July 31, 2020—Among the programs facing funding cuts in the state’s recently negotiated Fiscal Year 2019-2020 budget deal are two MAFP priorities—MIDOCS and IVaccinate.
The agreement, reached last week between state legislative leaders in both parties, both houses, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, cuts $629 billion from the General Fund as part of its overall reduction of $2.2 billion in spending for the current budget year that ends Sept 30.
Senate Bill 373 and House Bill 5265, combined with an executive order issued by Gov. Whitmer, also transfers $35 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund, reduces revenue-sharing, allows for the lapse of work projects, transfers restricted funds, and secures savings by furloughing state employees. It also includes federal funding through the CARES Act to help fill holes due the state funding cuts.
MIDOCS was authorized by Michigan legislation in 2017 to attract and retain primary care physicians in underserved communities. It increases the number of medical residency positions in primary care physician training programs at Central Michigan University, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, and Western Michigan University, in partnership with Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
In return for practicing in a rural or urban underserved community for a minimum of two years post-residency, MIDOCS-sponsored residents in the specialties of family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, psychiatry, and general surgery are eligible for $75,000 in education loan repayment.
“MIDOCS is an important program designed to help solve an ongoing problem in Michigan—an insufficient number of medical residency positions for meeting the state’s primary care needs,” said Matt Black, MAFP’s director of government relations. “While MAFP understands the dire budget situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are urging Gov. Whitmer and legislative leaders to restore this $2.5 million cut when it finalizes the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 budget. Investing in Michigan’s primary care workforce is investing in the health of our residents and communities.”
MAFP also advocates that the $600,000 cut from the IVaccinate campaign be restored in the new fiscal year budget that takes effect Oct. 1.
IVaccinate is a public education campaign funded by Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Franny Strong Foundation, with support from numerous state and national organization, including MAFP. It provides vaccine information and tools based on real medical science and research to help Michigan parents protect their children from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Now more than ever, arming Michiganders with science-based information on the importance of immunizing against contagious illnesses, including influenza, is critical.
“Expert opinion warns that co-infection with influenza and COVID-19 has the potential to be devastating to patients and our healthcare system during the upcoming flu season, stretching the healthcare infrastructure to its capacity and possibly beyond. This makes getting vaccinated against influenza—a contagious respiratory illness with outcomes that can range from mild illness to hospitalization, serious complications, and death—especially critical this year,” said Pamela Rockwell, DO, FAAFP, AAFP’s liaison to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization and associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine at University of Michigan.
Senate Bill 373 and House Bill 5265 passed unanimously in the House and received just one single vote of opposition in the Senate. They are headed to Gov. Whitmer for her signature.