Hospital Testimony Supports Community College BSN Degrees

Ed Ness, president and CEO of Munson Healthcare

The Michigan Legislature held several hearings on legislation supported by the MHA during the week of Nov. 29. In the House Education Committee, initial testimony was taken on a bill to allow community colleges to offer 4-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees. The Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee reported to the Senate floor legislation to make changes to pharmacy wholesale distributors, and the House Health Policy Committee reported a pair of bills that would allow Michigan to join the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT).

The first hearings were held Nov. 30 on House Bills (HBs) 5556 and 5557, which would allow community colleges to offer 4-year BSN degrees. Introduced by Reps. John Roth (R-Traverse City) and John Damoose (R-Harbor Springs), the bills would increase access to high-quality nurses in some areas served by Michigan’s small and rural hospitals where a four-year school does not currently exist. Ed Ness, president and CEO of Munson Healthcare, testified in support of the bills alongside Gabe Schneider, Munson’s director of government relations.

Ness told the committee, “Now more than ever is the time to support our front-line workers and all those in the healthcare industry as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.” The MHA also provided written testimony in support of HBs 5556 and 5557 and will continue to keep members apprised of any action.

Members of the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee reported the pharmacy wholesale distributors bill to the House floor. HB 5072 was introduced by Rep. Ryan Berman (R-Commerce Township) and is a state-level effort to exempt hospitals and other healthcare entities that are under common control from a medication distribution threshold that currently requires registration as wholesalers. The MHA supports the bill, as it would remove the requirement for additional paperwork for hospital pharmacies.

The House Health Policy Committee reported to the House floor two bills to allow Michigan to join PSYPACT. This compact is a legal agreement among states that creates an expedited pathway to licensure for psychologists who wish to practice telepsychiatry across state lines. HBs 5488 and 5489 were introduced by Reps. Bronna Kahle (R-Adrian) and Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield Township), respectively, and are supported by the MHA.

Members with questions on state legislation may contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.