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Governor signs bills supporting telehealth, speech pathology

Whitmer: 'Together, we will keep lowering costs and taking action to protect the health and well-being of every Michigander.'
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

LANSING, Mich. – Today, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a series of bipartisan bills supporting telehealth, speech pathology, and asbestos abatement polices. These bills aim to support Michigander's health care needs. 

“Today, I signed several bills that will make a real difference in people’s lives,” said Whitmer. “These commonsense new laws will support special education students, improve access to telemedicine, keep kids safe in group homes, and help further abate asbestos. Together, we will keep lowering costs and taking action to protect the health and well-being of every Michigander.”  

Senate Bill 518, sponsored by state Senator Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Township), extends the deadline to July 1, 2027, for teachers to earn an interim special education teaching certificate, if it is earned through an approved alternative certification program. This will allow teachers to continue to educate our most vulnerable and high need students.  

“As a former educator, I pride myself on understanding the difficulties teachers face trying to maintain excellence in their classrooms while also continuing to further their own education and career progression,” said State Sen. Darrin Camilleri (D-Trenton). “With our state facing a shortage of special education teachers, this commonsense piece of legislation provides working teachers another avenue to pursue a special education teaching endorsement while remaining in the classroom for students who need it most. I’m proud to see Gov. Whitmer signing it into law.”   

Senate Bill 227, sponsored by State Sen. Dan Lauwers (R-Brockway), modifies emergency safety intervention policies in a children's therapeutic group home. These interventions typically involve actions taken to ensure the safety and well-being of children in these facilities during emergency situations.  

“Michigan is currently experiencing a children’s mental health crisis,” said State Sen. Dan Lauwers (R-Brockway). “Addressing the lack of children’s psychiatric in-patient beds in the state will require a multifaceted approach and a collective effort from many stakeholders, but this legislation was a significant and important step forward as we work toward solutions to the broader, more complex issue.” 

House Bill 4579, sponsored by State Rep. Natalie Price (D-Berkley), requires an insurer to provide the same coverage for a service that was provided through telemedicine, as if that service involved face to face contact between the provider and patient. 

“The increased availability of telemedicine, spurred by the pandemic, was a lifeline for so many patients. Now, they’re part of many people’s medical routines. Maintaining these care options is crucial," said State Rep. Natalie Price (D-Berkley). “It is proof when this legislature finds the will and puts in the effort, we can find common ground to accomplish significant reforms that increase patient access to quality, affordable health care.” 

House Bill 4580, sponsored by State Rep. Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield Township), prohibits Medicaid or Healthy Michigan from requiring a recipient to use telehealth services instead of in-person consultation or contact. 

 “The pandemic exposed accessibility concerns in our health care system. With more providers now offering telehealth options, it only makes sense to keep the reimbursement rates the same for telehealth appointments and in-person visits," said State Rep. Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield Township). "As a clinical psychologist, I understand the importance of services being equitably accessible to everyone. This bill, now law, makes it easier for medical providers to continue offering the type of appointments their patients prefer. Patients should have choices when it comes to health care, and we are better ensuring that today.” 

House Bill 4213, sponsored by State Rep. Christine Morse (D-Texas Township), requires telemedicine services to be covered under Medicaid and the Healthy Michigan Program if those services were provided at, or contracted through, a distant site allowed in the Medicaid provider manual. 

“Today marks a step forward in ensuring that all Michiganders have access to essential health care services, regardless of their location. With the signing of this bill, we are expanding access to telemedicine services, making it easier for families to receive low-cost medical services right from the comfort of their own home,” said State Rep. Christine Morse (D-Texas Township). “By removing barriers to care, we are paving the way for a healthier Michigan.” 

House Bill 4131, sponsored by State Rep. Tullio Liberati (D-Allen Park), prohibits an insurer from requiring a health professional to provide telemedicine services for a patient unless the services were contractually required and clinically appropriate. 

“With the signing of this legislation, we are ensuring that people have access to the quality health care they need,” said State Rep. Tullio Liberati (D-Allen Park). “People should be able to receive the care they require, whether that is going to the doctor’s office or through telemedicine. People know what is best for them, and what will work for them. Insurance companies should not get in the way of that.” 

House Bill 4186, sponsored by State Rep. Donavan McKinney (D-Detroit), requires certain local government contracts to include provisions that allow withholding payment to asbestos abatement contractors or demolition contractors for environmental violations and requires certain disclosures by asbestos abatement contractors and demolition contractors. 

“This is about accountability and transparency as we continue to move forward with replacing aging infrastructure and renovating land and structures across the state. The process for the removal of hazardous materials, specifically asbestos, requires specialized expertise. We can’t do business with just anybody when it comes to removing asbestos. This is a win for health and safety, the environment and another example of putting people’s lives first,” said State Rep. Donavan McKinney (D-Detroit). 

House Bill 4188, sponsored by State Rep. Abraham Aiyash (D-Hamtramck), ensures a certain number of asbestos renovations and demolition inspections are performed and creates the Asbestos Inspection Fund which will be used to fund inspections and related activities to protect public health. 

Our Asbestos Safety legislation is a win for our communities’ overall health. We’re making sure contractors are responsibly handling the removal of asbestos and properly remediating places after the demolition and removal of blight and debris. Asbestos is a killer; there is no safe amount of exposure. These laws prioritize the safety and wellbeing of both our community and the workers taking action,” said House Majority Floor Leader Abraham Aiyash (D-Detroit)” 

House Bill 4101, sponsored by State Rep. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington), extends a temporary license for speech-language pathologists’ postgraduate clinical experience from 12 months to 24. This encourages more speech-language professionals to stay in state and help meet the educational needs of Michigan’s kids.  

“This legislation is about strengthening healthcare. By removing unnecessary hurdles, we will be able to bring more qualified speech therapists to Michigan and our rural areas,” said State Rep. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington).