Governor Signs MHA Supported Legislation and Announces Round of GoingPro Awards

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capitol buildingGov. Whitmer signed several MHA-supported bills during the week of July 17 related to the Healthy Michigan Plan (HMP), organ donation and vaccine distribution. Those bills include:

  • House Bills 44954496 (Public Acts (PAs) 98-99 of 2023), sponsored by Reps. Will Snyder (D-Muskegon) and Graham Filler (R-DeWitt), make important updates to the HMP, Michigan’s expanded Medicaid. The program will no longer include cost sharing requirements that have proved to be exceedingly burdensome. Further, the statute no longer includes language allowing for the program to be summarily abandoned if state costs exceeded state savings. The HMP has allowed for increased access to healthcare throughout the state, providing coverage for over a million Michiganders.
  • House Bills 4362, 4363 and 4364 (PAs 100-102 of 2023), sponsored by Reps. Felicia Brabec (D-Ann Arbor), Cynthia Neeley (D-Flint) and Natalie Price (D-Berkley), include the option for individuals to denote their organ donor status when filing state income taxes. Over 103,000 individuals nationwide are waiting for organ donations, including approximately 2,300 Michiganders. These policies will increase opportunities for residents of the state to opt-in to organ donation. Increasing the number of people on the organ donation list benefits those in need while also supporting long term organ availability.
  • Senate Bill 219 (PA 97 of 2023), sponsored by Sen. Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit), allows pharmacists to order and administer qualifying vaccines and lab tests independently. Michigan continues to seek ways to increase vaccination rates. State solutions like SB 219 allow Michigan to support additional access points. The law allows a pharmacist to order and administer vaccines and lab tests in certain circumstances without the supervision of a physician, following completion of approved training.

In addition to signing important healthcare legislation, Gov. Whitmer announced $13.5 million in GoingPro awards, with several MHA members receiving funds to support upskilling and retooling team members. GoingPro launched in 2014 and allows employers to apply for grant funding to support their employees in earning industry-recognized credentials. Over 8,500 employees across the state have benefited from the program and this recent round of grant awards included nearly $750,000 for hospitals. The MHA continues to support Gov. Whitmer’s recognition of hospital workforce needs and her dedication to growing the state’s talent pipeline.

Members with questions about state legislative action may contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.

Healthcare Policy Bills Advance from Legislative Committees

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Several bills tracked by the MHA saw further action in the Michigan Legislature the week of April 17. Committees in the House and Senate took votes on bills to create a new tax credit for blood donations and to allow pharmacists to order and administer certain immunizations and diagnostic tests in Michigan. The MHA also supported legislation in the House Health Policy Committee that would allow citizens to designate themselves as an organ donor on their tax filing and require drug manufacturers to report certain data and information on price changes to the state.capitol building

The House Committee on Tax Policy held a second hearing on House Bill (HB) 4068, which would 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. The committee voted unanimously to support the legislation, which now heads to the House floor for further consideration.

In the Senate Health Policy Committee, a vote was held on Sen. Sylvia Santana’s (D-Detroit) bill intended to increase access to vaccines and certain laboratory tests. Senate Bill (SB) 219 would allow pharmacists to order and administer immunizations and certain diagnostic tests for their patients without physician supervision. A new substitute was adopted in committee that limits the diagnostic screening pharmacists would be allowed to perform to COVID-19, influenza, urinary tract infections and diabetes. Pharmacists wishing to provide these additional services must also complete an annual 4-hour training program. The MHA has not yet taken a position on SB 219, which was approved by the committee and sent to the Senate floor.

In the House Health Policy Committee, testimony was taken on a new package of bills that would 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 being 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. No vote was taken during the initial hearing on the bills.

The MHA also submitted written testimony in support of a bill to require drug manufacturers to report certain data and price changes to the state of Michigan. Introduced by Rep. Samantha Steckloff (D-Farmington Hills), HB 4409 is also known as the Drug Manufacturer Data Reporting Act. The MHA sees this legislation as an important step in providing transparency into the fastest growing expense for Michigan hospitals. For example, between 2019 and 2021 drug costs rose nationally by 36.9%. This hearing was testimony only and the MHA will continue to track the legislation.

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