Legislative Action Continued During the Week of Oct. 11

capitol building

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.

Senate Health Policy Committee Hears Testimony

capitol building

The Senate Health Policy and Human Resources Committee took testimony Sept. 9 on a pair of bills relevant to Michigan hospitals as the Legislature returned to regular session following its summer break.

The committee held the first hearing on an MHA-supported bill, Senate Bill 579, sponsored by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington). This bill would provide start-up grant funding for hospitals to implement an emergency department-based medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program in facilities that annually treat 50 or more emergency patients with opioid-related overdoses. The funding program could significantly expand MAT programs in hospital emergency departments.

The COVID-19 pandemic intensified existing issues with opioid use disorder as many individuals with mental health challenges turned to coping mechanisms such as drug use to deal with associated stress, anxiety and loss. Hospital emergency department MAT programs can provide a first step for these patients and connect them to longer-term, community-based care that includes ongoing MAT.

Testimony was also provided on House Bill (HB) 4087, introduced by Rep. Jeff Yaroch (R-Richmond) and supported by the MHA. HB 4087 would require the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to stockpile personal protective equipment (PPE) in case of a state of disaster or emergency. The concept originates from the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic when supply chain issues caused delays in obtaining PPE.

Questions on state legislation may be directed to Adam Carlson at the MHA.