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.
The Legislature acted on several healthcare-related bills during the week of May 16. The governor signed several bills into law to plan for new funding from the national opioid settlement and to allow for certain out-of-state prescriptions. In the House, testimony was taken on legislation to create a new alternate licensure process for paramedics in Michigan.
The governor signed three bills that will help guide Michigan’s use of new funding from the $26 billion national opioid settlement. Senate Bills (SBs) 993, 994 and 995 create a new restricted fund for the state to house the settlement dollars, establish a new advisory commission appointed by the Legislature and governor to oversee spending, and prohibit future civil lawsuits related to claims covered by this fund. The MHA is currently identifying treatment and prevention priorities for feedback to the advisory commission.
The governor also signed an MHA-supported bill related to the filling of out-of-state prescriptions. SB 166, introduced by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington), allows pharmacies to fill noncontrolled substance prescriptions written by licensed, out-of-state physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses. The Legislature gave the bill immediate effect, allowing pharmacies to begin filling these prescriptions May 19.
In the House Workforce, Trade, and Talent Committee, initial testimony was taken on a bill to establish an alternate licensure process for paramedics in Michigan. House Bill (HB) 6086, introduced by Rep. Jeff Yaroch (R-Richmond), would require the state to develop a new Michigan-specific certification course, separate from the currently required course from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. The MHA is opposed to HB 6086, which could have implications for a paramedic’s ability to work in multiple states. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians certification is currently used in 48 states and is required for all newly licensed paramedics in Michigan. No votes were held on the bill and the MHA will keep members apprised if further action is taken.
Questions on these issues or other state legislation related to healthcare can be directed to Adam Carlson at the MHA.
During the week of March 14, the Michigan Legislature acted on a bill to make changes to the prior authorization process for commercial insurers and a bill to increase penalties for assaulting healthcare employees and volunteers.
The House Health Policy Committee reported Senate Bill (SB) 247, which would make changes to decrease wait times for commercial insurance prior authorization requests. Introduced by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington), the legislation would shorten the timeline for approval to seven calendar days, or 72 hours for urgent requests, as well as ensure that emergency care can be provided without prior approval. The MHA supports the bill and provided written testimony to the committee earlier in the year. SB 247 now heads to the House floor for a full vote.
The full House of Representatives March 16 voted in support of legislation to increase penalties for assaulting healthcare employees and volunteers. House Bill (HB) 5682, introduced by Rep. Mike Mueller (R-Linden), went through several changes in committee, and the language now doubles the fines for assaulting a healthcare employee or volunteer in any care setting. HB 5682 would also require the posting of signage in hospital emergency rooms to deter potential assaults. Michigan hospitals may obtain example signs from the MHA free of charge. The MHA supports the bill, which will now go to the Senate for further consideration.
For more information on these bills or other state legislation related to healthcare, contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.