Michigan Legislators Act on Healthcare Bills

capitol building

capitol buildingSeveral bills impacting hospitals were acted upon during the week of May 9. Bills to plan for new funding from the national opioid settlement and to allow for certain out-of-state prescriptions were sent to the governor. In the Senate, testimony was taken on a bill to create a new license for dieticians and nutritionists and a bill to register certain medical labs in Michigan, and legislation to allow for certain visitors in healthcare facilities was reported to the House for further consideration.

On the House floor, the final votes were held on legislation to help guide Michigan’s use of new funding from the $26 billion national opioid settlement. Senate Bills (SBs) 993, 994 and 995 would create a new restricted fund for the state to house the settlement dollars, establish a new advisory commission appointed by the Legislature and governor to oversee spending, and prohibit future civil lawsuits related to claims covered by this fund. The bills now head to the governor’s desk for signature into law.

The Senate passed an MHA-supported bill related to out-of-state prescriptions. SB 166, introduced by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington), would allow pharmacies to fill noncontrolled substance prescriptions written by licensed, out-of-state physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses. SB 166 was also sent to the governor for signature.

The full Senate approved and reported to the House SB 450, which would ensure that visitors of cognitively impaired patients are permitted in healthcare facilities. Introduced by Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland), the bill would prohibit the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) or a local health officer from issuing an order that prohibits a patient representative from visiting a cognitively impaired individual in a healthcare facility. As written, the legislation does not prevent a healthcare facility from implementing reasonable safety measures for visitors and will still allow for facilities to limit the number of representatives per patient. The MHA is neutral on the bill and will continue to monitor any action taken in the House.

Further testimony was held in the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee on SB 614, which would create a new license for both dieticians and nutritionists in Michigan. Under the current language, a single license would be used for both professions. There was no vote held on SB 614, as the bill sponsor Sen. Michael MacDonald (R-Macomb Township) is working to address concerns from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs on the implementation of the dual licensure. The MHA supports SB 614 and looks forward to working with the stakeholders on potential improvements.

Questions on these issues or other state legislation related to healthcare can be directed to Adam Carlson at the MHA.