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Crain’s Grand Rapids Business Brief

Crain's Grand Rapids Business

Mark Sanchez joins us to discuss:

-Great Lakes Cruise industry growth

-Increasing health care worker assault penalties

-Hospitals expanding mental health care capacity

Patrick Center: Wednesday afternoon, time for our bi-monthly conversation with Crain’s Grand Rapids senior writer Mark Sanchez. We've seen the cruise ships on the Great Lakes, but we're seeing more of them. Clearly there is demand in this market.

Mark Sanchez: There is, and this has been something that really started in the late 90's, I remember writing about it back then. And this story this week comes to us from our colleagues at Crain’s Detroit Business, looking at the Great Lakes cruising industry and it's growing. Last year more people than ever explored the Great Lakes by cruise ships. There was a record just in Detroit alone of 52 vessel dockings. We've seen them here on Lake Michigan as well, especially in Muskegon, coming in to port from time to time. They’ve proven popular. There are cruises that go from Toronto to Milwaukee or Toronto to Chicago. These are generally smaller vessels, so you're not on a vessel with thousands of people, it's hundreds of people. It's a growing industry, they’re bringing their boats into the Great Lakes. I remember writing a story many years ago that the Europeans are interested in the Great Lakes. We live here and we forget about what the Great Lakes represent, the largest freshwater body in the world. So this is an industry that's growing Viking Industries out of Switzerland, we see their ads on TV from time to time, they’ve got a boat here in the Great Lakes doing tours from the Upper Falls, Cleveland, Detroit, in to Lake, Michigan. And it's really a growing industry and kind of a niche part of the tourism industry here in Michigan.

PC: Well, here in West Michigan, the deep this port is Muskegon.

MS: Yeah and Muskegon has been getting its share of business. I’ve seen some social media postings lately of boats coming in and there are these cruise ships coming in and out of the Muskegon harbor, and it's a deep water port so we can accommodate these vessels. And again, these are not the massive vessels you see the big cruise lines in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, these are generally smaller vessels that fit well into the Great Lakes ports.

PC: We're talking with Crain’s Grand Rapids Business senior writer Mark Sanchez. Assault and assaulting health care workers. There are bills at the state Capitol that would raise the penalties for assaulting health care workers.

MS: Yeah, it's a real problem in the health care industry right now at the hospitals and ERs that was occurring already in the when the pandemic hit three and a half years ago. It's just escalated the number of incidents at hospitals, especially in the ERs which are high tense high anxiety are the settings anyway, then you add on what we've all navigated through over 3 years and the tempers flared, emotions get overblown and things happen and people lash out at nurses at doctors, the staff and the crew in the ER. So there's some legislation in the state house and cleared a House committee last week that will basically double penalties for assaulting a health care worker. Right now it's basically a misdemeanor for simple assault. The fund would go from 500 to $1000 per person who is convicted or pleads guilty to assaulting or battery a health care worker. That fine could also increase to one year in jail in $2000 if the incident occurs when a worker or or a volunteer at the hospital or setting was performing their duties if there's a weapon up to 4 years in prison and a $2000 fine. So it's something I've been hearing for quite a while, from the hospitals and the Michigan Health and Hospital Association. That there are significant increases over the last few years. The number of incidents assaults and violence, occurring in hospitals, occurring in ERs. And this is kind of the first step of the legislature to try to address it. And at least, you know, if you can’t reduce it or try to reduce, but at least making sure the people committing these acts certainly are adequately punished.

PC: We're talking with Crain’s Grand Rapids Business senior writer Mark Sanchez. Mental health. We're seeing an increasing capacity around mental health here in West and southwest Michigan.

MS: There are a number of projects underway here in this region. Western Michigan, southwestern Michigan. The latest is a bronson health care down in Kalamazoo is preparing to open new psychiatric hospital in Battle Creek that's open and expects to open in July for Opening Day and begin accepting patients. And this is where, as I said, one in the number of projects that were seeing as we've had this mental health crisis, higher incidence rates fall to more problems to seek assistance for a condition. And so we're seeing significant increases the last number of years in incidence rates. So you've got this facility, in battle creek coming online and I just got a rundown. We have the new facility, the Trinity Health Grand Rapids is building with, you know, that health services out of Pennsylvania. They broke from the smoke out of 46 million dollar 96, but that's Selfridge Behavioral Health Hospital in Barron Township next door to the Trinity Health campus there. Trinity Health is also working with network 180 the behavioral Health crisis unit at the main hospital campus. That's formally St. Mary’s here in Grand Rapids. So those are 2 significant projects. And you're also seeing Pine rest, Christian mental health services work with core health of all children's hospital on the new 86 million dollars pediatric behavior of Health's other town. They're in a couple of Bill. And then finally, DeVos Children's Hospital that is more bets with the children's novelist and impatience. Like, you know, it's it's taken a while. It's taken some time because you don't just launch and plan these projects quickly, of course, is Azari’s funding for it. But there is an increased capacity on the way we've seen. Again, we’ve seen these incidents rates rise for a number of years and we are seeing the care providers respond with greater capacity during the State.

PC: University of Michigan Health West, it has launched a portal that

tracks diversity, equity and inclusion among its suppliers and vendors.

MS: Yeah, this is a story I wrote last week for a Crains Grand Rapids business. Health West wants to better track to identify diversity among its suppliers and vendors. So it started this online portal for procurement initiative and it's working with the firm out of Dallas Vizient Inc, and it's really going to track and document data to make sure that the U of M health system health west is is really maintaining the diverse supply base among suppliers, vendors, contractors. And they're asking some questions of their vendors saying its all, too. Better tracking ensure that their diverse always said that the economy works for everybody or doesn't work. And this is one way U of M health west is seeking to achieve that goal.

PC: Crain’s Grand Rapids Business senior writer Mark Sanchez, thank you so much.

MS: Thank you, Patrick.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.
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