Governor Signs Several MHA Priorities Into Law

Gov. Whitmer signed several bills into law Dec. 22 that were supported by the MHA and passed during the lame-duck session. Among these were expansions to the Michigan Reconnect Program, legislation to allow for a new rural emergency hospital licensure designation and interstate licensure opportunities for psychologists.

House Bills (HBs) 6129 and 6130legislation to expand the Michigan Reconnect program – were signed by the governor. The Michigan Reconnect program is a post-secondary scholarship program designed to provide funding to learners over the age of 25 interested in pursuing credentials or post-secondary 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 was supportive of the bills and will continue to advocate for future changes to lower the age of qualification for the program.

The legislation needed for hospitals to begin converting to Rural Emergency Hospitals (REHs) in Michigan was also signed into law. Due to limited session days left, the language to allow for REH licensure in Michigan was officially included in Senate Bill (SB) 183. REHs are a new federal designation that will require hospitals to give up inpatient services in exchange for improved federal outpatient reimbursement. Members with questions about the federal rules for REH designation can contact Lauren LaPine at the MHA for more information.

Legislation to allow Michigan to join the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT) was also approved by the governor. 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.

Members with questions on these bills or any other lame duck action may reach out to Adam Carlson at the MHA.


MHA Supports Increased Access to Affordable Post-Secondary Education

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.

Questions on the scholarship can be directed to Elizabeth Kutter at the MHA.

Governor Signs Healthcare Bills, New Licensing Bill Introduced

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capitol buildingThe Legislature acted on several healthcare-related bills during the week of May 16. The governor signed several bills into law to plan for new funding from the national opioid settlement and to allow for certain out-of-state prescriptions. In the House, testimony was taken on legislation to create a new alternate licensure process for paramedics in Michigan.

The governor signed three bills that will help guide Michigan’s use of new funding from the $26 billion national opioid settlement. Senate Bills (SBs) 993, 994 and 995 create a new restricted fund for the state to house the settlement dollars, establish a new advisory commission appointed by the Legislature and governor to oversee spending, and prohibit future civil lawsuits related to claims covered by this fund. The MHA is currently identifying treatment and prevention priorities for feedback to the advisory commission.

The governor also signed an MHA-supported bill related to the filling of out-of-state prescriptions. SB 166, introduced by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington), allows pharmacies to fill noncontrolled substance prescriptions written by licensed, out-of-state physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses. The Legislature gave the bill immediate effect, allowing pharmacies to begin filling these prescriptions May 19.

In the House Workforce, Trade, and Talent Committee, initial testimony was taken on a bill to establish an alternate licensure process for paramedics in Michigan. House Bill (HB) 6086, introduced by Rep. Jeff Yaroch (R-Richmond), would require the state to develop a new Michigan-specific certification course, separate from the currently required course from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. The MHA is opposed to HB 6086, which could have implications for a paramedic’s ability to work in multiple states. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians certification is currently used in 48 states and is required for all newly licensed paramedics in Michigan. No votes were held on the bill and the MHA will keep members apprised if further action is taken.

Questions on these issues or other state legislation related to healthcare can be directed to Adam Carlson at the MHA.

Prior Authorization Bill Signed into Law

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capitol buildingLegislation to decrease wait times for commercial insurance prior authorization requests was signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer April 7. Senate Bill (SB) 247, introduced by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington), will shorten the timeline for approval to seven calendar days or 72 hours for urgent requests, as well as ensure that emergency care can be provided without prior approval.

Shortening wait times for prior authorization requests has been an MHA priority for several legislative sessions. The MHA provided testimony in support of SB 247 in both chambers and shared a letter with the governor encouraging her to sign the bill. The legislation will take effect June 1, 2023.

Members with questions about SB 247 or other state legislation regarding healthcare should contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.

Governor Signs Broadband Funding Bill

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capitol buildingGov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a $4.7 billion supplemental appropriations bill into law March 30. Senate Bill 565, introduced by Sen. Jon Bumstead (R-Newaygo), will provide supplemental appropriations to implement a statewide broadband program.

The new law includes $250 million and eight new full-time positions for the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office (MIHI). The new full-time positions will be responsible for developing a broadband plan that can access more federal dollars in the future. The MHA supports the MIHI funding, which will help Michigan take advantage of available federal appropriations to ensure access to reliable broadband for telehealth.

Members with any questions on SB 565 may contact Sean Sorenson-Abbott at the MHA.