Legislature Works to Replace Executive Orders
Posted on October 15, 2020
The Michigan Legislature was busy during the week of Oct. 12, voting on several important issues that impact hospitals. Some of the most notable pieces of legislation included bills to provide limited immunity to businesses and health facilities for their work during the peak pandemic months, temporary changes to the state unemployment process and new rules for nursing homes. Votes were also taken on the surprise billing package and a bill to allow nonphysicians to order COVID-19 tests.
The Legislature passed much of the legislation, including the liability and unemployment bills, to amend and replace similar executive orders that were ruled unenforceable by the Michigan Supreme Court. House Bill (HB) 6159 would establish the Pandemic Health Care Immunity Act, and HBs 6030, 6031 and 6032 provide more general liability protections for all employers during the pandemic. Senate Bills (SBs) 886 and 911 made several changes to unemployment benefits, including increasing the maximum weeks to 26 and preventing charges to employers if a claim arose because of COVID-19-related layoffs. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Legislature reached an agreement on the liability and unemployment bills, and the governor is expected to sign them into law in the coming days. The MHA has been supportive of these efforts throughout the process.
The Legislature continued its work on nursing home rules during the COVID-19 pandemic and the surprise billing package. SB 1094 would prohibit nursing homes from admitting COVID-19-positive patients and require the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to establish a new plan for transferring COVID-19 patients that no longer require acute hospital care. The MHA did not take a position on SB 1094. The surprise billing package, HBs 4459, 4460, 4990 and 4991, were sent to the governor’s desk for signature after many changes in both chambers. Hospitals remain largely exempt from many of the legislation’s provisions, and the MHA remains neutral on the package.
The House also unanimously voted in favor of HB 6293, which would allow nonphysicians to order COVID-19 tests. HB 6293 was introduced by Rep. Graham Filler (R-Clinton County) and would replace Executive Order 2020-104, which had previously allowed this. The MHA supports the bill, which now awaits a vote in the Senate.
Members with questions on state healthcare legislation should contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.
Posted in: Member News