Gov. Whitmer signed several bills into law Dec. 22 that were supported by the MHA and passed during the lame-duck session. Among these were expansions to the Michigan Reconnect Program, legislation to allow for a new rural emergency hospital licensure designation and interstate licensure opportunities for psychologists.
House Bills (HBs) 6129 and 6130 – legislation to expand the Michigan Reconnect program – were signed by the governor. The Michigan Reconnect program is a post-secondary scholarship program designed to provide funding to learners over the age of 25 interested in pursuing credentials or post-secondary degrees at community colleges or eligible training programs. Introduced by Reps. Ben Frederick (R-Owosso) and Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing), the package allows for several additional certifications to qualify for the scholarships including high-demand healthcare credentials. The MHA was supportive of the bills and will continue to advocate for future changes to lower the age of qualification for the program.
The legislation needed for hospitals to begin converting to Rural Emergency Hospitals (REHs) in Michigan was also signed into law. Due to limited session days left, the language to allow for REH licensure in Michigan was officially included in Senate Bill (SB) 183. REHs are a new federal designation that will require hospitals to give up inpatient services in exchange for improved federal outpatient reimbursement. Members with questions about the federal rules for REH designation can contact Lauren LaPine at the MHA for more information.
Legislation to allow Michigan to join the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT) was also approved by the governor. This will bring Michigan in line with 26 other states to create 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) and supported by the MHA to help increase access to behavioral health services in Michigan.
Members with questions on these bills or any other lame duck action may reach out to Adam Carlson at the MHA.