Lawmakers approve $1.2 billion for health care needs, COVID-19 relief

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Tuesday approved the use of $1.2 billion in federal funding to help address health care needs and provide more COVID-19 relief in Michigan communities, said Sen. Jon Bumstead, who supported the supplemental appropriations bill.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, the health care industry has endured repeated hardships, including long overtime shifts, staff turnover and shortages, and insufficient medical equipment and personal protective equipment,” said Bumstead, R-Newaygo. “Likewise, residents who have needed care also encountered delays and other problems that affected their wellbeing. The federal funding we approved today addresses those issues directly, and will go a long way toward making sure workers and patients are taken care of in our state now and in the future.”

Bumstead highlighted a $300 million appropriation within the budget supplemental bill to aid health care industry employers to recruit and retain workers to address the mounting shortages of qualified health care workers in the state. Bumstead noted a specific portion of the funding will go to small and rural health care providers, which are in particular need.

Also receiving funding are long term care facilities, nursing homes, and adult foster care facilities, which saw some of the worst effects of COVID-19 in the state.

“Over 40% of all of our state’s COVID-19 deaths occurred among people living in long-term care facilities,” Bumstead said. “Regardless of the decisions the Whitmer administration made or didn’t make that led to this happening, what is clear is that the hardworking employees and residents at these facilities deserve the resources necessary to mitigate the spread of infectious illnesses in their communities.”

The funding for skilled nursing facilities includes:

  • $70 million for licensed adult foster care facilities, homes for the aged, and facilities that care for the elderly or adults with developmental disabilities to offset pandemic-associated expense increases;
  • $29 million to fund structural and operational improvements to help reduce the spread of infectious disease; and
  • $10 million to reimburse nursing facilities for half the cost of converting multi-resident rooms into single-resident rooms.

The supplemental also provides support for child welfare in the state, by helping foster parents and unlicensed relative caregivers cope with unexpected pandemic-associated costs; gives additional funding to purchase COVID-19 early treatments and establish early treatment sites; and offers in-home providers respite support for families providing continuous direct care to a family member.

“Michigan has received an unprecedented amount of funding from the federal government to help our state recover from COVID-19,” Bumstead said. “These additional resources will directly support the health care industry and workers who ensure the health and wellbeing of Michigan residents.”

House Bill 5523, which is the budget supplemental that includes the $1.2 billion in federal funding, now returns to the House of Representatives for finalization before going to the governor for signing.

For more information about what is included in the bill, visit http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?2021-HB-5523.

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Senator Jon Bumstead