an assessment of the patient’s medical history and current medical condition, including a relevant medical evaluation of the patient   conducted in person or through telehealth as that term is defined in section 16283.

(b) The prescriber has created and maintained records of the patient’s condition in accordance with medically accepted standards.

Requirement of Staffing Plans for Nurses

SB 0159 of 2019 would mandate specific precise nursing rations be maintained in each hospital department.  This bill remains in the Health Policy Committee as does the less stringent House bill which provides only for maintaining records of actual direct care registered professional nurse-to-patient ratios in each unit for each shift, and maintain that record for not less than 3 years. The record would require the identity and duty hours of each nurse assigned to each patient in each unit on each shift.

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Distinguished Service Award

This award is granted to individuals whose activity(s) or contribution is beyond the norm, which is of notable benefit to MSHRM. If you know of a MSHRM member or nonmember that fits this description, consider nominating them for this prestigious award. As the saying goes, “Gratitude is the open door to abundance.” Help MSHRM and its most important assets (its members) thrive in abundance. You can find the Nomination Form on MSHRM’s website at

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MHA Quality & Safety Symposium

Registration is now open for the MHA Safety & Quality Symposium. It will take place on September 26, 2019 at the Detroit Marriott Troy.

The annual MHA Safety & Quality Symposium brings national experts to MHA members and draws hundreds of attendees each year. This year’s symposium will focus on caring for caregivers and current healthcare priorities in Michigan, and its agenda has been condensed to one day to make it easier for clinical teams to attend.

Keynote speaker Amy C. Edmondson, Novartis professor of leadership and management at the Harvard Business School, will outline the importance of psychological safety in creating a safe environment. Additional speakers include Eric      Alberts, CEM, corporate manager, emergency preparedness, at Orlando Regional Medical Center, and Dayna Bowen Matthew, JD, PhD, distinguished professor of law, professor of public health sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville.

For more information on the symposium, visit or contact Erin Steward at [email protected] Questions about registration should be directed to Janice Jones at [email protected]

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Vendor Sponsorship & Exhibition Opportunities

MSHRM’s Vendor Sponsorship and Exhibition Program offers the ideal opportunity to connect with over 250 healthcare leaders from across Michigan including healthcare risk managers, patient safety officers, quality assurance professionals, attorneys, insurance professionals, risk management consultants, and others involved in healthcare risk management and patient safety.

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!

Visit for complete details of our suggested sponsor levels and opportunities. Contact MSHRM at [email protected] or 616.755.8488 with any questions.

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Congratulations to MSHRM past-president and long-time member, Chris Allman, JD, CPHRM, DFASHRM, on becoming an elected Board Member of the American Society for Health Care Risk Management (ASHRM) for the 2020-2022 term. Chris is Director of Risk Management, Compliance and Insurance for Garden City Hospital.


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Using Humor as a Stress Intervention Tool

This is the second of two articles on stress management. In this article, Ron Culberson discusses the use of humor to intervene in the stress management process. Access the first article which discusses the stress process in the January 2019 Bits ‘n Pieces Newsletter.

Previously, I discussed the “process” of how we experience stress which explained that the effects of stress on us are determined by a combination of our interpretation of the stressor, our reaction to it and how we cope with that reaction. This is the formula:

IMPACT OF STRESS = Stressor + Our Interpretation + Our Reaction + How We Cope

Below, I’ll show you how humor can intervene at any point along the way.

Fixing The Interpretation with Humor

The majority of stress is caused by our interpretation of the “importance” of a particular stressor. Since interpretation is a mental process and since we can control our mental processes, there is no reason why we can’t use humor to positively affect our interpretations – even when we think that the stress is out of our control like the weather, the stock market and our reaction to the idiots who cut us off in traffic. The key to controlling how stress affects us is to allow ourselves the benefit of a split second delay between the stressor and our interpretation so as to care-fully ponder the situation at hand before our auto-pilot reactions kicks in.

Consider the following phrases:

“You always say that”

“It figures”


“I expected as much”

“Don’t make me come over there”

These are all examples of pre-programmed reactions to situations in which we expect to be stressed. Wouldn’t be great if we could break the cycle and never reach the stress part? Let’s practice.

Imagine a situation that usually causes you stress. Break it down into the stressor and your interpretation of the stressor. What is your typical interpretation? How can you change that interpretation to something funny? Consider these two examples:

Example 1

Stressor: A driver cuts you off on the highway.

Possible interpretation:

The other driver is inconsiderate, self centered and does not care about anyone but herself. In other words, she does not care about you.

Possible change to your interpretation:

The other driver has a pea sized brain and because she was trying the impossible job of multitasking (which is highly challenging for Pea Brains), she spilled Big Mac special sauce on her designer business suit and didn’t see you because the more she tried to wipe it off, the more the impenetrable trans fat in the sauce spread itself across the material of her suit.

Example II

Stressor: Every line you stand in takes longer than any other line.

Possible interpretation:

God, Mother Nature, and the Universe are out to make your life more miserable than anyone else’s.

Possible change to your interpretation:

You have magical powers that can make any line you stand in slow down. Instead of complaining, try to use your powers to make your weight gain or your spouse’s complaining slow down.

See how this works? It’s important to remember that these “new” interpretations are always thought in your head but never said out loud - or else you may experience a greater stress than the original stressor.

Fixing Our Reactions

Once, while in an airport during a weather delay, I noticed a man who stormed to the ticket counter every time the agent announced another delay. Mr. Angry was so worked up, a large vein started to protrude from his head. Normally, I would never add to someone else’s stress but this guy was starting to annoy me. So, the next time I called my wife to let her know my latest arrival plans, I said in a voice loud enough for Mr. Angry to hear, “Yeah, they just said we’re going to be delayed another hour.”

Immediately, Mr. Angry rushed to the ticket counter to express his displeasure. We weren’t really delayed; I just wanted to do a bit of social research by being a stressor and watching him react. I had also run out of reading material and was a bit bored.

Nonetheless, it proved my point.

Your reaction to any particular stress interpretation can either raise or lower the amount of stress you ultimately experience. If you “wig out,” you’re more likely to feel more stress. If you seek a calm “happy place,” you’re more likely to avoid a stress meltdown. May I recommend the latter for avoiding neurotic disasters and myocardial infarctions? (Note: I’m not a physician but I do enjoy saying “infarction.”)

Next time you make a stressful interpretation of a situation, consider using humor to calm your reaction down. Once you feel the effects of the stress (rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms, double vision, headache, knot in your stomach, temptation to hurt other people, animals, or amusement park characters), do something like the following:

  • Think of your favorite jokes until the joke-laughter cycle reduces the effects of the stress.
  • If near your computer, go online and look for jokes, humor articles, funny videos, etc. Any article on Paris Hilton or Brittany Spears should also make you feel lucky, well adjusted, and much more comfortable.
  • Keep a humorous book with you or easily accessible so that you can read a chapter whenever you experience stress reactions.
  • Find a colleague and ask him/her to share a joke, funny story or embarrassing moment with you. Hopefully, they’ll tell you something you can use at a future staff meeting.
  • Keep a file of funny emails, photos, cartoons, etc. and refer to it when you’re feeling stress.
  • Tell someone about the stress but try to exaggerate your story so that it makes both of you laugh.

By engaging your mind with humor you will not only distract yourself from the stress, your laughter will also help to dissipate the physical feelings of stress.

Coping With Humor

We use coping mechanisms during good times and stressful times. If we practice healthy coping mechanisms when things are going well, we’re more likely to benefit from them when things are not so good. In fact the regular use of healthy stress management techniques may help us avoid stress altogether.

Consider getting into a regular routine of using healthy humor so that you can employ it as stress management technique when things get out of control.

Here are some healthy humor habits:

  • Get a daily dose of humor by reading the comics, watching sitcoms, reading books by humorists, reading funny magazines, etc. A laugh a day, gathers no moss (or something like that).
  • Look for the humor that’s all around you. Watch people doing funny things. Pay attention to your kids’ humor. Look for funny signs. Read the paper with an eye out for funny or strange headlines.
  • Keep a file of funny things that make you laugh. Look through the file on a regular basis.
  • Associate with other funny people. The more you’re around it, the more it will rub off on you.

There are many ways to manage stress but the vast majority of us are not adept at any of them. If you find it hard to focus on these “standard” stress management techniques, try using humor as a fun way to stay sane. To me, it’s like finding out that chocolate cures cancer – it’s a fun way to do something valuable.

© 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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