Healthcare Issues Considered by Michigan Legislature

House Bill 6159

House Judiciary CommitteeThe Michigan House and Senate took up multiple pieces of legislation that would impact hospitals during the week of Sept. 7. Those bills address multiple areas of COVID-19-related liability, prescription drug transparency, authorization for health professionals with Canadian licenses to practice in Michigan, Michigan’s inclusion in an interstate compact on psychologist licenses and licensing psychiatric residential facilities for Medicaid recipients age 21 or younger.

In the House Judiciary Committee, MHA General Counsel Amy Barkholz provided testimony supporting a bill to grant limited immunity to health facilities for their treatment of COVID-19 patients from March 9 through July 15. House Bill (HB) 6159 was introduced by Rep. Roger Hauck (R-Union Township) and would codify the liability protections found in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order (EO) 2020-61, which was extended by EO 2020-100. The committee also took testimony on a separate COVID-19-related employer liability package that mirrors a package of bills taken up in the Senate Economic and Small Business Development Committee. Those packages consist of HBs 6030-6032 and Senate Bills (SBs) 1022-1024 and are supported by the MHA as part of a coalition of numerous groups representing the business community. The MHA had previously worked with the Legislature on addressing these issues through SB 899, which the governor vetoed in August.

In the House Health Policy Committee, testimony was taken on a package of prescription drug transparency bills being led by Committee Chairman Hank Vaupel (R-Fowlerville). HBs 5937-5945 would make numerous changes to the laws for the disclosure of prescription drug costs, including requiring hospitals to post chargemaster descriptions online and pharmacists to disclose prescription drug prices to consumers. The MHA has taken a position on only HB 5942, supporting the pharmacies bill introduced by Rep. Bronna Kahle (R-Adrian). Hospitals currently post chargemaster information online in accordance with federal law.

The House Health Policy Committee also took testimony on HB 5929, which would give the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs the ability to promulgate rules to allow for licensed health professionals in Canada to practice in Michigan. That MHA-supported bill was introduced by Rep. Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Township). Sen. Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) introduced an identical bill, SB 1021, which received a hearing in the Senate Health Policy Committee. War Memorial Hospital CEO David Jahn provided testimony in support of both bills, highlighting their potential to attract specialty providers to Sault Ste. Marie.

The Senate Health Policy Committee also addressed SB 758 Sept. 10 and referred it to the Senate floor. The MHA supports the bill, which was introduced by Sen. Peter MacGregor (R-Rockford) and would allow Michigan to join an interstate licensure compact for psychologists.

Finally, the House Ways and Means Committee took testimony on a bill to establish a licensure program for residential psychiatric facilities for Medicaid recipients under the age of 21. HB 5298 was introduced by Rep. Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Township) and would require the Department of Health and Human Services to establish necessary rules for the new facility certification. The MHA has not taken a position on the proposed legislation.

For more information on healthcare issues being addressed by the Legislature, contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.

MHA Monday Report Aug. 17, 2020

MHA Monday Report logo

Combating the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Week of Aug. 10

The MHA continues to keep members apprised of developments affecting Michigan hospitals during the pandemic through email updates and the MHA Coronavirus webpage. …


Governor Vetoes Healthcare Liability Protection Bill

On Aug. 10, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed legislation that would limit legal liability for healthcare facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, protecting facilities from certain lawsuits related to the pandemic response. Under Senate Bill 899, health facilities would …


New Payment Model for Rural Healthcare Announced, Webinar to Answer Questions

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently announced the Community Health Access and Rural Transformation Model, a new payment model for rural communities, in response to an Aug. 3 executive order issued by …


Proposed Rule for 2021 Physician Fee Schedule Payments Released

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently released a proposed rule for the Medicare fee-for-service physician fee schedule (PFS) payments, effective Jan. 1, 2021. The proposed rule would update the PFS rates and implement year five of the quality …


Rural Telehealth Program Implementation to be Examined in MHA Webinar

Telehealth improves not only access to care, but health outcomes by removing barriers of time and distance. COVID-19 has transformed telehealth from a desirable program to an essential element of care delivery. Although the implementation of telehealth can be …


Black Breastfeeding Week, National Breastfeeding Month Underscore Health Inequities

The United States Breastfeeding Committee officially designates August as National Breastfeeding Month to identify and implement policy and systems changes needed to ensure that every family who chooses to breastfeed has the support and resources …


University Offers Scholarship for Those with Jobs Affected by COVID-19

Davenport University recently announced a new scholarship to support employees who have been laid off, furloughed or unemployed due to COVID-19. Scholarship funds are available for Davenport University’s fall semester beginning Sept. 8 …


The Keckley Report

Primary Care Gatekeeping Plus Capitation: Is it the Right Combination?

“Primary care gatekeeping featuring whole-person care in tandem with capitated payments by health insurers and large employers is gaining momentum.  It’s also gaining traction in states that offer Medicaid managed care plans and in Medicare Advantage plans that now serve 27 million seniors. … It’s understandable: chronic diseases account for 75% of health spending in the U.S. system and a third of these can be mitigated through aggressive primary care gatekeeping.”

Paul Keckley, Aug. 10, 2020

Governor Vetoes Healthcare Liability Protection Bill

capitol building

Michigan Capitol BuildingOn Aug. 10, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed legislation that would limit legal liability for healthcare facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, protecting facilities from certain lawsuits related to the pandemic response. Under Senate Bill (SB) 899, health facilities would receive limited immunity from lawsuits related to the provision of care to COVID-19 patients, the need to reschedule patient care due to governmental orders and experiencing shortages of needed supplies.

SB 899 was introduced by Sen. Michael MacDonald (R- Macomb Township). The current version of the bill was passed by the House and Senate in late July and required the governor’s signature to become law. The bill will now return to the Legislature. Lawmakers can make changes or vote to override the governor’s veto, which requires a two-thirds majority in each chamber. The MHA will continue to keep members informed on this issue. Questions on SB 899 should be directed to Adam Carlson at the MHA.

MHA Monday Report Aug. 10, 2020

MHA Monday Report logo

Combating the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Week of Aug. 3

The MHA continues to keep members apprised of developments affecting Michigan hospitals during the pandemic through email updates and the MHA Coronavirus webpage. …


Corrected Unemployment Bills to Be Issued to Reimbursing Nonprofit Employers

In mid-July, the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency issued the second quarter 2020 unemployment bills (UIA Form 1763) to “reimbursing” employers (nonprofit employers). …


CEO Report – Making Progress Against COVID-19

In this month’s CEO Report, MHA CEO Brian Peters focuses on the progress the MHA and its members have made across a variety of challenges facing hospitals because of the COVID-19 pandemic. …


Changes Proposed for 2021 Medicare Outpatient Prospective Payment System

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently released a proposed rule to update the Medicare fee-for-service outpatient prospective payment system. Its proposals would become effective Jan. 1, 2021, unless otherwise noted. …


2020 Election Focus of MHA Virtual Member Forum

MHA members are invited to join a virtual forum on the 2020 election and politics presented by David Wasserman, house editor for The Cook Political Report, from 11 a.m. to noon EDT Sept. 23. …


CMS Releases Final Rules for Medicare Post-acute Care Services in FY 2021

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services made minor changes in the recently released final rules to update the Medicare fee-for-service inpatient psychiatric facility, inpatient rehabilitation facility and skilled nursing facility prospective payment systems for fiscal year 2021. …


Webinars Explore COVID-19 Health Inequity and Future Disease Treatments

The MHA webinar series Leadership and Resiliency: Navigating Through and Beyond COVID-19 explores several mission-critical leadership qualities that leaders need to help traverse this difficult time. …


New Lansing Senior Park Aligns with MHA Keystone Center Age-Friendly Efforts

The city of Lansing recently installed a senior-friendly park that features an exercise bike, stair stepper and handcycle, among other equipment. The FitLot park is near a senior community and market-rate apartments to further support the community’s access to recreational activities. …


Promote Vaccination during National Immunization Awareness Month

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, which highlights the efforts of hospitals and healthcare professionals to protect patients of all ages against vaccine-preventable diseases through on-time vaccination. …


Merritt Hawkins Releases 2020 Review of Physician Recruiting Incentives

Merritt Hawkins, an endorsed business partner of the MHA, has released its annual examination of the starting salaries and other incentives used to recruit physicians nationwide. Now in its 27th year, the firm’s Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives provides national benchmark data on physician recruiting incentives as well as a comprehensive analysis of the physician recruiting market. …


The Keckley Report

Four Healthcare Workforce Issues that Require Attention

“The U.S. healthcare industry employs 16.8 million. In the pandemic, it is considered an “essential industry” among several considered necessary to managing the crisis. Its frontline workers in nursing homes and hospitals enjoy heightened appreciation and public trust. But four problems in its workforce lurk beneath the surface.” …

Paul Keckley, Aug. 3, 2020