March 2020

Click HERE for the weekly MIRS Legislative Report.  

UPDATE: HB 4042, Nursing Licensure Compact

Thank you to all the nurse practitioners across the state that reached out to their Senator asking them to support HB 4042. We know everyone operated in doing so with a short window of opportunity, and we very much appreciate your assistance. It was a big win for Senator Shirkey to discharge the compact bill out of the Senate Committee.

The legislature recessed, late Tuesday evening, until Wednesday, March 25. We will keep you posted as new developments occur.

Senate Bill 826 to Strengthen Mental Health Access in Michigan.  Read more HERE.  

February 2020

Click HERE for the weekly MIRS Legislative Report.  

State of the State Address Included a Significant Focus on Healthcare:
On January 29, Governor Gretchen Whitmer presented her strategic goals for the upcoming year during her second State of the State address.  She highlighted the importance of maternal health and the need to remove health disparities to improve the quality and safety of care for all Michigan mothers and babies.
Approximately 90 women die each year in Michigan during pregnancy, at delivery or within a year of giving birth; 44% of those deaths are considered preventable.
Gov. Whitmer announced plans to extend postpartum Medicaid benefits for a full year for mothers, increase access to treatment for substance use and mental health services for mothers and expand access to home visiting programs.  She also called on Michigan’s medical and nursing schools to incorporate implicit bias training into their curricula in order to ensure health equity for all moms and babies.
Other healthcare priorities that Gov. Whitmer addressed include codifying the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in state law, supporting behavioral health initiatives and the examination of prescription drug prices in the private market.  Gov. Whitmer called on lawmakers to bring ACA protections into state law in case the federal courts choose to repeal it.  She talked about a plan by Reps. Padma Kuppa (D-Troy), Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo) and Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth Twp.) to protect people with pre-existing conditions and prevent insurance companies from discrimination (HBs 5430-5432). 
She would also like to prohibit annual caps or lifetime dollar limits and require equitable coverage for mental health and substance use disorder treatment.  The Governor said she would seek to enshrine several healthcare services as essential health benefits, such as ambulatory services and hospitalizations, access to birth control, lab services, preventative wellness services and prescription drugs.
During the speech, Gov. Whitmer announced the creation of a legislative bipartisan Prescription Drug Taskforce that will look at prescription drug prices in the private market.The task force would include five appointed members made up of Republicans and Democrats from both chambers of the Legislature. Its charge will be to examine the problem of high-cost drugs and the impact they have had on patients and health care providers. The task force will be expected to develop recommendations on how to bring prescription costs down by August 15.  Additionally, the task force will develop transparency standards to disclose how drug companies pay for the research, manufacturing and marketing of prescription drugs. The appointed members of Gov. Whitmer's task force will also be asked to consider policies that could require pharmaceutical companies to explain their rationale for price increases above a “to be determined” threshold.

January 2020

SB 340 (VanderWall):  Remote Pharmacy License.  Allow remote pharmacies under certain circumstances.  This bill was sent to the Governor on 1/14/20
HB 4217 (Bellino): Requires physician or other licensee who writes prescriptions to electronically transmit to pharmacy under certain circumstances. On 1/8/2020, it was REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON HEALTH POLICY AND HUMAN SERVICES.
HBs 4978 & 4979 (Brann & Johnson):  Prescription Drug Importation Programs.  Received hearing in House Health Policy in December.  This bill is AARP driven. It is not expected for these bills to come up again in 2020.
Bills to Revise the CON process in Michigan-SBs 669 (VanderWall); 670 (VanderWall); 671 (Theis); 672 (VanderWall); 673 (VanderWall); 675 (Zorn); 674 (MacDonald)
This package received a “testimony only” hearing before break and again this week.  The plan is to take action on these bills sometime this year.
Mental Health Revisions Update
We are exploring having Rep. Ben Frederick sponsor the draft language. 
Health Can’t Wait
SB 612 is expected to be considered by the Senate Health Policy Committee on January 30th. No vote will be taken.

Governor Signs Budget Supplemental Restoring $573M Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a budget supplemental bill on December 20, restoring funding to schools, local governments, hospitals and more for the 2020 Fiscal Year, which began October 1. The supplemental budget was a compromise reached with Republican legislative leaders that restores about $573.5 million of her nearly 1 billion in vetoes from last year.

The deal that was reached between Governor Whitmer, Speaker Lee Chatfield and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey requires the Governor to give the Legislature a 30-day notice if the State Administrative Board (SAB) is looking to move money around within departments. A new provision was also included to allow the Legislature to veto SAB transfers, much like executive orders. In addition, lawmakers are now required to send her a budget by July 1, after the House and Senate sat on their budget bills through this past summer and did not put them on her desk until the end of September.

The supplemental spending will deliver $4 million for the Michigan Department of Corrections (DOC) to upgrade its tethers monitoring felons, another $19.5 million towards cleaning up drinking water and $10.5 million to triple the number of literacy coaches. The $35 million that was slated for per-pupil increases for charter school students was also restored.

Concerning healthcare funding, the hospital community will be receiving a restoration of the Rural Access Pool, the Obstetrics Stabilization Fund and a significant Medicaid outpatient rate increase for critical access hospitals (CAHs). Funding for the Autism Navigator Program was also restored as well as funding for senior-related services, including the Alzheimer’s Association dementia program and $500,000 in Senior Citizen Center grants, available to organizations statewide. $15.9 million was restored for rate increases for pediatric psychiatric diagnostic services as well as neonatal provider reimbursements. Lawmakers have stated they plan to work on additional supplemental budgets this year.