State House Works on Healthcare Legislation

capitol building

The Michigan House of Representatives addressed several bills impacting hospitals during the week of May 31. Some of the topics addressed include a new legislative package to make changes to the behavioral health system in Michigan, Certificate of Need (CON) legislation and a bill to ban the use of COVID-19 vaccine passports.

In the House Health Policy Committee, initial testimony was taken on a package of bills that would implement a new approach to behavioral health services in Michigan. The bills would direct the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to replace the 10 Prepaid Inpatient Health Plans with a single nonprofit or administrative services organization that would manage administration across the entire state. House Bills (HBs) 4925 through 4929 were introduced by Reps. Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Township), Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn), Phil Green (R-Millington), Sue Allor (R-Wolverine) and Shri Thanedar (D-Detroit). The MHA submitted a memo supporting the legislation in concept and encouraging the Legislature to form a work group that would address other shortcomings of the existing system that this legislation does not include.

The House Health Policy Committee also voted on Senate Bill (SB) 440, which would remove full-body positron emission tomography (PET) scanner services from CON oversight. That legislation was introduced by Sen. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) and seeks to address a specific technology that is expected to be before the CON Commission at its June meeting. The MHA is opposed to the bill, which would undermine the program that ensures high-quality, accessible and cost-effective care for patients in Michigan. SB 440 now moves to the House Floor for a final vote before heading to the governor’s desk for signature.

The full House of Representatives voted on HB 4667, which would prohibit governmental entities from producing or issuing vaccine passports for COVID-19, requiring proof of vaccination status as a precursor for a public service or imposing a penalty based on vaccination status. The MHA successfully advocated for a bill substitute to ensure that HB 4667 would not impact hospitals’ ability to use the Michigan Care Improvement Registry, which would have been forbidden under the bill’s original language. The MHA remains opposed to the legislation, which could still have negative effects on statewide vaccination efforts. The bill was referred to the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee, where it now awaits another hearing.

Members with questions on any of these or other legislative efforts in Michigan should contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.