Here is this month’s edition of “5 Things We’re Watching” in the Michigan health policy landscape, including some legislation we’re watching, new data and recommendations from MDHHS on rising opioid overdose rates, and information on the state’s procurement of children’s crisis stabilization providers.
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State of Reform
1. Key health bills on the move
A bill to cover certain telemedicine services under the medical assistance program and Healthy Michigan Program moved to the Senate Floor last week, where it now awaits a vote. It would require the medical assistance program and HMP to authorize as many types of distant health care providers as possible to render telemedicine services, and would also require coverage for audio-only telemedicine services. MHA said this bill “… would continue virtual care policies that have proved to be effective and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
A bill to prohibit health care providers from providing non-emergency care to minors without parental consent passed the House last week in a 58-21 vote. MHA said they will be opposing further action on the legislation and are concerned with “… how the new language could impact patient care.” Other in-progress bills we’re keeping tabs on are SB 811, which aims to increase the state’s number of licensed speech-language pathologists, and SB 450, which would prohibit the state from preventing hospital visitation for longer than 30 days.
2. New health legislation introduced
Rep. Sarah Lightner recently introduced legislation that would clarify licensing requirements and operation standards for supplemental nursing service agencies in the state. The bill would require SNSAs to provide information on all individuals with ownership in the agency and to make a plan to keep records of their activity to be made available to MDHSS. It would also require SNSA nurses to meet all applicable licensure requirements for a given position and prevent SNSAs from restricting employment opportunities for them.
Another recently introduced bill would allow certain rural emergency hospitals to apply to temporarily delicense their beds in order to be designated rural emergency hospital status. The REH designation permits these facilities to receive enhanced federal financial support to provide outpatient and emergency services.
3. What They’re Watching: Scott Monteith, Beacon Health Options
In this edition of our “What They’re Watching” series, Scott Monteith, former Regional Medical Director for Beacon Health Options, said one of his top priorities is integrating physical and behavioral health care. He also said he was focused on promoting value-based payment models and supporting the integration of information technology, credentialing processing, and other tasks that come along with care integration.
He added that Beacon has been working with the state on its approach to behavioral health policy. “The state is right now going through a process of figuring out what their efforts are going to be in the behavioral health space, and we look forward to supporting the choices that are made by the people at the State of Michigan around behavioral health.”
4. Overdoses from fentanyl-laced cocaine on the rise
New data from MDHHS shows that EMS responses to overdoses from cocaine laced with fentanyl were 33% higher in 2021 compared to 2020. MDHHS also noted that the rate of multiple opioid overdose events—in which EMS officers encounter more than one person who has overdosed upon arrival at the scene—have increased over the last year. The number of multiple opioid overdose events involving cocaine increased from 20.5% in 2021 to 30.2% as of April 2022.
To mitigate these rising levels of opioid-related deaths, MDHHS recommends organizations raise awareness of the danger of cocaine laced with fentanyl and provide education on overdose symptoms and how to use naloxone to reverse them. The department also encourages the promotion of harm reduction messaging, increased availability of fentanyl test strips, and expansion of the state’s EMS Leave Behind Naloxone program.
5. MDHHS procuring children’s crisis stabilization providers
Applications for the MI Kids Now Mobile Response Grant Program are currently open through Oct. 10th. The RFP will procure Community Mental Health Service Programs that will provide mobile crisis response teams to youth undergoing crises, and draws on funding for children’s intensive crisis stabilization services allocated to the FY 2023 budget.
“The awarding of these grants will allow Community Mental Health Service Programs (CMHSPs) to develop staffing at the local level and increase access to this service,” MDHHS told State of Reform. “… MDHHS is responding to the needs of children, youth and families by increasing access to mobile response services as part of establishing a broader continuum of crisis services.” The grant period will last from Jan. 1st, 2023, to Sept. 30th, 2023, and will provide awardees up to $200,000.