The Michigan House Appropriations Committee adopted an H-3 substitute for House Bill (HB) 5523 Dec. 8. The COVID-19 supplemental funding bill would allocate $1.2 billion in federal funds, including $300 million for recruitment and retention bonuses for healthcare settings. The appropriation is in response to healthcare workforce shortages and ongoing MHA advocacy efforts. The funds would be allocated to employers to use at their discretion, but employers are prohibited from using vaccination status to determine which employees can receive the funds.
Also included in the bill is $100 million to create eight monoclonal antibody treatment infusion sites to be placed regionally throughout the state. The plan would improve accessibility for residents while reducing the burden on hospitals and their workforce. The state will be able use existing transfusion center infrastructure in this role.
An additional $25 million is allocated to procure the antibody treatment. Lastly, $300 million is planned for COVID-19 testing in schools along with funding for vaccine distribution.
The House Appropriations Committee took testimony on the bill while negotiations continue among lawmakers. Member support for HB 5523 is critical to prioritizing those negotiations during the few remaining legislative session days.
The MHA urges hospitals and healthcare champions to contact their elected officials to encourage passage of this legislation before the Legislature adjourns for the calendar year. The MHA Legislative Action Center offers assistance in telling legislators this funding is critical to hospitals across Michigan that continue to battle this COVID-19 surge. Members with questions should contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.