Both Michigan Legislative Chambers Act on Healthcare Bills

Dr North

James L. North, MD, CPE, director of medical operations, ProMedicaThe Michigan Legislature addressed several bills impacting hospitals during the week of April 26. Some of the bills that saw action deal with making changes to prior authorization for healthcare services, expanding scope of practice for certain mental health providers and allowing Michigan pharmacies to fill prescriptions from additional licensed, out-of-state, health professionals.

The prior authorization legislation, Senate Bill (SB) 247, was unanimously supported in a Senate floor vote. The bill was introduced by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) and would make changes to the prior authorization process for commercial insurers. Most notably, SB 247 would shorten the timeline for insurer approvals to five business days and require online publication of prior authorization policies and notices of any changes to those policies. The MHA has supported the legislation, which has now been referred to the House Health Policy Committee.

The full Senate also unanimously supported SB 191, which would expand the mental health code to allow for more services to be delivered by physician assistants, certified nurse practitioners and certified clinical nurse specialists. The bill has been referred to the House Health Policy Committee. SB 191 was also introduced by VanderWall and supported by the MHA.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee took testimony on SB 246, which would expand the Essential Health Provider Loan Repayment Program. Also introduced by VanderWall, this bill would raise the maximum allowable loan forgiveness for health professionals who agree to work additional years in a health resource shortage area and is supported by the MHA.

Testimony was also taken in Senate Health and Human Services Committee on House Bills (HBs) 4043 and 4044, which would provide Michigan’s mental health crisis hotline with access to the state’s electronic inpatient bed registry. The bills were introduced by Rep. Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Twp.) and would ensure that hospitals are not held liable if the bed registry data is incorrect. MHA has not taken a position on HBs 4043 and 4044.

The House Health Policy Committee took testimony on SB 18 and SB 166, both supported by the MHA. SB 18 was introduced by Sen. Dale Zorn (R-Ida) and would add Michigan to the Physical Therapist Licensure Compact (PTLC). Joining the PTLC would grant certified physical therapists the ability to have one multistate license, allowing them to practice in their home state and other PTLC states. Introduced by VanderWall, SB 166 would allow Michigan pharmacies to fill noncontrolled substance prescriptions written by out-of-state physician assistants (PAs) and advance practice registered nurses (APRNs). Current statute allows out-of-state prescriptions from only physicians, dentists or veterinarians.

James L. North, MD, CPE, director of medical operations, ProMedica, testified before the committee on SB 166, explaining the problems the state law currently poses for patients who visit hospitals located just beyond Michigan’s borders, college students and Michigan residents who spend the winter months outside of the state. Because Michigan pharmacies cannot fill prescriptions written by PAs and APRNs who do not have Michigan licenses, patients’ medication can be dangerously delayed.

Contact Adam Carlson at the MHA for more information on state legislation.