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.