House Health Policy Committee discusses Workforce Expansion and Opioid Treatment Bills – State of Reform
The Michigan House Health Policy Committee held a Meet last week to discuss several health-related laws, including bills to build workforce capacity and policies that would expand access to treatment for people with health-related disorders. opioid use (OUD).
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The committee first discussed Bill 4316 and HB 5089, which aim to increase and motivate Michigan’s healthcare workforce in hospitals and long-term care facilities.
HB 4316 provides a certified medical aid (CMA) training and licensing program in the state. A CMA is a nursing assistant responsible for administering medication to patients.
The hearings for this bill were originally held in june, but that meeting added a substitution that adds a sunset clause until 2026. Richie Farran, vice president of government services at the Health Care Association of Michigan, said the sunset clause would allow the legislature to assess the effectiveness of the Michigan CMA registry program.
HB 5089 would change the requirements for nurse aides and certified practical nurses (CNA) to better accommodate the pandemic workforce. The changes include allowing distance learning and training options for NACs and counting work experience as part of their 75 hours of training required by the federal government, Farran said.
In Michigan, Farran said there has been a 30% decrease in healthcare workers throughout the pandemic – the majority of them are frontline nurses. The decrease, in conjunction with continued burnout among medical professionals, necessitates this new bill to remove administrative barriers, Farran said.
“We’re at the point where we’ve already seen a lot of staff burnout and they need all the support they can get. The more staff the better. The drop is real. These aren’t necessarily a quick fix, but I think they are tools that help attract and retain. These, as well as a number of other policies, can help to improve the situation considerably. “
The committee then heard testimony on HB 5163 and HB 5166, which aim to expand access to treatment in emergency departments (ED) and community organizations for people with OCD.
Representative Angela Witwer, sponsor of HB 5163, said:
“HB 5163 will increase opioid overdose treatment capacity in the emergency department, a key interception point for people who use drugs where we see a high risk of overdose on discharge. “
The bill would increase resources to enable emergencies to provide drug-assisted treatment (MAT) in an emergency setting. It would also give hospitals specific overdose care protocols, including providing hot transfers to community care organizations. Jared Welehodsky, senior analyst at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), said:
“Emergency department access to medication-assisted treatment will increase linkages to treatment while supporting healthcare professionals and their patient care. “
The bill would create a grant from the MDHHS and require hospitals to demonstrate that they have the appropriate capacity to meet all the requirements of the new protocols. He also said the bill would improve connections between hospitals and community treatment centers.
HB 5166 is said to increase access to naloxone – a drug used to reverse opioid overdoses as they occur – by allowing community organizations to distribute the drug. Currently, under a Standing Order Act 2016, pharmacists can give the medicine without a prescription, as an over-the-counter medicine. Allowing community organizations to distribute the drug would ease another barrier to treatment, Welehodsky said.
Representative Mary Whiteford, sponsor of the bill, said a recent study found that only 25% of opioid users had access to the drug.
“It will really help people with addictions get that second chance to beat their addiction. Through this legislation, we can give community organizations and the families who visit them hope that they can make a difference when it is needed most. “
None of these bills was put to a vote at the committee meeting.