The legislation is set to get over health care providers affected by an upcoming reimbursement change in car injury treatment that was unveiled in the legislature on Wednesday.
Last week, Michigan House voted through an amended version of Senate Act 28 to create a $ 10 million fund for acute brain and spine injury facilities and caregivers who are suffering structural losses due to the upcoming changes. On Wednesday, the Senate revised that number up and approved $ 25 million for the fund.
The amended version of the bill is now being returned to the House for further review.
Payments would be made on a first-come-first-served basis and providers could only get the funds if they can provide and demonstrate information about the fees for their auto and non-auto injury treatment services, that they are facing a “systematic deficit” caused by changes in the flawless system of the state.
In July, insurance company reimbursement for health care services for survivors of car accidents not covered by Medicare will be reduced by 45% under the fee schedule set in the 2019 Act. This change, say many current post-acute care providers, will either put them out of business or force them to stop providing services to auto-accident patients. And car accident victims fear losing access to quality care.
Some health care providers treating car accident victims have criticized the fund proposal, calling it too little and too late to help troubled businesses and survivors. The Michigan Brain Injury Provider Council said in a statement Wednesday that it is opposed to the program and is urging lawmakers to change the policy instead.
“This program, which is set out in Senate Bill 28, does not provide sufficient relief in time or to the extent necessary to allow vendors to keep payroll and operations going,” said Tom Judd, president of the council. “The inevitable result is the imminent disruption of supplies and the displacement of vulnerable casualties across Michigan.”
In 2019, Republican-led Legislature and Governor Gretchen Whitmer voted to overhaul Michigan’s flawless auto insurance system to lower the state’s highest costs and signed bills that were passed with broad bipartisan support.
Part of that change was to allow drivers to choose their desired level of Personal Injury Protection (PIP), which went into effect last summer – but another important part of the deal was putting in place a fee schedule for how much Fees for health care insurance providers in handling car accidents.
Senator Curtis Hertel, Jr., D-East Lansing, said he doesn’t think $ 25 million will be enough to solve the problem, but believes it will provide a “bridge” for vendors while lawmakers do Debate continues.
“Do I think $ 25 million will be enough? Not even close, ”he said. “I believe this is a bridge to this body and the House trying to find an answer, and these families deserve nothing less than that.”
House spokesman Jason Wentworth, R-Farwell, said last week the fund could help lawmakers determine any issues with current policy and what to do in the future, according to Gongwer News Service.
Proponents of the directive, due to come into effect in July, say the reimbursement fee law changes are an important part of the equation when it comes to lowering auto insurance rates. The Insurance Alliance of Michigan estimates that just by reducing the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association’s vehicle fee reduction, Michigan drivers saved more than $ 1 billion, excluding the individual saver drivers achieved by choosing different PIP coverage levels.
Average auto insurance rates have dropped significantly since the first phase of Michigan’s Auto Insurance Act came into effect, but it is still one of the most expensive places in the country to insure a car.