MHA representatives appearing in published stories include CEO Brian Peters, Executive Vice President Laura Appel, Senior Director of Government & Political Affairs Elizabeth Kutter and Senior Director of Communications John Karasinski.
Below is a collection of headline from around the state.
Legislation to create Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) was signed by Gov. Whitmer May 22. These new public acts allow for certain individuals, including healthcare providers, to file an ERPO if a person is a threat to themselves or others.
Healthcare providers are uniquely positioned to offer healing in times of need given the close relationship between providers and patients. Inclusion in the state’s “red flag” laws recognize the important role healthcare providers play in their communities. In instances where patients present and indicate they pose a significant risk to themselves or others, the newly signed legislation allows a provider to file an ERPO to protect that individual from self-harm or harm to others.
These Public Acts (PAs) establish the new “red flag” laws in Michigan.
PA 35 introduced by Rep. Julie Brixie (D-Meridian Township).
PA 36 introduced by Rep. Stephanie Young (D-Detroit).
PA 38 introduced by Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak).
Under the newly signed laws, a healthcare provider means “a physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, certified nurse specialist, or a mental health professional.” Further, the law defines mental health professional as a person “who is trained and experienced in the area of mental illness or developmental disabilities and who is a physician, a psychologist, registered professional nurse, licensed or otherwise authorized master’s social worker, licensed or otherwise authorized professionally counselor, and a licensed or otherwise authorized marriage or family therapist.”
Healthcare providers are often the first interaction a resident has where an opportunity for care and harm prevention can be offered. Michigan’s Extreme Risk Protection Order law is another tool available for healthcare providers in responding to patient needs.
Members with questions on the Extreme Risk Protection Order law may contact Elizabeth Kutter at the MHA.
Upon the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) will end a 2020 policy allowing hospitals to use 340B drugs for eligible patients in new hospital locations, even if they have not yet appeared on a filed Medicare cost report. Beginning May 11, 2023, at 11:59 PM ET, the hospital should stop purchasing and using 340B drugs for that outpatient facility that is not yet registered. More information can be found on the HRSA COVID-19 resources website. Members with questions may contact Elizabeth Kutter at the MHA.
The MHA is hosting the webinar MHA Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE): An Alternative to Traditional Nursing Home care from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. May 23. Participants will learn about PACE philosophies, services provided, structure and financing and how health systems can partner with local PACE programs to support and enhance senior care. There is no cost to attend and members can register online.
Completed 2022 occupational mix surveys must be submitted by acute care hospitals paid under the Medicare prospective payment system to the Medicare Administrative Contractor by June 30, 2023. Hospitals are required to complete the survey every three years, with results from the 2022 survey to be used to adjust the Medicare wage index for fiscal years 2025, 2026 and 2027. Hospitals are encouraged to review their 2019 survey and determine whether there have been payroll changes, new job codes or job descriptions added, etc., to streamline the completion process. It is important to note that contact labor should be included in the various categories of the survey. Resource materials from the educational webinar hosted by the MHA in late January are available upon request. Members with questions should contact Vickie Kunz at the MHA.
Legislation to increase the penalties for assaulting healthcare employees and volunteers was introduced in the state House of Representatives during the week of May 1. Additional legislation was introduced to remove unnecessary provisions of the Healthy Michigan Program, Michigan’s Medicaid expansion program. Additionally, the House Health Policy committee advanced MHA-supported legislation to provide more opportunities for individuals to sign up as organ donors.
House Bills (HB) 4520 and 4521, introduced by Rep. Mike Mueller (R-Linden) and Rep. Kelly Breen (D-Novi), doubles the fines for assaulting a healthcare employee or volunteer while performing their official duties. The legislation was officially introduced and referred to the House Criminal Justice Committee. The bills would require signage in hospital emergency rooms to deter potential assaults, which the MHA has made available to Michigan hospitals free of charge. The MHA supports the bills and will be encouraging the committee to take swift action to address rising cases of violence against healthcare workers.
House Bills (HB) 4495 and HB 4496, introduced by Rep. Will Snyder (D-Muskegon) and Rep. Graham Filler (R-Clinton County), would eliminate unnecessary provisions in the Healthy Michigan Plan and makes changes to help ensure its long-term success. The bills remove requirements that certain beneficiaries maintain health savings accounts and pay co-pays or deductibles. Additionally, the bill removes the provision that a future administration could repeal the program if state savings are reduced. The MHA supports the legislation to bolster the program that currently enrolls over one million Michigan residents. The bills were referred to the House Health Policy committee for consideration.
Legislation was advanced through the House Health and Tax Policy Committees to allow Michigan citizens to designate themselves as organ donors on state tax forms. Introduced by Rep. Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield Twp), HBs 4362 through 4364 would provide for the question to be asked on tax forms starting in the 2023 tax year. The MHA is supportive of the legislation, which is led by Gift of Life Michigan, to reverse the declining growth in individuals signing up for the donor registry. Gift of Life Michigan testified in committee that states across the country are dealing with this trend, as the pandemic and online services have led to fewer trips to Secretary of State offices. The bills now advance to the full House for consideration.
Members with questions about state legislative action may contact Elizabeth Kutter at the MHA for more information.
The MHA Board of Trustees began their Nov. 2 meeting with a review of key communication strategies to assist hospitals and health systems to “tell their stories” about the unprecedented financial and workforce challenges they currently face and how they are adapting to meet the critical healthcare and economic development needs of their communities …
Michigan children’s hospitals and pediatric healthcare leaders are raising awareness about a pediatric hospital bed shortage and urging the public to help prevent respiratory illnesses, which are rapidly spreading in the form of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza …
The MHA, along with stakeholders across diverse fields, supported record state investment in Michigan’s future workforce. On October 11th, the Governor signed Public Act 212 of 2022 establishing the Michigan Achievement Scholarship, and applications starting with students in the high school class of 2023 will now be eligible for increased state financial aid …
At the MHA, we often say that politics is not a spectator sport. It requires continual engagement and relationship building so that when you are in a crisis and need assistance, you have trusted friends you can turn to …
The Keckley Report
The Three Blind Spots in Hospital Strategic Plans
“For 40 years, I have facilitated Board Retreats for hospitals, health systems, insurance plans and medical groups. At no time has the level of uncertainty about the future for hospitals been as intense nor the importance of a forward-looking strategic vision and planning been as necessary as now. The issues are complicated: lag indicators about demand, clinical innovations, reimbursement, costs et al are a foreboding backdrop for these discussions. And three issues have surfaced as blind spots in the environmental assessments and deliberations preceding the plan …”
Many Michigan hospitals are underway with their Michigan Harvest Gathering campaign which runs through Nov. 18. Online donations by hospital employees and community members to the Michigan Harvest Gathering program can be made through the Food Bank Council of Michigan’s website …
The MHA received media coverage on the surge of RSV cases across Michigan’s pediatric hospitals during the week of Oct. 31. The coverage included several comments provided to news outlets and the distribution of a press release Nov. 4 to statewide media …
The MHA, along with stakeholders across diverse fields, supported record state investment in Michigan’s future workforce. On October 11th, the Governor signed Public Act 212 of 2022 establishing the Michigan Achievement Scholarship, and applications starting with students in the high school class of 2023 will now be eligible for increased state financial aid. The legislature passed and Governor Whitmer signed a state budget supplemental in October that included record funding for the Michigan Achievement Scholarship. The scholarship will allow students to save up to $8,250 over three years as they earn their associate degree at a community college, up to $20,000 over five years at a private college or up to $27,500 over five years at a public university.
The MHA supported this investment to increase access to affordable post-secondary programs that will give students the ability to pursue high demand healthcare careers with far fewer barriers. As our state continues to navigate the workforce and talent pipeline needs across numerous industries, the Michigan Achievement Scholarship is a positive step towards developing the state’s future workforce.
Governor Whitmer announced this week the official opening of the MI Student Aid website to assist students and parents interested in learning more about and applying for the Achievement Scholarship. Interested parties can visit Michigan Achievement Scholarship website to get started on the steps necessary to apply for funds, which will be available starting with students in the high school class of 2023.
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. “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, 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.
The MHA, the Michigan Community College Association, Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities and the Michigan Association of State Universities released June 1 a collaborative proposal to invest state funds in expanding access to bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree programs to the state’s 28 community college campuses. The proposal, which aims to allocate $56 million to eligible community colleges that partner with a four-year institution, will increase access to BSN degree programs, especially in rural communities and areas of the state currently lacking a four-year degree granting institution.
The MHA supports the proposal since the investment should help address the talent pipeline for nurses and improve overall hospital nursing across Michigan. Increasing access to programs throughout the state and creating opportunities for those programs to be more affordable will have a direct, positive impact on the nursing workforce.
“Staffing shortages are impacting Michigan hospitals throughout the state, particularly in the areas of nursing,” said MHA CEO Brian Peters in the press release. “This plan will help us get more highly skilled professionals into the field quickly and increase access to nursing education in more communities across the state.”
Also supporting the proposal are the Michigan Works! Association, Michigan Association of Colleges of Nursing and the Michigan Council of Nursing Education Administrators. Media coverage of the announcement includes a story from WWMT-TV in Grand Rapids.
The MHA Graduate Medical Education (GME) Advocacy Day welcomed 32 physician residents from more than a dozen member hospitals to the MHA Capitol Advocacy Center offices May 5 for a day of meetings with members of the Michigan Legislature and their staffs. Each group of residents met with a combination of lawmakers and legislative staff throughout the day, with conversations focusing on the importance of GME funding and the role it plays in Michigan’s healthcare workforce talent pipeline.
Meetings were held in the Michigan Capitol, the Anderson House Office Building and the Senate Binsfeld Office Building. Most of the meetings involved current members of both the House and Senate health policy committees, which is where the majority of healthcare legislation originates. Participating lawmaker offices included those of Senate Health Policy Minority Vice Chair Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids), Senate Health Policy member Sen. Kim LaSata (R-Niles), House Health Policy Majority Vice Chair Luke Meerman (R-Coopersville) and House Health Policy Minority Vice Chair Angela Witwer (D-Delta Township).
Residents used and shared with lawmakers an infographic that provides facts regarding GME and the healthcare workforce shortage. With the nation experiencing a shortage of healthcare workers, residents reinforced the value of GME investment and physician residency training to help address physician shortages.
Members with questions on GME and state legislation related to the healthcare workforce should contact Elizabeth Kutter at the MHA.
The Michigan Health & Hospital Association is promoting Laura Appel to executive vice president of government relations and public policy from her prior role as senior vice president, health policy & innovation. In this role, which takes effect Feb. 28, Appel will have executive oversight of the MHA’s Capitol Advocacy Center.
Appel joined the MHA in 2000 following a career at the Michigan House of Representatives as a director and policy analyst. Throughout her time at the MHA, Appel has focused on strategic priorities related to state and federal lobbying and healthcare policy analysis, including issues such as auto no-fault insurance, behavioral health, Medicare and Medicaid policy and the 340B drug pricing program.
“It is clear that Laura has earned the respect of the MHA Board of Trustees, as well as her peers, and I am confident that she will help lead the MHA effectively into the future,” said MHA CEO Brian Peters.
Also joining the MHA Advocacy team as of Feb. 22 is Elizabeth Kutter, JD, now the MHA’s senior director, government & political affairs. Kutter joins the MHA from Wayne State University, where she served as director, state relations, since May 2020. Prior to that, Kutter worked as manager, government affairs, at Henry Ford Health System.
In addition to these advocacy-focused changes, the MHA also welcomes Sarah Scranton, MPA, MPP, as the MHA’s new vice president of safety and quality and the MHA Keystone Center’s new executive director effective Feb. 28. Scranton has more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit management and public policy. She is the former executive director of the Arthritis Foundation of Michigan. She has also served as executive director at Tomorrow’s Child and Planned Parenthood Advocates and Affiliates of Michigan. As executive director, Scranton will work closely with MHA and MHA Keystone Center staff and governing boards to execute the association’s mission, vision and values.