Telehealth Bills Move to Governor’s Desk

capitol building

Michigan Capitol BuildingThe Michigan Senate voted unanimously June 4 to support a package of bills that would expand opportunities for providers to receive Medicaid payment for telehealth services. House Bills (HBs) 5412 through 5416 were previously passed in the House of Representatives and have been sent to the governor to be signed into law. The MHA has supported efforts to expand access to telehealth services to help address the nation’s physician and nursing shortage and improve outcomes for patients.

The five bills were introduced by Reps. Hank Vaupel (R-Fowlerville), Douglas Wozniak (R-Shelby Twp.), Frank Liberati (D-Allen Park), Phil Green (R-Millington) and Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Twp.). For more information, contact Sean Sorenson at the MHA.

State Telehealth Bills Move to Full Senate

capitol building

Michigan Capitol BuildingMembers of the state Senate Committee on Health and Human Services voted unanimously June 4 to support House Bills (HBs) 5412 through 5416, which would expand opportunities for providers to receive Medicaid payment for telehealth services. The MHA has supported efforts to expand access to these services to help address the nation’s physician and nursing shortage and improve outcomes for patients.

HBs 5412, 5413 and 5414 would remove the requirement that providers interact with a patient in real time during a telehealth visit and would allow for the sharing of health data through a secure messaging application that complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Also known as asynchronous care, this use of telehealth would reduce the need for face-to-face office visits and increase efficiency for both providers and patients.

HB 5415 would require the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to provide Medicaid coverage for remote patient monitoring (RPM) services. RPM is the use of technology to collect health data from an individual and automatically transmit it to a healthcare provider in a different location for assessment. RPM technology can drastically improve the quality of telehealth visits, as the health professional can electronically receive patient-generated health data, much like an in-person visit.

HB 5416 would require the MDHHS to provide Medicaid coverage for telehealth services when the patient received those services at home, in school or at any other site considered appropriate by the provider. Currently in Michigan, Medicaid reimburses for telehealth services only when a patient receives those services from a federally qualified health facility. HB 5416 would expand the allowable sites for a patient to seek treatment to include additional sites and would eliminate geographic restrictions on providers a patient may interact with. The proposed legislation could have significantly positive impacts on health outcomes and efficiency.

The package was introduced by Reps. Hank Vaupel (R-Fowlerville), Douglas Wozniak (R-Shelby Twp.), Frank Liberati (D-Allen Park), Phil Green (R-Millington) and Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Twp.). The bills were unanimously supported in the House of Representatives, and now await a vote from the full Senate. The MHA will continue to support the package and keep members apprised. For more information, contact Sean Sorenson at the MHA.

State House Passes Bills to Expand Access to Telehealth

The Michigan House of Representatives passed legislation May 13 that would expand access and improve reimbursement for telehealth services. If they become law, House Bills (HBs) 5412 through 5416 would expand opportunities for providers to receive Medicaid payment for telehealth services and remove requirements that previously limited access to care. The MHA has supported efforts to expand access to these services to help address the nation’s physician and nurse shortages and improve outcomes for patients.

HBs 5412, 5413 and 5414 would remove the requirement that providers interact with a patient in real time during a telehealth visit and would allow for the sharing of health data through a secure messaging application. HB 5415 would require the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to provide Medicaid coverage for remote patient monitoring services, and HB 5416 would require the MDHHS to provide Medicaid coverage for telehealth services when the patient received those services at home or in school.

The bipartisan package was introduced before the COVID-19 pandemic by Reps. Hank Vaupel (R-Fowlerville), Douglas Wozniak (R-Shelby Twp.), Frank Liberati (D-Allen Park), Phil Green (R-Millington) and Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Twp.). There is renewed urgency given the necessity for telehealth services during the pandemic, and the Senate is expected to work quickly to pass the bills. The MHA will keep members informed of further action on the legislation. Members with questions should contact Sean Sorenson at the MHA.

Bills to Expand Telehealth Services Reported from House Committee

Members of the House Health Policy Committee voted March 5 to report House Bills (HBs) 5412 through 5416, which would expand opportunities for providers to receive Medicaid payment for telehealth services. The MHA has supported efforts to expand access to these services to help address the nation’s physician and nursing shortage and improve outcomes for patients.

HBs 5412,  5413 and 5414 would remove the requirement that providers interact with a patient in real time during a telehealth visit and would allow for the sharing of health data through a secure messaging application that complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Also known as asynchronous care, this use of telehealth would reduce the need for face-to-face office visits and increase efficiency for both providers and patients.

HB 5415 would require the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to provide Medicaid coverage for remote patient monitoring (RPM) services. RPM is the use of technology to collect health data from an individual and automatically transmit it to a healthcare provider in a different location for assessment. RPM technology can drastically improve the quality of telehealth visits, as the health professional can electronically receive patient-generated health data, much like an in-person visit.

HB 5416  would require the MDHHS to provide Medicaid coverage for telehealth services when the patient received those services at home or in school. Currently in Michigan, Medicaid only reimburses for telehealth services when a patient receives those services from a federally qualified health facility. HB 5416 would expand the allowable sites for a patient to seek treatment to include the patient’s home or school and would eliminate geographic restrictions on providers a patient may interact with. The proposed legislation could have significantly positive impacts on health outcomes and efficiency.

The package was introduced by Reps. Hank Vaupel (R-Fowlerville), Douglas Wozniak (R-Shelby Twp.), Frank Liberati (D-Allen Park), Phil Green (R-Millington) and Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Twp.). The bills now await a hearing in the House Committee on Ways and Means before reaching the House floor. The MHA will continue to support the package and keep members apprised moving forward. For more information, contact Sean Sorenson at the MHA.

Critical Incident Stress Management Bill Signed Into Law

Health Policy and Human Services

Amy Morrison-Maybee, Bronson Healthcare CISM team coordinator, testifies before the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee.Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed House Bill (HB) 4862 into law March 3, which expands confidentiality protections for participants and providers at healthcare facilities performing Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) services.

CISM services were developed to help employees cope with the physical and emotional reactions that can arise after a traumatic event in the workplace, and are provided to employees at multiple hospitals and health systems across the state. It is a voluntary process that is carried out by a team of peers trained in understanding the signs and effects of critical incident stress. The MHA advocated for the passage of HB 4862 and MHA members from Bronson Healthcare testified before House and Senate committees as part of Michigan hospitals’ efforts to improve workplace safety.

HB 4862 was introduced by Rep. Douglas Wozniak (R-Shelby Twp.) and received unanimous support in both chambers of the Michigan Legislature before being signed into law by Whitmer. The new law, Public Act 48 of 2020, will take effect immediately. Members with questions may contact Sean Sorenson at the MHA.

Members Testify Before Senate on Critical Incident Stress Management Bill

Health Policy and Human Services

Amy Morrison-Maybee, Bronson Healthcare CISM team coordinator, testifies before the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee.Members of the Bronson Healthcare team testified before the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee Jan. 23 to advocate for House Bill (HB) 4862 on behalf of medical providers living with critical incident stress. The bill would expand confidentiality protections for the participants and providers performing Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) services at healthcare facilities.  HB 4862 is sponsored by Reps. Douglas Wozniak (R-Shelby Twp.), Gregory Markkanen (R- Hancock), Kevin Coleman (D-Westland), and Jeff Yaroch (R-Richmond).

CISM services were developed to help employees cope with the physical and emotional reactions that can arise after a traumatic event in the workplace. It is a voluntary, internationally recognized intervention process that is carried out by a team of peers trained in understanding the signs and effects of critical incident stress. Rather than replacing formal psychotherapy, CISM teams are used as an initial response option to defuse stress and debrief, as well as to make referrals for further one-on-one services.

Amy Morrison-Maybee, Bronson Healthcare CISM team coordinator, testified that, without legal protections, physicians and other healthcare employees may be discouraged from receiving CISM services, and healthcare institutions may be discouraged from creating CISM teams. As hospitals increasingly face violence and harassment daily, providing CISM services is one way Michigan hospitals are working to improve workplace safety for healthcare providers.

In 2016, Gov. Rick Snyder approved Michigan’s first CISM statute, providing confidentiality and legal protections to CISM services used by emergency service providers. HB 4862 would not impact providers who are currently protected, but would extend those same privileges to physicians and other individuals working in a healthcare facility.

The MHA supports the legislation as part of its efforts to improve workplace safety throughout Michigan and will keep members updated as the legislation progresses. For more information, contact Sean Sorenson at the MHA.