Healthcare-related Legislation Continues to Progress

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capitol backgroundLegislative action continued during the week of Oct. 18, including votes on several bills impacting hospitals. Topics included licensure for dietitians and nutritionists, emergency department-based medication assisted treatment (MAT), and a bill to ensure employers have access to general information for background checks.

In the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee, testimony was taken on a bill to create state licensure for dietetics and nutrition professionals. Introduced as Senate Bill (SB) 614 by Sen. Michael MacDonald (R-Macomb Township), the bill establishes scope of practice for both dieticians and nutritionists and gives the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs oversight authority. The MHA  supports SB 614 and will continue to keep members apprised of any action.

The committee also took testimony on House Bill (HB) 4667, which would prohibit a governmental entity from issuing a COVID-19 vaccination passport or requiring proof of vaccination status to access public property or services. The MHA successfully advocated for an amendment to ensure that the state keeps the authority to maintain patient vaccination information in the Michigan Care Improvement Registry system. However, the association remains opposed to the bill due to its potential to negatively affect statewide vaccination efforts. HB 4667 was reported to the Senate floor.

The House Judiciary Committee reported to the House floor a bill to ensure employers have access to general information for background checks. HB 5368 was introduced by Rep. Graham Filler (R-Dewitt) and is supported by the MHA. Information like birthdates is important in certain court-related documents to ensure the proper identification of referenced individuals and to maintain efficient turnaround times for necessary background checks. HB 5368 now awaits a full vote from the House.

The full House voted to pass two additional bills supported by the MHA. HB 5163, introduced by Rep. Angela Witwer (D-Delta Township), would establish an opt-out grant program for emergency department-based MAT. HB 5072, introduced by Rep. Ryan Berman (R-Commerce Township), would exempt hospitals and other healthcare entities that are under common control from a medication distribution threshold that currently requires registration as wholesalers. HB 5072 is a state-level effort that would result in less paperwork for hospital pharmacies. Both bills will now head to the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee.

Members with questions on healthcare legislation may contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.

State Budget Signed, Healthcare Policy Bills Advanced

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capitol buildingThe week of Sept. 27 was highlighted by the governor signing the fiscal year (FY) 2022 state budget, legislative passage of a funding bill for the statewide trauma system, and policy bills in both the House and Senate. In the House Health Policy Committee, the MHA supported a bill to create a grant program for medication assisted treatment (MAT) in emergency departments and a pharmacy wholesalers bill. In the Senate, further testimony was taken on the behavioral health package and several policy bills

The governor Sept. 29 signed the FY 2022 budget, which fully protects traditional hospital funding including the Healthy Michigan Plan, the rural access pool, the obstetrical stabilization fund and maintaining rate increases for Medicaid and critical access hospitals. In addition, the MHA successfully advocated for extending postpartum coverage to a full year for mothers who are beneficiaries of the Healthy Michigan Plan and an additional $3 million in trauma funding to establish systems of care for stroke and heart attack emergencies. The MHA released a media statement thanking the governor and Legislature for passing a budget on time that maintains access to care throughout Michigan.

The Senate also passed House Bill (HB) 5094, legislation to fund the statewide trauma system. The MHA supports the bill and applauds the Legislature’s quick work to pass the bill over the past few weeks. HB 5094, introduced by Rep. Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Township), will now be sent to the governor’s desk and is expected to be signed.

The MHA supported two bills in the House Health Policy Committee the week of Sept. 27. HB 5163, introduced by Rep. Angela Witwer (D-Delta Township), would create an opt-out grant program for MAT in emergency departments. That bill is identical to an MHA-supported version being considered by the Senate. HB 5072, introduced by Rep. Ryan Berman (R-West Bloomfield Township), is a state-level effort to exempt hospitals or other healthcare entities that are under common control from a medication distribution threshold that currently requires registration as wholesalers. It would also exempt from the threshold the distribution of minimal quantities of medications by a licensed retail pharmacy to a licensed practitioner for office use.

In the Senate, further testimony was taken on Senate Bills (SBs) 597 and 598, which would create new specialty integrated plans to replace the current prepaid inpatient health plans and contract with each community mental health services program to deliver physical and behavioral health services to Michigan’s Medicaid population. The MHA-supported bills were introduced by Sens. Mike Shirkey (R-Clark Lake) and John Bizon (R-Battle Creek). Testimony was also heard in the Senate Health Policy Committee regarding several bills on which no votes were held. Those bills included legislation to create licensure for mental health transport organizations and a bill to allow HIV-positive patients to donate organs to other HIV-positive patients.

For more information on state healthcare legislation, contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.