MHA Podcast Explores Michigan Health Policy Priorities feat. Rep. Julie Rogers

The MHA released another episode of the MiCare Champion Cast, which features interviews with healthcare policy experts in Michigan on key issues that impact healthcare and the health of communities.

State Representative Julie Rogers

On episode 30, State Representative Julie Rogers (D-Kalamazoo) and Laura Appel, executive vice president of government relations and public policy at the MHA, discuss current health policy priorities impacting Michigan hospitals, patients and communities. The episode is available to steam on SpotifyYouTubeApple Podcasts and SoundCloud.

Rep. Rogers is serving her second term representing Michigan’s 41st House District, which includes portions of Kalamazoo, Portage and Comstock township. She’s a practicing physical therapist and a champion of public health, previously serving on the National Association of Counties Health Steering Committee for seven years and now as chair of House Committee on Health Policy. Rogers also serves as a member of many committees within the house and co-chairs the Biosciences Legislative Caucus.

Throughout the episode, Rogers and Appel cover the impact health policy has had on issues like Michigan’s Medicaid work requirements within the Healthy Michigan Plan, preventative health, auto no-fault, ongoing workforce shortages, and more.

“We have about 208,000 people who work in our hospitals,” notes Appel. “We need another 27,000 more…nearly 8,500 nurses. We’re short over 4,000 technicians – the people who help out in the pharmacy, lab technicians, patient care techs – we also need people who contribute to operations.”

Those interested in learning more about how to get involved in healthcare advocacy or how to engage with local lawmakers on issues such as nurse staffing, 340B, auto no-fault, etc. can visit the issues and advocacy webpage and/or the MHA Legislative Action Center. Those looking to pursue a career in healthcare are encouraged to visit the Hospital Careers website.

The MiCare Champion Cast is part of the statewide #MiCareMatters campaign, launched in 2017, which aims to build a network of citizens — “MiCare Champions” — who will be called upon to engage in advocacy efforts to protect access to affordable healthcare services in Michigan.

Members with questions or who would like to submit ideas for future podcasts should contact Lucy Ciaramitaro at the MHA.

State Legislation Introduced to Address Violence Against Healthcare Workers, Strengthen Healthy Michigan Plan and Expand Organ Donor Registration

capitol building

capitol buildingLegislation to increase the penalties for assaulting healthcare employees and volunteers was introduced in the state House of Representatives during the week of May 1. Additional legislation was introduced to remove unnecessary provisions of the Healthy Michigan Program, Michigan’s Medicaid expansion program. Additionally, the House Health Policy committee advanced MHA-supported legislation to provide more opportunities for individuals to sign up as organ donors.

House Bills (HB) 4520 and 4521, introduced by Rep. Mike Mueller (R-Linden) and Rep. Kelly Breen (D-Novi), doubles the fines for assaulting a healthcare employee or volunteer while performing their official duties. The legislation was officially introduced and referred to the House Criminal Justice Committee.  The bills would require signage in hospital emergency rooms to deter potential assaults, which the MHA has made available to Michigan hospitals free of charge. The MHA supports the bills and will be encouraging the committee to take swift action to address rising cases of violence against healthcare workers.

House Bills (HB) 4495 and HB 4496, introduced by Rep. Will Snyder (D-Muskegon) and Rep. Graham Filler (R-Clinton County), would eliminate unnecessary provisions in the Healthy Michigan Plan and makes changes to help ensure its long-term success. The bills remove requirements that certain beneficiaries maintain health savings accounts and pay co-pays or deductibles. Additionally, the bill removes the provision that a future administration could repeal the program if state savings are reduced. The MHA supports the legislation to bolster the program that currently enrolls over one million Michigan residents. The bills were referred to the House Health Policy committee for consideration.

Legislation was advanced through the House Health and Tax Policy Committees to 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 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. The bills now advance to the full House for consideration.

Members with questions about state legislative action may contact Elizabeth Kutter at the MHA for more information.

Expanding Advocacy Roots with the Next Generation

SciPol-Detroit in front of the Capitol.

The MHA collaborated with Wayne State University for the first-ever student-led advocacy day March 22. Science Policy Network-Detroit (SciPol- Detroit) is a student organization at Wayne State that aims to advocate for science-related issues in Detroit. Over 20 undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty with science-based backgrounds visited Lansing to discuss evidence-based ideas for future legislation. SciPol-Detroit members, including doctoral and nursing students, met with lawmakers from their local communities and key health policy committee leadership. Students advocated for legislation surrounding air pollution, lead testing and behavioral health.

MHA and Michigan State Medical Society staff members shared career development opportunities with the students. Staff members emphasized the importance of developing meaningful connections with local lawmakers and associations to kickstart career goals and help shape laws that will impact their profession.

The MHA is working towards establishing a pipeline program with Wayne State University, beginning with the Government Relations and Health Policy Fellowship. The MHA hopes to introduce more students with science-based backgrounds to the realm of health policy. For some students, this event was their first exposure to advocacy.

Members with questions about future advocacy days may contact Sean Sorenson-Abbott at the MHA.

MHA Monday Report Jan. 16, 2023

MHA Monday Report

capitol buildingNew State Legislative Session Begins

The new session for the 102nd Michigan Legislature kicked off during the week of Jan. 9 with swearing in ceremonies in both the House and Senate. Michigan Democrats in the majority started the session by introducing legislation to repeal right …

Rural Emergency Hospital Webinar on Requirements and Conversion Process

Hospitals interested in learning more about the new Rural Emergency Hospital (REH) designation are encouraged to attend an upcoming webinar from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET Jan. 18 hosted by Mathematica and the Rural Health Redesign Center (RHRC) for …

MDHHS Expands Behavioral Health Service Providers Covered by Medicaid

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued a bulletin Jan. 5 to expand the types of providers who can perform Medicaid-covered, non-physician outpatient behavioral health services. Effective Feb. 4, Medicaid will cover and reimburse outpatient behavioral health …

Federal Court Rules on 340B Underpayment Remedy

A recent United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruling allows the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to propose a remedy for hospital 340B drug underpayments for calendar years 2018 to 2021. …

Hospitals Pursue Health Equity to Honor Martin Luther King Jr.

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.” As we honor Dr. King today and the legacy he created striving for racial equality, the MHA and …

The Keckley Report

Paul KeckleyThe Escalating, Ironic Tension Between Insurers and Hospitals

“Blistering attacks on hospitals were a staple in media coverage in 2022. Comparatively, health insurers escaped unscathed. …

The near-term tension between hospitals and insurers will continue as affordability and transparency concerns mount. In tandem, government efforts to shift incentives to value-based payment models will expand as large employers and national plans implement more aggressive risk sharing agreements. The roles of the two sectors will converge in response to market demand. In anticipation, Deloitte, among others, merged its payer and provider practices to prepare its clients for the change. …”

Paul Keckley, Jan. 9, 2023

News to Know

MHA offices will be closed and no formal meetings will be scheduled Jan. 16 in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

MHA Monday Report Jan. 9, 2023

MHA Monday Report

capitol buildingGovernor Signs Several MHA Priorities Into Law

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 …

Omnibus Spending Bill Includes Major Health Policy Measures

After the MHA’s recent visits to Capitol Hill to advocate for year-end member priorities, Congress has reached a major deal on a year-end omnibus legislative package. The package includes health policy measures related to Medicare and Medicaid provisions, telehealth and …

Webinar Series Reviews Critical Access Hospitals CMS CoPs Requirements

Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) that accept Medicare and Medicaid payments must follow the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Conditions of Participation (CoP). The CMS CAH Manual has seen multiple changes to regulations and interpretive guidelines. …

MDHHS Releases Final Policy to Increase Rates for Certain Dental Procedures

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recently released a final policy to increase the minimum Medicaid payment rates to $2,300 for covered dental services provided under general anesthesia at outpatient hospitals and $1,495 for services provided in …

MHA CEO Report — New Control in Lansing

As I put the proverbial pen to paper, the Michigan Legislature has completed the 2021-2022 legislative session and I am very pleased to report that in the lame-duck session, we successfully advanced several MHA-supported bills – and not a single MHA-opposed …

The Keckley Report

Paul KeckleyFour Major Reasons Why 2023 is a Make or Break Year for U.S. Healthcare

“2022 was an unanticipated tsunami for every sector in the U.S. health system. The economy stalled. Inflation raged. Demand recovered. Hourly wages went up but household financial liquidity went down. The political environment became more toxic and November election results assured more of the same. All impacted healthcare. …

Thus, 2023 is a make or break year in healthcare: these conditions assure old ways of doing business will no longer work. …”

Paul Keckley, Jan. 2, 2023

News to Know

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) announced Jan. 5 she will not seek a fifth term in 2024. Sen. Stabenow was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000, following her service as an elected official in the U.S. House of …

MHA CEO Brian PetersMHA in the News

The MHA received media coverage during the weeks of Dec. 19, Dec. 26 and Jan. 2 on financial and staffing challenges impacting hospitals as well as the impact of a tripledemic of respiratory illnesses this winter. Below is a collection …