New legislation to make changes to the screening process for potential admission to inpatient psychiatric care for behavioral and mental health patients was introduced Aug. 17 in the Michigan House of Representatives.
Rep. Graham Filler (R-St. Johns) introduced House Bill (HB) 6355 to amend the Mental Health Code and make the preadmission screening process more efficient. Under the bill, preadmission screening units, whether operated by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services or Community Mental Health services programs, must provide a mental health assessment within three hours of being notified by a hospital of the patient’s need. If a preadmission screening unit is unable to perform the assessment in a timely manner, HB 6355 would also allow for a clinically qualified individual at the acute care hospital to perform the required assessment. The bill provides for reimbursement to the hospital if hospital staff provide the preadmission screening.
The MHA supports HB 6355 because it addresses the ongoing issue of long wait times for emergency department behavioral and mental health patients. This legislation should help shorten the difficult wait times between the evaluation and beginning services.
HB 6355 was referred to the House Health Policy Committee. Members with questions regarding HB 6355 should contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.
The MHA received media coverage the week of Feb. 21 on efforts to amend Michigan’s auto no-fault law and from Crain’s Detroit Business advocating for state funding support for midsize vital hospitals and behavioral health.
The MHA sent a memo Feb. 16 to the Michigan House of Representatives encouraging the Legislature to focus on improving the auto no-fault law, including quickly addressing payment issues with post-acute care providers, including a proper definition of Medicare rates, and clarifying that the reimbursement rates outlined in law were intended to be minimum amounts. The Detroit News and Michigan Radio published stories on the memo, which was signed by Adam Carlson, senior vice president, advocacy.
“Numerous cases have occurred of patients being transferred to hospitals who did not otherwise need hospitalization because of a lack of long term post-acute care providers to care for them in their home or an appropriate facility,” said Carlson. “In addition, it has become increasingly difficult to transfer patients to post-acute settings as the number of providers and staff has diminished. Both of these circumstances is putting unsustainable pressure on hospitals that don’t have the beds or staff to care for patients who shouldn’t be in the hospital.”
Crain’s Detroit Business also published their latest Forum edition, which includes several pieces of content relevant to Michigan hospitals. An article published Feb. 25 reviews the significant challenges facing midsize vital hospitals, particularly independent hospitals not affiliated with a larger health system. MHA CEO Brian Peters is quoted in the article discussing the financial issues impacting those hospitals. Supporting the article is an op-ed submitted by Hillsdale Hospital President and CEO Jeremiah J. Hodshire.
“The volume-based approach to reimbursement has always been a problem and that doesn’t go away,” said Peters.
Crain’s also published an op-ed from Peters encouraging more state funding investments to address Michigan’s broken and fragmented behavioral health system.
“The MHA believes an appropriation to fund additional support for pediatric behavioral health, a grant pool to improve behavioral healthcare in emergency departments and recruitment support for behavioral health providers will have significant and lasting improvements in access to care and quality,” said Peters. “This appropriation will help address a major barrier to improving access right now, which is the lack of appropriately trained and educated behavioral health providers available in Michigan to serve our population. It would also help modify the way emergency departments are prepared to temporarily care for patients in behavioral health crises — especially Michigan’s children.”
Members with any questions regarding media requests should be directed to John Karasinski at the MHA.