State Budget Update
The House rolled all of the conference committee reports into two "Omnibus Budget Bills” for FY 2014 and voted on them Tuesday.
Members voted 63-46 (pretty much along party lines) for a $34.3 billion general omnibus bill, HB 4328, and 65-43 for a $15.1 billion education omnibus bill, HB 4228. The general omnibus bill DID NOT contain the funding for Medicaid expansion.
Minority Leader Tim Greimel, (D-Auburn Hills) said by not taking the federal government up on its offer to expand Medicaid coverage to those living below 133 percent of the federal poverty level, the Republicans were putting "primary politics before sound public policy."
"Not only is that a failure to empower small businesses and individuals for success," Greimel said, "but it's also turning down money that would free up more than $200 million in our General Fund."
Other items of importance to MPCA included:
• An expansion of the Healthy Kids Dental Program with $11.6 million allocated. The expansion will include Ingham, Ottawa, and Washtenaw counties
• An increase to the state loan repayment program by another $1 million.
• Restoration of the "one time funding” allocation made last year to keep Medicaid funding for graduate medical education at previous levels.
• $103 million to maintain the increases for primary care physician rates started last year to bring them up to Medicare rate levels (rates for Nurse Practioners, Physician Assistants and Obstetricians were not increased, however)
• A new $2 million for "infant mortality reduction”.
• $900,000 for implementation of three behavioral health homes demonstration projects intended to better coordinate physical and behavioral health care for Medicaid beneficiaries with chronic conditions
• $5 million for "mental health innovation grants”.
New "boilerplate language” was added that requires MDCH to
• Distribute $12 million of General Funds (along with federal match) to rural hospitals meeting certain criteria. The criteria must include "hospital assistance with labor and delivery services” as part of the formula.
• Create a consortium of school-affiliated faculty practice physician groups capable of creating free standing residency programs to develop accredited physician-based primary care graduate medical education program to enhance the training of primary care physicians in Michigan
• Seek a waiver similar to Utah that would allow Michigan to direct Medicare Graduate Medical Education funding to specialties and geographic needs most in demand for physicians.
Medicaid Expansion Update
No additional committee meetings of the House Michigan Competitiveness Committee were scheduled for this week (May 27) as most legislative work went into getting budget bills passed and then legislators left for the Annual Mackinac Policy Conference sponsored each year on Mackinac Island by the Detroit Chamber of Commerce.
It is expected that the committee will convene again next week. It is still very much up in the air whether a vote will be taken on House Bill 4714 before the legislature breaks for the summer. It is hoped that something will be passed by the House before that and sent to the Senate. If we get word that a vote will be forthcoming, an action alert will be sent out from MPCA and it will be crucial that thousands of contacts be made to support the bill.
In the meantime, several FQHC’s have held or scheduled meetings with Senators to discuss Medicaid expansion. MPCA urges all Health Centers to ask for an in-district meeting over the next couple of weeks with your legislators. They will be in their districts on Mondays and Fridays for the next two to three weeks. MPCA staff are more than ready to brief you in preparation for such meetings. Contact Doug Paterson at email@example.com.
University of Michigan Now Offering Web-Based Certificate in Integrated Behavioral Health and Primary Care
Registration is now open for the Web-Based Certificate in Integrated Behavioral Health and Primary Care (IBHPC) at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. The web-based certificate program will take place from September to December 2013, and is designed for professionals in social work, primary care, nursing, psychology, and other applied fields. Participants will gain assessment, intervention, and consultation skills with practical applications in the workplace, and will link with a peer distance learning community to discuss ideas and practice new skills. A special emphasis of the IBHPC certificate program is teaching feasible behavioral health interventions for use in fast-paced clinical environments. This certificate program is a blended and interactive web-based learning experience led by a team of national experts, seasoned clinicians, and University of Michigan scholars. Participants can earn 40 hours of social work continuing education credits. Click here for more information about enrollment. The deadline to submit applications is August 2, 2013. For more information contact the School of Social Work Continuing Education Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734.763.5723.