Healthcare Bills Progress as Legislative Holiday Break Approaches

capitol building

capitol buildingThe Michigan House of Representatives acted on several bills related to healthcare during the week of Dec. 6. The House Education Committee supported legislation to allow community colleges to offer four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees. The House Health Policy Committee approved legislation to require patient consent for invasive bodily exams and took initial testimony on legislation to require new continuing medical education (CME) for lead poisoning identification and treatment. In addition, the full House of Representatives voted on bills to allow Michigan to join the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT) and an MHA-supported bill that makes changes for pharmacy wholesale distributors.

The legislation to allow for four-year BSN degrees at community colleges was introduced by Reps. John Roth (R-Traverse City) and John Damoose (R-Harbor Springs). House Bills (HBs) 5556 and 5557 would increase access to high-quality nurses in areas served by Michigan’s small and rural hospitals where a four-year school does not currently exist. The MHA supports the package, which will now be considered in the full House.

In the House Health Policy Committee, a vote was taken to report to the House floor legislation prohibiting invasive bodily exams without patient approval. HB 4194, introduced by Rep. Pamela Hornberger (R-Chesterfield Township), is supported by the MHA.

Legislation to require new physician CME regarding lead poisoning was also on the agenda in the House Health Policy Committee. Introduced by Rep. Rachel Hood (D-Grand Rapids), HB 5414 would require physicians in Michigan to complete CME on lead screening, signs of lead poisoning, treatment for children and the referral process for lead cases to state agencies. The MHA opposed the bill in committee, noting that hospitals are currently focused on the implicit bias training that will become a condition for state licensure June 1. At a time when physicians and other healthcare professionals are exhausted from workforce shortages and unprecedented caseloads, additional educational requirements would be nearly impossible to undertake. The MHA will continue to monitor any action on HB 5414.

The House of Representatives voted to pass two bills to allow Michigan to join PSYPACT. This compact is a legal agreement among states that creates 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), respectively, and are supported by the MHA. The bills now move to the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee.

The pharmacy wholesale distributor bill passed the full House and now awaits the governor’s signature. HB 5072 was introduced by Rep. Ryan Berman (R-Commerce Township) and is a state-level effort to exempt hospitals and other healthcare entities that are under common control from a medication distribution threshold that currently requires registration as wholesalers. The MHA supported the bill in both chambers, as it would remove a requirement for additional paperwork for hospital pharmacies.

For more information on these and other state bills related to healthcare, contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.