Healthcare Issues Considered by Michigan Legislature
Posted on September 11, 2020
The Michigan House and Senate took up multiple pieces of legislation that would impact hospitals during the week of Sept. 7. Those bills address multiple areas of COVID-19-related liability, prescription drug transparency, authorization for health professionals with Canadian licenses to practice in Michigan, Michigan’s inclusion in an interstate compact on psychologist licenses and licensing psychiatric residential facilities for Medicaid recipients age 21 or younger.
In the House Judiciary Committee, MHA General Counsel Amy Barkholz provided testimony supporting a bill to grant limited immunity to health facilities for their treatment of COVID-19 patients from March 9 through July 15. House Bill (HB) 6159 was introduced by Rep. Roger Hauck (R-Union Township) and would codify the liability protections found in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order (EO) 2020-61, which was extended by EO 2020-100. The committee also took testimony on a separate COVID-19-related employer liability package that mirrors a package of bills taken up in the Senate Economic and Small Business Development Committee. Those packages consist of HBs 6030-6032 and Senate Bills (SBs) 1022-1024 and are supported by the MHA as part of a coalition of numerous groups representing the business community. The MHA had previously worked with the Legislature on addressing these issues through SB 899, which the governor vetoed in August.
In the House Health Policy Committee, testimony was taken on a package of prescription drug transparency bills being led by Committee Chairman Hank Vaupel (R-Fowlerville). HBs 5937-5945 would make numerous changes to the laws for the disclosure of prescription drug costs, including requiring hospitals to post chargemaster descriptions online and pharmacists to disclose prescription drug prices to consumers. The MHA has taken a position on only HB 5942, supporting the pharmacies bill introduced by Rep. Bronna Kahle (R-Adrian). Hospitals currently post chargemaster information online in accordance with federal law.
The House Health Policy Committee also took testimony on HB 5929, which would give the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs the ability to promulgate rules to allow for licensed health professionals in Canada to practice in Michigan. That MHA-supported bill was introduced by Rep. Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Township). Sen. Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) introduced an identical bill, SB 1021, which received a hearing in the Senate Health Policy Committee. War Memorial Hospital CEO David Jahn provided testimony in support of both bills, highlighting their potential to attract specialty providers to Sault Ste. Marie.
The Senate Health Policy Committee also addressed SB 758 Sept. 10 and referred it to the Senate floor. The MHA supports the bill, which was introduced by Sen. Peter MacGregor (R-Rockford) and would allow Michigan to join an interstate licensure compact for psychologists.
Finally, the House Ways and Means Committee took testimony on a bill to establish a licensure program for residential psychiatric facilities for Medicaid recipients under the age of 21. HB 5298 was introduced by Rep. Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Township) and would require the Department of Health and Human Services to establish necessary rules for the new facility certification. The MHA has not taken a position on the proposed legislation.
For more information on healthcare issues being addressed by the Legislature, contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.
Posted in: Issues in Healthcare, Member News