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Government Affairs Update – October 30, 2020
Senate Bill 1201 – Discrimination in Organ Transplants
Introduced by Senator Curtis Hertel on October 21, 2020, Senate Bill 1201 would prohibit a person who performs an organ transplant from refusing to transplant an organ in a recipient who is physically or mentally disabled based solely on the transplant recipient’s physical or mental disability.
The bill was referred to the Senate Health Policy Committee. No hearings have been held.
Separate but related, due to the Michigan Supreme Court action that effectively nullified the Governor’s executive orders, Executive Order 2020-64, which prohibits discrimination in the provision of health care, is no longer in effect. It is our understanding that any action to resurrect these protections would have to be legislative and it is unclear at this time whether the legislature has intentions to do so.
The Legislature plans to resume business as soon as November 4 and is currently slated to be in session the following week as well. After that, they will break for the traditional hunting opener and Thanksgiving returning the week of November 30 for a potential 2-3 week lame-duck sprint to conclude the 100th legislature.
COVID-19 Executive Authority & Action
COVID-19 Premium Pay L-Letter Distributed
In the most recent budget enacted into law, direct care workers in certain programs are eligible to receive a $2 per hour wage increase through December 31, 2020. The department issued informational letters on October 28 for home help caregivers and the remaining eligible provider groups.
Advocacy efforts surrounding the extension of the direct care worker wage increase beyond December 31, 2020, are ongoing.
MDHHS Issues Order Relaxing Indoor Visitation at Residential Facilities
On Wednesday, October 21, MDHHS issued a separate order permitting indoor visitation at residential care facilities in counties with certain risk levels (according to the MI Safe Start Plan) as long as facilities have had no new coronavirus cases, including those involving residents or staff, originating until 14 days prior to the visitation date. Based on the county risk level, some visitors may need to get a rapid COVID-19 test, which most nursing homes in the state are now able to conduct. All visitors must wear PPE and maintain social distancing, and facilities may impose more stringent requirements around the time of visit, etc.
COVID-19 Testing in Residential Facilities
On Wednesday, October 28, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued an epidemic order that puts in place new requirements around testing in homes for the aged and large adult foster care facilities. These requirements include:
- initial testing of all residents and staff;
- testing any resident or staff with symptoms or COVID-19 exposure;
- weekly testing of all residents and staff in facilities with any positive cases among residents or staff;
- weekly testing of all staff in counties with risk levels A through E on the MI Safe Start Map;
- testing of all new or returning residents during intake unless testing in the 72 hours before intake;
- testing of all newly hired staff on their start date or in the 72 hours before the start date.
The order also outlines additional actions AFCs must take. It also prescribes different implementation timelines based on the type of facility.
According to the order, the State of Michigan will provide testing support as its capacity allows. The order is effective immediately and remains in effect until rescinded.