Michigan Academy of Physician Assistants Addresses Legislative Policy Panel

Posted on May 31, 2019

Kenneth M. Gorney (left), physician assistant in psychiatry, Sparrow Health System, Lansing, and Thadd Gormas, executive director, Michigan Academy of Physician Assistants, Ann Arbor, discuss how physician assistants help support behavioral healthcare during a presentation before the MHA Legislative Policy Panel.On May 23, the MHA Legislative Policy Panel convened its last meeting of the program year and developed recommendations for the MHA Board of Trustees on legislative initiatives impacting Michigan hospitals. Panel members received updates on the 2019 Health PAC fundraising campaign, the legal decision on the Michigan gerrymandering case, auto no-fault insurance and the state budget, among other issues.

The meeting was highlighted by a special presentation from the Michigan Academy of Physician Assistants (MAPA). MAPA was seeking the MHA’s input on the concept of the mental health code allowing physician assistants to deliver behavioral health services. After the presentation, the panel recommended that the MHA support a change in the mental health code to allow physician assistants, certified nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists-certified to deliver these services.

In addition, the panel received an overview of Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), a formalized intervention protocol that is designed to help colleagues recover from a highly traumatic event and return to work. The MHA asked the panel to consider expanding Public Act 40 of 2016, which legally protects the confidentiality of many first responders who provide CISM services, as well as members of the CISM team who receive them. The panel recommended that the MHA support the concept of enhanced CISM confidentiality and legal protections to ensure they are applied to those who are employees or contractors of a health facility or agency.

The panel also recommended that the MHA conceptually support Senate Bill 340, which would allow for telepharmacy sites in Michigan staffed by registered pharmacy technicians. The bill would allow registered pharmacy technicians to prepare prescriptions under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist from a different location via audio and video computer before it is dispensed to a patient. Telepharmacy is believed to increase medication adherence by ensuring a pharmacy is in all patient areas and allows easy access for pharmacy consultations. However, the panel recommended that the MHA work with the Legislature to address membership concerns related to patient safety and the lack of educational requirements for pharmacy technicians. It recommends the bill require pharmacy technicians to gain experience under the personal charge of a licensed pharmacist before working in a telepharmacy.

For more information, contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.

Tags: MHA Legislative Policy, trauma, first responders, CISM, PA 40 of 2016, SB 340, telepharmacy

Posted in: Issues in Healthcare, Member News

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