Lawmakers Move Healthcare Bills Prior to Summer Recess

capitol building

Michigan Capitol BuildingThe Michigan Legislature addressed multiple pieces of legislation that impact hospitals during the week of June 22 as both chambers prepared for a shortened 2020 summer break. 

The House of Representatives voted to send to the Senate a package of legislation to prevent surprise billing, also referred to as balance billing. House Bills (HBs) 4459, 4460, 4990 and 4991 would require healthcare providers to obtain patient consent for nonemergency services that would result in an out-of-network bill, create new rules for reimbursement in surprise billing cases and ensure that Michigan hospitals can continue to negotiate contracts with providers without government interference. With the changes that were secured to protect hospitals, the MHA is neutral on the package.

The House also supported and sent to the Senate HB 5832, which would establish a new certification for behavioral health facilities called “crisis stabilization units.” These facilities would be intended to perform immediate, intensive and time-limited mental health services, as well as hospital preadmission screening. The MHA worked closely with bill sponsor Rep. Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Township) to include some clarifying amendments and now supports the bill.

The Senate reported Senate Bill (SB) 956 to the House of Representatives for deliberation. The bill, introduced by Sen. Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Township), would prohibit the admittance of COVID-positive patients to nursing homes and would develop regional facilities for those patients. SB 956 now awaits a hearing from the House Health Policy Committee.

Sen. Curtis Hertel (D-East Lansing) introduced a package of bills to create a new certificate of immunization for 12th grade students. Current state law requires students to provide proof of vaccinations before entering kindergarten and seventh grade and for entering a school for the first time. The MHA supports SBs 979, 980 and 981, as they would further protect Michigan’s colleges and universities from outbreaks of preventable diseases. The bills were referred to the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee.

In the Senate’s Health Policy Committee, testimony was taken on SB 758, which would include Michigan in an interstate licensure compact for psychologists. The bill was introduced by Sen. Peter MacGregor (R-Rockford) and encourages the use of telepsychology across state lines. The MHA supports the bills to further address Michigan’s behavioral healthcare provider shortage.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has officially signed into law the telehealth package of legislation recently passed by the Legislature. HBs 5412–5416 will expand opportunities for providers to receive Medicaid reimbursement for telehealth services. The MHA supported the bills throughout the legislative process and will continue to advocate on behalf of parity for telehealth and traditional services.

Members with questions on these legislative actions should contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.