MPCA Quoted in Affordable Insulin Now Act House Passage

WASHINGTON—Congressman Dan Kildee, Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, today applauded the passage of his legislation to lower everyday costs for Michigan families and seniors by addressing the high cost of insulin. The legislation passed with votes from Democrats and Republicans.

The Affordable Insulin Now Act, which Kildee introduced in February, would help Americans with diabetes by ensuring there is a $35 per month cap on out-of-pocket costs for insulin.

“Michigan families and seniors are paying too much for insulin. Today, with bipartisan support, the House passed my legislation to cap the cost of insulin at $35 per month,” said Congressman Kildee. “As the father of a diabetic, I have seen first-hand how the extremely high price of prescription drugs, like insulin, hurts patients and families. That’s why I fought for this legislation in the House of Representatives, and I’m proud to say my bill has passed. In Congress, I will continue working with Republicans and Democrats to lower costs for mid-Michigan families.”

In Michigan, it is estimated that one in 10 people have a form of diabetes. Insulin was discovered over 100 years ago. Since then, little about insulin has changed, but its price has skyrocketed in recent years. Americans pay more than 10 times the price of insulin compared to similar high income countries and one in four Americans with diabetes have reported skimping on their prescribed medicine because of its cost.

Congressman Kildee spoke on the House floor today just before the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass his Affordable Insulin Now ActVideo of Kildee’s remarks is available here.

“As a person living with type-1 diabetes, my life literally depends on my ability to afford insulin,” said Jill Verdier, a mid-Michigan resident and Congressman Kildee’s virtual guest to the 2022 State of the Union. “By capping the price of insulin, the Affordable Insulin Now Act would allow me to plan for the future without the constant, crushing worry of pharmacy bills. Living with an incurable disease is hard enough without constantly having to worry about the rising price of insulin. I am so grateful to Congressman Kildee for introducing the Affordable Insulin Now Act to ensure I always have access to this lifesaving medication.”

“The Hurley Diabetes Center is proud to support Congressman Kildee’s Affordable Insulin Now Act. Not taking insulin or rationing it because of the cost can lead to serious health consequences such as amputations, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and even death. Congressman Kildee’s legislation will allow people with diabetes in mid-Michigan to afford the lifesaving medication they need every day,” said Michele Bernreuter, Diabetes Program Manager of Hurley Medical Center.

“For decades, drug company greed has forced millions of diabetics to pay outrageous prices for the medications they need to survive,” said Leslie Dach, Chair of Protect Our Care. “Even when insulin vials only cost a few dollars to produce, drug companies have hiked the price to hundreds of dollars per month, forcing too many patients to ration insulin and skip doses altogether. Representatives Kildee, Craig and McBath’s bill capping out-of-pocket insulin costs to $35 a month for diabetics with insurance is a critical step to drive down prescription drug prices. It will put more money in families’ pockets and give them peace of mind knowing they won’t have to choose between purchasing this lifesaving medication and putting food on the table. We commend Democrats in Congress for their commitment to fighting for a future where quality, affordable health care is a reality for every American.”

“Congressman Kildee’s legislation is incredibly important for patients served by health centers,” said Phillip Bergquist, Chief Executive Officer of the Michigan Primary Care Association. “This legislation will provide individuals who have serious health concerns related to diabetes affordable access to insulin and dramatically improve their wellbeing. As a representative and advocate for Michigan’s Federally Qualified Health Centers and the nearly 720,000 individuals they serve, MPCA is thrilled with the positive impact this legislation will have on Michiganders.”

This legislation is supported by the American Diabetes Association, JDRF, Social Security Works, Protect Our Care and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

–Courtesy of Rep. Kildee’s Office

NACHC Raises Concerns About Funding Uncertainty in Pandemic Fight

BETHESDA, Md.–Community Health Centers recently marked the one year milestone of vaccinating and protecting populations from COVID. With now 21 million vaccines administered, and a documented success of fewer deaths and infections in places where there is a health center, another challenge looms: financial uncertainty. With pandemic federal funding winding down, NACHC is tracking how health centers can continue to serve their mission by providing care to uninsured and underinsured Americans as additional COVID-19 variants emerge.

To continue reading “NACHC Raises Concerns About Funding Uncertainty in Pandemic Fight” by Amy Simmons Farber, please click here.

LARA: New Controlled Substance Administrative Rules Announced

LANSING–The Bureau of Professional Licensing (BPL) within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) would like to inform you that the new Controlled Substance Rules were effective as of January 6, 2022. A list of the notable changes is below. This is not intended to provide a comprehensive listing of all changes or current requirements. Licensees should review the rules and statute for a complete understanding of all applicable requirements.

• Except for a few exceptions, adopt the complete list of drugs and substances that are controlled substances under the federal Controlled Substances Act.
• Clarify who must obtain a controlled substance license and reorganize the licensing rule.
• Require physician’s assistants to meet the opioid training requirements that apply to controlled substances licensees.
• Expand the individuals who must take the opioid/controlled substances training.
• Exempt an individual who prescribes or dispenses controlled substances only for research on animals from taking the opioid/controlled substances training.
• Eliminate the drug treatment program prescriber license.
• Clarify when inventories and records are required.
• Require that technologies are in place and used, such as bar-coding, when stocking of an automated device is delegated.
• Require information to be submitted to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (MAPS) database.
• Require electronic transmission of prescriptions when the same is required by the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, pursuant to the Public Health Code.
• Provide a state waiver from the electronic transmission of prescriptions at any time a waiver is granted by CMS.
• Provide a process and basis to obtain a waiver from the mandate to electronically transmit prescriptions.
• Provide specific exceptional circumstances to the waiver rule.
• Align the requirements to treat an individual with a substance use disorder for maintenance and detoxification with federal regulations. Use “individual with substance use disorder” instead of “drug dependent person.” Clarify the definition of a “program.”
• Update prescription requirements.
• Update emergency and partial dispensing of controlled substances.
• Update refilling of prescriptions.
• Clarify that a cash discount card is a cash transaction for entry into the MAPS program.

Please click HERE to view the revised Controlled Substance Rules.

The BPL office is diligently working on updating relative information on its website to reflect the revisions of the revised rules. For more information, please visit the website at www.michigan.gov/bpl.

Please send questions about the revised rules to [email protected].

Michigan Awarded an ‘A’

LANSING–The State of Michigan has been awarded top marks for its efforts to eliminate hepatitis C by the national Hep ElimiNATION project.

The O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown Law, National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) and the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation (CHLPI) at Harvard Law School have launched Hep ElimiNATION, a project to assess nationwide viral hepatitis elimination progress and to guide jurisdictions towards development of a comprehensive plan to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030. To measure each state’s progress, NVHR and CHLPI developed a grading rubric used to score each state’s capacity to eliminate viral hepatitis. Michigan was awarded grade letter “A” for advancements that have been made towards hepatitis C elimination.

“Receiving an ‘A’ is great news, and we continue to offer tools to providers that will help us in eliminating hepatitis C in Michigan,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) chief medical executive. “We offer complimentary hepatitis C consultation for providers interested in treating hepatitis C, and we continue to look at areas to improve treating and preventing this disease.”

MDHHS published Michigan’s State Plan on Eliminating Hepatitis C in April 2021 to articulate MDHHS’ data-driven, evidence-based and culturally competent approach to eliminate hepatitis C in Michigan. MDHHS launched its We Treat Hep C Initiative on April 1, to expand access to hepatitis C treatment among Michigan Medicaid and Healthy Michigan Plan beneficiaries by removing prior authorization requirements for the hepatitis C medication, MAVYRET®. Michigan is one of only six states not requiring prior authorization.

Through the We Treat Hep C Initiative, treatment with MAVYRET is available to all Medicaid ($1 copay) and Healthy Michigan Plan (no copay) beneficiaries at little to no cost. Other direct-acting antivirals ($3 copay) will require prior authorization and will be approved only when MAVYRET is not clinically appropriate.

MDHHS has developed a website with Provider Resources, which includes frequently asked questions about the We Treat Hep C Initiative and hepatitis C treatment, hepatitis C clinical consultation programs, training webinars and resources and reference guides.

To help connect people with hepatitis C to a hepatitis C treatment provider, MDHHS has developed a Hepatitis C Treatment Provider Map which includes a listing of providers with hepatitis C treatment experience. While the listing is not a complete list of all hepatitis C treatment providers in the state of Michigan, it serves as a valuable resource for individuals looking for hepatitis C testing or treatment.

Visit Michigan.gov/WeTreatHepC for more information on hepatitis C testing and treatment.

For any questions regarding hepatitis C, please contact the MDHHS Viral Hepatitis Unit at [email protected].

–MDHHS

Open Enrollment Deadline Drawing Near

LANSING–The Michigan Primary Care Association and ACCESS remind Michigan residents that open enrollment ends on January 15, 2022 – and in conjunction with their partners, they remain ready to assist anyone who still needs to sign up for affordable healthcare, especially those within vulnerable populations across Michigan. With a few days remaining in the open enrollment period, it’s important to act now.

“Michigan Community Health Centers are dedicated to increasing access to healthcare in their communities. This partnership with ACCESS through the Navigator Grant is powerful extension of that commitment to link people in need to coverage and services,” said Anne Scott, Health Center Operations Officer at the MPCA, which represents 39 community health centers and four Native American health service providers that provide primary and preventive health care to more than 715,000 patients in rural and urban communities across Michigan.”

Thanks to the Navigator Grant, in addition to offering free healthcare enrollment services, MPCA – along with ACCESS and 22 other partner organizations (see below for full list) – are ensuring that healthcare Navigator services are available throughout the state, to reach uninsured and underinsured Michiganders in all 83 counties. Services include outreach, education, and enrollment efforts, with an aim to reach underserved communities and minority populations, including low-income and medically underserved urban and rural Michiganders. The goal is to enroll and re-enroll over 42,000 Michiganders statewide in health insurance coverage.

Navigator Project Partner List:

  • Alcona Health Center
  • Association of Chinese Americans
  • Family Health Care
  • Catherine’s Health Center
  • Center for Family Health
  • Centro Multicultural La Familia
  • Community Health Access Coalition
  • Community Health and Social Services (CHASS) Center
  • Community Welfare Services of Metro Detroit
  • Friends of Parkside
  • Hamilton Community Health Network
  • HUDA Clinic
  • InterCare Community Health Network
  • Isabella Citizens for Health, Inc.
  • Jewish Family Service of Metro Detroit
  • Michigan 2-1-1
  • Michigan Primary Care Association
  • Northwest Michigan Health Services, Inc.
  • Refugee Development Center
  • Ruth Ellis Center
  • Thunder Bay Community Health Service
  • Traverse Health Clinic
  • Washtenaw Health Plan

 (Editor’s note: MPCA members that are participating are indicated in italics)

ABOUT ACCESS’ HEALTHCARE NAVIGATOR SERVICES

Since its first Navigator award during 2014, ACCESS has enrolled or re-enrolled 43,000 Michiganders in health insurance. During the 2020-2021 program year, more than 7,000 individuals were provided healthcare education and assistance. This included assisting more than 2,453 with Health Insurance Exchange applications, more than 2,545 with Healthy Michigan Medicaid Plan applications and providing over 2,000 clients with education, case management or re-enrollment.

Bridge Michigan: Could COVID pills help turn the pandemic tide in Michigan?

DETROIT–The Michigan Primary Care Association member Western Wayne Family Health Centers has been noted in a recent BridgeMi.com feature story by Michigan Health Watch section staff writer Robin Erb.

To read her story “Could COVID pills help turn the pandemic tide in Michigan?”, please click on the link below:

A single pill to fight COVID — that’s the promise the Food and Drug Administration will consider this month when its advisers weigh the evidence of the first of two antiviral drugs that manufacturers say stop coronavirus before it takes hold. READ FULL STORY

Bridge photo by Elaine Cromie

MPCA, Member Health Centers Featured in BridgeMI

GRAND RAPIDSThe Michigan Primary Care Association and its member community health centers were featured Wednesday in a story published by Bridge Michigan in the news organization’s Michigan Health Watch section. (Bridge photo courtesy Daytona Niles)

To read the feature story “Child COVID vaccines are available in Michigan. Now comes the hard part” penned by BridgeMI.com staff writers Robin Erb and Ron French, please click on the link below: The decision to vaccinate 7-year-old Brittish Conaway against COVID pivoted on Dr. Jenny Bush’s choice of words.

“When she gets sick,” the doctor explained to the girl’s mom, “her sugar levels plummet. And that’s where things like metabolic strokes happen.”

Brittish has complex health problems stemming from a genetic metabolic condition. Contracting COVID-19 would likely make those problems worse. Better to watch for mild side effects from the vaccine than chance life-threatening complications from COVID that could last a week or more, Bush advised.

READ MORE

AbbVie Hosting New Training Opportunity on Sept. 14

LANSING–A new training opportunity focused on the Evolution of Hepatitis C Management will be hosted by AbbVie on Tuesday, Sept. 14, from 12:15 – 12:45 p.m. Participants will learn about the World Health Organization’s 2030 goal and current progress, the evolution of the provider landscape, and impactful models of hepatitis C management.

Please click the button below to register for the training. Register here: https://clinical-care.org/event/evolution-of-hepatitis-c-management

Learning objectives include:

•The World Health Organization’s 2030 goal and current progress

•The evolution of the provider landscape

•Impactful models of hepatitis C management

Questions? Contact the MDHHS Viral Hepatitis Unit at [email protected]/Michigan.gov/WeTreatHepC

MPCA Receives Gov. Whitmer Proclamation on #NHCW21

LANSING–Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a proclamation marking August 8-14 as National Health Center Week 2021.

“Community health centers are at the forefront of fighting emerging healthcare crises in our state, including the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Whitmer. “Our community health centers have supported testing and treatment for COVID patients while continuing everyday operations through extraordinarily difficult circumstances. These centers provide affordable, comprehensive care to underserved communities across Michigan and our state is grateful for the hope and healing they provide to countless communities every day.”

”The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has continually challenged Michiganders in all facets of life,” said Dennis Litos, CEO of the Michigan Primary Care Association. “Our community health centers have done yeoman’s work in helping us navigate through COVID-19 by providing testing, vaccine administration and quality health care for all. The MPCA is very grateful for the leadership of Governor Whitmer and MDHHS in supporting our health centers and our citizens throughout the pandemic.”

Health Center Week offers the opportunity to celebrate Michigan’s health center organizations and all those responsible for their continued success and growth. Health centers are a critical element of the health system, serving both rural and urban communities, often providing the only accessible and dependable source of primary care in their communities.

Click on the link to view the proclamation. For more information on #NHCW21, please click here.

White House Issues Proclamation on Eve of NHCW21

BETHESDA, Md.–President Joe Biden praised the work of community health centers in the fight against COVID in a White House Proclamation issued today in advance of National Health Center Week 2021. President Biden said, “Today, health centers are one of the largest health care providers in the country and provide high-quality affordable, accessible, and value-based primary health care services to 29 million Americans each year — approximately 1 in 11 people across the country. They have also been a vital part of our Nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the course of National Health Center Week, we recognize the importance of federally-supported health centers and the role they play as a beacon of strength, service, and care in our communities.”

The President singled out the work of health centers as they continue efforts to vaccinate and build trust in the COVID vaccine amid the upsurge of the Delta variant. He said, “Our Nation’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is stronger because of our health centers, and the tireless, dedicated health center employees who continue to deliver critical services such as COVID-19 testing, treatment, and prevention services on the front lines. As we ramped up the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines over the past several months, health centers, through the Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program, have vaccinated and built vaccine confidence in millions of Americans from hard-hit and high-risk communities.”

“We’re deeply appreciative of the President’s recognition of health centers’ efforts on the frontlines of COVID these past 18 months,” said NACHC President and CEO Tom Van Coverden. “We could not have carried out this task without his Administration’s support and partnership.”

The White House Proclamation comes as health centers across the nation prepare to mark  National Health Center Week 2021 (August 8-14), a weeklong celebration of the program that began over 55 years ago as part of Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty.  Events across the country include community vaccination events, health fairs and visits to health center sites by local and national leaders.

–National Association of Community Health Centers