Lame Duck Session Begins in Senate

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capitol buildingThe 2022 lame-duck session in the legislature got off to a slow start in the Senate during the week of Nov. 28. Several bills impacting hospitals saw unsuccessful votes on the floor, including legislation to make changes to the operation of the 340B drug pricing program and a package to integrate behavioral and physical health for state regulated insurance plans.

The 340B legislation, Senate Bill (SB) 1088, threatened to strike important protectionist language that was secured in Public Act 12 of 2022. That bill signed into law in February prohibits a pharmaceutical manufacturer from requiring the use of a modifier on non-Medicaid claims, protecting 340B entities from industry implemented administrative hurdles. Removing this language would negatively impact the communities served by Michigan 340B hospitals. The MHA and its member hospitals have been working hard to advocate to elected officials the importance of the program. SB 1088 was introduced as a vehicle bill by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) and was discharged and substituted on the floor before voting. The vote on SB 1088 on Nov. 29 ultimately failed twice on the floor and it is not clear if the legislation will be considered again.  The MHA will continue to oppose SB 1088 and other threats to the 340B program.

SB 597 and 598, the Senate’s behavioral health integration package, also did not find the votes to pass on the floor. Introduced by Sen. Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Jackson) and Sen. John Bizon (R-Battle Creek), the package would create new specialty integrated plans (SIPs) that would replace the current prepaid inpatient health plans (PIHPs) and contract with each community mental health (CMH) services program to deliver physical and behavioral health services to Michigan’s Medicaid population. The bills would also eliminate language requiring CMH entities to coordinate substance use disorder (SUD) and school based behavioral health services and create a new statewide ombudsman.

The Senate’s Health Policy and Human Services Committee also met to advance several bills to the floor for a potential vote in the final days of session. Among those bills was House Bill (HB) 6086, introduced by Rep. Jeff Yaroch (R-Richmond). HB 6086 would establish an alternate licensure process for paramedics in Michigan. HB 6086 would require the state to develop a new Michigan-specific certification course, separate from the currently required course from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. The MHA is opposed to HB 6086, which could have implications for a paramedic’s ability to work in multiple states. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians certification is currently used in 48 states and is required for all newly licensed paramedics in Michigan.

The MHA will continue to monitor all these bills for any further action in the coming weeks. Members with questions about these issues or other state legislation related to healthcare can be directed to Adam Carlson at the MHA.

Behavioral Health Supplemental Budget, Policy Bills Advance

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capitol buildingThe Michigan Legislature advanced several hospital-related bills during the week of June 13. Most notably, the Senate advanced a $590 million supplemental appropriations bill related to behavioral health. Several other policy bills the MHA is watching also received committee action in the House and Senate.

The supplemental funding bill that includes the MHA’s request to support behavioral health was approved by the state Senate. Senate Bill (SB) 714, introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Jackson), would appropriate $590 million and includes several MHA-supported one-time line items for behavioral health. Included in the supplemental bill is $100 million in infrastructure grants for pediatric inpatient psychiatric services, $20 million in infrastructure grants for hospital behavioral health intake enhancements, $25 million to prepare for the expansion of the essential health provider loan repayment program, and $30 million to expand the state’s apprenticeship program for new behavioral health staff. The legislation now moves to the House for its consideration as the Legislature continues its work on the fiscal year 2023 state budget.

The House Health Policy Committee took testimony on a package of Certificate of Need (CON) bills that were reintroduced from the 2019-2020 session. Senate Bills (SBs) 181182183 and 190 would remove psychiatric bed capacity from CON oversight, increase the threshold for capital expenditures, increase the number of members on the CON Commission and remove air ambulance services from CON. The bills were introduced by Sens. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington), Lana Theis (R-Brighton) and Michael MacDonald (R-Macomb Township). The MHA opposes the tie-barred package of bills and provided written testimony to the committee in support of Michigan’s current CON program. No votes were held on the bills.

The House Health Policy Committee also heard testimony on bills to change lead testing requirements for children. House Bills (HBs) 4678 and 4679, introduced by Reps. John Cherry (D-Flint) and Helena Scott (D-Detroit), would require minors to be screened for lead poisoning between the ages of 9 and 12 months and the ages of 2 and 3 years old and would include this information as part of the child’s immunization record. Providers would also be expected to identify high risk factors such as the age of the child’s residence, but it is unclear how penalties would be assessed for the new requirements. The MHA has not yet taken a position on the bills but will continue to monitor any action taken.

In the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee, bills to allow Michigan to join the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact were taken up again. This compact is a legal agreement among states that creates an expedited pathway to licensure for psychologists who wish to practice telepsychiatry across state lines. HBs 5488 and 5489 were introduced by Reps. Bronna Kahle (R-Adrian) and Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield Township), respectively, and are supported by the MHA. The bills now go to the Senate floor for a final vote and, if approved, will be sent to the governor desk for final consideration.

The Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee also took up HB 5163, which was introduced by Rep. Angela Witwer (D-Delta Township) and would create an opt-out grant program for hospitals to establish medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for substance use disorders in their emergency departments. Hospitals provided MAT programs prior to introduction of the bill, and the MHA has already partnered with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to implement the first round of grants provided under this legislation. No hospitals would be required to participate in the program. HB 5163 was advanced to the Senate floor for further action.

For more information on these and other state bills related to healthcare, contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.