A new law initiated by state Rep. Doug Wozniak designed to help employees in Michigan’s health care sector recover from traumatic events in the workplace, is benefitting health care workers working under stressful conditions in the COVID-19 era.
Wozniak’s measure – signed into law in March – established confidentiality and legal protections for health care employees receiving critical incident stress management (CISM) services. CISM is a voluntary intervention process designed to help individuals dealing with traumatic stress in the workplace, carried out by a response team of trained peers. It does not replace formal psychotherapy but has been proven to be an effective initial response for health care facilities.
“Since the Bronson Healthcare System identified its first patient with COVID-19 in March, the Bronson CISM team has been an integral and consistent source of support for employees on the frontlines,” said Amy Morrison-Maybee, Bronson CISM Team Coordinator. “In the last eight weeks alone, we have provided 209 CISM interventions that were directly related to the impact and effects of COVID-19. For perspective, the team facilitated 133 interventions for the entire year in 2019. This demonstrates the huge need for mental health resources right now.
“Our team rounds daily on our COVID units to offer staff support in real time. We also offer education on common stress reactions and symptoms of burnout as well as skills to help staff cope in a healthy manner and build resiliency. Staff have definitely benefitted from the support of the CISM team. I want to thank Rep. Wozniak for pushing forward legislation that ensures that healthcare workers throughout the state have access to vital mental health services.”
Wozniak said he has heard from several hospitals experiencing similar success as a result of the legislation.
“It’s heartwarming to receive this letter from Bronson Health and to know that this legislation that we created by working hand-in-hand with health care workers is making a difference, especially during this very difficult time,” Wozniak said.