Robin Erb

Robin Erb, who leads health coverage for Michigan Health Watch, believes it is our personal stories that keep us connected on common ground, whatever the break-neck fragmentation of a digital world. A long-time journalist, Robin previously spent six years at the Detroit Free Press chronicling the fight against —and sometimes the triumph over— our most horrific diseases. Her award-winning stories chronicled the battle over the Affordable Care Act, state expansion of Medicaid, cutting-edge research led by Michigan’s hospitals and universities, deadly mistakes and extraordinary care in Michigan’s nursing homes, and a nearly forgotten mix-up of chemicals in cattle feed in the 1970s and its lingering effects today. She holds bachelor’s degrees in communications and political science from Miami University and a master’s in organizational leadership from Lourdes University (Toledo, Ohio). You can contact Robin at rerb@bridgemi.com or 734-725-1155.

Articles

Coronavirus cases rising again in Michigan. That may not be bad news.

Coronavirus cases rising again in Michigan. That may not be bad news.

April 24, 2020 | Robin Erb, Mike Wilkinson, Brie Zeltner

For much of April, coronavirus cases dropped consistently in Michigan. They are jumping upward again in the past few days as cases spread outstate. But experts also attribute the rise to more testing.

A doctor, a miracle baby, and the fight to save dying coronavirus patients

A doctor, a miracle baby, and the fight to save dying coronavirus patients

April 23, 2020 | Robin Erb

More than 40 years ago, a dying newborn and a doctor who ended up at the University of Michigan helped set the course for technology that today may be the last chance at survival for some COVID-19 patients.

Detroit’s Henry Ford joins coronavirus red ink, furloughs 2,800 workers

Detroit’s Henry Ford joins coronavirus red ink, furloughs 2,800 workers

April 22, 2020 | Robin Erb, Kelly House

The Detroit-based hospital system is the latest in a string of medical providers to announce deep staff cuts as the coronavirus pandemic dries up revenue streams.

Beaumont to lay off 2,475, eliminate 450 Michigan jobs due to coronavirus

Beaumont to lay off 2,475, eliminate 450 Michigan jobs due to coronavirus

April 21, 2020 | Robin Erb

Beaumont Health, the state’s largest health system, blamed the dramatic cuts on losses incurred during the pandemic, which forced it to cut revenue-generating procedures to handle the surge. CEO temporarily cuts his own pay 70 percent.

Michigan needs big boost in coronavirus testing to reopen economy

Michigan needs big boost in coronavirus testing to reopen economy

April 21, 2020 | Brie Zeltner , Robin Erb

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is under enormous pressure to loosen an economic lockdown by May 1. But by any national standard, the state must significantly improve COVID-19 testing to safely reopen for business.

Wary of hospitals during coronavirus, some Michigan moms turn to midwives

Wary of hospitals during coronavirus, some Michigan moms turn to midwives

April 17, 2020 | Robin Erb

Midwives, mostly paid out of pocket, say they could serve more women and better respond to a long-term pandemic if insurance companies would cover home deliveries.

As Michigan fights coronavirus, hospitals gush money and workers lose jobs

As Michigan fights coronavirus, hospitals gush money and workers lose jobs

April 16, 2020 | Jennifer Dixon, Detroit Free Press, Robin Erb, Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press

From metropolitan health systems to independent rural hospitals, hospital budgets are taking big financial hits as surgeries and other money making medical procedures are put on hold.

Detroit Medical Center to furlough 480 employees during coronavirus crisis

Detroit Medical Center to furlough 480 employees during coronavirus crisis

April 15, 2020 | Robin Erb

The eight-hospital system, like others, blames the cancellation of more lucrative non-emergency procedures during the COVID-19 surge for its cash-flow problems. It did not say what workers are affected.

Beaumont sidelines one hospital site as coronavirus surge stalls

Beaumont sidelines one hospital site as coronavirus surge stalls

April 14, 2020 | Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, Robin Erb

That slowing of coronavirus cases has prompted the state's largest hospital system to reassess staffing and space.

Michigan Medicine: 22,000 coronavirus surgical masks from feds don’t work

Michigan Medicine: 22,000 coronavirus surgical masks from feds don’t work

April 14, 2020 | Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, Robin Erb

The Ann Arbor-based health system said 2,000 of the masks were distributed to health workers but were found to be unusable, so they are not using any of them. This follows similar mask complaints from Alabama and Oregon.

Testing immunity to coronavirus may help Michigan open for business sooner

Testing immunity to coronavirus may help Michigan open for business sooner

April 13, 2020 | Robin Erb

Serologic studies are being launched in at least three hospital systems to identify those with immunity to COVID-19 after surviving the virus. Such data can inform business openings and patient treatment. 

Coronavirus moves Michigan doctor visits online, for good and bad

Coronavirus moves Michigan doctor visits online, for good and bad

April 12, 2020 | Robin Erb, Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press

Insurers have loosened restrictions and boosted benefits to extend telemedicine as never before.

Detroit Medical Center laying off 60 amid coronavirus; McLaren eyes furloughs

Detroit Medical Center laying off 60 amid coronavirus; McLaren eyes furloughs

April 10, 2020 | Jennifer Dixon, Detroit Free Press, Robin Erb

As the coronavirus decimates hospital revenues, the Detroit Medical Center notifies 60 lab assistants and more they are being laid off, while McLaren is exploring cost-cutting measures and furloughs.

Beaumont has 1,500 workers with coronavirus symptoms, including 500 nurses

Beaumont has 1,500 workers with coronavirus symptoms, including 500 nurses

April 6, 2020 | Robin Erb

The numbers at Beaumont Health, Michigan’s largest hospital system, are the latest reminder of the dangers facing hospital workers in metro Detroit.

Intensive care nurse in Flint dies of the coronavirus

Intensive care nurse in Flint dies of the coronavirus

April 6, 2020 | Robin Erb, Ashley Wong

The latest death underscores the danger and anxiety for health care workers on Michigan’s front lines as the virus spreads through the state.

Nurses say Detroit hospital told them to leave after coronavirus protest

Nurses say Detroit hospital told them to leave after coronavirus protest

April 6, 2020 | Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, Robin Erb

Night-shift nurses staged a protest at the hospital over heavy patient caseloads that they said were dangerous. Hospital officials asked the nurses to leave, they said.

Beaumont chief blasts Michigan for lack of hospital data during coronavirus

Beaumont chief blasts Michigan for lack of hospital data during coronavirus

April 5, 2020 | Robin Erb

Beaumont Health CEO John Fox faults the state for not forcing hospitals to share real-time data on available resources at other hospitals when patient counts surge, leaving patients to wait hours to be transferred. 

Inside Michigan hospitals, a ‘crushingly hard’ week in coronavirus fight

Inside Michigan hospitals, a ‘crushingly hard’ week in coronavirus fight

April 5, 2020 | Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, Robin Erb

In the toughest week yet in Michigan's fight against coronavirus, hospital workers share their fears, anxieties and triumphs of treating patients and ensuring they don't bring the highly contagious virus home to their loved ones. "You don't know what you're walking into, and you don't know if you'll be able to walk away without being sick, yourself," one says.

Michigan’s COVID-19 death toll is undercounted. So some want to test the dead.

Michigan’s COVID-19 death toll is undercounted. So some want to test the dead.

April 4, 2020 | Robin Erb

Assumptions, a lack of testing, and false negatives lead to an unclear tally of COVID-19 deaths. A Detroit effort might change that.

Could hydroxychloroquine stop coronavirus? Detroit is first in nation for study

Could hydroxychloroquine stop coronavirus? Detroit is first in nation for study

April 2, 2020 | Robin Erb

Participants will receive either an antimalarial drug or a placebo in a first-of-its size trial by Henry Ford Health System, in an attempt to halt a deadly virus decimating Detroit and the world.

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