Senate Passes Telemedicine, Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, HIV Legislation in Final Days of Lame Duck

Michigan’s 2018 Lame Duck shaped up to be one of the busiest in recent history, with many bills advancing—some of which were newly introduced—through the legislature following the November 6 election. All the while, MAFP’s Advocacy Team continued to diligently track legislation before each chamber and monitor movement of bills impacting the practice of Family Medicine.

Telemedicine

Senate Bill 1198 eliminates a sunset provision that was to take effect on December 31, 2018, and permanently bans prescribing medical abortions through telemedicine. The bill passed each chamber along mostly party line votes and is headed to Governor Snyder for his signature. MAFP opposed this legislation, as it would reduce access to care, and is working to encourage a veto by Governor Snyder, who supported the sunset provision.

Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

Designed, in part, due to advancements in telemedicine, House Bills 4066 and 4067 create an interstate medical licensure compact that would allow physicians to be licensed in multiple states. After being licensed by the state, physicians would have the option to obtain an “expedited license.” The expedited license would allow a physician who meets certain requirements—many of which are the same requirements for state medical licensure, but with some additions—to practice medicine in all states participating in the compact. It is important to note that, even though newly-passed state legislation, which awaits Governor Snyder's signature for it to become law, exempts Family Physicians from maintenance of certification requirements, physicians would be required to hold specialty certification in order to participate in the compact. HB 4066 and 4067 passed out of the Senate Health Policy Committee on December 12 and were approved by the full Senate with several changes, which the House agreed to on December 19. These bills await Governor Snyder’s signature.

HIV Bill Package

An eight-bill HIV package that aims to align Michigan statute with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards passed the full Senate this week, sending it to Governor Snyder. MAFP supports House Bills 6016-6023, which were brought forward by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services in an attempt to update current laws governing sentencing of individuals who fail to disclose to their partners that they have HIV before engaging in sexual intercourse. This legislation also requires physicians to test pregnant women during the third trimester for HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B; however, women are permitted to decline the tests.