With the elections in the rearview mirror, lawmakers in Lansing have now entered the lame duck portion of their term. Anything can typically happen, as term limited lawmakers work to cement their legacy or finish up work on legislation they've spent a great deal of time championing.
This week, House and Senate committees held hearings on a number of bills on which the Michigan State Medical Society has been working closely.
Senate Bill 1019
The House Health Policy Committee heard testimony on Senate Bill 1019, a bill to remove the state's common sense requirement that a physician supervise anesthesia procedures in Michigan.
46 states and the District of Columbia, including Michigan, require that a physician participate in the delivery of anesthesia care, but SB 1019 would undo that requirement in Michigan and legislate independent practice for nurse anesthetists.
The bill was approved by the state Senate earlier this year, and is now before the House.
MSMS has been a vocal opponent of the bill from its inception, and is working night and day to defeat the dangerous legislation.
Former state Senator Tom George, MD, represented MSMS at the hearing and spoke forcefully about the importance of maintaining patients' access to a physician during anesthesia. In addition to Doctor George, the Michigan Society of Anesthesiologists was represented by Roy Soto, MD, Maria Zestos, MD, and Bruce Van Dop, MD, who provided focused testimony highlighting how the Michigan Hospital Association's (MHA) support for SB 1019 significantly deviates from MHA's efforts and public positions relative to the MHA Keystone Center to improve patient safety.
Additionally, the physicians answered many of the technical questions raised by proponents of the bill, and focused on the threats to patient safety and appropriateness of anesthesia care provided in the team setting. In total, the physician community's testimony on behalf of Michigan patients was relevant, focused, and rebutted many of the points made by proponents of the legislation. The preliminary response from those within the Committee is that this testimony was highly effective.
The committee adjourned without a vote, but with six session days left before the end of the legislative term, a vote is still possible. Please contact your state Representative today to urge them to vote NO on Senate Bill 1019.
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House Bill 4235
Introduced in February 2015 by Rep. George Darany (D-Dearborn), House Bill 4235 would increase maternal death reporting requirements. The bill represents a joint legislative effort between MSMS and ACOG.
The bill was approved by the state House earlier this year, by a nearly unanimous 103-5 margin.
The Senate Health Policy committee this week passed the bill without amendments. HB 4235 now goes to the Senate for a vote. If passed by the Senate, it will go before Governor for his signature.
House Bill 4598
MSMS is also monitoring the progress of House Bill 4598, a bill MSMS opposes, which establishes licensing requirements for midwives.
The bill received a hearing this week in the Senate Health Policy Committee, after advancing out of the state House earlier during the legislative term.
House Bill 5326
Legislation supported by MSMS to make naloxone more easily available to addicts and their family members was approved this week by the Senate Health Policy Committee. MSMS offered guidance to create a state-wide standing order signed by a physician as opposed to creating a precedent for independent prescribing authority for pharmacists.
House Bill 1104
MSMS is also working to support legislation to address the Court of Appeals decision that allowed the collection of windfall payments stemming from awarding the plaintiff the amount charged by the hospital as opposed to the amount required to settle the debt to the hospital paid by the insurer. House Bill 1104 was approved by the Senate and was heard by the House Insurance Committee on Thursday, December 1.
Each of these bills will be on our watch list through the end of the lame duck session, and MSMS will keep you up-to-date as they make their way through the legislative process.