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Summary as of Wednesday, July 1:
WCMS Bulletin Highlight:
Auto No-Fault Changes on July 2

What to Look for in this Edition of the WCMS Bulletin from Editor Richard Burney, MD:
The main focus of this edition of the WCMS Bulletin is auto insurance, because the Bulletin believes the citizens of the state are likely underinformed about the changes taking effect on July 2, and without all the information are likely to make unfortunate choices. As a former trauma surgeon who cared for many patients with auto-related injuries, some continuing to cause disability years after the crash, I have some bias in this matter. I know how critical the type of coverage motorists have is to their well-being and that of their families.

Most of us have only a vague recollection that a year ago, Governor Whitmer acceded to the political pressure that had been building up from a variety of sources for years to reduce Michigan auto insurance rates and signed a bill that gutted the medical care provisions of the state's no-fault insurance law. For many years it has covered all costs related to motor vehicle injuries. Whether this medical cost was the actual driver behind the relatively high auto insurance rates in the state or not remains a matter of dispute. We will see the actual effect the new law has on rates in the next year or two. Reduction in rates is not guaranteed. Among other things, the old law limited victim's rights to make claims (i.e. to sue you) for damages resulting from an accident. This door has now been reopened.

Access the digital  2nd quarter issue of the   WCMS Bulletin and m ake sure you and your patients are making smart auto insurance choices like purchasing:
  • lifetime, uncapped PIP coverage
  • high liability insurance limits
  • uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
MSMS Seeking Nominations for BCBSM Board of Directors Provider Seat

With the transition of James D. Grant, MD, from a BCBSM Board member to the Chief Medical Officer position, BCBSM has requested MSMS submit two nominees for consideration to join the BCBSM Board for the remainder of Dr. Grant’s unexpired term (through May 2022).
Information for Submission.  Applicants should provide the following information in a letter to the Selection Committee. 
  1. Name, address, phone, fax, e-mail, specialty, hospital affiliation.
  2. Please describe your practice pattern or professional setting.
  3. Please list other affiliations – hospital, medical, community, corporations, foundations, boards, committees.
  4. Please explain why you think you would be a good member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Board of Directors.
  5. Please describe any prior experience and expertise in interacting with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan or dealing with payer issues.
  6. Incumbents – please include your attendance at Board and Committee meetings, appointments to Board positions, and a self-evaluation of your effectiveness.
  7. Additional Comments.

A summary of the criteria for applicants, nomination process, and selection committee is linked via Dropbox here . Applications and questions may be submitted directly to Rebecca Blake at  rblake@msms.org  or at (517) 336-5729.
WCMS Virtual County-Wide COVID-19 Workgroup to Next Meet on Thursday, July 9 at 6:00 PM

Since March, WCMS has convened regular COVID-19 teleconferences to discuss resource allocation, emergency preparedness, and tracking and tracing among Washtenaw's health systems and physician leaders. The workgroup is led by University of Michigan infectious diseases specialist and WCMS Executive Council member Sandro Cinti, MD. The workgroup also receives updates and modeling data from University of Michigan Public Health epidemiologists Marisa Eisenberg, PhD, MS and Emily Martin, PhD, MPH via their MI Safe Start COVID-19 dashboard. To access recordings of past meetings, follow this link with the password: stopthespread

WCMS members are encouraged to join the next virtual meeting on July 9 from 6:00 - 7:00 PM. Please contact the Society Office for login credentials.
Surprise, Out-of-Network Bills Move to the MI Senate

Highlights via Medigram : On behalf of the Michigan State Medical Society and your specialty, thank you for your help to seek appropriate amendments to the surprise, out-of-network billing legislation. Because of your advocacy efforts, the physician community was able to see a form of arbitration included in the language, and the average contracted rate is now based on geographic region and specialty.  Unfortunately, the arbitration is very narrow, and the average contracted rate remains a mystery.

The Votes Taken Wednesday, June 24:
HBs  4459 4460 4990 , and  4991  moved out of House Ways and Means with 9 yes votes and 2 pass votes (Representatives Warren and Griffin passed).

The bills then were moved to the House Floor and were just voted out tonight nearly unanimously. Five Representatives voted no on HB 4459, the bill we fought hardest against which contains the fee schedule and arbitration.

With so many votes in favor of the bill, that tells us that if these bills get a vote, the bills will pass. It is a very popular issue for the general public. Practically, that means we need to work hard in the next few weeks to educate members about why these bills harm health care heroes and patients; and, we will need your continued help. 

Future Advocacy:
The bills have been referred to the Senate Health Policy Committee. Over the coming weeks MSMS and our county medical society partners will build on all of your efforts and recruit more of you to join these efforts.

If the bills get a vote in the Senate Committee, they will then be sent to the full Senate for a vote by the 38 members of the Senate. If they pass the full Senate, they would be sent on to the Governor for signature.  By no means is this fight over.
MDHHS to Provide Free Naloxone to Community Organizations and Individuals Statewide

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has launched an online portal where community organizations can request free naloxone, a medication that reverses opioid overdoses and saves lives. The portal is available to any community organization statewide, including substance use treatment providers, non-profits, harm reduction organizations, jails, first responders, local governments and small businesses. MDHHS will review organizations’ plans for distributing naloxone, especially to individuals at high risk of overdose. If approved, the organization will receive naloxone by mail; shipments are in increments of 12 kits and organizations are expected to have a plan for distribution and training for individuals at risk of overdose on how to use naloxone.

Separately, NEXT Naloxone has also partnered with MDHHS to offer individuals free naloxone delivered by mail. Providing naloxone by mail-order will help people who cannot access naloxone in their area, have insurance barriers or other challenges. Individuals can place an order for mail delivery at Naloxoneforall.org/michigan .
Governor Whitmer Signs Telemedicine Bills into Law

On June 24, Govenor Whitmer signed House Bills 5412-5416, which increase access to health care for Michiganders through telemedicine and remote patient monitoring services. The governor also signed Senate Bill 940 into law.

House Bills 5412, 5413, 5414, 5415, and 5416 make up a bill package designed to facilitate remote provision of healthcare services. The bills require health insurance companies and group/non-group healthcare services to cover telemedicine visits without requiring in-person visits.

To view the press release, please click here .
*Reference to any specific commercial product, process, or service, or the use of any trade, firm or corporation name is for the information and convenience of members, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the Washtenaw County Medical Society.
The WCMS Office has resumed modified business operations as of Monday, June 15. To schedule an appointment, or for questions, please contact the Society Office via email or call (734) 668-6241.