Healthcare Bills See Action as Session Resumes

capitol building

capitol buildingThe Michigan Legislature returned to session the week of April 10, taking up several bills the MHA is monitoring. In the House of Representatives, MHA-supported legislation to create a new tax credit for blood donations and to regulate the sale of kratom received hearings in their respective committees. In the Senate, a package of bills to license and regulate professional guardians was introduced and testimony was held on a bill to allow for pharmacists to order and administer certain vaccinations and diagnostic tests.

The House Committee on Tax Policy held a hearing on House Bill (HB) 4068 to create a new tax credit for blood donations in Michigan. Introduced by Rep. Rachel Hood (D-Grand Rapids), the bill would allow for a $25 state income tax credit for each blood donation during the tax year. The MHA is supportive of the bill, which is a unique way of encouraging good public health decisions in the state. A vote was not held at this hearing.

In the House Regulatory Reform Committee, an initial hearing was held on legislation to regulate the sale of kratom in Michigan. Kratom is a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia, with leaves that contain compounds which can have psychotropic effects similar to opioids and stimulants. HB 4061 would ban adulterated kratom products, require warning labels addressing the potential health impacts and require lab testing for kratom products to ensure consumers know what substances are present. HB 4061 is a reintroduction by Rep. Lori Stone (D-Warren) and was supported by the MHA’s Legislative Policy Panel last session. No vote on the bill was taken.

In the Senate’s Health Policy Committee, Sen. Sylvia Santana presented a new bill intended to increase access to vaccines and certain laboratory tests. Senate Bill (SB) 219 would allow pharmacists to order and administer vaccinations and certain diagnostic tests for their patients without physician supervision. Under the bill, the diagnostic tests pharmacists would be allowed to perform would be limited to those that are waived for home use by the Food and Drug Administration or approved for waiver under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988. The MHA has not yet taken a position on SB 219, which has also been introduced in the House as HB 4316 by Rep. Alabas Farhat (D-Dearborn). The MHA expects further testimony to be taken on the bill and no votes were held at this time.

In the Senate, a new package of six bills to amend regulations for professional guardians was introduced. SBs 253258 include a wide range of proposals to increase the requirements for professional guardians, limit the number of cases a guardian can take and change the priority list for court-appointed guardians. The MHA has concerns with the legislation impacting a hospital’s ability to secure court appointed guardians in a timely manner to engage with healthcare and placement decisions. No hearing is scheduled on the bills at this time.

Members with questions about state legislative action can reach out to Adam Carlson for more information.

Guardianship, Medical Laboratory Registry Bills Advance

capitol buildingSeveral bills impacting hospitals were acted upon during the week of June 20 while the governor and legislative leadership continued negotiations on the fiscal year 2023 state budget. In the Senate, legislation to create a new registry for certain specialized laboratories was advanced from committee. In the House, the Judiciary Committee reported the package of bills to regulate and license professional guardians to the House floor for further consideration.

The Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee held further testimony on a bill to register certain medical laboratories in Michigan. Senate Bill (SB) 812, introduced by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington), would create a registry for interventional pain management, kidney access, and vascular laboratories. As currently written, SB 812 would not provide any form of oversight or clinical requirements for the registered labs, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services would not have authority to deny or remove registered labs from the list. The MHA has not taken a position on the bill but is closely monitoring the issue.

The House Judiciary Committee held its third and final hearing on the guardianship package, House Bills 4847, 4848, 4849 and 4850. The MHA has not taken an official position on the bills, but provided written testimony to the committee to voice concern on the potential impact to hospitals. The proposed legislation would significantly increase requirements on professional guardians and limit the number of individuals an uncertified guardian could represent. The MHA supports a strong guardianship program in which qualified individuals are available for incapacitated patients in need of a decision-maker, but remains concerned that hospitals will struggle to find guardians for some patients without increased funding. House Judiciary Committee members supported the package, which now moves to the House floor for further consideration. The MHA will continue to discuss potential solutions with the Legislature, including ways to increase opportunities for family members to assume decision-making authority in times of emergency.

Any questions or comments on this legislation may be directed to Sean Sorenson-Abbott at the MHA.