Pharmacy Benefit Manager Legislation Signed, Amended Right to Try Act Passes House

capitol building

capitol buildingImportant pharmacy benefit manager legislation was signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer the week of Feb. 21 and the Michigan Legislature took up several pieces of legislation that impact hospitals. The Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee heard testimony on extending temporary licensure for speech-language pathologists and creating a new statewide rare disease advisory council. In the House of Representatives, action was taken on legislation to amend the Right to Try Act, regulate the sale of kratom and make changes to the Medicaid presumptive eligibility process.

The Governor signed House Bill (HB) 4348 into law, which would regulate and establish licensure for pharmacy benefit managers in Michigan. HB 4348 was introduced by Rep. Julie Calley (R-Portland) and was supported by the MHA to help slow the rising cost of prescription medications.

Testimony was taken in the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee on Senate Bill (SB) 811, which would extend temporary licensure for speech-language pathologists. Introduced by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington), the bill would extend the allowable timeframe for a temporary speech-language pathologist license from 12 to 24 months and allow for six month extensions to that temporary license so long as the licensee remain in good standing. No vote was held and the MHA has not yet taken a position on SB 811.

The Senate Health Policy and Human Services committee also took testimony on a bill to establish a rare disease advisory council in Michigan. HB 4654 was introduced by Rep. Cara Clemente (D-Lincoln Park) and is supported by the MHA. The council would include two seats for hospital representatives, one of which would be reserved for a hospital that also conducts research. No vote was taken on HB 4654.

The House of Representatives voted in support of 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 the patient’s condition or already approved to treat another diagnosis. As currently written, the medications could be prescribed only by the patient’s treating physician and the bill would not require health facilities to offer new medications or services that they do not already provide. The MHA has not taken a position on HB 5637, which now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

HBs 5462 and 5463 were reported from the House Committee on Families, Children and Seniors. Introduced by Reps. Pat Outman (R-Six Lakes) and Steve Johnson (R-Wayland), the bills would make changes to the Medicaid presumptive eligibility process by requiring the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to consider additional data in determinations. Some of the additional considerations include quarterly reviews of gambling history and death records. Under the current language, hospitals would be required to notify the MDHHS within five days after a determination was made and notify the applicant in writing that they must notify the MDHHS before the last day of the month to continue eligibility. The MHA is opposed to the bills and will continue to monitor any movement.

The House Regulatory Reform Committee took testimony on HB 5477, which would regulate the sale of kratom in Michigan. Kratom is a substance of concern with opiate-like effects that has no approved medical use in the United States. The MHA’s Legislative Policy Panel has previously taken a position supporting making kratom a Schedule I narcotic. HB 5477 would require new safety warnings on kratom substances sold in Michigan and the MHA has not taken a position on the bill.

Questions on state legislation related to healthcare may be directed to Adam Carlson at the MHA.