Michigan Legislature Focuses on Healthcare-related Bills
Posted on September 18, 2020
The Michigan Legislature addressed multiple pieces of legislation that impact hospitals during the week of Sept. 14.
In the House Health Policy Committee, further testimony was taken on the Certificate of Need (CON) legislation that was passed in the Senate. The package include Senate Bills (SBs) 669, 671, 672, 673 and 674, which are being driven by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington). The MHA is opposed to SBs 669 and 674 as written but continues to work with VanderWall on potential substitute language. A committee vote on the remaining CON bills is expected in the coming weeks. The committee also voted unanimously to report House Bill (HB) 5929, which would allow Canadian health professionals with similar licenses to work in Michigan. The MHA supports the bill, which would be particularly beneficial to attract nurses or physician specialists to hospitals located in rural areas or near the Canadian border.
In the House Judiciary Committee, multiple bills to provide limited liability for healthcare facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic were reported to the House floor. HB 6159, introduced by Rep. Roger Hauck (R-Union Township), would codify Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order that provides protections from liability during the declared states of emergency and disaster related to the pandemic. The committee simultaneously reported HBs 6030, 6031 and 6032, which provide more general COVID-19-related liability protections for all businesses. The MHA supports that package, as well as HB 6159, and will continue to keep members updated on their progress.
Testimony was taken in the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee on SB 1055, which would allow community colleges to offer four-year baccalaureate nursing degrees. The MHA submitted a memo in support of the legislation and Gabe Schneider, founder and principal of Northern Strategies 360, provided testimony on behalf of Munson Healthcare. Schneider informed the committee of the potential benefits for rural hospitals and local communities that currently do not have a four-year college or university available for students pursuing a career in healthcare. SB 1055 was introduced by Sen. Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton), chairman of the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee, and is expected to be voted on in the coming weeks.
The House Regulatory Reform Committee approved the Senate package on nicotine vaporizers and reported it to the House Ways and Means Committee. Those bills establish a licensure and compliance check system for tobacco and vaporizer retailers, determine the taxation for vapor products and provide for penalties for violating the new regulatory system. Several changes were made to the bills, including removing language that allowed for certain flavored vapes, placing the onus for compliance checks on local law enforcement and removing some of the protections for vaporizer advertisements. The MHA has actively participated in an alliance of organizations committed to protecting youth from nicotine addiction, which opposes the bills. Members with questions should contact Sean Sorenson-Abbott at the MHA.
The Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee addressed legislation similar to HB 5929, which would allow for Canadian healthcare licenses to be considered valid in Michigan. SB 1021 was introduced by Sen. Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) and was reported to the Senate floor with the MHA’s support. The committee also took testimony on SB 1094, which would prohibit nursing homes from admitting COVID-19-positive patients and establish regional facilities for patients who no longer require hospital care. SB 1094 was introduced by Sen. Pete Lucido (R-Shelby Township) and is an attempt to change COVID-19 nursing home policy after the governor vetoed SB 956. The MHA has not taken a position on SB 1094.
Members with questions on healthcare legislation should contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.
Posted in: Issues in Healthcare, Member News