Healthcare Legislative Activity Includes Hearings on Auto No-Fault

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capitol buildingHealthcare legislative activity in the Michigan Legislature included hearings on auto no-fault and several other bills during the week of Oct. 2. The Senate Finance, Insurance and Consumer Protection Committee held their first hearing on Senate Bills (SBs) 530 and 531. Introduced by Sen. Mary Cavanagh (D-Redford Twp.) and Sen. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing), the legislation would adjust the hospital fee schedule, clarify the definition of Medicare and provide rate certainty for post-acute care providers. The MHA is supportive of this legislation and will be testifying in an upcoming committee hearing on the importance of hospital access for individuals involved in an auto accident.

The House Health Policy Committee voted out two MHA supported bills, House Bill (HB) 4101 and SB 384. Sponsored by Rep. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington), HB 4101 would increase the time a speech language pathologist’s temporary license can be active while they complete required training. SB 384, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores), would prohibit insurers from discriminating against living organ donors. Further, the committee took testimony on two separate packages of bills. HBs 4131, 4213, 4579 and 4580 would increase telehealth access while HBs 4504, 4505, 4169 and 4170 would add Michigan to the interstate physical therapy and occupational therapy licensure compacts. The MHA is supportive of both the increases to telehealth access and licensure compact legislation.

The Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety Committee took up SB 410, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor), which would rescind prescription drug product immunity from liability, therefore allowing pharmaceutical drug product liability claims in the state. Current immunity has resulted in several complaints against manufacturers being dismissed. This legislation would allow complaints to move forward on their merits. The MHA is supportive of this legislation.

Lastly, the Senate Health Policy Committee took up SB 27, sponsored by Sen. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing), which would ensure that behavioral health parity is meaningfully applied in Michigan. The MHA is supportive of this legislation as well as HB 4707, sponsored by Rep. Felicia Brabec (D-Ann Arbor). Both bills look to expand and protect access to behavioral health services through insurance coverage parity.

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

Budget Bills Advance in House and Senate

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capitol buildingThe full Michigan House and Senate advanced their budget recommendations for the fiscal year 2023 budget beginning Oct. 1. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services budget bills, House Bill (HB) 5784 and Senate Bill (SB) 828, were reported to the opposite chambers for further consideration in the coming weeks. Both budget proposals protect hospital priorities, including maintaining funding for the Healthy Michigan Plan, graduate medical education, disproportionate share hospitals, the rural access pool and obstetrical stabilization fund, and critical access hospital rates.

In the House Judiciary Committee, further testimony was taken on legislation to help guide Michigan’s use of new funding from the $26 billion national opioid settlement. SBs 993, 994 and 995 would 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. There are identical versions of the bill currently making their way through the Senate as HBs 5968, 5969 and 5970. Either version of the bills could ultimately be sent to the governor’s desk for signature, and the MHA will continue to keep members informed on the legislation’s progress.

The full House of Representatives also voted to advance an MHA-supported bill related to out-of-state prescriptions. SB 166, introduced by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington), would allow pharmacies to fill noncontrolled substance prescriptions written by licensed, out-of-state physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses. There were technical changes made to the bill in the House, so another vote is needed in the Senate before the bill heads to the governor’s desk for signature.

Questions on these issues or other state legislation related to healthcare can be directed to Adam Carlson at the MHA.