Governor signs MHA-supported trauma system legislation

A bill to fund the statewide trauma system was signed during the week of Oct. 4 and several bills impacting hospitals were taken up in the House and Senate health policy committees.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed House Bill (HB) 5094 into law Oct. 7, providing full funding for Michigan’s statewide trauma system. HB 5094 was introduced by Rep. Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Township) and was supported by the MHA. The statewide trauma system is crucial for patient safety, especially during the ongoing pandemic.

In the House Health Policy Committee, the MHA provided testimony in support of two bills to expand the allowable use of the Essential Health Provider Loan Repayment Program. Senate Bills (SBs) 246 and 435 were introduced by Sens. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) and Mike MacDonald (R-Macomb Township). The bills would expand the maximum allowable loan repayment from $200,000 to $300,000 for up to 10 years of service in a health resource shortage area, as well as allow for more mental health professionals to qualify. The MHA proposed two amendments to SB 435 that would extend the sunset on the interstate medical licensure compact and allow “midsize vital hospitals” to use the program. Midsize vital hospitals are smaller hospitals that provide 24/7 emergency care and key regional services in communities that require facilities with more than the 25 beds critical access hospitals are limited to.

The House Health Policy Committee voted on 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. The committee reported the MHA-supported bill to the House floor, where discussion will continue.

The Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee voted on SB 579, a bill on MAT programs introduced by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) that is identical to HB 5163. The bill will now be discussed on the Senate floor. The committee also took testimony on SBs 637 and 638, legislation that would establish a new behavioral health jail diversion program and a local mental health crisis response grant program.

This press release was provided by the Michigan Health and Hospital Association.