Bills on Healthy Michigan Plan Improvements and Tax Credit for Clinical Preceptors See Action

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capitol buildingAction was taken the week of May 22 on a variety of bills that would make improvements to the Healthy Michigan Plan, require adult changing tables be included in future construction or renovation projects and provide new tax credits for clinical preceptors.

In the House Health Policy Committee, a bipartisan vote was taken in support of legislation to improve the Healthy Michigan Plan. House Bill (HB) 4496, introduced by Rep. Graham Filler (R-St. Johns), would eliminate unnecessary provisions in the Healthy Michigan Plan and make changes to help ensure its long-term success. The bill is part of a two-bill package with HB 4495, which was introduced by Rep. Will Snyder (D-Muskegon) and approved last week by the committee. The package would 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 is supportive of both bills and will continue to monitor any future action.

Also in the House, a new bill to increase access to adult changing tables was introduced by Rep. Lori Stone (D-Warren). HB 4649 would require that future construction or renovation projects over $10,000 include one adult-sized changing table for the facility. Hospitals and rehabilitation facilities with 10 or more employees are included directly in the language. The MHA is reviewing the legislation to ensure that any existing patient rooms with adequate accommodations would satisfy the requirement under the language. The bill was referred to the Committee on Regulatory Reform for further consideration.

On the Senate side, an MHA-supported package to provide new tax credits for clinical preceptors was reintroduced. Senate Bills 360 and 361 were introduced by Sen Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) and Sue Shink (D-Ann Arbor) and would provide up to $5,000 in state income tax credit for individuals who agree to work in Michigan as a physician, physician assistant or advanced practice nursing program clinical preceptor. The language allows for $1,000 to be credited for every 250 hours completed during a tax year. The MHA sees this as a unique solution to encourage individuals to assist in growing the healthcare talent pipeline and could increase Michigan’s capacity for clinical rotation slots.

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

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

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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.

Governor 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 designation and interstate licensure opportunities for psychologists.

House Bills (HBs) 6129 and 6130legislation 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.