Governor Whitmer and Budget Director Jen Flood released the executive budget recommendation Feb. 7 for fiscal year 2025. The MHA is pleased to see that the Governor’s budget continues vital funding for Medicaid, rural and critical access hospitals, obstetrical services and the Healthy Michigan Plan. Supporting Michigan’s Medicaid program will help maintain access to care for underserved populations throughout Michigan. Additionally, the MHA looks forward to seeing proposals to increase funding for behavioral health services and continued resources dedicated to maternal and infant health.
Hospitals and health systems continue to face significant workforce shortages and Gov. Whitmer’s proposed budget for next fiscal year will assist with workforce shortages through investments for tuition-free community college pathways for Michiganders and continued funding for the Michigan Reconnect program, which provides tuition-free programs in high-demand healthcare credentials.
MHA CEO Brian Peters released a statement in support of the executive budget recommendation, applauding Gov. Whitmer’s commitment to being a healthcare champion.
While the Governor’s budget recommendation was by far and above the highlight of the week, the state legislature also moved forward several MHA supported bills. The House Health Policy Committee voted on a package of bills, House Bills (HBs) 4532, 5368 and 5369, to address childhood lead exposure. The MHA supported HB 5368, sponsored by Representative Julie Rogers (D-Kalamazoo), which alters the definition of elevated blood level to reflect significantly lower blood lead level concentrations. Lowering the concentration in state law allows for earlier intervention and triggering of support and services for kids who are exposed to lead.
The Senate Health Policy committee took testimony on MHA supported legislation regarding telehealth access. HBs 4579, 4580, 4131, and 4213, sponsored by Reps. Natalie Price (D-Berkley) Felicia Brabec (D-Ann Arbor), Tullio Liberati (D-Allen Park) and Christine Morse (D-Kalamazoo), All aim to ensure that telehealth access continues to be robust and reimbursed, especially now that pandemic era flexibilities are rolling back. Access to care across multiple platforms helps patients meet their healthcare needs. The MHA supports maintaining robust access to telehealth services and reimbursement for services rendered.
In addition, the House Insurance Committee took testimony on House Bill 4015 sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Conlin (D-Ann Arbor). HB 4015 limits the co-pay for prescription insulin. TheMHA joined other stakeholders, including the American Diabetes Association, to support this legislation, which will positively impact the affordability of insulin for Michiganders.
The MHA Legislative Policy Panel met Jan. 24 to develop recommendations for the MHA Board of Trustees on legislative initiatives impacting Michigan hospitals. The meeting was highlighted by a presentation from Sen. Kevin Hertel (D-Saint …
The MHA is hosting a five-part webinar series to provide hospital staff with a deeper understanding of Michigan’s behavioral health system and the hospital’s role in connecting patients with care. These webinars are part of …
MHA CEO Brian Peters appeared on Detroit’s WJR 760 AM’s JR’ Morning with Guy Gordon, Jamie Edmonds, and Lloyd Jackson’s “Live from Lansing” broadcast Jan. 25 as part of the station’s annual coverage of legislative …
The January edition of Trustee Insights, the monthly digital package from the American Hospital Association (AHA), includes articles on quality, safety and workforce. As healthcare becomes more complex, boards struggle to effectively oversee quality, and the …
In my role as Maternal Infant Health Policy Specialist at the MHA, one of my main goals has been to utilize my expertise to inspire health equity for marginalized birthing persons and their children and to build relationships that strengthen my impact and purpose. Attending the second annual …
“Last Wednesday, FTI released its year-end 2023 summary of insurer-hospital disputes: it reported a 69% increase from 2022 in conflicts where formal negotiations broke down reached based on media coverage in 34 states. The majority of the 86 instances involved Medicare Advantage coverage or reimbursement issues and referral relationships with doctors and hospitals were disrupted, at least temporarily. …
The challenges facing the health system—accessibility, affordability, effectiveness– cut across every sector. They’ll not be solved by one acting alone. And sacred cows protected by both will need to be slaughtered to create the better new normal desired by a significant majority of taxpayers and elected officials. …”
The MHA Legislative Policy Panel met Jan. 24 to develop recommendations for the MHA Board of Trustees on legislative initiatives impacting Michigan hospitals.
The meeting was highlighted by a presentation from Sen. Kevin Hertel (D-Saint Clair Shores). Hertel is the chair of the Senate Health Policy Committee and discussed several relevant healthcare issues. He was proud of his committee’s work in passing Senate Bill 482 out of the chamber in 2023, which would lift the state’s 90-day disposal requirement for sharps containers. The bill has been referred to the House Health Policy Committee. Hertel also mentioned several issues he expects to see attention in 2024, including activity around a state-based health insurance exchange marketplace, efforts to address staffing shortages and work around behavioral health.
Regarding action items, the panel made two recommendations. The first is for the MHA to support House Bill 5295, which would license certified anesthesiologist assistants in Michigan. The panel also recommends the MHA continue to engage with stakeholders regarding the creation of a licensure pathway for foreign trained medical professionals.
The panel received a federal update from Carlos Jackson with Cornerstone Government Affairs, as well as state legislative updates regarding the healthcare workforce, state budget and Medicaid funding.
For more information on the MHA Legislative Policy Panel, contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.
Gov. Whitmer signed into law Dec. 6 House Bills 4520 and 4521, which increase the penalties for assaulting a healthcare worker or volunteer. Now referred to as Public Acts 271 and 272 of 2023, the financial fines are doubled for those found guilty of assault towards a healthcare worker or volunteer.
The bills were signed as part of a ceremony held at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing. The MHA joined a variety of healthcare organizations in attendance to celebrate this positive step in ensuring violence against healthcare workers is not tolerated.
The new laws also require the posting of signage at hospitals to inform individuals they may be subject to higher financial penalties if they assault a healthcare worker or volunteer. The MHA has new, updated signage available for MHA members to order at no cost. Hospitals will need to post compliant, updated signage in a conspicuous location by March 4, 2024. Hospitals may create and use their own signage but must ensure any updated signs meet the requirements of the new laws.
A press release was published by the Executive Office of the Governor, which includes a quote of support from MHA CEO Brian Peters.
While celebrating this accomplishment, the MHA will continue to work on more opportunities to protect the healthcare workforce from violence in the workplace and to improve the recruitment, retention and training of healthcare workers.
The Michigan Legislature officially adjourned sine die for the calendar year Nov. 14. The top priority for the association this fall was opposing harmful, one-size fits all nurse staffing ratio legislation (House Bills 4550-4552 and …
The MHA Board of Trustees focused most of their Nov. 8 meeting on targeted actions in advancement of their 2023-2024 Strategic Action Plan, which outlines the association’s priorities for the year ahead and identifies those …
The Mental Health Association in Michigan hosted the annual Michigan Partners in Crisis event Nov. 3, bringing together industry experts to explore the theme Bridging the Gap in Mental Health Care. Elizabeth Kutter, senior director …
The following statement can be attributed to Brian Peters, CEO of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association. “As we celebrate National Rural Health Day, we want to express our gratitude to all our rural hospitals …
The MHA released a new episode of the MiCare Champion Cast, which features interviews each month with experts in Michigan discussing key issues that impact healthcare and the health of communities. The November 2023 episode, …
Registration is open for the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Healthcare certificate program Dec. 7 and Dec. 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST. The event, hosted by the Michigan Health & Hospital Association …
At the interim meeting of the American Medical Association House of Delegates Saturday in National Harbor, MD, President Jesse Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH, urged physicians to take action: “Medicine is not just at a crossroads…it’s at a crisis.” He’s right: 2024 is a make-or-break year for the profession. …
The issues for the medical profession go well-beyond burnout and finances. Though pushback against the Final Rule is understandable, it must be considered in a broader context. Medicare funding is in the cross hairs of budget hawks in Congress and rating agencies (Moody’s November 13, 2023) have downgraded the nation’s debt citing deficits, spending (including Medicare) and political polarization as root causes. And 2024 is an election year in which the economy is the key issue topping the domestic agenda and healthcare affordability a key focus along with access to abortion services. …
The MHA received media coverage the weeks of Nov. 6 and Nov. 13 regarding a committee hearing on proposed nurse staffing ratio legislation. Additional topics covered include hospital market activity, behavioral health, the state’s STEMI …
The Michigan Legislature officially adjourned sine die for the calendar year Nov. 14. The top priority for the association this fall was opposing harmful, one-size fits all nurse staffing ratio legislation (House Bills 4550-4552 and Senate Bills 334-336). The House Health Policy Committee took testimony on the legislation where the MHA and member nursing leaders participated, but the committee did not take the legislation up for a vote and will not do so this calendar year. While much attention was dedicated to opposition to nurse staffing ratio legislation, the final weeks of session included action on a variety of other bills that impact Michigan hospitals and health systems. Below is a summary of where proposed legislation currently stands that the MHA has been monitoring.
Affordable Care Act State Codification – Signed by the Governor
The legislature acted on a group of bills that add protections found in the Affordable Care Act to Michigan law. Governor Whitmer signed House Bills (HBs) 4619-4623 and Senate Bills (SBs) 356-358 into law and they are now Public Acts (PAs) 156-163 of 2023. These new laws memorialize important protections for Michiganders such as no-cost essential services, including preventive, mental health and emergency services. The MHA supported this bill package throughout the legislative process.
Violence Against Healthcare Workers – Awaiting Governor’s Signature
HBs 4520 and 4521, which increase the penalties for assaulting a healthcare worker, are headed to the governor’s desk to be signed into law. These bills are a positive step in ensuring violence against healthcare workers is not tolerated. The MHA continues to work on more opportunities to protect the healthcare workforce from violence in the workplace.
Auto No-Fault Updates – Passed the State Senate
The MHA continues to advocate for targeted updates to the state’s auto no-fault insurance law. SBs 530 and 531 passed the Senate and were referred to the House Insurance and Financial Services Committee. The MHA supports the changes proposed in this legislation, including moving reimbursement rate tiers back to the 2021 levels, smoothing the indigent volume factor timeline and creating an appropriate definition of Medicare rates for the purpose of auto no-fault insurance claim reimbursement.
Telemedicine Access – Passed the State House
HBs 4131, 4213, 4579 and 4580, which provide payment parity for telehealth services and provide limitations on the ability of health plans to dictate site specific visit requirements, were voted out of the House. The MHA supported the bipartisan package, which codifies many provisions in place during the public health emergency (PHE). The legislation makes additional changes to support the provider ability to serve patients and protect in-person visits that are vital to health outcomes. The bills were referred to the Senate Health Policy Committee.
Sharps Containers – Passed the State Senate
The Senate unanimously passed SB 482, which lifts the state’s 90-day disposal requirement for sharps containers. The MHA membership voiced concerns about the 90-day disposal requirement, which mandated sealing and disposing of containers before they reach their ¾ fill mark. The FDA regulated containers are costly and difficult to obtain, as hospitals experienced following a manufacturing facility fire. Disposal of partially full containers contributes to unnecessary and preventable medical waste. The MHA worked directly with the bill sponsor, Sen. Kristen McDonald Rivet (D-Bay City), on this legislation to address concerns about cost, access and environmental impact. The MHA supports this important policy change that will directly benefit the membership.
Behavioral Health Parity – Passed the State Senate The Senate approved SB 27, which would ensure behavioral health parity laws are meaningfully applied at the state level, with a strong bipartisan vote. The MHA-supported legislation was referred to the House Health Policy Committee. Similarly, the House Health Policy Committee reported out HB 4707, which would specify behavioral health parity, in addition to other services that would be required to be covered. HB 4707 awaits a vote by the full chamber.
Maternal and Infant Health – Passed Committee
HBs 5167-5173, which present several opportunities to support maternal and infant health, were reported out of the House Health Policy Committee. The MHA worked closely with the bill sponsors and committee chair on the legislative language and supports several bills in the package, including:
HBs 5167 and 5168, which allow for coverage of blood pressure monitors by commercial insurance and Medicaid for individuals who are pregnant or within the postpartum period.
HB 5169, which allows for mental health screenings to take place in postpartum follow up and pediatric settings when clinically appropriate. This bill was paired with HBs 5170 and 5171 that require insurance coverage for those screenings.
HB 5172, which sets up an opportunity for the state to publish maternal levels of care verifications and offer incentive payments for participation in verification and safety bundle utilization.
This package of bills awaits a vote by the full House and further legislative action is anticipated in the new year.
Rare Disease Advisory Council – Reported out of Committee
The Senate Health Policy Committee reported out HB 4167, which creates the Rare Disease Advisory Council, after being approved by the full House earlier in the year. The MHA supports this legislation and expects further action on it in 2024.
Breast Milk Donor HIV Testing – Reported out of Committee
The House Health Policy Committee reported out HB 4728, which updates the requirements for testing a breast milk donor for HIV or an HIV antibody. The proposed legislation removes the requirement to test a donor quarterly, while retaining the requirement for initial testing for potential donors. The MHA supports this legislation. HB 4728 is awaiting a vote by the full House.
340B Contract Pharmacy Legislation – Introduced
MHA member covered entities continue to share concerns about manufacturer-imposed limitations on contract pharmacy arrangements. The MHA worked with Rep. Alabas Farhat (D-Dearborn) to introduce legislation prohibiting contract pharmacy arrangement discrimination. HB 5350 was officially introduced on the last day of session for the year and referred to the House Health Policy Committee.
Interstate Nurse Licensure Compact – Introduced HB 4935, also known as the Michigan Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), would enter Michigan into the national Nurse Licensure Compact. The NLC allows registered nurses to have one multistate license with the privilege to practice in their home state and other compact states. Permanent relocation to another compact state requires obtaining licensure in the new state, as the nurse’s residency has changed. HB 4935 would declare Michigan a compact participating state, allowing the mutual recognition of nursing licenses among the other member compact states. The bill was referred to the House Health Policy Committee.
Opposition to Repeal of Local Government Labor Regulatory Limitation Act
The Senate did not take a vote on SB 171, sponsored by Sen. Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo). The bill repeals the local government labor regulatory limitation act, which prohibits localities from regulating employment relationships. Repealing this act would allow for a local unit of government to impose local labor ordinances such as a higher local minimum wage than the state, or potentially institute local staffing and scheduling regulations. The MHA and a coalition of other business and employer groups oppose this legislation over concerns of a patchwork of local regulations that could jeopardize access to healthcare services in Michigan.
Additional MHA Supported Legislation Signed by or Awaiting Signature from Gov. Whitmer
SB 219 preserved many PHE flexibilities regarding vaccinations and testing services offered by a pharmacist at a local pharmacy. Michigan continues to see post-PHE declines in vaccination rates. Promoting increased access points for individuals to get vaccinated is a public health benefit and one the MHA supports. Gov. Whitmer signed SB 219 into law in late July 2023.
HBs 4495-4496 cleaned up aspects of the Health Michigan Plan Act (HMP), including removal of cost sharing requirements that have proved to be exceedingly burdensome, and the elimination of language requiring the repeal of the HMP if state costs ever exceeded state savings. The HMP has increased access to healthcare throughout the state, providing coverage for over a million Michiganders. The MHA supported this legislation, which the governor signed into law in July 2023.
HBs 4616 and 4617 prohibit mental health professionals from providing conversion therapy to a minor. The MHA supported the legislation, which Gov. Whitmer signed into law in August 2023 and are now PAs 117 and 118 of 2023.
SB 384 and HBs 4362-4364 make positive changes to state law related to organ donation. SB 384 prohibits insurance discrimination against a living organ donor and HBs 4361-4364 allow for increased opportunities to identify as an organ donor. These changes have the potential to increase organ donation, helping the many individuals in need of transplants. The MHA supported this bill package which, Gov. Whitmer signed into law in November 2023. The bills are now PAs 100-102 and 192 of 2023.
SB 227 will update the state’s child caring institution licensing laws to align with emergency intervention language used in the Mental Health Code. Specifically, this legislation is important to any facility interested in becoming licensed as a Pediatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF) and alignment between the Mental Health Code and the licensing structure for child caring institutions. SB 227 is headed to the governor’s desk for her signature.
SB 133 would create the Overdose Fatality Review Act. The MHA worked closely with the bill sponsor to ensure language in the bill accurately includes and reflects the role hospitals play in their communities. The governor is expected to sign the bill into law soon.
SB 410 rescinds limitations on products liability for drugs with FDA approval. The MHA supports SB 410 which Gov. Whitmer is expected to sign.
The House Health Policy Committee held a testimony-only hearing Nov. 9 on mandated nurse staffing ratio legislation, House Bills 4550-4552. The proposed bills would mandate one-size-fits-all nurse staffing ratios for all Michigan hospitals. The legislation, which does not create more nurses nor solve staffing shortages, is opposed by the MHA as well as a diverse set of coalition partners including health plans, chambers of commerce, other nursing organizations and healthcare providers. As evidenced in California, where there is a shortage of 40,000 registered nurses despite the presence of mandated staffing ratios for 25 years, this is a proposed policy in search of serious problems. Michigan hospitals are currently trying to hire more than 8,400 nurses for vacant positions during a national workforce crisis. The MHA will continue to propose real solutions to address healthcare workforce vacancies and oppose proposals that negatively impact the health of communities across Michigan.
The MHA, several member hospital nurse leaders, the Michigan Organization of Nursing Leadership and American Nurses Association – Michigan testified in opposition. Further, nurses and nurse leaders from across the state joined the MHA in advocating against this effort. The impact the legislation will have on patients in the state is too serious to ignore; hospital nurses showed up in droves to share their concerns for their patients, their communities and Michigan’s access to care.
In conjunction with the testimony, the MHA released a letter on behalf of all Michigan hospitals and health systems signifying their unified opposition to proposed House Bills 4550-4552. This follows the announcement earlier this week of a comprehensive coalition of healthcare, business and advocacy organizations opposing the bills.
The legislature is scheduled to adjourn for the year on Tuesday, Nov. 14 and further voting for the calendar year is not anticipated. However, work on this issue won’t stop. Members are encouraged to continue to contact their legislators through the MHA Legislative Action Center, participate in legislator’s local coffee hours and town halls, and connect with other local leaders to encourage opposition to legislation that will reduce access to care and harm communities.
Legislation increasing penalties for violence committed against healthcare workers was approved by the state House of Representatives in a bipartisan vote during the week of Oct. 30. The MHA-supported bills increase fines for assaulting a healthcare …
New report outlines hospital community health efforts in FY 2021 The Michigan Health & Hospital Association released today the Making a Difference in Our Communities report that highlights how hospitals invested more than $784 …
Beyfortus (nirsevimab) is a long-acting monoclonal antibody for the prevention of respiratory syncytial virus lower respiratory tract disease in infants approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in July 2023. The MHA has …
The Michigan Health & Hospital Association Keystone Center a Dragan Spremo at University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital with the quarterly MHA Keystone Center Speak-up! Award on Oct 23. The MHA Keystone Center …
Registration is open for the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Healthcare certificate program offered Dec. 7 and Dec. 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET. The event, hosted by the Michigan Health & Hospital …
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently submitted a proposed rule outlining penalties providers would face if they do not appropriately share patient data as outlined in the 21st Century Cures Act. …
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recently published a webpage to track the allocation of $800 million received for opioid settlement investments. MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Natasha Baghdasarian indicated the website …
Hospitals and health systems face significant adversity, yet Michigan providers continue to provide high quality and accessible healthcare to their communities, in great part because of governing boards, executives and staff leadership. Board and committee …
As we have discussed in these monthly reports in the past, I am incredibly proud that the MHA is committed to the health equity journey, which once again has been identified by the MHA Board of Trustees as …
“As news cycles go, this one was standard fare for healthcare: with the exception of business plan announcements by organizations or as elements of tragedies like Lewiston, Gaza or a pandemic, the business of the health system—how it operates is largely uncovered and often subject to misinformation or disinformation. …
In the next 3 weeks, attention will be on the federal budget: healthcare will be in the background unless temporarily an element of a mass tragedy. Each trade group will tout its accomplishments to regulators and pimp their advocacy punch list. Each company will gin-out news releases and commentary about the future of the system will default to think tanks and focused on a single issue of interest.
That’s the problem. In this era of social media, polarization, and mass transparency, these old ways of communicating no longer work. Left unattended, they undermine the value proposition on which the U.S. system is based.”
The MHA will host a virtual member from 2 to 3 p.m. on Nov. 9 to outline the MHA 2023 – 2024 strategic action plan approved by the MHA Board of Trustees.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently released an updated 2024 Medicare & You Handbook which provides information for patients regarding traditional Medicare, Medicare prescription drug plans, Medicare Advantage and more.
The MHA Legislative Policy Panel met Oct. 11 to develop recommendations for the MHA Board of Trustees on legislative initiatives impacting Michigan hospitals.
The meeting focused on state legislative updates for the new members of the panel, including updates on nurse staffing ratio legislation, the state budget, hospital reimbursement and behavioral health. The panel also received a federal update from federal lobbyist Carlos Jackson with Cornerstone Government Affairs.
Regarding action items, the panel recommended the MHA support establishing levels of maternal care designations that protect access to care and funding to support hospital desired designations.
For more information on the MHA Legislative Policy Panel, contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.
Healthcare legislative activity in the Michigan Legislature included hearings on auto no-fault and several other bills during the week of Oct. 2. The Senate Finance, Insurance and Consumer Protection Committee held their first hearing on Senate Bills (SBs) 530 and 531. Introduced by Sen. Mary Cavanagh (D-Redford Twp.) and Sen. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing), the legislation would adjust the hospital fee schedule, clarify the definition of Medicare and provide rate certainty for post-acute care providers. The MHA is supportive of this legislation and will be testifying in an upcoming committee hearing on the importance of hospital access for individuals involved in an auto accident.
The House Health Policy Committee voted out two MHA supported bills, House Bill (HB) 4101 and SB 384. Sponsored by Rep. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington), HB 4101 would increase the time a speech language pathologist’s temporary license can be active while they complete required training. SB 384, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores), would prohibit insurers from discriminating against living organ donors. Further, the committee took testimony on two separate packages of bills. HBs 4131, 4213, 4579 and 4580 would increase telehealth access while HBs 4504, 4505, 4169 and 4170 would add Michigan to the interstate physical therapy and occupational therapy licensure compacts. The MHA is supportive of both the increases to telehealth access and licensure compact legislation.
The Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety Committee took up SB 410, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor), which would rescind prescription drug product immunity from liability, therefore allowing pharmaceutical drug product liability claims in the state. Current immunity has resulted in several complaints against manufacturers being dismissed. This legislation would allow complaints to move forward on their merits. The MHA is supportive of this legislation.
Lastly, the Senate Health Policy Committee took up SB 27, sponsored by Sen. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing), which would ensure that behavioral health parity is meaningfully applied in Michigan. The MHA is supportive of this legislation as well as HB 4707, sponsored by Rep. Felicia Brabec (D-Ann Arbor). Both bills look to expand and protect access to behavioral health services through insurance coverage parity.
Members with questions about state legislative action may contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.