The Michigan Legislature returned to Lansing the week of Jan. 24 to address several bills relevant to Michigan hospitals. In the House Government Operations Committee, testimony was taken on a pair of bills to expand penalties for assaulting emergency department employees. The House Health Policy Committee held a hearing on legislation to allow physicians to prescribe certain off-label medications to patients terminally ill with COVID-19, and a bill to make changes to Michigan’s auto no-fault insurance law was introduced in the House.
The MHA provided written testimony in support of House Bills (HBs) 5084 and 5682, which would expand the penalties for assaulting emergency department employees. In addition, Michelle Pena, chief nursing officer for Mercy Health Saint Mary’s in Grand Rapids, testified before the committee Jan. 26 in support of the bills. The legislation would bring Michigan in line with 32 other states where it is a felony to assault healthcare workers or emergency medical personnel. HBs 5084 and 5682 were introduced by Rep. Ben Frederick (R-Owosso) and Mike Mueller (R-Linden), respectively, and would provide further protection within hospital emergency departments. The MHA offered the committee potential amendments to expand the legislation to protect healthcare workers in all care settings and will continue to monitor the legislation.
The House Health Policy Committee took testimony on HB 5637, which would allow physicians to prescribe certain off-label medications to patients terminally ill with COVID-19. The bill amends the “Right to Try Act,” which is intended to give patients access to medications that are still in trial with the Food and Drug Administration for their condition or have already been approved to treat another diagnosis. As currently written, HB 5367 would allow off-label medications to treat COVID-19 to be prescribed only by the treating physician, and the bill would not require healthcare facilities to offer new medications or services that they do not already provide. The MHA has not taken a position on HB 5637.
Rep. Phil Green (R-Millington) introduced HB 5698 in the House Jan. 26 to modify the Michigan auto no-fault insurance law. Since the July 1 implementation of new reimbursement tiers, hospitals have faced significant issues in provider reimbursement, in addition to patients being transferred to hospitals after losing access to post-acute care. The bill seeks to clarify payments between auto insurers and providers and establish additional provisions to reimburse long-term care treatments. The legislation was referred to the House Insurance Committee. The MHA supports the bill as part of broader legal and regulatory efforts to clarify the existing law and will keep members apprised of its progress.
For more information on state legislation related to healthcare, contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.