Monday, March 27th, 2023Legislative Spring Break Begins
Friday, April 7th, 2023Legislative Spring Break Ends
Governor Whitmer urges insurers to maintain no-cost healthcare services
On Thursday March 30, a federal judge in Texas ruled to overturn a portion of the Affordable Care Act in Braidwood Management. Inc. v. Becerra. This decision struck down the requirement that makes preventive services and screenings covered by health insurers with no additional cost to the patient. Services like screenings for cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure could become costly, diminish access to affordable early detection, and put people’s health at risk.
Following this decision, Governor Whitmer directed the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DFIS) to protect Michigan families and ensure access to no-cost preventive healthcare services. This decision in Braidwood Management. Inc. v. Becerra is however being appealed by the US Department of Justice.
On Thursday April 6, Governor Whitmer announced that insurers who represent 100% of the fully insured health insurance market will continue to cover no-cost preventive services for Michigan residents.
Governor Signs Abortion, Right to Work, and Prevailing Wage Bills
On April 5, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation repealing Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban. The 1931 Michigan penal code prohibited the sharing or publishing information regarding contraception and abortion and prohibited administration of miscarriage procuring drugs or a surgical abortion procedure. Senate Bill 2 and House Bills 4006 and 4032 revokes the felonies of the 1931 penal code. These bills ensure that individuals who administer or receive an abortion are not criminalized.
On Friday March 24, Governor Whitmer also signed bills repealing the Michigan right to work law and restoring the prevailing wage for public construction projects. These bills include Senate Bill 34 and House Bills 4004 and 4007.
Michigan Prisons See Increase in Mental, Physical Health Caseloads
Following testimony in the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Corrections, it was revealed that Michigan’s prisoner population has been steadily declining, but the mental and physical health caseload is on the rise.
About a third of Michigan’s prisoner population is currently on active mental health caseload. Approximately 446 patients are awaiting Hepatitis C treatment, while 69 patients are currently receiving treatment. The Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) adds about 11 new patients each month, spending an average of $15,122 per patient on Hepatitis C treatment. These costs are a significant portion of the MDOC budget, totaling over $300 million per year.
MDOC is also facing challenges regarding staffing, especially with corrections officers and healthcare staff. There are about 866 total corrections officer vacancies which is equivalent to about 15.3% of total corrections officers. MDOC is prioritizing staffing recruitment and retention efforts as well as combatting the increase in mental and physical health caseload.
FDA approved over the counter status for overdose drug
On Wednesday March 29, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a drug used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose to be sold over the counter. Narcan, generically called naloxone, is a life-saving nasal spray that can be administered to individuals showing signs of an opioid overdose.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) shared that its OTC approval has been a priority of the department for years as it will tremendously combat the opioid crisis.
The FDA first approved Narcan in 2015 as a drug that can be sold with a prescription. Now that it can be sold over the counter, priorities for the FDA and MDHHS include making it available as soon as possible at an affordable price.
MDHHS Increases Dental Benefits for Medicaid Beneficiaries
On April 1, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced the start of dental benefit enhancements for adult Medicaid beneficiaries. These enhancements serve to improve access to dental services and improve health outcomes as many additional services will now be covered for adults 21 and over. The services covered include:
- Teeth cleanings
- Deep teeth cleanings
- Root canals
- Care to keep your gums healthy
Not only is MDHHS expanding access to services for Medicaid beneficiaries, but MDHHS is also increasing reimbursement rates for dental providers. The new rates allow providers to be paid at 100% of the Average Commercial Rate, which aims to increase the number of treated Medicaid beneficiaries.
MDHHS Implementing Electronic Visit Verification System
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced that it plans to transition providers to an Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) system in 2024. The implementation of Michigan’s EVV system is in accordance with the 21st Century Cures Act, requiring all states to implement an EVV system for Medicaid-funded personal care and home health care services.
The EVV system would validate in-home visits for Medicaid recipients on the location, date, time, and type of care they are receiving. This information would improve the management and oversight of services and ensure that beneficiaries are receiving proper care. Personal care and home health providers can use this free and multilingual state-run EVV system or an alternate EVV system of their choosing if it directly integrates with the state system.