Whitmer signs spending bill to address Michigan’s healthcare workforce shortage
On Wednesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed House Bill 4016, a supplemental appropriations bill that allocates $1.3 billion gross funds and $828.6 million in general funds to address key health-related issues.
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HB 4016 provides funding for water services, nursing grants, and strategies to address Michigan’s healthcare workforce shortage.
“I’m proud to sign this bipartisan legislation to grow our economy, protect public health, and lower costs for families,” Whitmer said in a statement. “We are coming together to recruit and retain healthcare workers, invest in regional economic development and infrastructure to secure thousands of good-paying American manufacturing jobs, and lower utility costs for families. I look forward to working with my legislative partners to build on this legislation to continue lowering costs, creating jobs, and investing in communities across Michigan.”
HB 4016 requires the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to allocate:
- $25 million to qualified providers to assist eligible residents who have a financial burden that have accumulated a balance on their water bill and who have had their water service shut off or are at risk of having their water services shut off;
- $67 million for the creation of nursing home workforce grants to nursing home operators and nonprofit healthcare training organizations that provide recruitment, retention, training, or career development initiatives;
- $10 million to support community providers of violence intervention services. No less than 50% of these funds must be awarded to communities disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic;
- $75 million to support healthcare employees through recruitment, retention, and training programs. The funds are allocated to the Michigan Health and Hospital Association for administration to acute care and behavioral health care providers;
- $750,000 in grants to groups that provide outreach for suicide prevention services; and
- 2% increase in funds to nursing homes for variable and plant costs for Medicaid reimbursement with a retroactive date of Jan. 1st, 2023.
Since 2020, Michigan has lost 1,700 staffed hospital beds because of workforce shortages. According to an MHA survey, there are more than 27,000 job openings in hospitals throughout Michigan, including nearly 8,500 nursing jobs, 3,000 clinical assistants, and 1,700 operational support areas.
“We know that because hospitals, nursing homes, behavioral health facilities, and a number of other provider organizations are short-staffed, we know that is creating access issues for Michiganders,” MHA CEO Brian Peter said in a recent interview with State of Reform. “With that in mind, we asked the legislature and the administration to support a new appropriation at recruitment and retention to hospital workforce. I am very pleased that last week, we were successful in [allocating] $75 million [in] appropriations to do exactly that.”
This is the third supplemental spending bill to pass this year.