The Legislature took their final votes for the 2021-2022 legislative session during the week of Dec. 5. Given the results of the election, very few bills passed during the legislative lame-duck session compared to a typical year. While the lack of a supplemental agreement prohibited additional funding for healthcare, the MHA was able to secure several victories on policy issues and no MHA-opposed legislation was passed before the end of the year.
House Bills (HBs) 6129 and 6130, legislation to expand the Michigan Reconnect program, was sent to the Governor’s desk for final approval. The Michigan Reconnect program is a postsecondary scholarship program designed to provide funding to learners over the age of 25 to return to the classroom to pursue credentials or postsecondary degrees at community colleges or eligible training programs. Introduced by Reps. Ben Frederick (R-Owosso) and Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing), the package allows for several additional certifications to qualify for the scholarships including high-demand healthcare credentials. The MHA is supportive of the bills and will continue to advocate for future changes to lower the age for individuals to qualify for the program.
Legislation to allow Michigan to join the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT) was also sent to the Governor’s desk. If signed into law, this will bring Michigan in line with 26 other states to create an expedited pathway to licensure for psychologists who wish to practice telepsychiatry across state lines. HBs 5488 and 5489 were introduced by Reps. Bronna Kahle (R-Adrian) and Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield Township) and supported by the MHA to help increase access to behavioral health services in Michigan.
Another MHA-tracked bill, Senate Bill (SB) 450, was sent to the Governor. Introduced by Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland), SB 450 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 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, based upon previous feedback received from our Legislative Policy Panel.
Members with questions on these bills or any other lame duck action may reach out to Adam Carlson at the MHA.