The legislature returned during the week of Nov. 7 to vote on legislative leadership and kickoff the 2022 lame-duck session. Only a handful of MHA-tracked bills saw action, including legislation to implement the new federal Rural Emergency Hospital (REH) designation.
During the House Health Policy Committee, Senate Bill (SB) 450 received another hearing and was reported to the full House of Representatives. SB 450, introduced by Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland), would ensure visitors of cognitively impaired patients are permitted in healthcare facilities. The bill would prohibit the directors of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) or a local health officer from issuing an order that prohibits a patient representative from visiting a cognitively impaired individual in a healthcare facility. As written, the legislation does not prevent a healthcare facility from implementing reasonable safety measures for visitors and will still allow for facilities to limit the number of representatives per patient. The MHA is neutral on the bill and will continue to monitor any action taken.
MHA staff was also in attendance to support House Bill (HB) 6380. Introduced by Rep. Andrew Fink (R-Hillsdale), HB 6380 would make the necessary changes to state law to allow for Michigan hospitals to pursue a new federal designation of REH status. An REH designation comes with significant requirements such as limiting total beds to 50, maintaining an average length of stay of 24 hours or less and a required transfer agreement with a level I or II trauma center. Hospitals that choose to convert to an REH will receive enhanced federal reimbursement to provide critical emergency and outpatient services, especially in geographic areas. The MHA provided testimony on the bill in September and will continue to advocate for its passage before the end of the year.
On the Senate side, the Health and Human Services Committee took action on SB 1172, introduced by Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit). SB 1172 would amend the Mental Health Code to allow for conservation officers to transport behavioral health patients to the proper care setting. Currently, conservation officers and Michigan’s state parks and public venues are required to contact another form of law enforcement if they encounter someone experiencing a mental health crisis. The MHA is supportive of SB 1172, which will help shorten patient wait times for these particular cases.
If members have questions about these issues or any others impacting healthcare, please contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.