State Budget Advances to Governor’s Desk

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capitol buildingThe fiscal year (FY) 2023 state budget bills were approved by the Michigan Legislature July 1. House Bill (HB) 5783 and Senate Bill (SB) 845, which provide for the FY 2023 budget, now go to the governor’s desk for final review and signature into law.

In a statement released July 1, MHA CEO Brian Peters said, “The fiscal year 2023 state budget approved by the Michigan Legislature provides necessary resources to assist hospitals and health systems in advancing the health of individuals and communities throughout our state. We appreciate the work and consideration placed by lawmakers that continues to protect hospital priorities.”

These priorities include maintaining funding for the Healthy Michigan Plan, graduate medical education of physician residents, disproportionate share hospitals that treat the highest numbers of uninsured and underinsured patients, the rural access pool and obstetrical stabilization fund, and critical access hospital reimbursement rates, all of which support access to healthcare services in rural areas. Each of these areas are instrumental in keeping hospitals financially secure, particularly in areas serving vulnerable and underserved populations.

The budget also supports MHA and hospital priorities with new funding to improve and enhance state behavioral health facility capacity and address the healthcare workforce. Michigan lacks adequate capacity to treat patients with behavioral and mental illness, and this new funding is an important and necessary step to address the shortage. The investment of state funds to expand access to Bachelor of Science in nursing degree programs at the state’s community colleges is a significant movement toward replenishing Michigan’s healthcare talent pipeline.

In other action, the House of Representatives supported legislation to create an opt-out grant program for hospitals to establish medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for substance use disorders in their emergency departments. SB 579, introduced by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington), now returns to the Senate for a final concurrence vote before it is sent for the governor’s signature. Hospitals provided MAT programs prior to introduction of the bill, and the MHA has already partnered with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to implement the first round of grants provided under this legislation. No hospitals would be required to participate in the program.

The full Senate advanced to the House of Representatives a bill to register certain medical laboratories in Michigan. SB 812, also introduced by VanderWall, would create a registry for interventional pain management, kidney access and vascular laboratories. As currently written, SB 812 would not provide any form of oversight or clinical requirements for the registered labs, and the MDHHS would not have authority to deny or remove registered labs from the list. The MHA has not taken a position on the bill but is closely monitoring any changes.

Finally, a bill related to telemedicine was introduced in the Senate. SB 1135, introduced by Sen. Mike MacDonald (R-Macomb Township), would amend the state’s Social Welfare Act to ensure that recent expansions in telehealth visit coverage also apply to the Medicaid Medical Assistance Program and Healthy Michigan Program. The bill would specify that recipients are covered equally for telehealth visits, expand the “distant site” definition, and ensure that providers are reimbursed at an equal rate to in-person services. The MHA is reviewing the legislation and has not yet taken a position on the bill. The association will keep members apprised of future action.

Members with questions on state legislation related to healthcare should contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.

Legislative Action Continued During the Week of Oct. 11

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Several pieces of legislation impacting hospitals were acted upon during the week of Oct.11. In the Senate, votes were taken on legislation to establish a grant program for emergency department-based medication assisted treatment (MAT). In the House, an MHA-supported bill on pharmacy wholesale distributors was reported from committee, and testimony was taken on an MHA-supported bill on background checks and a new package of Certificate of Need (CON) bills.

Senate Bill (SB) 579, which would establish an opt-out grant program for hospitals to establish emergency department-based MAT programs, was reported from committee and passed unanimously by the full Senate. SB 579 was introduced by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) and is supported by the MHA. The Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee also approved several mental health jail diversion and transportation bills.

In the House Health Policy Committee, members voted to report the pharmacy wholesale distributors bill to the House floor. House Bill (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 supports the bill, as it would remove the requirement for additional paperwork for hospital pharmacies..

The House Health Policy Committee also took testimony on a new package of CON bills that make no substantive changes to covered services. HBs 507450755076 and 5077 would require CON Commission reports and minutes to be posted online in a timely fashion. The package would also require the Legislature’s Joint Legislative Committee that oversees CON activities to meet annually and review the report. The MHA has confirmed that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services does not expect the bills to hinder the success of the program.

Another MHA-supported bill was discussed in the House Judiciary Committee. HB 5358, introduced by Rep. Graham Filler (R-Dewitt), would ensure employers have access to general information for background checks. Information like birthdates is important to ensure the identity of people in certain court-related documents and maintain efficient turnaround times for necessary background checks

Members with questions on state healthcare legislation may contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.