Legislature Returns for Lame Duck Session

capitol building

capitol buildingThe legislature returned during the week of Nov. 7 to vote on legislative leadership and kickoff the 2022 lame-duck session. Only a handful of MHA-tracked bills saw action, including legislation to implement the new federal Rural Emergency Hospital (REH) designation.

During the House Health Policy Committee, Senate Bill (SB) 450 received another hearing and was reported to the full House of Representatives. SB 450, introduced by Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland), would ensure visitors of cognitively impaired patients are permitted in healthcare facilities. The bill would prohibit the directors 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.

MHA staff was also in attendance to support House Bill (HB) 6380. Introduced by Rep. Andrew Fink (R-Hillsdale), HB 6380 would make the necessary changes to state law to allow for Michigan hospitals to pursue a new federal designation of REH status. An REH designation comes with significant requirements such as limiting total beds to 50, maintaining an average length of stay of 24 hours or less and a required transfer agreement with a level I or II trauma center. Hospitals that choose to convert to an REH will receive enhanced federal reimbursement to provide critical emergency and outpatient services, especially in geographic areas. The MHA provided testimony on the bill in September and will continue to advocate for its passage before the end of the year.

On the Senate side, the Health and Human Services Committee took action on SB 1172, introduced by Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit). SB 1172 would amend the Mental Health Code to allow for conservation officers to transport behavioral health patients to the proper care setting. Currently, conservation officers and Michigan’s state parks and public venues are required to contact another form of law enforcement if they encounter someone experiencing a mental health crisis. The MHA is supportive of SB 1172, which will help shorten patient wait times for these particular cases.

If members have questions about these issues or any others impacting healthcare, please contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.

MHA Monday Report Oct. 24, 2022

MHA Monday Report

Trustee Forum Converts to Virtual

To expand access to critical information and discussion about the MHA’s 2022-2023 program year’s strategic action plan, the MHA Trustee Member Forum on Nov. 2 will be offered in a virtual format rather than in …


Crain’s Healthcare Leadership Summit Features MHA and Hospital Leaders

The Oct. 20 Crain’s 2022 Healthcare Leadership Summit featured speakers from the MHA and member hospitals in a series of panels on policy issues, labor force solutions and technology integration….

 


Strategic Action Planning Session with MHA Service Corporation Board

The MHA Service Corporation (MHASC) board focused on supporting MHA Strategic Action Plan priorities at the Oct. 13 planning session including addressing financial viability, workforce restoration & wellbeing, behavioral health improvements, health equity and …


MHA Podcast Details Upcoming Election

The MHA released another episode of the MiCare Champion Cast, which features interviews with healthcare policy experts in Michigan on key issues that impact healthcare and the health of communities …


Recording Available for MHA Strategic Action Plan Review

The MHA hosted a virtual forum Oct. 18 reviewing the Strategic Action Plan that was approved by the MHA Board of Trustees in August. The forum discussed pressing challenges and opportunities facing healthcare, including workforce development …


MHA Race of the Week – Michigan Attorney General

The MHA’s Race of the Week series highlights the most pivotal statewide races and ballot questions for Election 2022. The series will provide hospitals and healthcare advocates with the resources they need to make informed decisions on Election Day, including candidates’ views and background …

 


Paul KeckleyThe Keckley Report

The Lame Duck Session of Congress Will Not Be Lame for Healthcare

“Mid-mid-term election day is 22 days away. The “official end” of the Covid public health emergency has been delayed to January 11. The Federal Reserve is expected to increase its borrowing rate for the sixth time this year at its November meeting as it attempts to slow inflation and the stock market is under-water as year-end approaches. Regardless of the mid-term outcome and the state of the economy, healthcare will be prominent in the upcoming lame-duck Congress…”

Paul Keckley, Oct. 17, 2022


News to KnowLogo for MI Vote Matters, Tuesday Nov. 8

  • The last day to register online to vote in the Nov. 8 election is Oct. 24, 2022.
  • The second gubernatorial debate is this Tuesday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. on the Oakland University campus between Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Republican candidate Tudor Dixon.
  • Early in-person voting by absentee ballot at a clerk’s office remains available.
  • Complimentary MI Vote Matters informational posters and the 2022 Candidate Guide are still available for MHA members.

 


MHA CEO Brian PetersMHA in the News

The MHA received media coverage on through a couple stories during the week of Oct. 17, including on the introduction of the Stop Nurse Shortages Act at the federal level and the latest MiCare Champion …

 

MHA Monday Report Oct. 17, 2022

MHA Monday Report

Legislative Policy Panel Convenes for Program Year

The MHA Legislative Policy Panel convened Oct. 12 to develop recommendations for the MHA Board of Trustees on legislative initiatives impacting Michigan hospitals …


MDHHS Releases Medicaid Rate Increase Policies

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recently released two concurrent final and proposed policies to implement Medicaid rate increases included in the fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget for dates of service on and after Oct. 1, 2022 …


MHA Keystone Center Presents Annual Health Equity Summit

Registration is now open for the Michigan Health Equity Summit that will take place in-person at Lansing Community College West Campus and virtually from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 3 …


ED MOUD Funding Available – Applications Due Dec. 16

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (CFSEM) is partnering with the MHA Keystone Center, the Michigan Opioid Partnership (MOP) and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to provide …


Webinar Prepares for The Joint Commission and CMS Health Equity Requirements

Recently, The Joint Commission (TJC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced their commitment in driving the next decade of health equity for people who are underserved. The commitment to advancing health equity …


MHA Podcast Explores Program Year Priorities with Michigan Medicine

The MHA released another episode of the MiCare Champion Cast, which features interviews with healthcare policy experts in Michigan on key issues that impact healthcare and the health of communities …


MHA Race of the Week – Michigan Supreme Court

The MHA’s Race of the Week series highlights the most pivotal statewide races and ballot questions for Election 2022. The series will provide hospitals and healthcare advocates with the resources they need to make informed decisions on Election Day, including candidates’ views and background …


The Keckley Report

Paul KeckleyIs the Honeymoon Over for Medicare Advantage?

“The bottom line: in the next 2-3 years, regulatory scrutiny of Medicare Advantage will increase and funding by Medicare will decrease. Congress will press for a clear correlation between Medicare’s solvency and MA cost-savings. Thus, it’s likely Medicare Advantage plans will charge higher premiums, limit benefits, intensify medical management activities, share more financial risk with high-performing provider organizations and offer services to new populations. Their margins will shrink, access to capital and enrollment growth will be imperatives, and innovation in holistic cost-effective care management and affordability key differentiators.”

Paul Keckley, Oct. 10, 2022


Logo for MI Vote Matters, Tuesday Nov. 8News to Know

  • The last day to register online to vote in the Nov. 8 election is Oct. 24, 2022.
  • Early in-person voting by absentee ballot at a clerk’s office remains available.
  • Complimentary MI Vote Matters informational posters and the 2022 Candidate Guide are still available for MHA members.

Legislative Policy Panel Convenes for Program Year

The MHA Legislative Policy Panel convened Oct. 12 to develop recommendations for the MHA Board of Trustees on legislative initiatives impacting Michigan hospitals.

The meeting was highlighted by a presentation from Ruthanne Sudderth, senior vice president, public affairs and communications, MHA, on a storytelling campaign advocating for funding solutions to the financial challenges facing MHA members. Sudderth described the objectives of the campaign, strategies that will be utilized and ways members can get involved. The campaign is a direct result of an MHA Board directive from the strategic action plan.

The panel also held a discussion on Certificate of Need in relation to pediatric psychiatric beds in Michigan and potential measures to improve access to care and patient experience. An additional portion of the meeting was dedicated towards reviewing challenges associated with placing patients in post-acute care settings and potential legislative options to assist hospitals.

Regarding an action item, the panel recommended the MHA support proposed state legislation to expand the swing bed program.

The panel received updates on other issues at the state level, including a preview of the upcoming lame-duck session, the November election and the 340B drug pricing program.

For more information on the MHA Legislative Policy Panel, contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.

Economic Development Supplemental Passed by Michigan Legislature

capitol building

capitol buildingThe Michigan Legislature was back in session the week of Sept. 26 to finish voting on a multitude of bills as committees and the full body met for the last time before the Nov. 8 election.

The Legislature passed Senate Bill (SB) 842, an education focused supplemental appropriations bill with boilerplate that creates a new scholarship for low-income Michigan high school graduates. The Michigan Achievement Scholarship will award qualifying students with up to $5,500 in last dollar student aid for community college, tribal college or university tuition. The program is expected to cost a total of $170 million and will be paid through with previously allocated money within the Postsecondary Scholarship Fund. The MHA was supportive of the new scholarship, which is expected to be available for the 2023-2024 school year.

Two bills that would amend the Michigan Reconnect Program were advanced from committee and passed by the full House of Representatives. The Michigan Reconnect Program is another postsecondary scholarship program designed to provide funding to adult learners to return to the classroom to pursue credentials or postsecondary degrees at community colleges or eligible training programs. House Bills (HBs) 6129 and 6130 would provide incentives for accepting previous learning credits and allow for several additional certifications to qualify for the scholarships. The MHA is supportive of HBs 6129 and 6130 and secured an amendment to the legislation to allow high-demand healthcare credentials to be eligible for the program. The bills now head to the Senate for further consideration before the end of the year.

In the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee, an MHA-supported bill related to telemedicine was advanced to the Senate Floor. SB 1135, introduced by Sen. Mike MacDonald (R-Macomb Township), would specify that previous expansions to Medicaid telemedicine coverage also apply to the Healthy Michigan Program and Michigan’s medical assistance program. Most notably, the legislation would require continued coverage for audio-only telemedicine services. The MHA will continue to monitor action on SB 1135, which would continue virtual care policies that have proved to be effective and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MHA is also monitoring action on HB 5880, which was discharged to the House Floor without a committee hearing and passed by the full House of Representatives during the Sept. 28 late-night session. A floor substitute was adopted that changed the intent of the bill, which would now require parental consent for all non-emergent healthcare services to minors. The MHA has significant concerns with how the new language could impact patient care and will oppose any further action on the bill.

Members with questions on these bills or any other state legislation related to healthcare should contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.

MHA Distributes Workforce Grant Report to Legislature

Workforce Funding Report
Workforce Funding Report
Improving Recruitment, Retention and Training of Michigan’s Healthcare Workforce Report

Based on requirements in legislative boilerplate, the MHA created and distributed to the Michigan Legislature Sept. 28 a report on the results of the state healthcare workforce grant, which brought $225 million to Michigan hospitals for workforce recruitment, retention and training.

The report includes the categories for which the funding was used, the total number of healthcare workers impacted and financial data on the exorbitant growth in labor expense since 2020. Specifically, total statewide labor expense by hospitals per year is estimated to grow by more than $1 billion in just two years. In addition, 69,000 healthcare workers have already benefitted from the workforce grant funds.

The document also includes specific examples and testimonials from several hospitals throughout the state on the benefits of the state funding and how it has been used. The submission of workforce data by MHA members has been extremely useful in the creation of the report and demonstrating the impacts of increased labor expenses in advocacy efforts.

For questions on the report and the state healthcare workforce grant, please contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.

Legislature Returns to Continue Healthcare-related Work

The Legislature returned the week of Sept.19 to continue work on several pieces of legislation that the MHA is currently monitoring. Committees met in both the House and Senate, taking up legislation that included several new bills supported by the MHA in the areas of behavioral health, rural emergency hospitals, speech-language pathologist licensure and telemedicine.

In the House Health Policy Committee, initial testimony was taken on new legislation to make changes to the preadmission screening process for behavioral health patients. House Bill (HB 6355), introduced by Rep. Graham Filler (R-St. Johns) and supported by the MHA, would memorialize the requirement for preadmission screening units operated by the Community Mental Health (CMH) services program to provide a mental health assessment within three hours of being notified by a hospital of the patient’s need. If a preadmission screening unit is unable to perform the assessment within the three-hour time frame, HB 6355 would also allow for a clinically qualified individual at a hospital who is available to perform the required assessment.

Kathy Dollard, Psychologist and Director of behavioral health for MyMichigan Health, joined the committee to testify in support of HB 6355.

Kathy Dollard, psychologist and director of behavioral health for MyMichigan Health, joined the committee to testify in support of HB 6355. “Strengthening our behavioral health system includes strengthening our behavioral health workforce and that can start with creative solutions like providing clinically qualified hospital personnel the ability to conduct pre-admission screenings,” said Dollard. No votes were held on HB 6355 at this initial hearing.

MHA staff also provided testimony during committee on HB 6380. Introduced by Rep. Andrew Fink (R-Hillsdale), HB 6380 would make the necessary changes to state law to allow for Michigan hospitals to pursue a new federal designation of “Rural Emergency Hospital” (REH) status. A REH designation comes with significant requirements such as limiting total beds to 50, maintaining an average length of stay of 24 hours or less and a required transfer agreement with a level I or II trauma center. Hospitals that choose to convert to a REH will receive enhanced federal reimbursement to provide critical emergency and outpatient services, especially in geographic areas.

Lauren LaPine and Elizabeth Kutter of the MHA testified in support of HB 6380.

Lauren LaPine, director of small and rural hospital programs, MHA, and Elizabeth Kutter, senior director of advocacy, MHA, testified in support of the legislation. “HB 6380 provides rural hospitals in our state with the ability to continue providing care in our most rural communities,” said LaPine. No votes were taken on HB 6380.

Initial testimony on two bills that were previously reviewed by MHA’s Legislative Policy Panel also occurred during committee. Senate Bill (SB) 811, introduced by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington), would extend the length of time for an individual to complete a temporary Speech-Language Pathologist license and extend the length of time those temporary licenses are valid. The MHA is supportive of SB 811, which did not see any votes this week.

House committee members also took initial testimony on 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.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee took initial testimony on SB 1135, which was introduced by Sen. Mike MacDonald (R-Macomb Township). SB 1135 would specify that previous expansions to Medicaid telemedicine coverage also apply to the Healthy Michigan Program and Michigan’s medical assistance program. Most notably, the legislation would require continued coverage for audio-only telemedicine services. The MHA is supportive of SB 1135, which would continue virtual care policies that have proved to be effective and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the Senate’s Regulatory Reform Committee, testimony was taken on another MHA-supported bill to 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. HB 5477, introduced by Rep. Lori Stone (D-Warren), would create a license for kratom sales and manufacturing, require testing of products and require new safety warnings on kratom substances sold in Michigan. While the MHA prefers a federal Schedule I ban of the drug, the association is supportive of HB 5477, which will help limit adolescent addiction and prevent adulterated products from being on the market.

Members with questions on these bills or any other state legislation should contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.

Legislation Introduced to Regulate Temporary Staffing Agencies

capitol building

capitol buildingNew legislation to regulate supplemental nursing service agencies was introduced Sept. 7 in the Michigan House of Representatives.

Rep. Sarah Lightner (R-Springport) introduced House Bill (HB) 6364, which would establish a licensure process for those agencies and minimum standards for their operation in Michigan. 

The legislation also includes a provision to ensure supplemental nursing service agencies cannot prohibit their employees from being hired full-time by health facilities where they may be working, or be required to otherwise pay fees to be hired full-time by those facilities. In addition, a supplemental nursing service agency cannot bill, or receive payment from, a health facility at a rate higher than 25% of the hourly wage rate paid to a nurse, nursing assistant, nurse aide or orderly currently employed by the agency to a health facility. This provision prevents supplemental nursing service agency’s from collecting excessively high margins.

The MHA supports HB 6364 because it would help to address exorbitant contract labor expenses that threaten the financial sustainability of hospitals.

HB 6364 was referred to the House Health Policy Committee. Members with questions regarding HB 6364 should contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.

Lt. Governor Gilchrist II Hosted at the Capitol Advocacy Center

The MHA hosted Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II Sept. 7 at the Capitol Advocacy Center to connect with hospital affiliated legislative officers and MHA staff on current priorities of the administration. The meeting provided an opportunity for MHA members to share priorities and concerns and allowed for an incredible exchange of information, ideas and solutions to the issues many hospitals and health systems are currently experiencing.

Lt. Gov. Gilchrist meets with MHA members.

Lt. Gov. Gilchrist touched on several topics, but the focus was largely on workforce and talent development, workplace violence, health disparities, access to care and rural health. Time was also spent discussing the importance of the 340B drug discount program and expanding behavioral healthcare access. The impact of having a statewide leader understand and discuss these top tier issues with MHA members is unparalleled and creates an opportunity for the MHA to carry strong momentum into the lame-duck state legislative session this fall.

The MHA and MHA members continue to advocate for important healthcare improvements to support the care of Michigan residents and communities. Partnerships with state executive officials also help to build on existing collaborations, create new spaces for improvement and protect MHA priorities.

The MHA will continue to foster opportunities to connect members with state and federal leaders, producing strong information exchanges and advocacy for healthcare priorities. Members with questions should contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.

Behavioral Health Legislation Introduced in State House

capitol building

capitol buildingNew legislation to make changes to the screening process for potential admission to inpatient psychiatric care for behavioral and mental health patients was introduced Aug. 17 in the Michigan House of Representatives.

Rep. Graham Filler (R-St. Johns) introduced House Bill (HB) 6355 to amend the Mental Health Code and make the preadmission screening process more efficient. Under the bill, preadmission screening units, whether operated by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services or Community Mental Health services programs, must provide a mental health assessment within three hours of being notified by a hospital of the patient’s need. If a preadmission screening unit is unable to perform the assessment in a timely manner, HB 6355 would also allow for a clinically qualified individual at the acute care hospital to perform the required assessment. The bill provides for reimbursement to the hospital if hospital staff provide the preadmission screening.

The MHA supports HB 6355 because it addresses the ongoing issue of long wait times for emergency department behavioral and mental health patients. This legislation should help shorten the difficult wait times between the evaluation and beginning services.

HB 6355 was referred to the House Health Policy Committee. Members with questions regarding HB 6355 should contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.